Post I.T. - Washington Post Technology Blog Frank Ahrens Sara Goo Sam Diaz Mike Musgrove Alan Sipress Yuki Noguchi Post I.T.
Tech Podcast
The Bloggers
Subscribe to this Blog

GTA "Chinatown Wars" on Nintendo DS Today

Mike Musgrove

Blood and gore, drug references, strong language and violence -- the latest Grand Theft Auto features pretty much the type of fare that you'd expect from the controversial and bestselling game franchise.

But there's something a little different about the latest foray onto crime-filled streets of Liberty City, called Chinatown Wars: The new game, hitting retail shelves today, is a release for the Nintendo DS, that portable game gadget mostly famous for its catalog of family-friendly fare starring the likes of Princess Peach or Mario.

This is the first time the bestselling GTA series has appeared on a Nintendo device. The mobile DS has sold over 100 million units worldwide, and a revamped version incorporating a digital camera is going on sale next month. Last year's installment of the GTA franchise, designed for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, sold upwards 14 million units.

"We wanted to build an experience that would feel instantly familiar to people who've played GTA before," said Gordon Hall, president and founder of Rockstar Leeds, in an email.

I've spent an hour or two roaming the streets of this latest version of Liberty City, the crime-filled fictional metropolis made famous in many of the GTA games, and it does feel familiar.

Chinatown Wars features a top-down look at the city's grimy alleys, rather than the gritty, street-level view offered by the franchise's recent game console entries. The game also takes advantage of the DS touch screen in some clever ways, such as with minigames that include tapping on the screen to hotwire a car.

One of the appealing things about the GTA series has always been the way its developers always create what feels like a living, breathing city and Rockstar's developers did a good job this time of somehow getting that illusion crammed onto a tiny DS game cartridge. While the game's look is a little more cartoony than the realistic graphics of GTA IV, I'm enjoying it about as much as last year's release.

I should mention, if that's not clear yet, that Chinatown Wars is a "Rated M" (or "Mature") title and not intended for little kids. About 850 titles have been released for the Nintendo DS and only seven of those titles have received the videogame industry's equivalent of an "R" rating.

While Nintendo is known more for its light and non-violent fare, this isn't the only release in recent memory where the company has permitted a violent game to appear on its hardware. An M-rated new title for the Wii, called MadWorld, has attracted the attention of the National Institute on Media and the Family for being too bloody.

By Mike Musgrove  |  March 17, 2009; 2:00 PM ET  | Category:  Mike Musgrove
Previous: Consumer Music Spending Trends: A Fresh Snapshot from NPD | Next: iPhone, Version 3.0, Revealed

Add Post I.T. to Your Site
Stay on top of the latest Post I.T. news! This easy-to-use widget is simple to add to your own Web site and will update every time there's a new installment of Post I.T.
Get This Widget >>

Blogs That Reference This Entry

TrackBack URL for this entry:


Please email us to report offensive comments.

"This is the first time the bestselling GTA series has appeared on a Nintendo device."

Actually, Grand Theft Auto was released on the Gameboy Advance back in '04.

Just to let u know, hope this was of usefulness.



Posted by: bubby323 | March 17, 2009 4:53 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.


© 2009 The Washington Post Company