I think it's time to declare once and for all for anyone still on the fence about the issue: Nintendo ain't stupid. For evidence to support this statement I submit today's announcement of Tetris DS for, fittingly enough, the Nintendo DS. The classic puzzler will have us all rotating blocks all over again come March 20, 2006, although you may be wondering what could possibly persuade you to spend hard-earned money on the same game we've been buying from Nintendo since 1989's Tetris for the original Game Boy (and playing for free online through any number of unofficial clones).
I was wondering the same thing, and I'm the guy who not only has the original Tetris, but also the Japan-only V-Tetris for the Virtual Boy that adds a third dimension to the playfield. Studies show that's double the Tetris that anyone could possibly need, and yet I'll be buying this new version. So will you. You know why? Ten-player free online multiplayer.
Nintendo is about to unleash the ultimate weapon in its drive to strengthen the notion of casual gaming. The original Tetris sold plenty of Game Boy units back in the day because the game is so simple that anyone can pick it up and play for an hour or just a minute. It's practically the definition of "pick up and play" gaming.
Nintendo is going to add various elements from Super Mario, Metroid, and The Legend of Zelda to this new version, but we'll be buying in droves to get to the online mode. Imagine playing a game of Tetris against a slew of competitors any time you want. Play one match for five minutes or play on and on through the night. Most everyone who owns a Nintendo DS will pay up for this one, I bet. And for those you are not fans of Tetris, you can pick up Metroid Prime Hunters for the DS that will be released on the same day: March 20, 2006. There'll be something for everybody that day, as we'll all play throughout the night with puzzle pieces or power beams, and Nintendo's executives can swim around in the profits like Uncle Scrooge in his money bin. Everybody wins.