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 get one? 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 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 did I ever play it all that much. 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. Fortunately, later on, my Nintendo DS had a second life by serving as a good introduction to Nintendo handheld gaming for my young kids.
All in all, Nintendo DS reached a pinnacle within the realm of dedicated, portable video game systems. Certainly, the charm of this handheld was its dual screens, with one having touch screen functionality, and that enabled developers to create both easy-to-play and wildly imaginative titles. Amazingly, the DS had a touch screen (resistive) years before smartphones and tablets. Tons and tons of great and/or unique games were released for this system. It was a handheld for the ages.
This is the reason I finally purchased a Nintendo DS, and the game did not let me down. Mario Kart DS comprised everything that was good about the Mario Kart series, removed the things that never were quite right, and catered to the fans by including old Mario Kart tracks for online play. This mash-up of old and new was incredibly deep, polished, and balanced. Looking back, its online offerings were limited (i.e., no battle mode, only two-thirds of the tracks, and just four racers), but the entire package made it one of the best DS games of all-time. Besides, who wouldn't want some handheld Mario Kart action that was 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 represented the first side-scrolling platformer starring Mario since Super Mario World in 1991. And, man, it was a great Mario game. It walked the fine line between feeling retro and being fresh, using old and new technologies, and balancing fun and challenge. Ironically, it really didn't use any DS gimmicks, either. A fantastic return to 2D Mario games.