This week, I expressed my individuality by joining the crowd: I picked up a Nintendo DS Lite.

I held off from the first model simply because I didn’t like the bulky size and the lighting quality of the touch screen. It’s also becoming my opinion that “must have” games are no longer a constant for the launch of a new system. Xbox had Halo. Gamecube had Rogue Leader. Genesis had Altered Beast and so on. I waited on Playstation 2. And PSP. And now the DS.

But the wait’s been worth it.

First off, I will freely admit that I have become enamored by New Super Mario Bros. – Upon playing it, I felt a certain level of fondness in gaming that I haven’t felt in a long time. It feels right, and it plays like a dream. The game is essentially everything that Nintendo was so well loved for back in the days of the NES. While it is not a genre-defying game with insane system-pushing graphics and crazy options, it provides a beautifully well-crafted title that evokes fond memories of my favorite period of gaming. Nintendo still proves that no one could put a 2D platformer together like they can (Capcom, Konami and Sega notwithstanding).

The game feels good. It’s a game that genuinely generated fond nostalgia out of me.

Nintendogs, on the other hand, is no slouch either.

I missed out on the mania that happened last year as I did not have a DS at the time. It’s a cute game, and I can see the same level of scheduled attention forming as I had to give to Seaman for my Dreamcast. The game does a good job of emulating a puppy’s personality, and it is admittedly hard to resist the charm of calling your dog by name to pet it with your stylus for learning a new trick. It’s a cute game, even if will likely have a limited shelf life in the future. Hopefully, you can transport your Nintendog to the Wii in the future for further care.

As for the DS, I’m amazed by the creative ways it makes the User play games: Voice commands, blowing into the microphone, using the stylus to simulate human (and other) actions. The feature can be used pretty creatively as long as developers don’t cop out to use it as just an inventory screen. The upcoming Star Trek DS game looks intriguing as it looks set to replicate a CONN station from a starship.

As a new DS User, I can’t wait to see how this potentially clever technology will be utilized.

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Filed under: ds gaming