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DSorigTen years ago to this very day the Nintendo DS was released in Australia and New Zealand. February 24th 2005. In the preceding 10 years a lot of things have changed in the world and even more so with Nintendo and portable gaming in general.

The Nintendo DS didn’t get off to a perfect start, it essentially killed the Game Boy too but no one will ever deny the effect the system, its games and its legacy continues to have on the gaming world. The Nintendo DS launched before the iPhone shook up the portable gaming world, before in-app-purchases, before digital downloads, patches and DLC. It might have just been the last console to be free of such things.

The Nintendo DS had a weird life, it had many forms and shapes too. From the original monster looking console design to beautiful DS Lite and to the baby Nintendo 3DS in the form of the DSi. Many games came to the Nintendo DS that no one would have expected, it relaunched so many older franchises and launched many new IP which we still enjoy today.

The Nintendo DS is a wacky and wonderful machine, to that end we ask our team here at Vooks and a few local industry folks just what they remember the most about the console. The moments, the games and just plain weird. And remember, touching is still good.


James O’Connor  – Freelancer, Beat Agent

Your favourite Nintendo DS game? 

Moero! Nekketsu Rhythm Damashii Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan 2/Elite Beat Agents

I have been trying to beat ‘Jumping Jack Flash’ on Hard Rock difficulty (when the Divas step in) for over seven years now. Every now and then I get the game out of its case, and after a few warm-up taps through some of the other songs, I give this a shot. I’ve gotten to the 75% mark a handful of times, always in bad shape, by which point I’m too sweaty and panicked to wrap up properly. Elite Beat Agents will haunt me forever, but it – and its Japan-only forebearer and sequel, although it’s the sequel that I have the most affection for – represent the absolute best in touch-screen gaming. Not only are these things near-perfect as high score games that you can play over and over again, but the stories playing out behind the music, thinly laid out though they made be, are moving and involving. Yes, the games are melodramatic – to purposely humourous effect most of the time – but damn if I haven’t felt my eyes getting a bit wet near the end of You’re The Inspiration. The Ouendan/EBA games are ones that I will keep playing for years to come…even if I never beat that damn last level.

A runner-up mention needs to go to Ghost Trick, though. Maybe the DS’ most undervalued game.

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Your Favourite Nintendo DS Moment?

Playing Chrono Trigger, legally, for the first time

I’d checked out the first few hours of Chrono Trigger via an emulator, but I wanted to play the game properly on a console, and figured that the Wii’s Virtual Console would deliver. It did…but not until well after the DS served up the definitive edition of this classic. It was everything I wanted it to be, although I have to admit I never actually got around to finishing it. I’ll go back one day and start again, I think…

The Oddest Nintendo DS Game you played? 

The Professor Layton series

How do I go past Ouendan on this one? Maybe I should open and play my copy of Flower, Sun and Rain? Because someone else has already covered Feel the Magic (spoiler alert), and I didn’t import many of the weirder DS games that never left Japan, I’m going to take this space to talk about how weird the Professor Layton series is, if you stop and think about it for even a moment. I think the series has been satirised and joked about enough now that we’ve all stopped thinking about how odd it is that this series follows a professor who wanders around quaint country towns with his young ward solving the puzzles that are constantly thrust at him. But it’s strange! It’s weird that the man is teamed up with the little boy! It’s weird that the first game has a town full of robots and the third one is about time travel! The entire central concept is weird, as is the surrounding mythology they’ve built up! They’re strange games. Strange, beautiful, awesome games.

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Daniel Worthington – Vooks Video Team, Owns too many DS games

Your Favourite Nintendo DS Moment?

Hands down my favourite moment with the Nintendo DS and the one that will stick with me forever is the ending to Professor Layton and the Lost Future (Unwound Future). It was such a perfect ending to the original Layton Trilogy of games.

Spoiler Alert.

Layton had just been reunited with his former sweetheart Claire who he thought had perished in an explosion involving a Time Machine experiment many years prior. It turns out however the nature of the Time Machine explosion had sent her forward in time to the events of the game, unfortunately her time was short and she would soon have to go back to her own time right before the explosion which would kill her.

So just as Layton had realised who she was, she tells him she must go, they share one last kiss and she walks off, the usually calm and composed Professor begs her not to go as he can’t let her go again, she tells him to remain strong and as she walks around the corner she vanishes. Layton looks up to the sky with a brokenhearted look on his face and takes off his trademark hat. I’ll be man enough to admit, a tear did well up in my eye at that moment, no moment in any DS game will sitck with me more than that.

Oh also that puzzle in The Legend of Zelda Phantom Hourglass you solved by closing the system, AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!

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The Oddest Nintendo DS Game you played? 

Henry Hatsworth and the Puzzling Adventure for me, and not to say being odd is a bad thing, but wow at a game I didn’t expect to love as much as I did. So on the surface it looks like a standard 2d action platformer, but when you start to play it you find it thats only half the game. See when defeat enemies in the game they suddenly go to the bottom screen and take part of match 3 style puzzle game that you must eliminate them from before they come back to the top screen for vengeance. Its such a bizarre and amazing concept and its something that only could have been done on the DS.

Also did I mention that during the game Henry can activate a mode called Tea Time where after defeating a certain number of the enemies from the puzzle game he can transform into a Steam Powered British Mech Battle Suit, its amazing.

Your favourite Nintendo DS game? 

So I had to think really long and hard about this, there are just soo many amazing DS games, there is a reason its my favourite system of all time, picking just one game was not easy at all. I’m going to go with Kirby: Canvas Curse as its usually the first game that comes to my mind when I think of the DS.

Even now I can still remember that feeling of joy and excitement that I felt when I first played the game. It was like the first time I got and understood what the DS could do that nothing else could. The game was near perfect and to my mind still the greatest game to have the name Kirby attached to it. Each stage kept throwing new ideas and situations at you and always felt new and fresh. I think I ended up playing through the game at least 4 times, each time with a different character that you unlocked through playing the game.

kirbycanvas

Going to cheat a little bit and list of a few other games I’d have in my absolute must haves, Final Fantasy 4 Heroes of Light for being the great original Final Fantasy game the DS deserved. Ghost Trick for having one of the best stories I’ve ever experienced. Space Invaders Extreme 1& 2 for bringing new life to an old concept and making them fun again. Mario & Luigi Bowsers Inside Story for giving Bowser his time to shine, all the Castlevania games for just being awesome. Lastly Dragon Quest Heroes Rocket Slime for introducing me to Dragon Quest. In short, there are too many amazing games on the DS.


Mark Serrels – Kotaku AU Editor, Lover of Porridge

Your favourite Nintendo DS game? 

Trauma Center: Under The Knife

Considering the sheer volume of quality on the original DS, this might seem like a weird choice but Trauma Center, to me, was the first game I played on the DS that felt completely unique to that system. It was the stylus led game that felt perfectly designed
for a stylus. We don’t see many stylus led games any more, the 3DS seems to have abandoned them, but I loved those early days when the DS was in the process of discovering itself and what it was capable of. That’s what Trauma Center will always represent for me.

trauma

Your Favourite Nintendo DS Moment?

Closing the console in Phantom Hourglass

Phantom Hourglass might be my least favourite Zelda game ever (not counting Wands of Gamelon of course) but it’s still home to my favourite DS moment of all time: solving a puzzle by actually closing the DS screen to make a stamp. That was some Hideo Kojima style shit right there. Shame the rest of the game wasn’t quite there.

The Oddest Nintendo DS Game you played? 

This is a tough one. I probably didn’t play enough of the really strange DS games. Look, I don’t think this is the oddest DS game, but I really want to make mention of Style Boutique, which I thought was such a strange, yet brilliantly targeted video game. My wife generally dislike video games, but loved Style Boutique. I basically lost possession of my DS for a month because of it. It was a well-made, unique experience that really showed the maturity and breadth of the DS audience. I wish we could see more games like it.


Troy Wassenaar – Vooks News Team, Girt by Canberra

Your favourite Nintendo DS game? 

Unsurprisingly, I’m going to have to go with a Mario Kart game for my favourite DS game. It was one of the first DS games I got; I may have even got it with my DS, it’s been that long ago for me now. It’s the most complete Mario Kart game to date, with a mission mode, some interesting unlockable characters, including the now much more popular R.O.B.. Well… at least, more well known.

mariokartds

Just like how the GBA had graphics akin to, but better than the SNES, I always felt the DS had similar, but slightly better graphic capabilities compared to the N64. But to see fully 3D rendered characters and karts was amazing to a young me. And having the map and leaderboard show up on the bottom screen was the beginning of taking that bottom screen for granted. I mean that in a good way, the fact it makes sense enough that I didn’t really realise it means it was used well! Unlike some gimmicky uses, like Metroid Prime Hunters… which I finished anyway.

Your Favourite Nintendo DS Moment?

Right after I finished year 12, I went to the Academy of Interactive Entertainment to study game design. While I found that area of games wasn’t for me, I did meet some cool people who got me into some cool games. One of my fellow classmates in particular was super-excited for Pokemon Diamond and Pearl to come out. I hadn’t played a Pokemon game since Gold version, and having a friend who was keen for a new one made me consider getting back into the franchise.

The wireless connectivity and touch screen features made me fall in love with Pokemon again. Even though they sound like such practical and boring reasons, it helped me realise where the Pokemon series could go, in terms of taking full advantage of the trading and collecting the franchise is known for, as well as the touch screen making a lot of features accessible, emphasising the ‘second life’ sort of time-sink the games can be.

So moment might be used in it’s broadest sense, but the whole experience of rekindling my love of Nintendo and Pokemon can be narrowed down to the moment I bought Pokemon Diamond at JB Hifi right before getting on a bus to AIE.

project_rub

The Oddest Nintendo DS Game you played? 

Looking back, I actually have no idea where I got my hands on a copy of Project Rub. I definitely don’t have it anymore, but I played a fair bit of it somewhere… but it is, hands down, my pick for weirdest game. It’s been forever too, so I barely remember much. Rolling into people while they wait for the bus sticks out. And the name? I got the impression it was referring to the touch screen, but… having a bikini clad woman as well made me feel a little embarrassed.

A close second would have to be Elite Beat Agents. The entire concept is strange, but still grounded. I’m also a sucker for rhythm games, and having a bit of an interactive diorama going on while trying to keep to the beat is really cool. But the scenarios that happen when you fail can get quite… unreal. Definitely worth playing, if you manage to find a copy these days…


Shannon Grixti, Press-Start.com.au Editor – Feels the Magic

Your favourite Nintendo DS game? 

This is going to sound like an odd choice but the most enjoyable game on Nintendo DS that springs to mind is Super Princess Peach. Now don’t get me wrong, critically, there were far better games. Super Princess Peach stood out to me for so many reasons. It built on the traditional Super Mario platformer without feeling gimmicky or forced. There were four great emotions that completely changed the way that Peach handled and has perfectly designed worlds that were tailored to suit them. It also integrated the Nintendo DS features brilliantly in a number of mini games. I distinctly remember playing it through many times.
peach
 
Your Favourite Nintendo DS Moment?
My favourite Nintendo DS moment is definitely the launch period. I remember becoming obsessed with the Nintendo DS on the weekend leading up to launch. I remember coming across a bunch of gameplay videos from America the weekend before launch. I had not picked up a Gamecube by this time and had quite frankly lost a bit of interest in Nintendo in my cooler teenage years. My mum let me withdraw 200-300 dollars from my savings account in order to buy it. I remember rushing home from school in order to buy it from my local Kmart. I instantly booted up Super Mario 64 3D and instantly remembered what made Nintendo games so special. I haven’t looked back since.

The Oddest Nintendo DS Game you played? 

The oddest game that I can remember was Feel the Magic XY/XX. I somehow ended up owning a copy of this game and remember it being oddly brilliant. It started a trend of completely whacky DS games that ended up defining the console. I definitely had some odd reactions playing this game as a 13 year old male.


Wayne Giovanazzi, Vooks News Team – That guy just stole something

Your favourite Nintendo DS game?

Oh gosh, what’s my favourite DS game? I didn’t think that this would be such a hard question to answer. Looking through my arguably humble collection of just seventeen games, I narrowed it down to six and only one of those is a game from a third party developer. I guess without thinking too hard about it though, I’d choose New Super Mario Bros. This game was the continuation of one of my favourite childhood games and showed us the way for what would be in store for Mario’s side-scrolling future.

newsupermariobrosds

What I really liked about it was what has become a staple in this style of Mario game, which is replayability. Hunting down those three golden coins in every stage became my single goal in life and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have to look up were to find some of the tougher ones. With Mario Maker coming to Wii U hopefully sometime soon, it’s also given me another visual style to appreciate than just Super Mario Bros 3.

I feel a bit cheap choosing a Mario game as my favourite to represent a whole generation, but it really was a tough call having to choose between a few Zelda games I didn’t actually finish, WarioWare, Scribblenauts, a couple of other Mario games and probably what I should have chosen… Kirby Canvas Curse.

The Oddest Nintendo DS Game you played? 

The oddest game I’ve played on DS is also the game I’ve spent more time playing than I actually realised: Picross 3D. I’m not even sure if this game made it to an Australian release, so I had to obtain it by other means… Legal means of course. You might already be aware of the standard Picross, the picture puzzle, sudokuesque game where you fill in boxes to make a nice little image of what is usually just a household item.

Picross 3D is a jacked up version of this. Instead of filling in boxes on a flat surface, you are presented with a cube that needs to be chipped away at one piece at a time to reveal the model within. As far as strange goes, it’s not too out there as a concept, but some of the things uncovered are just… weird. I don’t even know what some of them are.

Your Favourite Nintendo DS Moment?

Outside of personal moments it’s pretty much impossible to look past the actual lead-up, reveal and initial advertising for the DS as being what I fondly think of the most.

Before it was actually shown off, Nintendo announced the new machine as having two screens and two processors. Speculation on the internet was huge as we all wondered what the machine was really going to be. At E3 2004 we got to see what the DS was. I remember seeing videos of people playing it on the show floor on, what I imagine now, must have been development systems. I didn’t realise this at the time and thought to myself “Man, I hope they don’t stick with those round orange L and R buttons.”

dshand

As for the advertising, I remember a few short and kind of odd ads. The slogan was “Touching is good.” Running on just dial-up internet at the time I had to wait a good ten to fifteen minutes for the small Quicktime videos to load just to see them. Better, and even weirder than the ads was the “Touching is good” campaign they did in the US. Pretty much if you were a member of the Nintendo official website you could apply to get sent a mannequin hand to use in a photo or video to show why touching is good and win a DS.

I was already a member of the website and had to provide a US postal address to become one. I picked a random address I got from the internet. I think it’s hilarious that someone randomly got a plastic hand in the mail and had no idea why.


Daniel Vuckovic, Editor of Vooks – Last, so you don’t see the typos

Your favourite Nintendo DS game?

I’m going to cheat here a bit and not single out one solitary game, if you want me to just pick one then put down Mario Kart DS but more needs to be said. Everyone has nostalgia for the games and the systems they grew up with – for me that was the Nintendo 64 and its quaint library of games. However the Nintendo DS managed to do that to me again as a teenager and into my early 20s. The DS has a place in my heart almost as big as the one the Nintendo 64 made as a child.

elek

The Nintendo DS library has an amazing collection of games. From brand new genres and intellectual property, to remakes of Nintendo 64 games. Pokemon games that take that original concept and enhance and bring it in the modern era. Touch screen games before Apple even sold an iPhone. The genre of RPG now has a second golden age with brand new RPGs that will live on just like Chrono Trigger and the Final Fantasy series do already (ironically they’re also on the Nintendo DS). Hell the system even got a Grand Theft Auto game that didn’t suck.

For every big game on the Nintendo DS that was made for ‘gamers’ there was also the ones made for the everyone else. Brain Training captivated the younger and elderly alike, Nintendogs and Style Boutique made girls who’d never consider picking up a Game Boy into gamers over night. Games with twisty-knob accessories, rumble paks, expansions packs, slide-pads, pedometers and PokeWalkers. The Nintendo DS library is a bastion of creativity and innovation the likes of which we won’t see again for some time.

There was a fair amount of shit on it though too.

The Oddest Nintendo DS Game you played? 

Never released in Australia officially, my oddest game is a tie between Elektroplankton and Freshly Picked Tingle’s Rosy Rupeeeland. Yes an actual RPG featuring just Tingle, no Link and released into Europe and Japan for some strange reason. Back to Elektroplankton though, it wasn’t really a game either and you couldn’t save any of the music you made on it nor share it with anyone unless you recorded it manually. But damn, it was a weird game and one that lived on with a stage in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and separate DSi releases.

The headphones it came with were crap mind.

americask7

Your Favourite Nintendo DS Moment?

This is spread across three different games and for some people it might seem a little odd. My moment is the minute Nintendo switched on the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection and for the first time ever Nintendo had an easy to use (well Friend Codes….) online system and there was some kick ass games to support it at launch. Endless Friday and Saturday nights spent racing in Mario Kart DS, until the snakers ruined it of course. Furniture trading, friend visiting and hanging out in Animal Crossing Wild World with everyone was great too. Let’s not forget Tony Hawk’s American Sk8land, the original online Nintendo game for the Nintendo DS – that thing was feature packed, I think often about it and wish I could go back and play it again, alas Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection is dead.

Let us know the comments you favourite DS game, oddest DS game and favourite DS moment!

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When more than one of the Vooks team writes something together we use this account to publish it. No mere single account can hold us all.
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