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alienjesus
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Console of the Month (June 2022) - Nintendo DS

by alienjesus Thu Jun 02, 2022 3:36 am

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It's June now, so it's time for our next Console of the Month. This month we're looking at the best-selling handheld console of all time, Nintendo's most successful console by sales numbers, and the second best selling system after the PS2: The Nintendo DS.

The DS was released in 2004, described as a 'third pillar' console alongside the GBA and Gamecube, but quickly became the follow up up to the GBA. The console introduced dual screens and touch controls to mainstream portable gaming and had the capability to deliver some 3D graphics. It was much weaker than Sony's PSP which launched around the same time, but ended up being the more successful console, selling over 150 million units worldwide.

There are 4 models of 3DS console. The original model and the revise Lite model include backwards compatability via a cartridge slot which allows GBA games to be played on the system. The DSi and larger DSi XL lost this functionality, but boasted larger screens and added downloadable games called DSiWare purchasable through an online shop (which has since been shut down).

Let's all discuss my personal favourite console this month - what are your thoughts on the DS? What are your favourite games on the platform? Let's get to it!

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Re: Console of the Month (June 2022) - Nintendo DS

by bmoc Thu Jun 02, 2022 11:48 am

The DS came out during my peak MMO days when I was largely ignoring console gaming outside of a few select series. I finally picked up a DSi on a whim because I saw it had Chrono Trigger and I thought it would be cool that have that portable. I was really excited to play the first official English release of Final Fantasy III. I also greatly enjoyed The World End With You. It made great use of the stylus controls. I'm really glad I got the DS Dragon Quest games when they were still making copies. Dragon Quest IV, V, and VI and getting stupid expensive! Sadly, I only have 10 DS games in my collection. I feel like I missed the boat on getting some of the better titles while they were below MSRP.
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Re: Console of the Month (June 2022) - Nintendo DS

by Nemoide Fri Jun 03, 2022 3:54 pm

I love the DS. I got the original model as a birthday gift not too long after its release. It felt weird to be current with a handheld; I had mostly passed over the GBA (just having played a few games with the Game Boy Player on Gamecube) and the DS quickly became everything I wanted from a handheld. The screen quality was vastly superior compared to what I was used to (Game Gear, Game Boy Color) and to me the ability to close the top and put it into sleep mode for a week at a time really elevated everything to the highest level. I still love the idea of just closing it, throwing it in a bag, and opening it later. I didn't get a PSP until years later but I'm still not comfortable taking it places with me; it feels too delicate!
The original screen was good for its time but the DS Lite and DSi XL blow it away.

The biggest problem with the DS is how a bunch of the games rely on the touch screen or microphone in ways that feel gimmicky, but IMO it rarely impacted the enjoyment of the games. And it had a fantastic library of games! As a fan of 2D pixel art, I prefer a lot of DS games to their more powerful 3DS counterparts (eg Ace Attorney).
I feel like I have a pretty good collection of DS games, but I know I'm still barely scraping the surface because I know there are LOADS of games I've never even heard of.
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Re: Console of the Month (June 2022) - Nintendo DS

by Syndicate Sat Jun 04, 2022 4:15 pm

...I thought the DS was really gimmicky when it was first announced. However, as the DS vs PSP thing played out and more games were added to the DS library it became a platform I really wanted to checkout. I got a red Mario Kart system one Christmas and was geeked to finally check it out. Since this was a time when I didn't have any kids I got a lot of time with my DS in the evenings and weekends.

...I got a ton of Mario Kart DS online in w/friends and also great time w/the Phoenix Wright games, Hotel Dusk, Drill Spirits, New Super Mario Bros, Sonic Rush, and Professor Layton. My wife even got into the fun w/Brain Age and Meteos. Plus being able to play GBA games was a serious plus since I never had a GBA (I just used my NGC). I still pick up DS games that I missed when I come across them at shops and shows, I also try to get my kids to check them out in their 3DSes too, I've had various levels of success w/this though :lol:. I'm interested in revisiting my collection of DS games so I think I may try to find a 2DS XL to get my fix.
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Re: Console of the Month (June 2022) - Nintendo DS

by Ziggy587 Sat Jun 04, 2022 5:39 pm

I like the DS, but I never spent a whole lot of time with it. To be honest, I'm not huge on handhelds. Although I do like them, and own a fair bit of them, I guess I just prefer gaming on a home console. When the DS was first released, I just had no interest in getting one. But then New Super Mario Bros was released, and I really wanted to play it. But then Castlevania The Dracula X Chronicles was released, so I went out and bought a PSP instead. Some time later, I had a friend sell me her DS with a few games. It was the original model, in red, with a single stuck pixel on the touch screen. I guess it originally came bundled with Mario Kart DS, because she had that game loose and the DS has Mario Kart stickers on it. It also came with New Super Mario Bros and maybe one or two other games. More recently, I bought a DSi XL. After using my 3DS XL, the old DS screens just seem so small now, so I picked up a used DSi XL to compensate.

I haven't played a whole lot of games on the DS. I played New Super Mario Bros, of course. I played a bit of Mario Kart DS as well as Super Mario 64 DS. But that's about it. I really should dive deeper in the library. I'm open to suggestions!
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Re: Console of the Month (June 2022) - Nintendo DS

by Syndicate Sat Jun 04, 2022 6:48 pm

Ziggy587 wrote:I haven't played a whole lot of games on the DS. I played New Super Mario Bros, of course. I played a bit of Mario Kart DS as well as Super Mario 64 DS. But that's about it. I really should dive deeper in the library. I'm open to suggestions!


...what type of games are you looking to try on the DS? Just some general recommendations, Castlevania Dawn of Sorrow and Portrait of Ruin are both worth checking out. Super Princess Peach and Legendary Starfy are solid platformers. GTA: Chinatown Wars and Hotel Dusk are also pretty good imo as well.
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Re: Console of the Month (June 2022) - Nintendo DS

by Ziggy587 Sat Jun 04, 2022 8:09 pm

Hmm, that reminds me. I did once own Portrait of Ruin, I got it from a forum member here. But I found it kind of bland and got bored with it, and eventually traded it away. That was years ago though, so I would be open to giving it another try. I find that I actually enjoy more and more genres as time goes on. As for what type of games I would want recommendations for, I guess anything really.
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Re: Console of the Month (June 2022) - Nintendo DS

by alienjesus Wed Jun 08, 2022 5:56 am

As I stated in the opening post, the DS is very probably the console I'd say is my all time favourite. I think the library is pretty diverse and contains a lot of interesting IPs and spin-offs that are fairly unique and many of which wouldnt work as well on another platform.

The DS was the first console I bought using money from work, as a teenager - I'd bought consoles before using money I'd recieved in birthday cards etc, but this was the first big one I didn't have to wait for. Although with a fairly limited launch lineup perhaps I could have benefited from that :lol: That said, the mini games in Mario 64 DS, the bundled Metroid Prime First Hunt demo and Project Rub kept me busy for a while as they were all pretty replayable.

I went to a college (for Americans, this would be aged 16-18, prior to unviersity) a good hours bus ride from my home and me and my friends used to play DS on the way there and back, as well as on lunch breaks. Mario Kart DS, Tetris DS and Pokémon Diamond & Pearl were popular choices for multiplayer, with Advance Wars Dual Strike getting a lot of my time too.

After college I went travelling around the world, and the DS came with me then too, for plane and bus journeys. My original DS is falling apart now, but it's been through the UK, Spain, Japan, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, the USA and Canada in it's time so it's had a good run :lol: I picked up a DSi at launch to replace the original as the hinges have broken and it's pretty beat up, and later down the line I picked up a DSi XL. I was quite a fan of DSiWare at the time, and it's not long now before it becomes permanently unavailable when the 3DS eShop goes down next year.

My DS library is one of the biggest I have (only very recently surpassed by Switch as my biggest collection) and there's a whole bunch of hidden gems I want to share in this thread this month. There's still a whole bunch I havent played too, so I'd love to hear other people's recommendations.
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Re: Console of the Month (June 2022) - Nintendo DS

by ZRofel Thu Jun 09, 2022 8:43 pm

The DS is definitely one of my favorite handheld consoles as well, and one that I have a great deal of affection for, although due to its backwards compatibility, I often find I conflate its library with that of the GBA. When it was a new system, I spent as much time using it to play GBA games as I did DS games. I actually can't remember how I wound up with my first DS. I think I bought it from a local game/collectible store when they got in a few used consoles. It was just the basic gray version, and I think it even had a replacement stylus, but it got the job done.

I would say the Phoenix Wright games, the Dragon Quest remakes, and the Castlevania games are the real standouts on the DS for me, but it's one of those consoles where the massive size of the library, and the glut of shovelware, guarantees there are going to be a ton of hidden gems.

They're not particularly hidden, but the Scribblenauts games are absolutely delightful and the type of thing that could only have been born on the DS.

Similarly, while I think it flopped at retail initially, the World Ends with You is obviously recognized now for how brilliantly it merges gameplay and narrative in a way that's uniquely engaging and could only have worked on the DS. I was actually playing that game while I was visiting Shibuya, which was a kind of a trippy experience.

While I really hate the Final Fantasy Tactics game on the DS, the two Devil Survivor games are excellent and are great titles for scratching the tactical RPG itch on that platform.

I know Puzzle Quest has a million sequels and has been ported to a million different platforms, but the initial game definitely feels like it belongs on the DS, and the anime art style combined with the slightly playful sense of humor make it a real standout in a sea of very dry puzzle RPGs (a group which, regretfully, contains most of its sequels).

Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure is a game I really want to love. It's got great spritework, a fun tone, and an excellent gameplay conceit. But about two-thirds of the way through the game the enemies just become so strong, come at you in such huge numbers, and absorb so much damage, that it just turns into a huge slog. I would say the first two-to-three areas are absolutely delightful, though, and if you're okay with putting it down unfinished, that might be worth it.

Okamiden isn't nearly as good as the original Okami, but as a paired-down handheld iteration, it's a pretty fun adventure game. And much like Okami was leagues beyond The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess that was released around the same time, Okamiden is much better than the two Zelda DS games, both of which I think are among the weakest in the series.

Finally, one actual hidden gem recommendation, Jump Ultimate Stars is the only one of the Smash Bros. knockoffs that I think can actually stand alongside the Smash Bros. games. Shonen Jump just has access to so many of the best manga properties, they were able to field an absolutely stacked character roster, all of which really come to life with some fantastic spritework. And it's actually a team-based fighter too, like King of Fighters, where you assemble your team onto a comic page on the bottom screen, with each character represented by an iconic panel from their manga. Stronger characters are represented by larger panels that take up more space, thus limiting how many fighters you can have on your team. It's really an elegant system to ensure balance. They actually beat Smash Bros. to the punch with assist characters as well, as not all the panels bring out a controllable fighter. Sometimes they just let you summon a character for a one-off attack that then has a cool-down time before you can use it again. And while the roster of playable fighters is big, the roster of assisting characters is absolutely ungodly. Practically anyone who has appeared in the pages of Shonen Jump makes an appearance. Really, it's a fantastic fighting game, and while it was never officially released in English, there is a translation patch. You can definitely muddle through without reading the text, but I think you'll enjoy it more if you understand what's going on.
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Re: Console of the Month (June 2022) - Nintendo DS

by Rydon Fri Jun 10, 2022 9:21 am

When the DS was out, I was working one of my first "real" jobs, not just part time at a sandwich shop during college, etc. I had a trip planned to go to Europe, and I was looking for something to play on the trip. It was either the DS or the PSP. I picked the DS mainly because I wanted to play Castlevania Portrait of Ruin. I grabbed that, and a few other used games from gamestop and didn't regret my decision. Later I picked up Hotel Dusk, and loved the atmosphere of that game so much, I got a copy of Last Window, which thankfully the DS is not region protected.
I still love that system, and now my son occasionally plays Zelda Phantom Hourglass on it, and enjoys running around and attacking easily with the stylus. I never really liked that with the game, but he picked it up really quickly.
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