With the 3ds just weeks away, I wish to bore the pants off of all of you with my thoughts on the original Nintendo DS. It is hard to believe that I originally refrained from purchasing one due to the- as I saw it-pointless gimmick of the touch screen. When I finally relented I ate my words along with several cakes, as I realised it was the finest handheld console in the history of poking things that go beep with your hands in a public space. I have owned a lot of games for it in the years I have had it, but only a select few have held my attention so long that they may as well have been glued inside the console. The games that I feel have defined the DS as one of the best platforms for gaming ever, and have wasted my life, are these.
The World Ends With You.
Purchased impulsively after hearing nothing but great things about it from the Gbatemp forums, it was well worth the hype. A strange game similar in plot to Bleach, in which you have died , have to save the world from creatures that inhabit the afterlife, and have to solve the mystery of your own murder. It has great plot and dialogue, a bizarre both-screens-at-once two battles in one system that takes a while to get used to but is well worth it. There are Pokemon-esque aspects of raising and evolving your pin-badge collection (which each give you special moves to use in battle). There is nothing like it on any console.
Rune Factory 3.
I was never really too much of a fan of the Harvest Moon games, I never really gave them a chance. The spin off series however is fabulous. The first two- though great- are not a patch on last years third offering, still unavailable here in the UK but import it from America and be amazed. Firstly it has its own title sequence and theme tune- the tune is actually rather nice, but the literal translation of the Japanese lyrics makes it slightly strange. It is by far the most beautiful opening sequence of any game on the DS I have played- even when he holds a Lemon triumphantly aloft before turning into a sheep. The game is a bizarre mixture of genres- from Zelda-esque dungeon crawling, JRPG style levelling up in skill with a variety of weapons, whilst running a farm, ingratiating yourself to the townspeople, finding a wife, fishing, practising your cookery, making weapons in the forge, making medicine.... The controls work brilliantly, but I find the D-Pad easier than touch screen only. I have played through twice so far and no doubt will again.
Legend Of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass/ Spirit Tracks.
Any Zelda game will make my list of top games for whatever console it was on. The usual fare, but with touch screen only controls that are wonderfully simplistic and take no time at all to get to grips with. I cannot choose which one I prefer, each have a lot going for them
Super Mario 64 DS
A remake, yes, but with an extra shedload of goodies stuffed into it. Some complained of the touch controls not being as good as the analog stick on the N64 but the only levels I ever found that a problem were the 'fling bowser by his tail' ones. Not only was this game a great way of showing off the hardware but the improvements on the N64 one made the whole thing a little more challenging.
Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors (aka 999)
Imagine professor Layton was suddenly transported into a scenario straight out of one of the 'Saw' movies. That is essentially this game. Part puzzle solving, part interactive novel (which is very well written despite a few glaring translation errors from the original Japanese version). Another Import only game as we in the UK have yet to recieve it, but it is more than worth it if you are willing to allow a game to completely immerse you. It is not one you can just pick up and play, or do while you wait for something to come on the TV. There are multiple endings available, and you can only see the true ending after experiencing almost all of the bad ones so it is very replayable (you restart with your memories intact- and you do find out how this is possible). Also Ice-9 is a major plot element, and I love Kurt Vonnegut
As much as I loved the first one the controls were annoying. Super Scribblenauts fixes that and also makes things a whole lot weirder. How many games do you know where you can summon a friendly fire-breathing ridable hypersonic flying invisible pregnant velociraptor, use it to defeat a lion before it gives birth and you get killed by its baby? Not many, but it is just as fun as it sounds. Some levels are quite restrictive in what you can choose (thinking of three items a leprechaun would enjoy was pretty annoying, as you also have to please 3 other types of person 3 times without repeating words) but the pros far outweigh the cons. And it is cheap too!
Grand Theft Auto- Chinatown Wars
I wondered how they would make a GTA game work on the DS (after the atrocious Grand Theft Advance) but they did brilliantly. As a fan of the more cartoonish aspects of the franchise (Vice City being my favourite, as it has a sense of humour- San Andreas and GTA4 take themselves way too seriously) it was nice to play a genuinely fun GTA game. Like the original you can pick it up, go on a rampage for 15 minutes and close it off- the missions are never so frustrating that you mind doing them again if the battery dies (a lot of the missions in san andreas, and even VC stories were designed so that once you were halfway through you never wanted to do them again) and the Zombie attack island is a great way to waste hours of your life.
Pokemon- all of them
As a grown man of 28, I probably shouldn't admit to loving this franchise but I can't help myself. Once you have the hang of it you are hooked in. Forget the anime, and multitude of rip-off childrens products, the games are as complex or as simple as you want them to be. Black and White- though graphically very nice and with a more grown up plotline- are much shorter than the Gold and Silver remakes, and I think a bit shorter than Diamond Pearl and Platinum. Catching them all is no longer really an acceptable goal though, now there are over 600 of the little bastards!
So that is it, I have missed a whole bunch out but please comment at the bottom on my choices and leave a few of your own. I will miss the DS, but backwards compatability means I can continue to play some of the best games ever made. Plus the studio Ghibli game isn't out until November, and that looks AMAZING