By August 28, 2006

Nintendo DS: Better the Second Time Around

Gather close to DrFaulken friends, and here a tale from long ago. Before Virginia, before the PSP, before even Gibberish, I purchased a Nintendo DS. I was completely enamored with my GameBoy Advance SP, and bought a DS on launch day. The DS was so full of promise — wireless gameplay, backwards compatibility (mostly), and a unique dual-screen setup the lower display being a touch screen. I was so optimistic I asked for a second one for a holiday gift so that Lady Jaye and I could play all sorts of fun games together.

Except that the fun games didn’t show up, especially at the DS’s launch. I found myself playing my old GBA games in the DS’s larger, bulkier package. My GBA SP had an extended battery pack on the back, and even then it was much more portable than the DS. I couldn’t carry the DS in my pocket, so it sat in my bag, sad and lonely. I never bought a single DS game, the “must-have” titles now weren’t out when I had my two handhelds. I sold them both to offset the cost of buying a set of PSPs.

Fast forward to 2006: Nintendo releases the DS Lite, a smaller version of the now-christened DS Phat or DS Voluptuous. The NDSL has some size and usability improvements over the original; there is a very good write up about the differences on Ars Technica. The game problem had also gone away, now the hard question was not “what games should I get,” but “what games should I get first?”

I purchased a New Super Mario Brothers DS Lite bundle from Costco. I bought the bundle not because of the price (I probably saved at most $5 or so), but because of Costco’s lifetime unconditional warranty. There has been some discussion about the NDSL’s hinges cracking after repeated use. Just in case I got an iffy unit I wanted to be able to take it into Costco and get a new one for free. So far, no cracks.

How is the NDS this time around? Fucking awesome. The complaints I had about the NDSV have been mollified. The newer unit is small enough to fit into my shorts pocket, along with two sets of keys. Game support is way way up. I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of the New Super Mario Brothers, and I am eagerly waiting to play some of the other “top” DS titles, like Advance Wars DS and BrainAge. Playing Mario Kart DS with Stilts wirelessly was a big hoot, it’s too bad there isn’t a Double Dash game out for the handheld. I look forward to doing some Tetris DS play over WiFi with Stilts and Bond’s friends The Cleavers in the near future.

Posted in: games, review

1 Comment on "Nintendo DS: Better the Second Time Around"

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  1. Ctrix says:

    This article on motleyfool talks about Nintendo DS Lite (scroll down), after talking about their upcoming $250 entry: “But even if Wii isn’t a hit, Nintendo’s portable DS system is. Researcher NPD Group says the new DS Lite was the top-selling video game system in the United States during June.”