The 1DS Hoax, and Why Its Better Than the Real Thing

With
all the gadgets that have flowed into my life in recent weeks, I feel like it’s
been a long time since I wrote about my real favorite subject, video
games. This is a travesty, since so much
has happened in the gaming world over the past couple of months: The Steam Controller and Steambox line of
consoles were announced, Keiji Inafune stole back Megaman from Capcom with the
Kickstarter campaign for Mighty Number
Nine
, Nintendo released the 2DS, and the list goes on. Of everything that has happened, however,
nothing drew my ire quite as much as that last item: Nintendo and the
2DS. What a stupid idea.

To
be fair, I know someone who has a 2DS, I have used it briefly, and it’s not a horrible product. It does firmly establish 3D as a gimmick in
Nintendo’s mobile lineup, instead of an integral feature, but other than that,
it’s reasonably well-designed, and the button placement is better conceived of than the somewhat squished layouts on the 3DS and 3DS XL. However, it is not the 2DS that I am
particularly interested in. I’m rather
interested in its stepped-down cousin, the 1DS.

Before
anyone gets their hopes up, the 1DS is completely and utterly fake. It’s a good fake,
however. At the height of the hoax’s
popularity, the 1DS had a website designed exactly like the Nintendo corporate
site, extolling the various virtues of Nintendo’s “newest” hardware
offering. The 1DS promised a somewhat
unique feature set, including three different modes of play:

1) TV mirror play,
where the user could play their 1DS games on the big screen using an ‘included’
HDMI cable.

2) Dual-screen play,
using the user’s smartphone attached to an included mount. A Bluetooth connection would allow the player
to use their iOS or Android smartphone as the top screen in a traditional DS
setup.

3) Single-screen
play, the simplest mode. Simply play
games on the 1DS-included screen with no fuss, no hassle, and no messing with
peripherals.

Even
though the 1DS was obviously a hoax, the proposed hardware design was more than
enough to give me pause. This hoax,
unlike so many others that satirize or mock the more extreme features of a
game series or franchise, had proposed a device that was significantly better
than any portable game console currently offered by Nintendo, Sony, or any
other first-party manufacturer. I, as a
consumer, want a 1DS, far more than I want a 3DS or 2DS, so let’s break down
exactly what this hoax does right, and why it’s actually the best game device
designed in the last 10 years.

First,
the 1DS provides enough play modes to make it a truly all-in-one device. On the go and pressed for time? Just play games on the single screen. Got a little more time for gaming on the
go? Hook up your smartphone as the
second screen. At home for some serious
gaming? Hook that sucker up to the TV
and enjoy HD graphics for your game. Hardware
has progressed to the point where a fully portable HD game console is both
possible and practical—most top-of-the-line smartphones are more than capable
of rendering games at 1920×1080 with a frame rate of at least 30fps, so
spooling those graphics out to a second screen or a TV would not be a difficult
technological feat, even for a pocket-sized gaming system. With the 1DS, the concept of mobile and home game consoles could finally be rendered moot, which would simplify the
product lineup for all involved, and provide a much more seamless gaming
experience for all players involved, as you wouldn’t have to buy the WiiU and the 3DS version of every new game.

Second,
the 1DS is perhaps the only device to
leverage the smartphone-as-gaming-device in an intelligent way. The design of the 1DS acknowledges and takes
advantage of the one thing that
smartphones can bring to the gaming world: their gorgeous, large screens. Rather than trying to come up with a half-baked
hardware peripheral for existing smartphones to make gaming possible on a blank
surface with no buttons, the 1DS instead uses the smartphone itself as the peripheral, allowing the 1DS to control
all action on the phone using its beautiful physical buttons. Add in just a little more deep system-level
integration, like the ability to place calls and enter texts through the 1DS
when it’s paired with the smartphone, and it’s the perfect solution to the
smartphone gaming hardware conundrum.

Third,
and perhaps most important: the 1DS rings up at $99 before tax. Admittedly, I do wonder about the feasibility
of packing the feature-set of the 1DS into a $99 package in real life, but if
the 1DS could really be priced at
$99, or even at a pricepoint less than $150, it would essentially guarantee it
a spot in every child’s Christmas stocking (and the stockings of many adults as
well).

So
there you have it, Nintendo. An internet
hoax made a better product than you could ever hope to design. Maybe you should hire the designers of the
hoax? Just a suggestion. 

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