Nintendo DS – Xbox 360 Connectivity Considered For ‘Viva Pinata: Trouble In Paradise’

Once upon a time people discussed the idea of Wii60, a melding of the Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii consumer bases.

In more recent times games such as “Shadowrun” promoted the idea of 360-PC connectivity.

But what would you say about the unholy marriage of the Nintendo DS and Xbox 360?

The developers at Microsoft’s Rare games studio tested it and one of them told me that they’ve gotten it to work.

But you won’t be playing it.

Here’s why…

Viva Pinata: Trouble In Paradise” is one of the 360’s big fall games. It’s the Rare follow-up to the well-reviewed gardening strategy game, a game that was way more graphically impressive, cartoonishly violent and fun than it sounds.

The new “Viva Pinata” game features more creatures, more terrain and an interesting photo feature. The game supports the Xbox Live Vision Camera, which is used to scan patterned codes off of “Viva Pinata” character trading cards. The scanned data unlocks in-game pinata characters.

During a demo of the game last week at Microsoft’s San Francisco showcase event, “Trouble In Paradise” designer Justin Cook mentioned that the camera feature also works with card codes that are displayed on the video screens on objects such as iPods or Zunes. Just hold them up to the camera while they display a proper “Pinata” image and they should work.

When he mentioned that, it got me thinking…

Had Microsoft been craftier than we’d all thought? Had I unearthed a brilliant plot?

Microsoft has had trouble getting the kids market that Nintendo so effectively courts to buy kid-friendly Xbox 360 games, such as “Viva Pinata.” The DS is popular with kids. Rare just announced this month that a version of “Viva Pinata” for the DS has just been completed. The “VP” game on the DS seems like the perfect agent to sell the series to those Nintendo kids. And now, with this camera feature in the 360 sequel, Microsoft has a way to connect DS “Pinata” gamers to Xbox 360s, for actual gameplay incentives.

[UPDATE at 3:10PM EST: In case it wasn’t clear, the way this would work would be that the DS would display an image that had the card-code on it. The gamer would hold it up to the Xbox camera, as they can an iPod, and the photo feature would snap away — voila! DS-360 connectivity.]

Very crafty.

So, thinking I’d figured it all out, I asked Cook: Is “Viva Pinata DS” going to connect to the new “Viva Pinata” on the Xbox 360?

“We got it to work, but it was too late in the development cycle,” Cook said, presumably talking about the cycle of the DS game. If only they’d thought of it sooner, he laughed. “It’s one of those things where you just kick yourself.”

And that, Multiplayer readers, is how close the world got to the very first instance of DS60…. 36DS?….XboNDs? It doesn’t matter. It’s not happening.