Tag Archive | "Nintendo DS"

On the Road with the Nintendo DS

Whether you are planning to take a quick drive across town or planning a full weekend getaway, it is always a great idea to consider bringing your Nintendo DS along. The system offers great games, portability and a decent battery life that makes it well suited for gaming outside the house. But sometimes, just bringing along the device is not enough. Here are a few useful ideas you might want to consider when taking your DS along with you.

Invest in a strap. A strap can easily hook into the side of the Nintendo DS (there’s a small provision for it) and will allow you to keep your DS on hand –literally. Why is this useful? Because you never know what might happen. You might be walking along the road or sitting near a ramp and when you least expect it, you get nudged and the device slips out of your hand. The strap will prevent your DS from heading straight into the floor.

Get a extra styluses. The stylus in the back of your Nintendo DS is going to see plenty of use, after all, most games will require you to use the touch screen. However, being such as small device, the stylus can be easily misplaced, dropped and altogether, lost. You can choose to leave the original stylus behind at home and opt to invest in a cheap third party temporary replacement when you leave the house. In fact, bring two or three extras. So in the ever unfortunate event that you do end up losing the stylus, you can easily grab a uick replacement from your bag.

Speaking of your bag, it would be a great idea to invest in a good carry case. There are plenty of third party carry cases for the DS as well as a few official Nintendo ones. Most of these have holders for the system, several game cartridges and pockets for your stylus. Bigger ones will also have space for your charger as well. These are great to have as they will keep your DS and your games safe and well organized (no more need to fish around your bag for that Nintendogs cartridge that you brought along).

A screen protector will be a big help in keeping your DS screens scratch free. There are plenty of official ones that you can stick on straight to the two screens (be sure to clean the screens first before application) or you can choose to buy larger screen protectors (those for larger devices) and simply cut out a pair to match your DS screen.

Battery power is always a big worry when travelling for long periods so it is always a nice idea to bring along the DS charger. Those with a bit of money or those who spend a lot of time on the road will want to buy a second charger (solely for travelling) and an adapter for the car. This will ensure that you will always have access to your games at any time. Just be sure to double check the voltage label on your device before plugging it into any outlet.

With these simple accessories, you can easily enjoy a long trip with your Nintendo DS. And while there is always a great adventure to be had while gaming, do not forget to enjoy the actual trip itself.

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Clash of the Handhelds: NDS vs the PSP

Nintendo has been the king of the hill when it comes to handheld gaming. Starting with the launch of the original Game and Watch devices, the company started small, focusing only delivering simple gaming enjoyment to players worldwide. With the launch of the Gameboy, the Japanese game company opened up a whole new industry with the very first handheld gaming console. The rest has been history, with the launch of several other devices, Nintendo has knocked out competitors such as Sega’s GameGear, the Wonderswan, and the Nokia N-Gage (among others).

With the launch of the DS, it seemed that nothing could ever come close to Nintendo’s throne. Until Sony launched the PSP; featuring a wide screen display, graphics that surpassed the original Playstation One and support from a wide range of game developers, many knew that the two systems would clash against each other for market share. And they did.

The PSP won over many gamers for its very hardcore choices of game titles, its multimedia playback features and its WiFi capabilities. The DS on the other hand took on a much larger market, targeting both hardcore gamers and casual players at the same time –taking in crowds that the PSP could not cater with its lack of casual titles. In terms of market performance, the NDS dominated the handheld gaming industry –leading the sales against the PSP with a difference of millions.

Of course, the DS lacked many of the side features that the PSP offered. But this helped give the DS an edge: a lesser price tag. Even with the more sophisticated DSi, it was still a lot less tech-heavy than Sony handheld. And with the introduction of smart phones with WiFi browsing and media playback, less people saw the need for having a more expensive gaming device that is over-laden with features that their phones can do.

Naturally, many gamers own both devices –as the number of exclusive titles for each device is quite extensive, there are plenty of reasons to own both. The PSP concentrated heavily on time-consuming hardcore titles as well as some very addictive multiplayer games. The DS on the other hand, was perfect for quick gaming sessions with its lighter game content and less competitive titles. It also helped that the DS had access to a wide range of Nintendo exclusive IPs such as Mario, Animal Crossing, Pokemon and more.

In terms of hardware, the PSP is obviously much stronger of the two. While the DS did have two screens, it had very low 3D graphics capabilities and could only render screens at a limited resolution. The PSP on the other hand, could easily handle PS games without so much as a single slowdown and has an even faster loading speed than the original console. Because of this, many of the games on the DS tended to be sprite based while the PSP enjoyed a bigger abundance of 3D polygon titles.

So who won the war? The DS obviously made a lot more money for Nintendo than what the PSP did for Sony. But the PSP is also the first handheld –while Nintendo has had plenty of experience in the industry and is obviously far more established. With the recent launch of the 3DS and the upcoming NGP, the two game companies are going to go at it again. Either company could very well take the lead, but one thing is for sure, we gamers will have plenty to look forward to.

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A Last Look at Gaming on the Nintendo DS

It will not be long before Japanese game giant Nintendo announces that the production of the NDS handheld game console will finally cease. Initial estimates are saying this could happen sometime around 2012, though some insist that the device will still be in production until 2013. Regardless, the Nintendo DS has taken hold of the handheld gaming industry ever since it first came out last 2004 and has never let go since.

Naturally, a game system’s true strength lies in its games and the NDS’ game library caters to the whole palette of gamers from super casual to the almost deeply hardcore. Titles range from the as-expected Nintendo lineup of favorites such as Metroid, Super Mario and Star Fox, and a few new additions such as Animal Crossing. From third party developers, there are plenty of point and click adventures such as Trace Memory, Phoenix Wright, Professor Layton and several others. A new innovation is the touch-reliant gaming genre, which introduced titles such as The World Ends with You, Knights in the Nightmare and Rub Rabbits –titles whole gameplay factor relied heavily on the touch screen controls. Of course, the user input method was also encouraging for the development of many strategy games such as Advance Wars, FF Tactics Advance DS and many more. Between all these titles are a deluge of music games like Rock Band and Ouendan. As well as plenty of innovative and off-beat titles such as Brain Age, Love Plus, Hotel Dusk and so much more. Nintendo knew that with its unique dual-screen approach, they would start a new trend in the gaming industry –and they did.

The choice to be innovative with the system came with the development of better resistive touch screen technology. Back in 2003 to 2004 (the development period for the DS), capacitive touch screens were pretty much unheard of, let alone multi touch capabilities. For its time, the DS’ stylus based gaming opened up plenty of doors for game makers. For some, it was Nintendo’s courage to double up the screen which made the DS truly shine. Aside from the touch screen between the cursor pad and the buttons, the flip lid has a regular screen –allowing games to display two completely different visuals at the same time. Some games used this feature minimally –using the secondary screen as a map or inventory window. Others use it as an integral part of the game, where players control aspects of the two screens at the same time.

On its own the DS also served a few other purposes. The device can be used as a desk clock complete with its own alarm –not quite the best use for it, but you can if you want to. And the built in Pictochat feature allows you to communicate with drawn images with other DS users. It sounds silly, but you could lose a good couple of hours just having fun with it. Our personal favorite however, is the GBA backwards compatibility feature. You can simply plug in a GBA cart in the bottom of the device and the main system menu of the DS will offer you a choice of choosing which game to boot.

The new 3DS is offering just as much as the NDS (except the backwards compatibility bit) and offers many new features. But with the NDS’ already established gaming library, and the fact that it is already in the hands of over 50 million gamers worldwide, means that it will be a long time before this Nintendo handheld legend fades away.

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Moving on From Your DS to the 3DS

When it comes to gadgets and technology in general, upgrading is a part of life. That time when you move from one version to the next is simply a matter of when. But this does not necessarily entail that you purchase the latest piece of tech the moment it arrives on your store shelves. There are many important factors to consider before knowing it is time to move on, and when it comes to the Nintendo 3DS, you need to remember a few important things before finally retiring your older DS.

The Nintendo DS is a very impressive piece of hardware; it dominated the handheld gaming industry for more than half a decade and has a vast library of games. What makes the 3DS so promising is the fact that besides its own lineup of 3D game titles and high end hardware specifications, it has complete backwards compatibility support for all DS game cartridges and a limited degree of support for DSiWare (which factors in region locking and the requirement of a GBA port).

First factor: your GBA library. Simply put, even if you can play all your DS games on the 3DS, the same cannot be said for your GBA titles. If you have been a big fan of portable gaming for a long time, chances are, you would have a pretty decent sized library of GBA cartridges. Having the DS around will still allow you to access these classics. Some would argue that the 3DS has its own virtual console for emulating older GB titles –which is true, but this completely forgets the fact that your physical library of games will not be useable on the new system. Nor will you be able to port the game save files on your cartridges.

Second: Portability. Now, we do not question the 3DS’ viability as a portable gaming system. It is light and easy to carry around. But when you do not plan on playing a 3DS game when you go out, then the original DS should be more than enough. Also, the inherent 3D factor of 3DS titles often require you to be sitting still to get the full effect –whereas you can easily play a DS game while strolling down a shopping aisle. Having the DS around will leave you with more gaming options to choose from.

Lastly: Battery Life. A 3DS, on a full charge, will only last for about 8 hours at most when running a DS game and about 5 hours for a 3DS title. The oldest DS will give you a full 10 hours of game time while the newer DSi and DSi XL systems provide between 14 to 17 hours of playtime. While the 3DS would be good for a quick errand out, the DS fares far better for long road trip across state lines.

But is there a reason to own both? Right now, unless there is already an existing 3DS game that you really want to play, then no. Owning a DS is more than sufficient. In the coming months, more 3DS titles will be launched which means there might be one or two titles you would find impossible to pass up.

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Bringing Out the GBA on Your Nintendo DS

The Gameboy Advance was one of Nintendo’s best handheld game systems. As a precursor to the DS, the GBA brought forward a new era of handheld, color-screen gaming. Before the advent of mobile phones with VGA screens, the GBA was the first system that delivered SNES quality gaming to millions of players on the road.

Now, more than a decade into the future, some of the GBA’s best titles are still among the most well played classics of today. If you have been wondering what that large cartridge slot on the bottom of your DS is, it is actually a GBA cart slot. Yes, not only can the DS play its many special touch screen based games, it can also be used as a GBA. Here are some of those classic titles that you might want to get back into.

Super Robot Wars OG 1 & 2

Banpresto’s Super Robot Wars series is one of the largest gaming franchises in Japan, and the OG set is the only one that has ever been translated into English. Thanks to the fine folks at Atlus USA, the Original Generations of SRW are getting a full English language treatment, from the text heavy dialogues to the complex menus. This game is a strategy based combat simulation that features hundreds of giant robots, an epic storyline and some of the heartwarming characters to ever pilot a 5 ton hunk of steel. If you are a big fan of the Japanese imports of the other SRW games, supporting this title just might encourage Atlus to localize the others as well.

Final Fantasy Tactics Advance

The second strategy combat game in our list, FFT Advance brings to you another take on the world of Ivalice. Unlike the first FFT game on the Playstation 1, Advance brings you to an alternate version of the medieval fantasy world. Here, players join a guild that goes out to accomplish various missions to money and reputation. Each combat stage is ruled by judges, who special laws could be a bane or a boon depending on the situation. Laws are basically random, so players are encouraged to save before each combat –if the laws you get are extremely unfavorable, it is recommended to reset the game and pray that better ones pop out.

Summon Night – A Swordcraft Story

Japanese RPGs are plenty on the GBA, but Summon Night gets a special mention thanks to its unique battle system. The real time side scrolling combat elements coupled with weapon crafting makes for a very dynamic gameplay experience. Also, players are encouraged to use various types of weapons throughout the game –which makes the battles less repetitive since each weapon has its own set of moves. Player take control of a young man learning to a master blacksmith, and in this world, these craftsmen are more than just artisans, they are also masters of the very weapons they build. A giant tournament is being held to determine the top crafting students and between each major match, players are able to explore a deep subterranean dungeon in order to find new materials for crafting. As the story progresses, more areas of the map and the dungeon can be explored. There is plenty of inventory management here, especially when handling the weapon crafting. But once you are able to make that high leveled elemental drill and use it to bring that boss down, it will be all worth the effort.

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Solving Mysteries on the NDS, One Touch at a Time

The Nintendo DS plays host to a treasure trove of great games, and plenty of which fall under the mystery adventure genre. If you are a looking for a good point and click adventure that will keep you on your toes, here are our favorite mystery games for the NDS.

Hotel Dusk

With amazing visuals, a deep, intricate storyline and a unique way of playing on the DS, Hotel Dusk certainly has it all made. Players will have to flip their DS sideways (with options for left-handed users) and play with the screens in a vertical orientation. This provides the illusion of having a single screen –a visual effect that heavily influences the gameplay. In Hotel Dusk, players are in control of Kyle Hyde, a former NYPD officer in search of his old partner, Brian Bradley. His quest leads him to the mysterious Hotel Dusk, and there players will have to explore the various rooms, lobbies and passageways to seek out clues about what happened to Brian. The hotel is also occupied by various tenants and staff, talking with these people will reveal further information about the mystery of Brian’s whereabouts and the twisted past of Hotel Dusk itself. The story is very deep, involving a rich back story about art fraud, mysterious criminal organizations and false identities. Armchair detectives will certainly have a field day with this game.

Time Hollow

Time travel is one of the most difficult science fiction elements to make use of, and Konami’s Junko Kawano certainly made this one a solid work of art. The game places players in control of Ethan Kairos and together with the “hollow pen” players are able to create portals in time in order to observe or directly interfere with events of the past. With both of his parents suddenly disappearing, Ethan finds his world changed as if his parents had died a full five years ago. With his own friends mysteriously dying one after another, Ethan must seek out clues about the past and chase after another mysterious individual who also uses a hollow pen. The story is well written and it paces along at a pretty good rate. Much of the narration provides plenty of concise bits of information that players need to understand the game world and the overall story. Depending on the player’s actions, one of several possible endings may be unlocked –and only by solving all the mysteries can a true alternate ending be found.

Trace Memory

When Ashley Robbins celebrated her 14th birthday, she certainly did not expect to receive a gift from her father –who was supposed to have died when she was just three years old. The gift, a device called the DTS is uniquely designed to work only for Ashley. Along with this strange contraption is an invitation from her father who tells her to go to “Blood Edward Island”. Thus starts the plot for Trace Memory, a deeply moving mystery solving game that places players in the heart of a mysterious island, accompanied only by a ghost with no memories and faced with puzzles every step of the way. The stylus controls both movement and puzzle solving so expect to be using the touch screen a lot. AS with all mystery games, Trace Memory’s intricate storyline will only reveal its greatest secrets to the most inquisitive of players.

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