A Quick Buyer’s Guide to the Original Nintendo DS – Destructoid


Excellence in a shell

The Nintendo 3DS is gradually being phased out, now that it is larger, its flashier half-brother is taking over. We say goodbye to a console that had a pretty impressive catalog and dominated the handheld market for a good number of years.

But what if you’re not ready to say goodbye? What if you wanted to take better advantage of the little wallet wonder? Or what if you want to get an older console for the first time? Well, the 3DS is backwards compatible with games from the original DS, and if you’ve never tried them, then you’re missing out on something special.

[For where to buy the games/hardware, I’ve linked to Amazon and eBay sellers, but that’s not an endorsement for buying off of these sites – you might find better deals elsewhere.]


If you not only want to play your original DS games on your 3DS but also want to get hardware, there are three different versions of the DS that you can buy: the original DS, the DS Lite, and the DSi.

I would recommend the DS Lite because it is more sleek and compact than the bulky original. The DSi comes with an internal camera and a very small selection of exclusive games, but the Game Boy Advance slot at the bottom of the console is sorely lacking. It’s your choice – between playing with a now fairly low-end camera, or opening up to Ruby and Sapphire Pokémon, Where Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, just to start. I would take my pretty white DS Lite any day of the week.


I have used my DS Lite a lot, and still do today, because some of the most popular titles are replayable and entertaining. One of my favorite things about the original DS is that the games were so whimsical; I enjoy a game that can take me completely out of all the stress in my personal life.

As with many consoles, the most popular titles have earned this position because of their quality. There are six of these titles that I would recommend above all others.

1. Trauma center: under the knife (Atlus, 2005)

This game came out the moment I started watching it Home, MD I have always been fascinated by medical broadcasts, whether it involves capturing excerpts from emergency while my parents watched him (I’m still haunted by the surgeon having his arm cut off by helicopter blades), or being warned not to run with scissors after watching a particularly gruesome episode of Victim with my grandmother. Hospital Theme is also one of my all-time favorite games, so why not take it a step further and remove the pieces of tissue from patients’ chest cavities? Fuck yes!

In Trauma center, you perform surgical examinations of patients and treat a range of illnesses and injuries that range from the mundane to the downright bizarre. Frankly, only Atlus could make draining abscesses with a syringe so convincing. Needless to say, this isn’t a game for people who flinch at the sight of cartoon pus, but it’s also not a gorefest. A sequel has been released in North America and Japan (that’s not a problem for us PALsters because the DS, aside from DSi games, is region-free), but the original is absolutely worth the effort. be tried first.

2. New Super Mario Bros. (Nintendo EAD, 2006)

Going back to the sources, how can you collect for a Ninty console and not to buy a legitimate Mario platformer? Not including this one on the list would have raised some eyebrows, and for good reason. New Super Mario Bros. is probably one of the most definitive entries in the Mario platformer series. It has very few quirks and twists, though there’s no denying that games that got away with a theme, like Super Mario Sun and Super mario galaxy, are among the best games ever released for their respective consoles. It’s just a simple whimsical platformer game, which was invaluable to those of us who had long since consigned our Game Boys to the yard sale. I think this and Super Mario Land 2: 6 gold coins are the two entries I would give someone if I wanted them to have an immersive experience with Mario matches in one afternoon.

3. Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney (Capcom, 2007)

OK I understand. Why choose a game among the As Lawyer series and not go with the real G, Mr. Phoenix Wright? Did I not enjoy these games? Did Maya cast some sort of confusion spell on me?

No, I deliberately select Apollo Justice above all originals, however large they may be. I remember tearing the Phoenix Wright games as an activity that I did every year, when I went on vacation to Mallorca with my family. All of the As Lawyer games i played (Justice for all, Trials and tribulations, and Apollo Justice) were both trying and fascinating. Corn Apollo Justice has the most interesting story, in my opinion.

Seeing a young upstart filling the thick boots of the Phoenix defense attorney spoke to me more than being the lovable idiot, Phoenix, himself. In addition, the script with Klavier Gavin pushed one of the previous ones to the post. I guess if you want to fully understand the story you should start from the beginning and get the first one As Lawyer Game. But if you’re not the type who wants to jump into a series halfway through, you will definitely enjoy Apollo Justice as the first entry. You also don’t have to search eBay for a used DS cartridge – it will arrive on 3DS via the eShop in November.

4. Professor Layton and the Curious Village (Level 5, 2007)

Granted, this is a series I’ve always borrowed from my sister, rather than buying for myself – and one that even my fairly intelligent 15-year-old brain had trouble with.

Any puzzle enthusiast will enjoy playing the role of the teacher as he investigates … well, a curious village, accompanied by his incredibly young assistant, Luke (Layton can expect truancy fines and summons legal through their mailbox at any time). You jump from villager to villager, solving the puzzles they wrestle with, some of which still leave me scratching my head. Rather than starting with the most recent iOS version, this is a series where I would recommend going back to where it all started, simply because the puzzles have always been flawless. And you’ll want to try each of them, once you’ve experienced the Curious village.

5. Animal Crossing: Wild World (Nintendo EAD, 2005)

This title is not really at the origin of the series. In this case, there had already been a Animal crossing title released worldwide for the GameCube, simply called Animal crossing. Are you still confused? Yet I feel like the marriage is coming in Animal crossing and Handhelds is tireless, so you owe it to yourself to get the first handheld version of the game.

You probably know the exercise with Animal crossing: fight the bees, rid the landscape of all subsistence, endure the incessant harshness of your neighbors and become a servant under contract. No, but seriously, you are walking around your small town, interacting with a number of delightful animals living in cabins nearby, building collections, and sprucing up your abode.

If you already have the 3DS version, New leaf, I would still advise to have Wild world, to see all of his little individual quirks. As with all original DS games, you will have to accept that the online features are no longer functional. But, anyway, you can spend hours of aimless fun in your own small town with Wild world, while failing to socialize with your real neighbors! As it should be.

6. Picross DS (Jupiter Corporation, 2007)

This is a very special entry to the list for me, as it is a game that I still play regularly. I got interested in paper logic puzzles at a young age, ever since my grandmother let me try out old puzzle books that she hadn’t finished. These books always had a few nonograms in them, and as I got older I started buying books with just nonograms. 100% free of marks and the grid would get incredibly muddy if I tried to start over.

Imagine my joy when I released, in 2017 (oh my god, Charlotte), that nonograms had actually made their way onto a handheld! Suddenly I could undo my shoddy work and try the same grid over and over again. It was an amazing discovery for me, and I caught a Picross DS cartridge for a handful of coins.

Picross DS is made all the more appealing by the fact that there are categories of themes, various difficulty options and mini-games, and the more you play, the more puzzles you unlock. I’ve spent hours in bed watching Netflix and slipping into a nonogram or ten, and I can guarantee that if you like picture-based puzzles, you’ll love picross too.

Honorable mentions

I admit that everything I have included so far is not very obscure. But if you’re on the hunt for cult classics, the DS has a lot to offer in that regard as well. Elite combat agents is a must-have rhythm game, if you’re not satisfied with the genre after the fairly recent Parappa the rapper remastered Release. The world ends with you combines RPG and hip-hop elements, while remaining effortlessly cool.

If you want to do something more horrible with your DS (not an invitation for photos), Resident Evil: Deadly Silence is a commendable port of the game that baptized survival horror, with a few of its own neat additions. If you want to explore rock-solid dungeons, it might be worth keeping an eye out for Etrian Odyssey and its sequel on eBay. For more brooding detective work, see Hotel dusk: room 215 and Flower, sun and rain. The latter’s DS port graphics are appalling, but most Suda51 games work at a glance, at least out of curiosity.

Of course, there are a few more obvious entries that I encourage you to consider, even if they aren’t on my “basic” list. The Cooking mom the series is a guilty pleasure, as I find it quite soothing to be rewarded for repetitive movements; admittedly, since I learned to cook myself in real life, it has lost some of its charm. And if the Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training: How Old Is Your Brain? the games actually make you smarter or not, they provide a good level of entertaining challenge – plus you can’t go wrong with sudoku.

Which of the original DS games would you recommend for a beginner? Did you own a DS at its peak? If so, what did you think? Let me know in the comments below!

Charlotte cutts

Love games, love speedrun. It comes with the PlayStation Vita.

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