Three Ways To…
…Use your Nintendo DS for more than just gaming
By Levi Sumagaysay
If you’re just playing games, you’re not exploring the full potential of a Nintendo DS. Fans of the handheld are capitalizing on its capabilities. Here are three creative uses:
1. Homebrews Invest in a storage card, such as a Game Boy Advance flash card, and you can download “homebrew” software developed by other Nintendoheads. DS Organize is among the applications that allow you to manage an address book, task list and calculator. Looking for something a little more fun? Try some tunes. A multitude of applications let you load MP3s or other music files. An app called DrummerS lets you “play drums” on the DS. Enhance your music experience by attaching speakers such as SoundShell DLite, made especially for the DS Lite. NDS Homebrew serves as a virtual meeting place for Nintendo users concocting or using new apps.
2. Hacks YouTube is rife with tricks, modifications and hacks, including one titled “Turn your DS into a Phone!” The video shows the owner making a phone call to his own cell phone from his DS. Many DS fan sites, such as DS Fanboy, list hacks, modifying Nintendo DS units to work as cameras or to run instant-messaging software. (Officially, the included PictoChat feature lets up to 15 DS users communicate if they are within 65 feet of one another.) The good news is that most hacks involve peripherals rather than cracking open your Nintendo.
3. Order a dog and a real brew Here’s a function sanctioned by Nintendo: Use your DS while watching a game. A baseball game, that is. The Nintendo Game Network, which is available at the Seattle Mariners’ Safeco Field, lets users order hot dogs and drinks for delivery to their seats, keep track of other baseball games and look up stats without getting up. (Also, you can play trivia games with other DS users in the ballpark.) The fee is $5. The service, which was first tested last season, is currently available only at Safeco Field in Seattle, according to Nintendo. But it sounds like an idea whose time is coming.
There could be more in the works for your Nintendo DS, too. Nintendo is mum, but rumor has it Disney World visitors were testing the DS as an interactive guide and map earlier this year. A DS preloaded with a special cartridge is being used as a navigation tool at a Japanese museum.
Levi Sumagaysay is a newspaper journalist, primarily in Silicon Valley. Sumagaysay specializes in business news, technology and electronic gadgets. Sumagaysay’s work has appeared in the San Jose Mercury News and other Bay Area publications.
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