Kicking Ass & Taking A Fall In Nintendo's Photo Dojo

Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime believes that the soon to be released fighting game Photo Dojo might be the title that sells you on the XL-sized version of its Nintendo DSi.

After competing in eight-player Photo Dojo tournament today, I'm not quite sold on dropping the $189 USD required to buy my fourth variation on the Nintendo DS, but I'll definitely download the DSiWare fighting game. Fils-Aime told Kotaku earlier this year that Photo Dojo, a head-to-head fighting game that is played on a single DSi, will illustrate the appeal of communal gaming on its extra large handheld.

In Photo Dojo, players compete using a relatively simple control scheme to jump, punch, kick and throw fireballs at each other. Player one takes control of the d-pad and the left shoulder button, player two controls his or her fighter with the face buttons and the right shoulder button. Both players can tap the DSi's touchscreen to taunt their foe or perform a last ditch "desperation move."

The appeal of Photo Dojo is not its simplified control scheme or its one-on-one fighting mechanic, it's the way the downloadable game features the player. Using the DSi camera, players snap 13 pictures of themselves performing kicks, punches, victory poses and more to use as frames of animation. Players can also record their own sound effects—battle cries, painful grunts, snappy catchphrases.

The end result is often crude, far from sophisticated, but often hilarious. As I battled a handful of folks from the media, my fireball-tossing signature line of "How do you like them apples?" delighted me (and probably me alone) to no end. Throwing the face of my Nixon watch at my foes and being on the receiving end of a massive fireball with the face of Derek Jeter made for a surreal fighting experience.

Photo Dojo is not a complicated game, clearly not aiming to take on the Street Fighters and Soul Caliburs of the world. Stay on the offensive, as I did, and you'll likely win. The thrill of Photo Dojo comes during the creative process. Granted, that creative process is protracted when attempting to photograph and record eight fighters on a single Nintendo DSi XL—that hour-long set up period was perhaps the game's biggest obstacle to fun—but the results are delightful.

For the lonelier Nintendo DSi owner, another obstacle will be its lack of wireless play. The only way to go head to head is on one DSi.

Photo Dojo arrives on Nintendo's DSiWare shop next week. Photo Dojo will be available for free download via the Nintendo DSi Shop from May 10 to June 10. Starting June 11, the game will be available for download for 200 Nintendo DSi Points