The DS: A Week In

I’ve had my Nintendo DS for about a week and a half now, and am as excited about playing with it as I was when I first got it. The ability to play using the stylus, or even the thumb pad, just adds so much. You’re entering a new form of gaming, and it’s something that Sony’s PSP can’t compete with. I will admit that after a week of SAWARU MADE IN WARIO I’m not playing much anymore, but that’s mostly because I’ve been through every level so many times. Earlier this week I got SUPER MARIO 64 DS, an update on one of my favorite games of all time, and they’ve definitely hit the mark on this one. SM64 has never been so good, and everything they’ve added to it — you can play as different characters, there are more stars to capture, hidden secrets, new levels, tons of mini-games — is a definite improvement. The one thing that brings it a bit down is that playing with the pad is nowhere near as smooth as it was with the original Nintendo 64 controller. It’s taken me a while to get used to it, and I still have trouble at times, but I’m not complaining too much. You can also play the game with the stylus or the thumb pad, but I haven’t really experimented with that yet.

So in my opinion, the DS is not just a novelty, and I think I’ll be enjoying the hell out of it for a while yet. Having the graphic power that lets you play a never-better SM64 is reason enough to get it (and I cannot wait to see updates of the two N64 LEGEND OF ZELDA games). The PSP, which I haven’t played yet, does sport better graphics, but without the touch screen aspect of the DS, it’s missing out on some exciting new gaming opportunities. Sony is also pushing the fact that the PSP will act as a video and music player, and now comes news that in February, you’ll be able to buy a 5000 yen memory card adapter for the DS that will let you watch video (MPEG-4) and music (MP3) files. How’s that for a one-two punch by Nintendo!

Update: I forgot to add that the other day I met with a friend who also has a DS, and we had a blast playing wireless multi-player SM64 and MR. DRILLER. Playing MARIO KART like this will be amazing.