PictoChat is a communication utility included with the Nintendo DS. Up to sixteen people can paint chat with each other using it, connected wirelessly through a system-to-system wireless connection. It allows for simple input of keyboard text and written text/drawings. On October 22, 2007, PictoChat was announced as a stage for Super Smash Bros. Brawl on Wii.
It received an Excellence Prize for Entertainment at the 2004 Japan Media Arts Festival.
The touch screen is used to type in letters with an on-screen keyboard or draw and send pictures. The keyboard provides enough Latin and kana glyphs to write all languages supported by the system: English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, and Japanese.
Four chat rooms are available at one time, each with a capacity of sixteen people, for a maximum of sixty-four people in a given area.
PictoChat is preloaded onto all Nintendo DS and Nintendo DS Lite units worldwide.
PictoChat has a very simple interface. One of the main techniques is to write or draw with the stylus. One can also type a message by touching the on-screen keyboard or by using the Control Pad to select the letter and A to type it. In addition, one can drag letters from the keyboard to move them anywhere in the chat window. Pressing select or the retrieve button (the button under the Send button) will recall the image at the bottom of the top screen. To make a different picture recall itself, use the arrows on the touch-screen (alternatively, use the R button to scroll up and the L button to scroll down) to make that picture at the bottom. Pressing the far lower-right hand button erases the current chat window.
Clicking on one's name or another user's name will reveal his or her color and profile (which can be changed in the DS settings).You can also play fun drawing games.
Some DS owners use PictoChat to create short animations by drawing individual pictures on the DS's touch screen and sending them frame by frame to the message board on the top screen. The animator can then press and hold down the left shoulder button and right shoulder button respectively to scroll through the pictures at a frame rate of 7.5 frames/second, creating the illusion of animation. Most PictoChat animations consist of stick figures
, but sometimes the animator may draw more detailed pictures. Several online galleries are dedicated to sharing PictoChat animations.
A game called Ping Pals
is based on PictoChat, featuring an advanced range of options and capabilities. However, both users must own the game, making it less useful and widespread than PictoChat.
Several sites centered around the DS feature Flash replicas of PictoChat that can be used by the sites' members to communicate.
Clubhouse Games (42-All Time Classics in Europe) has a chat function similar to PictoChat, with added colors and extra features.
The game LOL has a similar interface to PictoChat but the gameplay itself is different.
Kanji Sonomama Rakubiki Jiten
The DS kanji
dictionary contains an extension to PictoChat that allows users to input kanji characters in addition to the standard character set. This version of PictoChat also vocalized roman characters and kana when they are input.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
PictoChat appears as a stage in the Wii game Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Drawings will be randomly made on the stage, and the fighters will be able to interact with them. Most drawings are solid platforms; however, some have special effects. For example, a drawing of a man blowing will create wind, drawings of fire will burn any fighter that touches it, and a mine cart will move across a short track, smacking any players that get near it or letting a player ride on the cart.