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Pass Your Driving Theory Test (DS) artwork

Pass Your Driving Theory Test (DS) review


"Gentlemen -- and ladies, if such a thing truly exists on the internet -- the times, they are a changiní. Somewhere along the line, someone decided that handheld consoles werenít really meant as gaming machines anymore. And that someone was Nintendo. "



Gentlemen -- and ladies, if such a thing truly exists on the internet -- the times, they are a changiní. Somewhere along the line, someone decided that handheld consoles werenít really meant as gaming machines anymore. And that someone was Nintendo.

Sure, the PSP is guilty of trying -- and failing -- to be a mobile DVD player, but Nintendo even tried to ram a tiny colour printer onto the Gameboy and marry it up with a subpar camera right back in the day. Perhaps that shows my opening line up as inaccurate hyperbole, but Iím going somewhere with this, just bear with me.

Arguably, Nintendo crashed and burnt in last generationís console wars, forcing them to re-evaluate their position in the grand scheme of things. Yes, the Gamecube had a cute purple handle, the tiny DVDs were adorable and Nintendo actually made money on every new console sold, but itís not that impressive a boast when machine sales lagged so disastrously behind Sony and Microsoftís efforts. While the Xbox was still going strong and the PS2 even now continues to spit out worthwhile new titles, the Ďcube was lamenting that its big swansong title was frogmarched into Frankensteinís lab and awkwardly transitioned onto the Wii complete with awful motion detector features that everyone except for Jason Venter denounced as gimmicky and dumb.

In the wake of this disaster, Nintendo decided to change the goal posts. Sure, they still had a very vocal hardcore base who, to this day have small voodoo dolls of certain Gamespot reviewers who dared give Twilight Princess an 8.8/10, but there were clearly no longer enough to keep them afloat. Nintendo turned their crosshairs onto the people weíd never expect to ever give a damn about any form of console gaming; the elderly, the disinterested, the barely-out-of-nappies. Most of us openly mocked them for this -- how we were proven wrong.

Just like how we all said that a console named after an awkward Japanese pun that literally translated into another word for urine would never sell well; it sold in its millions and has left this generationís other consoles sucking its smugness as it rocked past them in the sales. It was completely sold out over its first Christmas, available only on Ebay for horrendously inflated prices that desperate mothers and underpaid videogame journalists had no choice but to accept.

Blame Wii Sports for the initial insanity. Blame it again for the eventual decline.

Wii Sports was the perfect tech demo to showcase the Wiiís brave new direction of shunning graphics in favour if innovation; it took the consoleís motion detecting software and applied it brilliantly to one sports-based mini-game and somewhat acceptably to several others. The Wii became an instant success, but it also because a simplistic bowling simulator as millions of people who had thought of video gaming as spotty teenagers sitting in dank basements whacking sprites with Flare spells gathered around televisions in hordes, bowling and laughing and buying more Wiis.

In most cases, one of two things happened.

ONE: The appeal wore off and the Wiis would sit, unused and uncared for, collecting dust.
TWO: Little more than Wii Sports was ever needed by the very audience Nintendo so aggressively sought.

Landmark franchises that Nintendo have forever used as sales crutches turned up on their little white box of wonders, but, considering the staggering about of machines sold to Johnny Public, the software sales never matched up to the Metal Gear SolidĎs or the Halo 3Ďs. Arrogantly, Nintendo pre-empted these troubles by placing the blame on third-party developers that would fail to step up to the creative plate theyíd made ready for them, petulantly dismissing the future efforts of SEGA, Namco and Ubisoft to supply notable titles for their platform that would ultimately barely feature in the top ten purchases of any given week. Instead, Nintendo spat out more useless brain-training titles and Wii Fit to further their grip on their new audience while titles like Metriod Prime 3 and No More Heroes were treated as afterthoughts.

And, so, the Wii sits in stagnation. Only the DS seems to have found some semblance of middle ground.

Believe the rumours, and the DS was nothing more than a makeshift machine rushed out to combat the lurking threat of the PSP while Nintendo worked diligently on the obligatory update to the Game Boy weíd all been expecting, but even it opened up right away to the casual market with titles like Nitendogs which took the basic Tamagochi formula, gave it a collar and taught it how to sit. It, too, was flooded with brain-trainers and titles worked heavily off the machineís touch screen gimmick, but it never really stagnated in the same stalling fashion the Wii did. Like the Gameboy before it, it became a favourite platform for porting older home console titles, but adding in touchscreen attributes, for better or worse, but still dared to strike out on itís own with notable titles. But look at any of the adverts Nintendo airs for their handhelds and you can still see how desperately they want your granny or your uninterested friend to slap down some cash on their console. They lean towards nudging non-games into the public eyes; games that perhaps can turn your DS into a veritable library thanks to a cart containing uncountable classics you can balls up your eyesight trying to read from the DSís tiny screens, or carts that double as diaries or even more bloody brain trainers.

Thatís why we have study aids. Thatís why Iím reviewing Pass your Driving Theory Test on the DS while real games for the PSP and the XBOX 360 have to wait until this assignment is done.

For what it is, Pass your Driving Theory Test is a great little package that quizzes you with all the pathetic questions you need to know to legally drive on British roads. It will tell you what you got wrong, unlike many of the DSAís official websites, give you the right answer and even explain to you why. If you own a DS, donít mind forking out a little money and want to pass your theory, then itís a great package to have and will certainly bolster your chances of a pass if you put the effort to learn into it. But where is it going to end? Thereís already dodgy fitness guides and language trainers and math testers that clog up the new releases list and theyíre slowly taking over the real games, assimilating them into weird tales of some bespectacled twit wandering around a town doing random sums and equations for bone-headed locals.

Itís not so much that I donít appreciate these titles. Within a few hours with Pass your Driving Theory Test my mock score was way up into the green after a disastrous start of constant fails, but you only need to look at the Wiiís over-reliance on these titles to see how easily disaster can strike. So, dear gamer, if your DS should collect dust on your shelf because you donít quite fancy picking up the big new titles like Dr Blingís Fantabulous English Study Guide 4! think back to when the Gameboy had a stupid little colour printer attached to a crappy, blurry camera and kick yourself for not seeing it coming.

Of course, you could just give up now and buy a DSi. Even Nintendo donít want their games consoles to be games consoles anymore, so why should you?

Rating: 5/10

bside's avatar
Community review by bside (April 19, 2009)

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sashanan posted April 20, 2009:

EDIT: it would behoove me to read up on currently running contests and realize why a review looks the way it does before I start judging it. Post left up for entertainment value.



Interesting article, though it's obvious that the game reviewed was merely a good example of a broader point you were making and not so much an analysis of this title. Given the nature of the title, this doesn't appear to be a problem, however.

I own a DS but not a Wii, and given how much REAL gaming this little baby has provided, I personally have no problem with however much fodder Nintendo wishes to add that's of little or no interest to the inner gaming crowd. The Wii is a bit of a different story as I have to search a lot harder for games that I'd like to have.

And Twilight Princess I'll just grab the GC version of, someday. :P
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EmP posted April 20, 2009:

He's a fiesty little fellow, this bside guy. I like the cut of his jib.
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sashanan posted April 20, 2009:

Yes, his opinion runs suspiciously similar to your own, does it not?
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wolfqueen001 posted April 20, 2009:

Just look in his blog and you'll discover the truth! =D
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Suskie posted April 20, 2009:

I like this review because it almost feels like EmP is getting something out of his system with this, kind of like that Final Fantasy VII review I wrote a while back.

The one problem that I have with it is that it seems to point the finger solely at Nintendo, when frankly, a lot of the software he's complaining about comes from third-party developers hoping to follow Nintendo's example. It's especially out-of-place considering Nintendo had nothing to do with the game in question, but I doubt this bside fellow was concerned with conveying an accurate tone.

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