Pokemon transforms DS into 'cell phone' for kids

ooh! ohh! ask him if he's wearing underwear...Not that Pokémon -- only the second best-selling game franchise evar -- needs any marketing spin to excite sales of its predestined two-headed spawn Diamond & Pearl, but Nintendo does seems eager to herald the game's impending arrival as a sort of "My First Celly" for DS toting youngsters eager for chatter. Of course, this is simply the ability to chat with registered friends using DS's VoIP capabilities, enabled by the new Pokémon game. While it's a far cry from pending productions and possibilities proposed by the competition, VoIP on DS is a little used feature that has the potential to be a unique selling point.

Sure, it's tethered to Wi-Fi hotspots, but the technology offers the promise of safe communication -- in terms of both who your kid be talkin wit' and potential costs (or lack thereof) -- for concerned parents looking to serve their whiny offspring. Then again, DS VoIPin' lacks the much desired 'prank call' feature. With mischief muted, your preteens are gonna have to settle on playground gossip. That, or they could actually engage in some good ol' pocket monster melee. Imagine that.

Pokémon Diamond and Pearl are scheduled for release on April 22.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.