A Look Back at the Nintendo DS

Now that the 3DS has firmly placed itself in our hands (and our hearts *sniffle*), I thought it would be a good time to look back on it’s predecessor, the phenomonally successful DS! The DS is, in my opinion, the best handheld of all time and a good candidate for the best console of all time due to it’s excellent (and underrated) library of games. It’s also the second best selling console of all time shifting 144.59 million units across all it’s incarnations.

So if you’re a huge fan of the handheld or skipped it but want to catch up on what you missed (using your 3DS’s ability to play DS games, maybe?) then strap yourself if and get ready for a brief video game history lesson and a look back on the best games that the DS had to offer!


Launching on November 21, 2004 in North America, notably 11 days before the Japanese launch, the Nintendo DS had a hard act to follow in the legendary Gameboy series. Nintendo had seized dominance in the handheld market with Gunpei Yokoi’s device and Nintendo needed to maintain this dominance in the face of upcoming serious competitors such as Sony’s PSP. Although the PSP did almost double launch day sales of the DS in the UK (185,000 compared to 87,000 which could possibly be attributed to the DS’s appalling launch line-up), by March 31 2007 the PSP had shipped 25.39 million units to the DS’s 40.29 million. Nintendo had asserted it’s handheld authority once more. The DS went on to spawn many different redesigns catering for the various audiences who had adopted it as their own.

Key Series

Pokemon: Pokemon is potentially one of the most important handheld franchises of all time and the DS boasts three different incarnations of the main series: Diamond & Pearl, HeartGold & SoulSilver and Black & White. Diamond & Pearl is set in the region of Sinnoh and they were the first main series Pokemon games on DS. They recieved generally positive reviews securing 84% on metacritic. HeartGold & SoulSilver were enhanced remakes of the classic Gold & Silver games and added new elements to the series such as the Pokewalker. They also received positive reviews receiving 87% on metacritic. Pokemon Black & White are the most recent incarnations of the series and were set in the brand new Unova region. They’re my favourite games in the Pokemon series and also received 87% on metacritic.

Professor Layton: Professor Layton was conceived to fill the market that Brain Training created. It succeeded and managed to appeal both to non-gamers and the core gaming audience with it’s superb puzzles and fantastic storyline. The DS boasts 3 Layton games outside of Japan (4 in Japan): The Curious Village, Pandora’s Box and the Lost Future. The Curious Village contains 138 puzzles for players to solve and earned 85% on metacritic. Pandora’s Box contains even more puzzles to solve boasting 153! It received 84% on metacritic. The Lost Future boasted yet more puzzles to solve with a staggering 168 puzzles! It has a score of 86% on metacritic.

Advance Wars: Intelligent System’s Advance Wars originally sprung onto the scene on the Gameboy Advance and has been a handheld gaming staple for it’s fanbase ever since. The DS has two Advance Wars games: Dual Strike & Dark Conflict. Dual Strike was the first DS iteration of the series and was incredibly well received. It got an impressive 90% on metacritic. Dark Conflict was intended to be a much darker installment in the series and was set in a post-apocalyptic world. It received 86% on metacritic.

The DS boasted many other games of note and if I named them all then I’d be here forever. What were your favourite DS games?

4 Responses to “A Look Back at the Nintendo DS”
  1. jimjamz says:

    Hmm…the first Phoenix Wright game (even though it was originally a Japanese GBA game), I got a lot of mileage from Mario Kart…but I think my top pick for a DS experience would have to be Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan!

    I’d like to state proudly that I still own my clunky silver original DS (pictured above), and never upgraded to a newer version.


    • ktx8 says:

      Totally agree withe the above comment – I love the first (and all) Phoenix Wright games – they were an excellent series which really defined my whole DS gaming experience. I also spent a long time on the Dragon Quest DS remakes of the old Japanese SNES versions, another brilliant series.

      I also am one of those who never updated their chunky silver original DS (not including the 3DS) and still use it to this day to play all my Japanese games, seeing as the 3DS is region locked!! (grr) I found no need to get a DSLite or XL – the original works perfectly for me, and I never have the worry of anyone wanting to steal it!!


  2. nintymadden says:

    Wow… Big and bulky compared to 3DS!! 🙂 My little cousin has one of these too, and even though its smashed up so much(scratches on the screens, top half stuck to the bottom half with tape), it works like a charm, and he insists that it is never to be thrown away!

    Pokémon would have to be my favourite DS titles, Black and White coming out on top. Though I loved that I could play my GBA titles too! 🙂


  3. Wes says:

    It’s all about new super Mario bros and Mario kart ds for me! And gta china town wars is also an amazing example of how good handheld gaming can be


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