Art Academy

If you dream of becoming the latest Picasso or fancy brushing up on your artistic skills, now’s your chance as the DS transforms into your very own canvas.

Shigeru Miyamoto visits Louvre to test Nintendo's 3DS tour guide

In pictures: Nintendo legend meets French art.

From the bygone days of Mario Paint to the recent success of Art Academy via countless scribbles in PictoChat and Letter Box, Nintendo has often offered gamers a little bit of culture. Or the chance to draw obscene pictures and show your friends.

Nintendo's fab Donkey Kong Country sales

Nintendo's fab Donkey Kong Country sales

Plus eye-popping lifetime sales disclosed.

In under one month, Donkey Kong Country Returns has trampled to a massive 4.21 million global sales.

Kirby's Epic Yarn - not yet released in Europe - has already amassed 1.38 million sales in Japan and the US.

And Super Mario Galaxy 2 has been bought 6.15 million times since its summer 2010 release.

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Art Academy

Art Academy

School of Gogh.

Nintendo's quest to make us all better people continues apace. The game giant has been all about self-improvement lately, and whether you're training your brain, getting more exercise, cooking exotic dishes or reading classic novels, you're well on your way to becoming more like the perfect specimens of humankind that feature in Nintendo's press shots - all crisply-ironed clothes, immaculate complexions, gleaming teeth, rictus grins and undimmed love of multiplayer party games.

The latest attempt to enrich our dull and meaningless lives is DS title Art Academy, or, to give it its full title, Art Academy: Learn painting and drawing techniques with step-by-step training. Now, as a concept, Brain Training makes sense; it's a way of keeping your mind more active on a daily basis. Sight Training's bold claims of "improved visual acuity" may have been less scientifically sound, but it's a reasonable idea in theory. But Art Training? Surely the whole idea of art is about self-expression? What can Nintendo teach us that we can't learn by picking up a pencil or paintbrush?

As it happens, quite a bit. I studied Art at GCSE and A-level, and through a combination of a restrictive curriculum during my high school years and a little too much freedom at college, I didn't actually learn an awful lot about composition or technique. Here, I did. Via a series of impressively thorough lessons, you'll be taught everything from basic outline sketching to use of lighting and colour, and creating the illusion of form. You'll even hear the odd mention of specific artists and the styles they used. Art Academy's educational value is surprisingly high.

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