Old enough to be a decent scotch


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.

6 thoughts on “Old enough to be a decent scotch

    • My personal favourite system is the GBA, but because most models of DS can play GBA games, the DS has become de facto favourite)

      (The GBA can also play GB games, so it is a tough pick, but I stand by the DS on this.)

  1. Such a great system. I think I still have the original DS Phat somewhere, all scratched and messed up and still working perfectly I’m sure. Thing was rugged.

  2. People may argue over the best system ever, but best released in the past decade? The sales numbers don’t lie.

    I didn’t get one until the DS Lite, but that was the only system where I’ve ever bought one for myself and one to give a friend. As the retrospective states, there was such great variety in the DS library. I came for Trauma Center and Final Fantasy 3, stayed for EBA and the Phoenix Wrights. Gaming needs more doctors and lawyers.

  3. It gave us Trauma Center, Phoenix Wright, and Elite Beat Agents. I actually imported the Ouendan games from Japan since I loved EBA so much (man, what happened to iNiS?)

    I think the emphasis on the top screen of the 3DS has killed much of the creativity found on the DS. Games like those listed above and Kirby Canvas Curse were unique and exciting, but the 3DS doesn’t have as much variety. I suppose it was a case of being forced to use the limited inputs to create more compelling games, because the face buttons and screen sure wasn’t going to compete with the PSP.

  4. I too didn’t jump in ’til the DS Lite debuted – at that point the combination of a now relatively sleek system with the sheer weight of the GBA backlog and the DS library coming into its own made for an irresistible draw. And it was really the first time I’d seriously gotten into handheld gaming at all – the only thing I’d owned previously was a second-hand inherited original GBA brick with a tiny handful of carts. Turned out to be a fantastic investment; I think my DS collection ended up bigger I think than that for any console, easily if you include the GBA carts as well.

Comments are closed.