THE target market for videogames has always been teenage boys. Girls and grown-ups were welcome, but only if they aspired to be teenage boys. Nintendo is trying a different approach, surprisingly, as its most enduring success was the GameBoy.
Much of the promotion for its new pocket-sized DS Lite is aimed at the Sudoku generation, and girls. In fact I've seen more telly ads for Dr Kawashima's Brain Training program than for the games console itself, although I'm not entirely sure why Chris Tarrant was chosen to do the voiceover on the commercial. He doesn't seem to represent the intellectual pinnacle which I'd aspire to reach through training.
Dr Kawashima is supposed to have developed his exercises to reduce the brain age of regular players. I've no idea whether this works as advertised, but playing is fun in an electronic bumper book of puzzles sort of way.
The console itself has been given a series of subtle updates which together make for a much-improved device. It used to look cheap and ugly, now it's slim and attractive. The DS was always a good console - now it looks the part.
Twin screens first set it apart from the opposition - these are retained, but they're much brighter and easier to see than they used to be. It's a shame, though, that more games developers haven't taken advantage of this capability.
Perhaps they will now, with a few more games aimed at that other forgotten group, girls. Nintendo's certainly making the effort. Along with the current black and white versions there should be a pink DS Lite on sale here by Christmas.
Now, I'm not saying pink is just for girls. What I am saying is that a boyfriend or brother is going to have to feel very secure about his masculinity before he's seen in public with a pink games console.
• The Nintendo DS Lite, plus Dr Kawashima's Brain Training, costs 124.98 from www.game.co.uk