Tell me about your Nintendo DS

I am thinking of getting a Nintendo DS. It would be the first time for me to buy a portable console - the first time for me, in fact to buy a console at all; I’ve always been a PC person.

So I’d like to ask what you like and dislike about your DS, what a new user should be aware of (I dunno, tricks to extend battery life), and especially your favourite games. Personally I like RPGs and strategy games but I’m willing to have a go at anything, as long as it doesn’t have gimmicks, like shouting and puffing in the microphone, that would people look at me funny on an airplane.

I think the DS also has a GB Advance slot, so games for GBA are also ok for me - actually even better, as they should be cheaper.

There is a GBA slot, unfortunately I haven’t really noticed any discount in the game prices.

One of the best purchases I made for my DS was a cartridge called Datel Games ‘n’ Music. What this cartridge does is act as a pass through and shell for a microSD card. It doesn’t let you steal DS games mainly because they limited the memory transfer to be smaller than the typical DS cartridge image but this means that you can get this handy utility for $15 from Wal-mart rather than importing gray market cartridges at a higher price. I’ve used my DS to play LucasArts games, as an eBook reader, and so on. Given the fact that it’s very easy to get unlicensed software into a DS there is a good sized community creating free games and ports of other titles.

I haven’t seen my DS in six months after my mother saw me fiddling with Brain Age and “had to borrow it”. Consider that an important safety tip for keeping your DS.

The very best games yet are “Another Code: Two Memories” and “Hotel Dusk: Room 215”. Both are Adventure/puzzle games by the same company, with gorgious animation, great story and mood.

The next bit is tecnically a spoiler for Another Code, but it goes to what the OP asked for, so…

I think you have to blow out som candles once in Another Code, but you could just make it look like you were cleaning the screen, right?

Other fun games are Puzzle Quest, Trauma Center, Mario and Luigi: Partners in Time and Resident Evil.

I really love the design of the DS lite, it fits great in most pockets, there are no bits sticking out, it’s neat little box, it doesn’t weigh anything.

You might consider getting something to wipe the screen with, as it picks up fingersprints quickly. My game store sells these little Mario and Luigi themed pads that you can hook to the DS if you like (there is a little “hole” in one corner for things like this). There is a wrist-strap you can get too, it’s quite handy.

Hotel Dusk is fantastic, and you can occasionally find carts on ebay.

I also like the latest Zelda for DS – it’s a lot of fun. It does require some “shouting” but you can blow into the mike when those events come up, no need to actually yell.

DEFINITELY get screen protectors for your DS. Get two, just in case your first attempt at putting the protector on fails and you wind up with bubbles or lint stuck under the stickum. :mad: I don’t remember what brand I got, but it’s good heavy plastic and generally ought to come off without leaving gunk behind.

If the stock stylus is too small for you, you can use PDA styli instead. I have one of those combo pen-pencil-stylus pens which is great for comfort.

Before buying a game, check the reviews on or a site like it - It gives you an idea of what to expect and can save you from some purchasing mistakes.

I love my DS. As far as what the good games are, then that depends on what you like. There seem to be numerous quality titles in just about every genre. Do read some reviews before you buy, not so much for the rating, but just to see if it sounds like the kind of game you would enjoy. Just got the December Nintendo Power today and it looks as if there are going to be several RPG’s coming out. Remakes of Final Fantasy IV and Dragon Quest IV are already out.

Right now, I am playing Time Hollow, which I am enjoying although a lot of people would probably think there is not enough actual gameplay.

Most of the time. :smiley:

That said, I was an idiot and didn’t do my research before picking up a cut price DS game. Unplayable, it was. I wouldn’t even feel right about giving it away, that’s how bad it was. (Insecticide, for the record)

Metacritic and probably other, similar, sites, tracks down all of the reviews of games and publishes an average score. I like to use that because there really doesn’t seem to be enough honesty in video game reviews.

Which means that Metacritic is just as worthless. Garbage in/garbage out, after all.

Don’t trust any review that is published within a month of the game’s release. They just haven’t given it enough time.

Yeah, but screw waiting a month or more for a game I really want to play. And where do you find honest reviews of 1+ month old games, anyway? I find that when you have thirty sources to choose from, all nice and neat and linked for you, that you can penetrate the hype and figure out which games really are worth playing. It’s a little bit of work, but it’s better than waiting around.

If you’re into action/RPG’s you can’t go wrong with the Castlevania games.

The DS is a great value for the $150 it costs. Touchscreen, Wi-Fi capabilities, backward compatibility, and long battery life. I have a big issue with the games made for it… 99% seem to be geared for kids. Did Nintendo assume that adults wouldn’t really want to use a DS?

Why not wait? Who says you have to get a game immediately after release? It’ll be just as good a month, a year, or five years later. A bit of patient can help you avoid bad games and get them at a fifth the price.

As for reviews of game a month or older; people seem to review them at this site quite a bit.

Neutron, if you want to go on with this discussion I’ll be happy to join you in a new thread so we don’t derail this one further. I’m sure there’s plenty of people who would be willing to jump on on this topic.

And so that I’m not making a post completely devoid of help for the OP I’ll say that I did not enjoy the Zelda DS game. There was one very long dungeon that you are forced to repeat no less than eight times. It gets old the second time and drove me nuts by the end of the game.

I did enjoy Elite Beat Agents quite a bit since it’s a cute game to tap along with. It’s a rhythm game where you tap out the beats on the screen.

I would definitly recommend Advance Wars: Dual Strike and Advance Wars: Days of Ruin. Both very high quality turn based strategy games.
I would possibly recommend The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass except I haven’t played it. But I played and loved the first one (for gamecube), and if it’s anything like it it’s good.
Also, Kirby: Canvus Curse is a blast provided you take frequent breaks, as your hand cramps up otherwise.

As for hardware advice: my DS failed after I left it uncharged for a while. So don’t leave it alone too long. Also, don’t flip the screen really quick, or you might break the hinge (but you’d have to do it a lot for that to happen). Also, buy extra styluses. You will need them sooner or later.

One last thing. Whenever you bring extra games somewhere, keep the original cases. They’re too small otherwise and if you don’t have them in a big case there’s a chance of losing the games.

My biggest issue with the DS is that a lot of games try too hard to take advantage of all the features, and wind up being clunky as a result. For example, the Metroid game that wants to use the stylus for steering and the console buttons for actions, or a mini-game in Cory in the House that uses the stylus to steer, the up button to shoot, and the left shoulder button to brake - the controls are just awkward. Even Phantom Hourglass got into it a bit with the “spin attack” requiring a specific stylus movement to activate.

That said, there are some really good DS games (Phantom Hourglass being one of them, spin attack issues aside). Some are surprisingly in-depth, such as Phantom Hourglass and Hotel Dusk.
Phantom Hourglass is good, but gets a bit repetitive; you’ll have to do the same dungeon areas several times, repeating the puzzles to progress. There are also some “secrets” that are a little too-well hidden and require either going over every area with a fine-toothed comb, or using a guide if you’re a completionist. That aside, it’s entertaining and offers several hours of gameplay.
Elite Beat Agents is kinda cute and entertaining, but can also get annoying and ridiculously hard after a while.
Advance Wars is a challenging strategy game, with fairly good AI from the bit I played, offering some replayability due to changes in AI response. I’d recommend Days of Ruin for a more realistic feel than Dual Strike.
Trauma Center is cool, but gets a little silly at times, and is another one I found the stylus movements were odd and frequently didn’t register properly.
Mario Kart is a hoot if you have a couple other people to play with (and screw over, hehe) some time; just be sure to practise and unlock some of the better vehicles.
The Castlevania games are fun for the genre, but sometimes require some difficult movements (jump combos), so can be frustrating if you aren’t “good” at arcade style games. They can still be very absorbing and offer hours of gameplay.

The hardest DS game I played was one I can’t remember the name of; it looked like an elementary school kid’s puzzle game based on Pokeman with silly minigames and card games, but the minigames were frequently extremely difficult to the point I was unable to complete them. I guess you have to be 8 to be able to win on that one. :wink:

I’ve played a lot of the best games for the DS (Zelda Phantom Hourglass, Professor Layton and the Curious Village, Advance Wars, etc.) and enjoyed them all.
The ones I still play “almost every single day” are the very basic Clubhouse Games and Touchmaster. They are collections of basic card games, board games, etc. Solitaire, Mai-Jong, Backgammon, Free-Cell, Darts, …
Touchmaster 2 is out now which I need to pick up.

The games I have avoided are the button mashing non-stylus games like Super Mario, Castlevania, MarioKart. The DS is just too small for my hands and my thumb cramps up way too easily hitting buttons.

Never had a problem with the battery and I’ve had the DS Lite since it’s release date (6/11/06). I just make sure it is completely dead before recharging. If the battery dies I would have no problems shelling out $130 for a new unit.

Never bothered with any type of screen protector. I just wipe it with a cloth if it gets finger prints on it.

The DS is great, I wish they used the microphone for something other than blowing in games. For the blowing parts though, you can just rub your finger on the microphone hole so you don’t look like an idiot in public.

All the games recommended so far are great. Plus there’s so many good puzzle games that use the touch screen (sudoku, crosswords, touchmaster, etc).

If you want to expand the capabilities, there are devices online that go beyond the Games 'n Music and allow you to run homebrew or backups. While it does enable piracy, there are other advantages to it if you can trust yourself to the honor system, like backing up your purchased games (over WiFi to your PC) and keeping them all on the one cart (don’t have to worry about carrying/losing them), running homebrew like moonshell (pics/mp3/video), managing multiple save files for games that only have one slot (picross, etrian odyssey), cheat codes and slow motion for those difficult games (I’m looking at you Contra 4).

I’d really recommend one, but I won’t say which one I have or link to the site since I’m not sure of whether this violates board rules since it could be used for piracy.

Just a heads up, but there is going to be a new version of the DS (the DSi) coming in 2009. It will have bigger screens, two cameras, an SD card slot…but no GBA slot.

See here for details.

I love my DS. My GF loved my DS, so now she has her own to love.

My buddy and his family all have their own, and we play Mario Party, Mario Kart and a few other games regularly.

The DS is great for airplanes/airports, doctor’s offices, etc. It’s an excellent time-waster. It’s awesome to find a kid in an airport with one and say “hey wanna play Mario Party?” and then find that their bro/sis/mom/dad has one too, and suddenly there’s 6 people all laughing like idiots playing a game together. You can even continue on the plane, even if you’re not all seated together (which is awesome).

I’m also looking forward to the DSi, although I guess I won’t be able to play Guitar Hero, since it uses the GBA slot. (Ah well, it’s not that much fun on the DS anyway.)

Some people will tell you that all the games are kids games, because it’s from Nintendo. This isn’t true. There are a wide variety of games available, from puzzles to strategy to classic scrollers to RPGs.

As others have said, try and read reviews of games before you buy. I find the reviews on Amazon to be fairly good; YMMV.

I love my DS, it was my savior on my recent vacation in Honduras when it decided to rain for about two days straight. I like Mariokart, Zelda, Pokemon (behind that cutesy exterior is an excellent RPG), and Geometry Wars. My fiance likes Phoenix Wright, and consequently steals my DS on a regular basis. Overall it’s an excellent piece of hardware, especially for the price.