Colour Faiths
A Problem in Mind

DS Apathy

DsliteblackjoyWhen I picked up my DS earlier this month (I know, I'm way behind the curve, as usual, but I always wait for the revised versions of handheld consoles), I thought I'd be keen to explore all the games that are already out for it. But I just can't seem to muster any enthusiasm right now. I remember Corvus saying in passing on his blog that while he loved his DS, he didn't want to play it right now either. Has anyone else been struck with DS apathy?

And while we're on the subject, are there any DS titles that I should absolutely make the effort to see? Let me know what you think!


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Since I was enthusiastic enough to build my MA project around the DS, let me share my experience.

Before coming back from the UK, I could get some DS games, thanks to some gamepod vouchers. Unfortunately, that was before Animal Crossing, Nintendogs, Electroplankton, Brain Age, Trauma Centre, etc. So I was kind of stuck with titles from the 1st and 2nd batch.

Still, I've got some interesting games: Lost in Blue (which could have been awesome, although I think it is a little bit unforgiving); Pac Pix (yes, looks like a tech demo, but I really enjoyed it); Tony Hawk American Sk8land (it might not be the perfect platform for this game, but still fun for a while); Mario Kart (a must); Warioware Touched! (ditto).

The point is: I lost my interest in those games (and others) pretty fast (well, not Mario Kart). I think the reason was the fact that I was hoping to, someday, play Insular ;). Ok, this might never happen. Still, the DS interface suggests so many interesting uses that are not being implemented, that one can get disappointed about the difference between the potential products that could be made and the actual games coming out.

I was hoping that new titles (Animal Crossing in particular) would change that for me - so let me ask you what have you been playing.

But don't get me wrong: I love my DS - and some of its games. I would even buy some new ones (AC included) if they weren't so expensive here.

Homebrew possibilities also revigorate my, not-so-strong now, enthusiasm.

I only have Big Brain Academy at the moment (only had the DS a week or so). I'm tempted by Animal Crossing, since I loved the GC version, but it was my very love of the game that makes me nervous about picking it up again. :D

I really enjoyed Kirby Canvas Curse until the final boss. New Super Mario Brothers is a treat if you are into the classic Super Mario Brothers games. Advance Wars: Dual Strike is a fun, slightly wacky, turn based strategy game.

Brain Age and Big Brain Academy are enjoyable. Tetris is worth getting if you have someone to play with, or you want a portable version.

My DS usage fluctuates. I'll play a game on DS for a while, then play something on PC or another console, then go back to DS. Sometimes I don't pick it up for weeks at a time.

Warioware is worth getting, if only for the academic design theory you can draw from it, particularly on adaptive UI, which has interesting implications for Wii and DS development.

I might get Castlevania and Electroplankton when I have some spare cash, but I've fallen into the same apathy more or less.

I second Advance Wars.

I'm a certified Animal Crossing addict - I even wrote a diary about it for a fair while! - so that gets the most play. Apart from that, the only other must-play DS game I think I have is Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. It's one of the best games I have ever played with great characters, some really clever sections and, in general, it's just genius.

Lost in Blue is great once you get into it, but easily the most sexist game I've ever played, and quite a gruelling experience too. Still, it's very atmospheric and quite unique, so it scores on that front.

I raise my hand for Metroid Pinball. Completely fun. Metroid Prime Hunters just to be mildly blown away by the full extent of what the DS can do -- a near perfectly controlled FPS (the stylus works great) with free wireless online play. If it didn't hurt my hands so much, Id be doing DM all the time.

I'll second Big Brain Academy.

What is it about the DS, though? I'm not playing it much right now either.

Babbled a bit about Metroid Pinball on my blog:

Thanks for the suggestions everyone! A few random responses:

"I enjoyed X until the final boss" is a sure way to put me off a game. :)

I'd like to see Electroplankton but it seems so expensive for what it is!

I think I've pretty much exhausted Big Brain Academy. I have golds and platinums on most of the games, and 1779 g on the test. I feel that only a fluke outing would improve upon this. I still enjoy the multiplayer game, but I wish there were more mode options

I can borrow Advance Wars, so I may well take a look. I was underwhelmed by the GBA version, though... not what I want from a turn based strat. I generally prefer the Japanese syle tactics games with more of a narrative component.

Regarding Brain Age (Dr. Kawashima's Brain Training in Europe), I should have got a copy of this free at GDC from the Nintendo keynote - but I couldn't get in the door because the auditorium was full. :( The Wil Wright lecture was after the Nintendo keynote, and it was suggested to me that attendence was up because of people keen to ensure they would get a seat for that - so (using impressively sketchy logic) Wil Wright owes me a copy of this game. >:D

I've been wondering about a law-based adventure ever since making Discworld Noir, which was a detective game. I'll keep my eyes open for Phoenix Wright, as it sounds like its worth my attention.

Since Chico warns that Lost in Blue is 'unforgiving', that discourages me. I don't need the pain any more. :)

I would like to see Metroid Prime: Hunters just to try the control mechanism, but I don't want to play the full game. I'm wondering if I can find a copy of that First Hunt demo cartridge. I often prefer to play a demo of a game rather than the full thing! :)

I love pinball, but I tend to snub digital pinball because I am such an arcade cabinet purist. Give me the robust feel of 'The Addams Family' pinball table beneath my hands any day of the week! :) Digital versions just seem so... well, slight. It's a prejudice, but not wholly irrational... if I hadn't spent so much time on the "real thing" it would certainly be a different matter, I suppose.


Since a number of us seem to have been hit with DS apathy, I wonder if it is an effect of the Summer? (In the European countries bordering the Mediterranean sea, they stop selling computer games entirely when the Summer comes). Will the coming Autumn produce a DS revival? I guess we'll find out.

Thanks for all your comments!

My favorite so far has been Kirby Canvas Curse. I'm a huge fan of platformers, and the UI twists that this games makes to the genre has kept me interested for weeks. It's has pretty much turned into the game that I use to convince other people to buy a DS, since it has the same structure and goals of a traditional game (unlike Animal Crossing or Nintendogs), but the way it is played is totally different.

Let me clarify my comments on Kirby Canvas Curse. I agree with Andrew, Kirby Canvas Curse is the best example of a game that has a unique interface as a DS game. It's a lot of fun. I'd almost consider the game too easy except for the last boss.

Perhaps I'm missing a point of strategy, but the last boss seemed far out of line with the difficulty of the rest of the game. I'd still recommend giving the game a try, as other people may not have the same trouble with the final boss fight.

Another interesting thing I take away from this game: it's the only game my wife's preteen female cousin's enjoyed besides Animal Crossing and Nintendogs. Every time they see me they ask if I brought Kirby and my DS. :^D

This is certainly making Kirby Canvas Curse tempting, I must say! And Kirby is so cute too. :D Thanks for the added input!

My DS apathy is so bad that I've 'nearly' bought one every weekend for the past couple of months.... and then went 'aaah maybe next week'.

Which is odd as I've really enjoyed playing on other folks DSs.

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