Tuesday, September 05, 2006


The Other Touch Generations

I'm not ashamed to admit it. I'm in love with Nintendo's Touch Generations series. This comes as no great surprise to me -- I was a fan of, or interested in, every game that's received the Touch Generations branding even before Nintendo launched that whole marketing campaign, including Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney and Trauma Center: Under the Knife (which are only listed in the European Touch Generations website because Nintendo has the distribution rights to those games in Europe).

Intentionally or unintentionally, I think Nintendo's really tapped into something here. What's the attraction? Is there some sort of hormone that gets released into your bloodstream when you turn 27 that shortens your attention span for epic RPGs and makes you crave smaller, simpler games? Is it the fact that the market is so saturated with crap that's so tediously similar that us over-exposed gamers will welcome a change of pace no matter what form it comes in? Or is there an essential truth here that's been lost to the industry for some time, that a video game is meant to be a game, that play isn't play if there are too many rules and restrictions to follow?

I don't have the answers. I can't put my finger on what makes a Touch Generation game a Touch Generation game, but I can recognize it when I see it. And I have a pretty good feeling that, if Nintendo had published them, these would also be sold as Touch Generations:

Cooking Mama

Okay, so I haven't played the game yet. But the concept seems perfect for a TG title. You have to prepare, cook, and assemble food according to recipe, and you receive a score based on how well you do it.

Deep Labyrinth

This game was based on a cell phone game that was popular in Japan, so it's little wonder that it's a simple, addictive dungeon crawler. There's two complete games on the card, and the maze is deep and intriguing, stuffed with secret things to locate, magic spells, weapons, and lots and lots of monsters that need slaying. The settings are diverse and beautiful -- it's a nice low-investment adventure.

Zoo Keeper

Not, as you might think, a game about managing a zoo, but a clone of a very popular Flash game that goes by various names, including Bejeweled and Diamond Mine. It fits the DS's touch screen like a glove -- the object is to switch two adjacent animals to create a line of three or more, which eliminates them and causes more animals to rain down from above. You're fighting against a time limit, and the only way to restore it is to chain together a lot of combos. Fun stuff.

Break 'Em All

As I've mentioned, this one is a lot of good fun. Guide a paddle with a stylus, bounce a ball around the screen, and break all of the blocks.


The greatest puzzle game since Tetris. It does for puzzle games what Super Smash Brothers did for fighting games. Use the stylus to drag blocks around, line up three or more, and the pile takes off like a rocket. Line up three more before it sinks to the ground, and you'll launch the pile into space, where it arrives on your opponents' planets as garbage. With dozens of planets to play on, each with slightly different physics, colored block ratios, and well sizes, you can essentially create your own experience.


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