Tag Archive | "Nintendo DS"

Nintendo DS: Gaming Device or Office Desk Novelty?

The obvious answer is, of course, gaming device. But putting aside that logic and just looking at the interesting other features that the DS (and the DSi) actually deliver, one might actually think that they are tinkering around with some random gadget that is right at home at your office desk. So, have tried checking out what you can do with the DS aside from playing games?

First off is the clock mode. Okay, for those wondering: it is a dedicated function or mode of the NDS and is readily available from the touch screen menu after you turn on the device (it is on the screen right after the initial warning advisory page). In this mode, the only thing that the device does is show you the time. Not really all that useful since you will be wasting batteries and there are plenty of other time-telling device that use energy in a much more eco-friendly manner. But yes, you can if you want to, and there is even an alarm function for users who simply feel like leaving the device plugged into the charger the whole night.

Pictochat is a much more useful function –though its practicality still borders on sheer novelty and entertainment. This is basically a scribbling program that you can use to interact with other DS devices. The picture chat content makes full use of the touch screen for users to share their creations with each other. Sadly, there is no way to save the images you create so enjoy them while they are still there on your screen. Both Pictochat and the clock mode will require you to switch the DS off and back on in order to access another function (or the game cartridge).

In late 2008, Nintendo launched the DSi, an upgraded version of the dual screen handheld. This new model sported several new side features that provided users with further functionality.

Among the most noticeable is the addition of two VGA cameras, one inside and another on the outside. This allowed users to take photos of the people and things around them or if they wanted to, their own selves. The images could then be stored on the new SD card slot or uploaded to a Wii console. Speaking of the SD card slot, the DSi also allowed for the playback of several media file formats, such as MP4 and 3GP recordings (but it still lacks MP3 playback capabilities)

And making full use of the DSi’s internal WiFi capabilities, support for access of the official Nintendo WiFi service has been added to the device. This allows players to link up online for multiplayer games or for downloading DSiWare software. These can either be small games or useful applications for the device.

Overall, we are pretty happy with how the DS functions even without the game. While a little bit more of functionality in terms of file format compatibility or the option to store game saves on the SD card would have been nice, there’s already a lot being offered by the DS system on its own. All you need to do is tinker around and see for yourself.

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Meet, Connect, Play: The Best Multiplayer Games on the Nintendo DS

Meet, Connect, Play: The Best Multiplayer Games on the Nintendo DS

Nintendo DS
Nintendo’s DS gives you the freedom to enjoy your games on the move. You can be on the road, sitting in a lobby, taking a ride in the subway and you can still enjoy your favorite game titles. And with this freedom of movement, you have all the chances to meet up with all your favorite gaming buddies. So what’s a group of gamers to do? Here’s a quick roundup of the best multiplayer experiences you can have with the DS.

Lego Star Wars

This here is actually two different games, there is the Complete Saga of the Lego Star Wars which covers the events of the original trilogy and the prequel trilogy movies. And there is also the Clone Wars which covers the events told in the animated shorts and the CG movie and series. All in all, you can expect more than 40 hours of cooperative campaign gameplay as well as plenty of replay value with the free play option –which is a requirement for anyone planning to complete all the in-game collectibles. This game supports up to two players so for those of you meeting with larger groups will certainly want to buddy up when playing this game. In terms of difficulty, this game presents little more than the usual platforming challenge, but mostly, Lego Star Wars is highly recommended for its fun gameplay and even funnier delivery of a story that we all know and love.

Contra 4

Contra is one of the oldest game series that we have ever played and come to love. The game places you in control of one of the two gung-ho super action-star heroes as they face hordes of bad guys, dodge screen-fulls of enemy bullets and take on the most gigantic sprite based bosses a side scrolling game has ever seen. With Contra 4, much of that classic gameplay is kept intact for you and your bestest bud to enjoy. The premise is simple, if it moves, shoot it. Grab power ups along the way, dodge any enemy and be sure to jump over any obstacle. Between the frantic action, a little change of pace is delivered through changes in game perspective (there are side scrolling and top down stages). In terms of storyline, it is as simple as it gets: giant evil alien horde is coming, and you have to stop them by blowing up everything that stands in your way. Simple, fun and easy to play, the best type of gaming experience that you and your friends could ever want.

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time

For those looking for a game with a deeper gameplay, a bit of focus on inventory management and a much deeper storyline, no need to go further. FFCC: Echoes of Time has it all for you. Do not let the childlike appearances of the lead characters fool you, this is a full on J-RPG by the great minds behind Square Enix. An epic storyline, a solid combat system (think Vandal Hearts meets Zelda), amazing visuals for an NDS and this game will leave you with almost nothing else to wish for. Also, the game lets you connect to a Wii playing Crystal Chronicles as well.

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Classic Nintendo on the DS

Nintendo is truly a remarkable system manufacturer. The DS, Wii and the 3DS currently hold one of the largest shares in the video game industry market. But beyond their console devices, Nintendo is also the company that brought to us some of the most iconic and well loved characters in the industry. And thanks to the DS, you can take these amazing characters on the road with you. Here are some of our favorite Nintendo originals for the touch screen handheld.

Mario Kart DS

When Mario Kart first came out on the Super Famicom (Super NES in North America), Nintendo showed us all that they had what it takes to deliver a top notch racing game engine and still deliver the fun and wackiness of the Super Mario IP. The DS version holds true to the reputation of the original kart racer. Mario Kart DS brings to you the entire cast, Mario, Wario, Bowser, Daisy, and a few new additions such as special karts, more power-ups and all new race tracks inspired by the many stages of the different Mario games released over the years. The biggest advantage of MKDS is that it supports multiplayer through the use of the DS’ direct link or through the internet with the Nintendo WiFi Connection. There is no doubt that the inclusion of online multiplayer has pushed the replay value of this racer a hundred fold.

Star Fox Command

Combining strategy with simulated vehicle combat, Star Fox Command changes all previous notions about Nintendo’s dog-fight sim. Fox McCloud and company now have to decide on how they are deployed on the field and what actions they must take to efficiently achieve missions goals with a set amount of time. The implementation of the strategy element may have turned off players hoping for a more straightforward, pick-up and play experience, but many appreciate the much deeper gameplay feel that the pre-battle preparations now deliver.

Animal Crossing

Animal Crossing first came out for the Nintendo Gamecube. This life simulation game placed you in control of a citizen in a fictional town with various animal neighbors. The game’s “real”-time system encouraged players to play the game on the daily basis, as well as playing at different hours of the day in order to catch time-specific events. Players also managed their own home which could be decorated with a vast number of appliances and furniture. In order to earn money, players much fish, dig and take part in various activities. Players may also send items or money to other players as well –which important for those who wish to complete matching furniture sets. On the DS much of the gameplay remains the same –but with the added convenience of portability. Back then, players would have to miss out on in-game events due to obligations to work or family. Now it is easier to see events that you would have normally missed for school or work since you can bring the DS with you wherever you go. Just be sure to play the game on your break times of course!

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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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