TGS 2007: Arkanoid DS, Space Invaders Extreme, and a sweet paddle peripheral

I miss many things about 80s arcades — the sticky floors, the crowds, and most importantly, the cabinets themselves. While I’ve gotten used to shoulder buttons and analog sticks, there’s something to be said for the feel of a good arcade stick. Which is why it pleases me so that Taito are resurrecting that old dinosaur, known as “the paddle.”

As a peripheral for the Nintendo DS, this little controller significantly changes the feel of games like Taito’s upcoming Space Invaders Extreme and Arkanoid DS. While both titles can be played without the paddle controller (both touch screen and d-pad options are available as well), after playing both titles with one, I can’t imagine going without.

Holding the DS in my left hand and spinning the paddle with my right, both games — despite the simple, familiar nature of the games — felt amazingly different from other, similar experiences. The paddle has weight, and there’s that slightly resistance you can feel when it’s spun (a full 360 degrees). For arcade-playing dinosaurs like myself, this could induce frightening 80s flashbacks — as small as it is, this feels like “the real thing.”

So even if the idea of updated versions of these classics doesn’t float your boat, the peripheral is the star here. No word on whether these games will make their way to North America with the periphral in tow, but Japanese gamers should be seeing it on shelves by year’s end.

Nick Chester