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  ‘Electroplankton’: Second Impressions  
Posted 2006-07-01 by Tony Walsh
In a recent "First Impressions" post on the Nintendo DS game Electroplankton, I lamented the lack of practicality of the interactive toy. My chief complaint was that in "Performance" mode, generative electronic music can be created, but not saved. I had a chance to let Electroplankton play itself in "Audience" mode for a couple hours on my way to and from meetings yesterday, and am again struck by the lack of sensible features.

In Audience mode, one can pop a pair of headphones into the DS, and let Electroplankton cycle through its various generative music scenarios. Unfortunately, it seems that one must leave the DS open (it features a clamshell-like design) during playback--closing the unit stops the music. Having to leave the unit open while it's just playing music makes it bulky (I had it stuffed into my bag) and wastes the batteries. But the biggest design gaffe is the absence of a playlist--a means to control one's listening experience. I enjoy some of the Electroplankton music scenarios, but not all. Some, I'd like to hear more than others. Some, I'd like to skip altogether. Some individual pieces, I'd like to hear for an hour. But no. I must listen to about 120 seconds of random electronica at a time. It's not like I expect my DS Lite to be an iPod, but it so easily could be *like* an iPod without too much extra design effort.
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