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Nintendo's portable systems, a review. Pt. 3 - The Nintendo DS

On 07/19/2019 at 11:58 AM by Coolsetzer

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What can I say about the DS? For one, it still is the best selling portable system of all time. Originally conceived as a third pillar to stand next to the GameCube and GB Advance, it eventually became its successor. They took a risk with its "Dual Screen", but it paid off big time. It outlasted both of those consoles by a good 5 years. Released in 2004, the DS offered a unique gameplaying experience that the looming Playstation Portable (PSP) didn't have - namely, a touch screen. They released it right before Thanksgiving of that year, just in time for Black Friday. This marked the first time that Nintendo had ever released a console in other countries before Japan. The only game that was really worthwhile at launch was Super Mario 64 DS, and it retailed for $150. However, it was backwards compatible with all the GB Advance games, which was a good selling point to those who supported the device for the first year before better games came out. As with all Nintendo handhelds, each model of the DS came in different colors.


The Nintendo DS Lite featured a better, smaller design and a brighter screen. Honestly, the original unit was serviceable, but was clunky and the hinges were cheap. This one is my personal favorite. This model was so popular that it was continuously sold out for the first 2 years.

The Nintendo DSi was more of a sidegrade. They added in a front and back camera but took out the GB Advance slot. They added in a memory card slot as well, and players could download games from the DSi shop.

The DSi XL, or LL in Japan, was literally just a larger DSi. I shall pay the thing no mind here. Making me upgrade to the newest devices every couple years with the barest of marginal improvements. Scam, I tell you. Scam!


Advance Wars Dual Strike: The third game in the series and the best one, this little strategy game wasted a 100 hours of my life and resulted in the destruction of my original DS when I was younger.

New Super Mario Bros.: Was it the first new 2D Mario game in 11 years? Was it packaged in with the system? If those answers are yes, then it was the best selling game on the console. Even if I died more times from accidental wall kicks than anything else.

Tetris DS: If you like your Tetris with a side of Nintendo franchises, then this is the best iteration for you. It was seriously really good.

Yoshi's Island DS: This was the sequel to the original, and very fun still. It was originally going to be titled Yoshi's Island 2, but someone in marketing decided that they wanted the DS naming convention on this instead of something that made sense.

Mario Kart DS: The fifth Mario Kart game and second in the portable releases. This one took a lot of cues from the console releases. As always, a lot of fun.

Mega Man games: ZX and ZX Advent were continuation games from the Zero series. I liked them for what they were, but they really weren't worthy successors to the franchise. The MM Zero Collection was a much better game to buy if you missed out on any of the Zero games. Also, the Sonic Classic Collection was a great way to relive the original Genesis games.

Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow(D.S., get it) was my personal favorite game for the handheld ones. Portrait of Ruin and Order of Ecclesia were fun titles, but more like side games in my opinion.

Square Enix: I had a great time with the enhanced port of Chrono Trigger. I actually bought it twice because I lost my DS Lite one time. Final Fantasy IV was an above average remake of the original, while The World Ends With You was one of the best games on the system. Seriously, just buy one of the ports for your chosen device and experience RPG bliss. It's unconventional, sure, but it was one of their best efforts in this generation.

Radiant Historia: Another one of the standout RPG's on the platform, this game had you traveling between 2 alternate timelines to save the world. It was so good that they remade the game for the 3DS. The music is especially good.

Ace Attorney: The original Phoenix Wright games trilogy was a great visual novel series. It invented memes before memes were even a thing. The other 2 were okay, but in true Capcom fashion, they couldn't let the series end, despite the original creator ending it after the third release.

So those were my favorite picks for the Nintendo DS. With literally over 1,500 titles for it(I could not find an accurate number. Those are all over the place.), you'll be hard pressed to not find something to play for it. Next time is the last installment of this series, the Nintendo 3DS. Have a good one!




07/19/2019 at 07:15 PM

I recently traded my 3DS but I still have my DS XL and DS Lite. I keep the DS Lite around for GBA games. It has a much brighter screen than the GBA SP I have. 

I loved Dual Strike but never beat it. I have a copy of World Ends with You. Need to play that. 

I need to find the time for my handhelds and now isn't it. Eventually I'll get back to them. I keep thinking about the Prof. Layton games.


07/20/2019 at 08:52 AM

There never does seem to be enough time to play games. Might I suggest doing 10 minutes here and there? You can always put the thing on standby while you're on the go. It's mean to be played in short bursts. Smile


07/20/2019 at 07:32 PM

I was carrying it around with me alot in case I had a spare moment or two. I would get in a half hour or so every so often but not enough for my liking. I'm going to break out the DS and see what I can do. I think I'll feel like playing more when I'm financially secure. Right now, I feel guilty spending any time with handhelds. 


07/19/2019 at 09:22 PM

I did Pokemon D/P on DS, and it had probably the only really decent port of Chrono Trigger I've ever seen (the PS1 port sucked ass). I also managed to pick up Infinite Space. The DS mostly ended up being a Dragon Quest player for me, with all the great ports of Dragon Quest 4-6, especially considering that was the US debut of 5 and 6.


07/20/2019 at 08:56 AM

I forgot about the DQ games being on this! Definitely, I will have to track them down. While I never got in on the Pokemon craze, I recognize that they were very influential to a whole generation of gamers.

Super Step Contributing Writer

07/20/2019 at 03:52 AM

SM64 DS was $150?! I have it and I do not remember that, but I guess I did get it later on. 

I still need to finish OoE and DoS as far as Castlevania (I beat PoR, which was actually the first Castlevania title I ever owned or even played to my knowledge) and start my Ace Attorney game on DS. 

My favorite DS game was Elite Beat Agents. Or maybe Ghost Trick. 


07/20/2019 at 09:00 AM

Yeah, the bundle was $150 at the time. But it was a better alternative, at least for me, than the PsP, which didn't pick up steam until after its first year. I really recommend Castlevania DoS. I still play it from time to time.

Super Step Contributing Writer

07/21/2019 at 10:15 AM

Oh, a DS bundled with SM64 DS was $150? That makes way more sense. 


And I have DoS and OoE, and have played them, just haven't beat them. Only thing I don't like about DoS is the stylus thing for bosses. 

Cary Woodham

07/20/2019 at 09:09 AM

In some ways, I liked the DS a little better than the 3DS.  I may explain more when I write my 3DS tribute blog. 

The Phoenix Wright series is my favorite on the DS.


07/20/2019 at 12:46 PM

The DS had such a great library. I think it was because of the ports. It was more like the SNES 2 more than anything.


07/22/2019 at 12:14 PM

Radiant Historia was one of my top games when it came out. I bought it again for 3DS.


07/24/2019 at 10:01 PM

Me too. I just wish I had been able to play through the whole thing. I hear that the remake had fugly graphics. 

Matt Snee Staff Writer

07/22/2019 at 04:12 PM

A damn fine system. I loved the Chrono Trigger remake. 


07/24/2019 at 10:00 PM

Me too. Best version. 

The Last Ninja

07/27/2019 at 08:36 PM

The DS is truly incredible, and the library is astounding. For me, I fell in love with the Ace Attorney games, so good! Also, loved NSMB, Kirby Mass Attack, Mario Kart DS, Rhythm Heaven, and you failed to mention the big one--Elite Beat Agents! 

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