Nintendo revealed today that over 10 million DS consoles have been sold in the UK so far. That staggering figure means one in six Brits now own a DS, and are happily catching Pokemon or training their brains. It makes Nintendo’s console the best-selling machine in UK gaming history.
So what’s made Nintendo’s DS so popular? Here are Tech Digest’s five top reasons why the DS is our favourite handheld.
In case you didn’t already know, the DS is packing not one, but TWO screens with great brightness and resolution levels. The touchscreen controls have made for some really innovative games, while the clam-shell design keeps the screens far safer from damage than the scratch prone PSP. Also, the wide range of available colours mean you could technically have a DS to match every outfit in your wardrobe. But that’d be a bit sad.
Nintendo handhelds have always been the pack leaders when it comes to great games, and the DS is no exception. Classic Mario and Zelda titles have been given a dual-screen makeover with New Super Mario Bros and The Phantom Hourglass /Spirit Tracks respectively, while brand new IPs such as Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney and Trauma Centre have shown excellent, fresh bursts of creativity for handheld titles. The DS also represents handheld gaming’s coming-of-age with adult orientated titles such as Resident Evil: Deadly Silence and GTA: Chinatown Wars all rocking onto Nintendo’s otherwise-kid-friendly hardware.
If you pick yourself up a DS flash cartridge, you can open your DS up to the wondrous world of homebrew. From emulators of defunct consoles to video and MP3 players, the DS homebrew scene lets you unlock the full potential of your DS. A personal favourite is the SCUMM PC engine emulator, which lets you play all of the classic Lucasarts point-and-click adventures on your DS. Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, all playable with the touchscreen! So long as you own the original PC games, running SCUMM on a DS flash cart is totally legit. What’s less legal is putting DS ROMs onto one of the cartridges, though if it’s for backup purposes you should be fine.
Excellent multiplayer options
4-player Mario Kart in my hand?? Yes please. The DS has a whole host of excellent multiplayer titles, from war games such as Advanced Wars: Dual Strike right through to classic puzzlers like Tetris DS. Wi-Fi multiplayer makes connecting to each other incredibly simple, and many games require only one cartridge for as many as four players to take part. Sure, the whole friend code system is a little annoying, but at least it makes it easy to connect directly to just your friends and not some annoying little cheat from halfway around the world.
Girlfriends don’t hate it!
Yeah, we love spending time with our other halves, but we can’t let our relationship with our games collections be neglected either, can we? So you’ll be happy to hear that girls love the DS too. Score! Maybe it’s the influx of super-cute games or the pick-up-and-play accessibility that finds even grandparents getting stuck into Brain Training, but it seems all sexes and age groups are united by the Nintendo DS. That said, I’ve even seen fully bearded alpha-male rugby players coo at Nintendogs. Something for everyone then!
By Gerald Lynch | December 10th, 2009