Holy wow, today was the Nintendo DS’s tenth anniversary. Sega Saturn turning 20 didn’t really faze me, but this one gets me right in the ol’ sense of mortality.
Nintendo DS was the first game console launch I covered as a member of the gaming press. And I felt fairly alone in that respect, because the general attitude toward the system among everyone I knew was one of overwhelming apathy. I won’t lie — I felt more or less the same way. Aside from some vague curiosity about Super Mario 64 on a portable system (sadly, it wasn’t much fun until 3DS and its analog slider came along), the DS did not inspire me. I flew up to Seattle for a preview event a few weeks before launch and saw a handful of potentially interesting games, but basically I volunteered to take point on launch reviews because no one else had any interest and I had lodged myself into being “handheld guy.”
The launch day games did not exactly impress, but at the very least the system was a new and interesting way to play GBA software.
I had this hilarious idea to buy every DS game released in America, because I figured it would end up being a new Virtual Boy with a grand total of maybe 30-40 games and it would be kind of neat to have a full set of games for a system. Obviously, that didn’t happen, but I did end up owning something like 10% of the system’s U.S. library — and I still don’t have all the greats for it.
At some point, I suppose around the time I imported Kirby: Canvas Curse, I realized I actually really liked the stupid little machine and decided to start advocating for it in earnest. In a sense, I sort of built my career on the system.
Anyway, I really do love the DS, despite its rough start and technical shortcomings. Interestingly, I found that nearly everyone who responded to my queries about their experiences with the system for today’s huge retrospective feature at USgamer had a narrative arc remarkably similar to my own.
I jokingly called the DS the best system ever today on Twitter, which of course got some folks’ hackles up (because of course it did). I don’t know if that’s true, but it may be my personal favorite system ever. So many great games. So many thousands of hours invested. So many tens of thousands of words devoted to it.
I sure hope I live long enough to get to DS on Game Boy World.