Speaking at a retail meeting in Japan last week, Nintendo reportedly discussed release dates and details for a number of its Q1 Japanese DS releases according to those who were in attendance. The platform holder mentioned downloadable demo data, and there's also talk of replacement styluses with game-specific designs.
The onslaught of DS games begins in February as Tiger Woods PGA Tour arrives on the 17th, followed by the Tetsuya Mizuguchi-produced puzzle game Meteos on the 24th. March will then see the releases of Pac-Pix on the 10th, Harvest Moon on the 17th, Touch! Kirby and the Magic Wand on the 24th and Yakuman DS, a mahjong game featuring Mario characters, on the 31st.
According to reports, both Meteos and Pac-Pix will be made available to demo through retailers before release, and could well be the first game demos to benefit from the wireless distribution model described by Nintendo at its pre-launch press event in the US last year.
Furthermore, Pac-Pix and Kirby will both reportedly launch with replacement styluses. Kirby's will be bright pink, while Pac-Pix's is said to be longer than usual and bright yellow, with a picture of Pac-Man on one end.
You can read most of what we know about all those titles (with the exception of Kirby and Yakuman) in the second half of our recent DS Games To Watch in 2005 feature, but Nintendo did also discuss a few more details about some of the games mentioned, including Harvest Moon, one of the EG staff's most wanted games of the year.
To begin there, then, Harvest Moon on the DS is reportedly set once again in Forget-Me-Not Valley, the home of GameCube title A Wonderful Life, and as well as letting you fleece sheep and brush livestock using the stylus on the touch-screen, the game will also feature a colobockle DJ on the top screen who plays requested music and broadcasts real-time information on the valley, and owners of GBA title Friends of Mineral Town will be able to receive newspaper articles about their home when the cartridge is inserted in the Nintendo DS's Game Boy Advance cartridge slot.
Meanwhile it turns out that despite our suggestion that it might be bundled with Pac 'N' Roll, Namco's draw-your-own-Pac-Man title Pac-Pix will actually be its own thing, and in the full version you will be able to draw bombs to destroy blocks protecting the ghosts your hand-scrawled Pac-Man is attempting to ingest, as well as arrows to fire at ghosts lurking on the top screen.
We should get our hands on some of those in the next few months (although depressingly we may have to forego Harvest Moon due to the language barrier), and assuming we do we'll be sure to keep you informed.