Thursday, October 12, 2006


Five Reasons I Love My DS Lite

I bought my first DS as more of an impulse than for any actual reason. Sure, I was pleased with it and all, but it didn't really have a single killer application that I could point to and say "This is why I had to spend $150 on a new portable video game system."

Coming up on two years of Nintendo DS (and having upgraded to the DS Lite), I love my Nintendo DS even more. I still can't say there's one single, all-encompassing reason for it. But I can think of five:

It's just so damned sexy.

I never thought I'd turn into one of those people who values what something looks like as opposed to what it does, but why not? The DS Lite is beautiful. Folded or opened, it's slick, it's sexy, it's cool. I can appreciate a statue or a painting just for its appearance even if it doesn't do anything, so why not appreciate my portable video game system if it looks like it was carved from ivory by flights of angels?

Free Wireless Online Play

Online isn't important, but at least I don't have to pay anything for it. For all of the nonsense that we have to put up with to connect to other DS gamers around the world (not the least of which are getting a compatible wireless router and dishing out friend codes), it's neat when it comes together. Now people from all over the world can enjoy the thrill of beating me at Tetris. It's not something I use especially much, but it's nice to know it's there when I do.

Game Boy Advance Video

When Majesco first started making Game Boy Advance Video cartridges, I thought it was a neat idea wasted on stupid content. I mean... 45 minutes of animated TV shows? Specifically, the kind that are marketted pointedly to the under 13 set? Eh.

But now they've finally got cartridges large enough to hold a full-length movie. Moreover, they have cartridges that contain movies I'm actually interested in watching. I'm the proud owner of Shrek and Shrek 2 on GBA Video. Yes, I already have the DVDs, yes the quality is crap, yes I should get a portable DVD player if what I actually want is portable movies. You know what, I don't care. I can have a movie hang out in my Slot 2 and switch over to it if I just want to vegetate and watch pretty pictures for a while. And c'mon -- there's something inescapably charming about watching a ridiculously overproduced Dreamworks movie on something with the resolution of a webcam.

Touch Generations

May have mentioned it, but I'm a sucker for the simple, quirky games that find their home on the DS. See, there's a reason I've been more of a portable gamer than a console gamer for the past two generations. Portable systems have gotten to the point where they're capable of delivering an experience that was once only possible on home systems, and yet they're still considered "small" enough that developers will give weird, funky little projects like Brain Age or Nintendogs a go on them.

Five Must-Have Games

And the piece de resistance -- five games that every DS owner should have.

Super Mario 64 DS -- A truly legendary game that's given an update that shows all of the respect and reverence that it should for the original concept. For the first time, Mario explores not levels, but actual worlds. And you can explore important geographical locations like Cool Cool Mountain and Jolly Roger Bay anytime and anywhere.

Pokemon Mystery Dungeon Blue Rescue Team -- 'Nuff said.

Mario Vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis -- The main quest is okay. The true value of this game, however, comes from its full-featured level editor. Now you can create your very own Mario World and create all of the puzzling platform challenges that your twisted imagination will allow.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney -- An interactive legal drama, filled with delicious twists and turns and masterful story arcs. It's thrilling, it's zany, and it's occasionally bone-chilling. Who cares if there's no challenge once you've figured out the puzzles? It has the replay value of a great television series, and Capcom was even nice enough to give us a made-for-TV-movie in the form of Chapter 5.

Clubhouse Games -- Forty-two classic games. Board games, card games, and even a handful of action games like Billiards, Darts, and Bowling. Play solitaire. Play against friends. Play against the computer. Play against the internet. If you get only one Touch Generations game, make it this one.


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