As you’ll most likely notice throughout the semester, I’m a video game nerd. That’s right, a self-proclaimed video game nerd. Given that this is a human-computer interaction class, it’s nice to have a hobby that can relate to class lectures! With that being said, I chose to write this first blog post on the Nintendo DS.
For those of you that don’t know, the Nintendo DS is the latest in Nintendo’s long line of hand held gaming systems. It was released in the US in 2004 with a redesign (titled the Nintendo DS Lite) that was released in 2006. The part of the DS’s interface that I’m going to focus on is its dual screens. The DS is the first successful hand held gaming system to utilize two screens, one being a regular screen (the upper) and the other being a touch screen (the lower). I think a good way of critiquing whether or not the dual screens were designed with the user in mind would be to apply the usability goals outlined in 1.6.1 of the textbook.
It’s hard to say if the dual screens are effective to use. They DO get the job done. The touch screen is very easy to learn and use and responds very well to the included stylus’ pressure. The screens are also both backlit and usable at night. The real question is whether or not the screens are efficient to use. I’ve found myself many times wondering “Why did they make me pull out the stylus to play this game?” The touch screen almost seems gimmicky in its use, with it adding very little to the actual gameplay. Most of the time the actions that it requires you to do could have easily been done with a simple button press or two; however, I’d consider the fact that the system has two screens as very efficient for the user. They could easily be playing the game on one screen while the other displayed useful information that would normally require a button press to view, which also adds alot of utility to the gaming experience.
All in all, I’d say the dual screens were designed with the user in mind even though the touch part of it might seem a little gimmicky at times. They’re easy to pick up and learn, for the most part effective to use, and offer utility that one screened systems just can’t offer.