Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Gadget : Handheld video games

The BlackBerry 7100t wireless phone

The hot high-tech toy this year is the Nintendo DS portable gaming system, which went on sale last month. It's the first of the next-generation handheld systems, and although the initial lineup of games is slim, what is available is entertaining.

The DS, which costs $150, comes with dual computer processors, Wi-Fi wireless networking a microphone and two screens, including a color touch screen right below the main game screen.

The device includes the traditional T-shaped direction pad and buttons for playing games, as well as a stylus for interacting with the touch screen. The DS also has speech-recognition technology, so future games and other applications can be controlled via voice.

Nintendo says the DS' rechargeable lithium-ion battery provides six to 10 hours of play time on a four-hour charge depending on use. My DS consistently died after about 5 1/2 hours of untethered play.

In addition to games designed specifically for the DS, the new device also plays old Game Boy cartridges. Some of the games available for the DS include "The Urbz: Sims in the City" and "Madden NFL 2005 DS," a mobile version of the popular football video game series.

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