I think it was Matt Shobe who first said to me a few days after the first iPhone came out something to the tune of "Wow, this is going to kill the Nintendo DS, my kids are playing Super Monkeyball non-stop."
I was a bit more skeptical. "Ah, there's no D-Pad, how far can the iPhone get with games without a D-Pad?" As a die-hard portable sports gamer who doesn't leave home without a way to play FIFA or NCAA, I couldn't see a virtual D-Pad ever providing the same tactile experience as a hardware button. At least I was right about that. Virtual D-Pads all suck. But I digress.
The Nintendo DS used to be a staple of every family vacation, long car ride, and even (gasp!) a restaurant trip with the kids where my wife and I wanted to enjoy some normal adult conversation.
But those days are long gone. I can't remember the last trip we took where we even packed a DS.
But curious as I always am about new products, I gave the Nintendo 3DS a good half hour or so of play at the Game Developers Conference this year, and just came away with. "eh, that makes me sick" - I couldn't play the 3D games.
On a recent trip to Target, the kids tried the 3DS for a couple minutes. I asked "What do you guys think? Is that something you want to put on your list?"
"It's cool, but nah - I want my own iPhone"
And that was that. The snackable, immediate gratification laden format of the games on the iPad and iPhone won the day, D-Pad or no D-Pad.