Pocket Gamer recently spoke with Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam developer Vicarious Visions about the DS and how it does 3D graphics. When the system is working in 2D mode, it uses what amounts to souped-up version of the Game Boy Advance hardware. Switch to 3D, however, and the DS comes alive with a throughput of 122,800 polygons per second. Sure, it's nothing compared to the PSP and its 33 million polygons per second, but Vicarious says it isn't about packing polygons on the screen, it's how you use the hardware. A little creativity can go a long way, just look at their DS library for some nice examples.
When the DS launched facing competition from Sony's PSP, there were more than a few skeptics. Can such an underpowered system hold its own against the big-screened powerhouse? It's been more than two years and Nintendo has yet to let up with their "system specs aren't everything" mantra. And maybe, just maybe, we're starting to believe them.