Nintendo schooling gamers via the DS

The company's newest handheld will be the recipient of three edutainment games in Japan.

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TOKYO--Late last month, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata stated that his company would create games for the DS that target a nongaming audience. Among the examples Iwata gave were a game that employs an electronic dictionary and a game that enhances brain activities.

While Iwata's comments were somewhat vague at the time of the announcement, gamers in Japan discovered today that Nintendo will soon be releasing three edutainment games. Details on the scope of the games aren't presently known, but we did receive a brief description of each game from Nintendo:

Nou o Kitaeru Otona no DS Training
The game roughly translates to Brain Training on the DS for Adults (and it doesn't take a genius to figure out the game's goal). The game has been created under the direction of Professor Ryuta Kawashima of Touhoku University. In the game, players will use the stylus and the DS's microphone to answer math problems and read text that is displayed on the screen. The game uses technology such as character and voice recognition to process answers. The game is due at a price of 2,800 ($27) in May.

Yawaraka Atama Juku
The quirky game's English translation is Prep School for Brain-Flexing. Unlike Brain Training, the questions in this game are entirely graphical and are designed to appeal to all ages. A competitive multiplayer mode allows support for up to eight players via the game's wireless capabilities. This game will be available for 2,800 ($27) in June.

DS Rakubiki Jiten
DS Rakubiki Jiten, which roughly translates as Quick-Finding DS Dictionary, is more of a utility software than an actual game. This title includes three of the most widely used dictionaries in Japan (published by Sandeido Publishing)--The Daily Concise Japanese Dictionary, The Daily Concise Japanese to English Dictionary, and New Global English to Japanese dictionary. The software comes with a character recognition system, letting you easily search for a word by scribbling it on the DS's touch-sensitive screen. This dictionary program also lets you send words to another DS, challenging the recipient to correctly guess its pronunciation or definition. DS Rakubiki Jiten is slated for release in June and will retail for 4,800 ($46) yen.

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