History Behind Nintendo DS Purchase
After it was first announced, my interest in Nintendo DS was tepid at best. It wasn't clear how it was going to be better than Sony's PlayStation Portable (PSP). But something happened over the system's first year: It established itself through its uniqueness (i.e., touch screen, built-in microphone), free online play, and vast library of quality games. Third-party developers had not flocked to a Nintendo system like this since the Super NES era.
 
Although Nintendo DS came out in November 2004, I actually did not purchase mine until January 1, 2006. What finally caused me to purchase it? Three little words: Mario Kart DS. If you've read my work, then you know how much of a Mario Kart fan I am.  The idea of playing Mario Kart online was fabulous to me. Because I decided to buy the Mario Kart DS Bundle Pack (red, original-sized DS and Mario Kart DS for $149.99) after Christmas, I sweated a few bullets because I had shop around 4 or 5 stores before I finally purchased it from an EB Games.
 
Strangely, I am very fond of the DS, yet I do not have that many games for it, nor do I play it all that much. Still, the charm of this handheld lies in its touch screen functionality, which has enabled publishers to release both easy-to-play and wildly imaginative titles. Fortunately for us, this is a handheld for the ages. Unfortunately for Nintendo, it's going to take another breakthrough for so many people to upgrade next time.

For me, I know that the Nintendo DS would have been a gaming system that I would have absolutely loved as a kid.  Unfortunately, I was in my late-20s to early-30s during its primetime and could not give it the attention it deserved.  Furthermore, since I'm only an avid collector of Nintendo's home consoles, I doubt I'll go back to collect and experience any other DS games.  That being said, Nintendo DS is the pinnacle of dedicated, portable video game systems.  So many great and unique games were released for this system.  With the advent of smartphones and tablets, however, I doubt we'll ever see another dominant, single-purpose gaming machine like this.
All-Time Favorite Nintendo DS Games
Nintendo DS Collection (10 games)
Random Notes & Thoughts
What lies below is a listing of my Nintendo DS collection along with some history behind the system's purchase. Please note that all of the games listed below are actual DS cards. I'm not into pirating the latest games.
Nintendo DS (original) system and stylus
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Clubhouse Games screenshot
New Super Mario Bros. screenshot
Mario Kart DS screenshot
Brain Age screenshot
Tetris DS screenshot
This is the reason I finally purchased a Nintendo DS, and the game did not let me down. Mario Kart DS comprises everything that is good about the Mario Kart series, removes the things that never were quite right, and caters to the fans by including old Mario Kart tracks for online play. This mash-up of old and new is incredibly deep, polished, and balanced. Over time, its online offerings may be seen as limited (i.e., no battle mode, only two-thirds of the tracks, and just four racers), but the package as a whole always will make it one of the best DS games of all-time. Besides, who doesn't want some handheld Mario Kart action that is as good as or even better than its console siblings?
Talk about a one-two punch. Between Mario Kart DS and New Super Mario Bros. Nintendo really nailed the retro-inspired, fresh updates to its beloved Mario series of games. As hard as it is to believe, New Super Mario Bros. in 2006 represents the first side-scrolling platformer starring Mario since Super Mario World in 1991. And, man, it is a great Mario game. It walks the fine line between feeling retro and fresh, using old and new technologies, and balancing fun and challenge. Ironically, it really doesn't use any DS gimmicks, either. Time will tell, but I think consensus will rank this as the third best 2D Mario game of all-time behind Super Mario Bros. 3 and Yoshi's Island.
Now this is the type of software for which I've grown to love and appreciate my DS. The games that make fantastic use of the touch screen functionality, such as Brain Age, represent what truly sells me on this handheld. Brain Age's fantastic design lends itself to be captivating for all age groups during quick, mobile play sessions. Edutainment was never like this growing up.
Tetris DS may not have been as important to the DS as Tetris was to the original Game Boy, but it serves as a reminder that Nintendo knows how to do Tetris best. Tetris DS incorporates the best modern features of Tetris, such as multiple piece previews and holding a piece, and it uses themes based around the NES era of games. Furthermore, it finally provided Nintendo fans with a way to play against others online.  Certainly, the game does include its share of game modes that you will want to forget, but Tetris DS does "core" Tetris better than any other handheld variant.
Clubhouse Games proves that a game's interface can make all the difference. The DS touch screen was innovative in 2006, and it provided a fun way to play all of these classic card and board games (along with random others). Furthermore, Clubhouse Games included another great use of the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection by Nintendo. Although it probably will not be the favorite game of a kid, it is definitely one that will be enjoyed by adults. Highly recommended.
  • Atari Greatest Hits: Volume 1
  • Atari Greatest Hits: Volume 2
  • Big Brain Academy
  • Brain Age
  • Clubhouse Games
  • Intellivision Lives!
  • Mario Kart DS
  • New Super Mario Bros.
  • Nintendogs: Lab & Friends
  • Tetris DS
The following bulleted points are some random notes and thoughts about the Nintendo DS. In the list, you will find information about the system and games that I could not place anywhere else.
  • I want to make these games part of my permanent collection: Elite Beat Agents, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Scribblenauts Collection, and Trauma Center.
  • Since the Nintendo DS surpassed the Game Boy in terms of units sold, there is no doubt that the DS should be regarded as the best dedicated, handheld video game system ever made.
  • In case you were wondering, I never had any desire to add a Nintendo 3DS (or 2DS) to my collection.
  • I also downloaded New Super Mario Bros. and WarioWare: Touched! for the Virtual Console on Wii U.
Last Updated: November 14, 2016
Copyright © Scott McCall. All Rights Reserved.  ™ and © for all products, characters, and indicia related thereto which are contained herein are owned by the companies who market or license those products.
1. Mario Kart DS
2. New Super Mario Bros.
3. Brain Age
4. Tetris DS
5. Clubhouse Games