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  • Results from Game Design Challenge: DSiWare

    - staff
  •  The Nintendo DSi hit North American store shelves earlier this month, boasting new hardware functionality and an array of improvements over Nintendo's previously available model of its portable platform, the Nintendo DS Lite.

    In addition to offering a larger screen and a brighter display, the Nintendo DSi features two digital cameras -- one on the device's lid, and one facing the player -- music recording and playback functionality with SD card storage support, and the introduction of downloadable games and content via Nintendo's DSi Shop, accessed via a WiFi connection.

    So far, Nintendo has shown characteristic restraint in exploiting the hardware's new functionality. The music playback feature has yet to be used in any game, and the DSi Shop's downloadable games library largely consists of bite-sized adaptations of existing DS titles.

    The first downloadable game to exploit the player-facing camera to a significant degree -- WarioWare: Snapped! -- has thus far earned a mixed response from critics, many of whom praised its concept but found frustration in its execution.

    With the Nintendo DSi boasting massive untapped potential, Game Career Guide challenged its readers to design a game with the device's hardware in mind. Many responses expressed enthusiasm for the DSi's cameras, and several concepts toyed with the idea of integrating real-world scavenger hunts into gameplay. Others contributed game ideas that exploited the DS's multiplayer WiFi capabilities, and a few suggested intriguing ways in which the DSi's audio playback could make for compelling gameplay experiences.

    What follows are the best and most original entries we received. Here are our top picks:

    Best Entries
    Matthew Rollins, Systems Analyst, Ultimate Scavenger Hunt (see page 2)
    Ultimate Scavenger Hunt's scope pushed it ahead of similar entries, promising gameplay variety aimed at multiple audiences and demographics. Sponsored challenges and downloadable content expand an already robust gameplay offering.

    RiCah Anne Vanessa R. Baltazar, Game Designer, Director's Cut (see page 3)
    Director's Cut successfully integrates the DSi's many unique hardware features into one complete product that allows users to cut a film using photos, sound samples, and downloadable scripts. Film sharing features ensure that players will seek to hone their filmmaking abilities in order to show off their work to friends and family members.

    Vladimir Villanueva, Artist, Beat Box (see page 4)
    The DSi's music playback functionality may be one of the device's lesser-promoted features, but it's central to Beat Box's unique take on the vertically scrolling shooter genre. With simple gameplay and replayability that scales to the size of the user's music library, Beat Box would make an ideal candidate for the DSi Shop. 

    Honorable Mentions
    Eric Studer, Associate Producer, Rain or Shine (see page 5)
    Robert Gauss, Operations Research Analyst, Beasts Within (see page 6)
    Stuart Lilford, University of Wolverhampton, Color Catcher (see page 7)
    Melissa Manlutac, Indie Game Artist, Lagumixer! (see page 8)
    Michael Danquah, Where's My Chameleon? (see page 9)


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