Sunday, July 6, 2008

Nintendo DS: First Impressions

As you know, I recently got a Nintendo DS. Now that I've messed around with it for just over a week, I have some first impressions that could be fun to look back on a year from now. The summary is that I played more video games this past week than I have for several years.

I've seen and read from several sources (like this episode of Good Game Stories) that women tend to be casual gamers who prefer to play for short periods of time when they have the opportunity between other jobs and projects. In fact, it seems that the majority of casual gamers are women. I have to say that this has proved to be quite true for me. Rather than sit for hours working away at a single game, my attention span seems to prefer messing around with something not too involved for a just few minutes.

The first game I tried out was Ninja Gaiden, and I was immediately impressed with the visuals. I thought it was really clever that the game had you hold the DS rotated, like a book (I would later discover that many games use this idea). Using the stylus for all navigation and fighting was another cool idea I hadn't seen before. I liked how the cut scenes looked like anime because I know the DS doesn't have a whole lot of memory. Why not have something "simple" look really good in favour of more complicated and less detailed 3D stuff that ends up looking kinda cheesy? Unfortunately, I couldn't concentrate on this game for long, as per above. We'll see if I go back to it later on.

Next, I found The Sims 2 DS at a discount price, so decided to give that a go. This game suited my tastes much better than Ninja Gaiden. Instead of having to attack non-ending bad guys all the time, I could take my time to explore Strangeville and complete goals at my own pace. It was easy to play for an extended period of time, and I could stop whenever I felt like it. This game was made in true 3D, as opposed to Ninja Gaiden's mixture of 2D backgrounds with 3D characters. This really surprised me - it's amazing what you can do with that little DS. Too bad the cut scene videos looked a little marginal.

Finally, I tried Brain Age 2: More Training in Minutes A Day. Once again, this game was great for playing a few minutes here and there. But it wasn't the main training activities that I really liked; it was the Sudoku feature. I can't help but figure that having Sudoku in its own prominent section has more to do with capitalizing on the current craze than the usual brain training, a decision no doubt made by marketing. Nonetheless, seeing as I had never tried one of these puzzles before, I looked past this fact and solved a puzzle (can't hurt your brain!). Boy oh boy, are those things addictive!

It'll be interesting to see if I can keep up my video gaming for more than a few weeks. I would feel pretty down if I ended up neglecting my new toy after getting bored. For now, though, I can't wait to try out a few other games, especially The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass!


Anonymous said...

Zelda is awesome! Best game for the DS. If you like puzzles try:
MarioKart DS is also very good :)

Gail Carmichael said...

Cool! I will definitely check these out.

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