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Jeremy Jastrzab
27 Jul, 2005

On Top of the World

PALGN Feature | Taking handheld gaming to new heights.
In January this year, Chris Grubb and Neal Mueller went to the top of Mount Everest with their Nintendo DS units. In fear that the units might not actually make it through the trip, they managed to get Nintendo to sponsor them with ten DS units. At a height and climate where transistors implode, hard drives burn and rampaging yaks are on the loose (well, not really), MP3 players and computers were failing but all ten of DS units came back down in one piece from 8000 meters above sea level.

Not to be out done, as a representative of PALGN, I took it upon myself to emulate these fine gentlemen on my recent ski trip to New Zealand (to the most reasonable extent). Standing at 1935 meters above seas level at its highest peak, The Remarkables ski resort provides 220 ha of snow powder goodness and the scene for our gaming try out.

The Remarkables Ski Resort

The Remarkables Ski Resort
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I don’t own a DS but the GBA SP, a slightly frailer unit was the subject of this trial and The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap was the lucky game. Poor weather predicted, so I was quite relieved when the sun was shining upon our arrival that day. With the winds down and some of the members of my group were eager to some skiing under the belt while conditions were good, I played along, with my GBA and point-and-click digicam safely stowed in the recess of my thick jacket pocket. Handily enough at the top of one of the ski-lifts (roughly 1500m), a bench was provided. No, not for bored gamers but for snowboarders wishing to attach all their clips and when the professional photographers got tired or had pictures to take.

Take a seat and play

Take a seat and play
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So what’s it like playing a GBA on top of a mountain. Well, it’s damn cold. Initially I tried playing without gloves, but then my knuckles got really stiff and painful from the howling mountain winds. When I put the gloves back on, the clicky nature of the GBA SP buttons proved to be quite comfortable. Even under the thick gloves. Precision wasn’t too much of a problem either. Controlling Link was just as easy at the top as it was at the bottom.

You can really make hay in the sunshine, as you have no need for the backlight. When the sun’s out, the quality of the GBA screen shines. Even under light cloud cover, you’d be fine. However, once the snowstorm started, not even the backlight is enough. Sure enough, this is obvious but at least you have an excellent view and on a nice day, an excellent environment to play to. The Boktai games would do really well up there.

A fine day for gaming

A fine day for gaming
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While my activities were hardly crowd drawing, it seemed that there was a bit of a frustrated log-jam of snow boarders at the top of the lift. The only viable conclusions that I came up with were:

1. They were a group having a lesson.
2. They fell at the top of the lift and there happened to a large number of poor snowboarders.
3. They were disgusted with my association with Tingle, who I had met during my play session.

I guess if I really wanted to draw a crowd, I could have sat there and played naked, though a bare backside on a frozen surface does not have a desirable result.

Obviously inspired from by tuning into the frequency of my loose brainwaves, the vacationers were treated to the rare site of a naked snowboarder whooshed past us as I finished my session and was making my way down the mountain.

No! He's not here

No! He's not here
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It was fun to experiment on top of the mountain and a GBA or DS might be handy on a mountain expedition, especially if you’re going to have long rest periods. Nintendo really know how to make a device portable, in the most literal sense possible. I guess the next place to go is the bottom of the sea… But if you really want something to do during your lunch break on a ski trip, consider taking that break in the ski lodge.



Checking out the views

Checking out the views
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Sure enough, the thing that makes it worth it is the view of the surrounding area. It really makes you realise how much more there is to life and it’s extremely satisfying when you look up and just realise how far you can see. Though when the weather’s down, the ski lodge can provide some nice views as well.

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9 Comments
8 years ago
This is a sensational article Jeremy.
8 years ago
^^Indeed.
8 years ago
Awesome article Jezza. Good insight.
8 years ago
Bump because I only just saw it. Good stuff. icon_y1.gif.
8 years ago
Wow! Nice article! not too much text in one clump - makes it easy to read. Great photographs. I went up that mountain last march - no snow, but it was fun anyway.
8 years ago
What a fascinating article. You have proven a lot of things though:

1. A Nintendo GBSP or even a DS can survive that harsh weather then kudos to Nintendo for making such a durable and rugged product.
2. New Zealand snow mountains have such beautiful views.
3. It must have been disturbing to see a naked snowboarder zooming past. If I were you I would have put a log in his path and see him trip butt naked into the freezing snow.
8 years ago
Faye-chan wrote
It must have been disturbing to see a naked snowboarder zooming past. If I were you I would have put a log in his path and see him trip butt naked into the freezing snow.
He disappeared before i had a chance ...
8 years ago
^ Damn it! icon_razz.gif
8 years ago
Wow, nice article icon_biggrin.gif
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