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Nintendo DS: The first five years

2006 – Ray of Lite


Year in brief: 2006 marked the two biggest changes for the Nintendo DS, both of which catapulted it into the far-away lead of any machine this generation. First was the release of the DS Lite, a slimmer version of the system equipped with a brighter screen, easy to reach stylus and a very iPod-like casing. It went from bulky videogame system to attractive personal device almost immediately. Second was Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day and the “Touch Generations” branding that let non-gamers know, hey, it’s OK to play these moving picture games.


Above: The DS Lite was noticeably smaller and brighter

Criticism: Brain Age marked the beginning of Nintendo’s current obsession with self-improvement gaming. On one hand we lament this move, as it’s possibly the reason we’re not playing a new F-Zero right now, but on the other we acknowledge how much this move has benefited Nintendo and the industry as a whole. That said, there was a wicked gap in the summer of 2006, with barely any notable games released from June through August.


Above: The DS Lite and Touch Generations helped make the system a worldwide sensation, not just another handheld gaming platform

Sales: Like we said, Brain Age and Lite made the system appear cool and attainable to people who usually ignore handheld games, so sales were over 35 million by the end of the year. That’s double what they did in 2005. Insane.

Best game of 2006: New Super Mario Bros

The first 2D Mario game in 14 years may have been incredibly easy and slight on innovation, but it was most definitely new, so we got what we paid for. This sucker has sold nearly 20 million copies in its three short years.

Honorable mentions: Metroid Prime Hunters, Star Fox Command

Worst game of 2006: Superman Returns: The Videogame

The embodiment of all that can go wrong on the DS. It’s a horrible port of an already shit movie game released several months after said movie left theaters. And it takes about two hours to beat. What a waste.

Hateful mentions: Tenchu: Dark Secret, Dino Master

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27 comments

  • MB2KSpicules - December 8, 2009 4:33 a.m.

    Brettleston - always with the great articles. I can always count on Ninten-gold on this site when he's writing. But no honorable mentions for M&L: Partners in Time? Its on the pic at the top of the article! I personally prefer superstar saga on GBA, or the 2009 Bowser inside story, but it was still a great game of that year. And no Dementium: The Ward? I hope I'm not alone with Antista with the love for that game.
  • Kytl - November 27, 2009 5:09 a.m.

    getting Spirits Tracks for X-mas...that is all.
  • GameManiac - November 24, 2009 1:24 a.m.

    ...And SHORT LIVE CRAPPY THIRD-PERSON GAMES!!!
  • GameManiac - November 23, 2009 5:12 a.m.

    Wow... I think I have EVERY good game mentioned in this article, except the Advance Wars game (I prefer Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon) and that Castlevania game (i find them somewhat unfitting for me). I was ADDICTED to Pokemon Diamond, adored New Super Mario bros., Super Mario 64 DS, and many of the other games mentioned in this article. As of now, I have a DS Lite (and the regular one, despite the snapped hinge on it). I was actually thinking of buying a DSi, but I may want to change my mind when I learn more about that DSi XL. LONG LIVE THE DS!!!
  • super0sonic - November 22, 2009 8:08 p.m.

    I really like articles like these. Also I kind of want the DSi XL. I really like the ideal of a larger screen.
  • Cybermaster - November 22, 2009 3:09 p.m.

    One complaint: TWEWY should be the game of 2008.
  • lymanzaar - November 21, 2009 10:18 p.m.

    When I had gone to surgery in the Summer of '07, I had my best friend give me Superman Returns on my DS. It was so we could both play a $5 dollar game together. It was so stupid, I was laughing. But laughing hurt due to my surgery, so set the game aside til I recovered.
  • Xeacons - November 21, 2009 4:17 p.m.

    Personally, I think the DSi XL should be treated like a new color. It's just a DSi, only BIGGER! So if you already have one, don't sweat it. I don't see it as a new system (or even a new version). I just hope it doesn't kill some great game launch like the DSi did last year (RIP, GTA:Chinatown).
  • TRAVthe3RD - November 21, 2009 1:10 p.m.

    why are you guys shocked bout the constant updates when they did exactly the same thing with the gameboy advance.. think the sp then the micro..
  • QWERTYCommander - November 21, 2009 5:12 a.m.

    Does anyone know what the DSi XL is for? It doesn't have anything that the regular i doesn't, besides better battery life. It's just for people with big hands/poor eyesight.
  • griffed88 - November 21, 2009 5:08 a.m.

    i just got a dsi, but I'm pretty sure I'm gonna swap it out for a psp go. I hate havin to carry games around and I like the games on psp waaaaay more than the ds. I'm not a huge Zelda fan and neither am I a huge Mario fan. Metroid is sweet, but all that shovelware sucks lol
  • church117 - November 21, 2009 4:02 a.m.

    ooo. woops. i mean 14th
  • church117 - November 21, 2009 4:02 a.m.

    third. haha
  • Spybreak8 - November 21, 2009 2:21 a.m.

    This is the Joystiq picture I was referencing: http://tiny.cc/Zm4rP It makes me laugh every time.
  • Vagrant - November 21, 2009 2:18 a.m.

    What? Barely even one mention of Phoenix Wright?
  • Spybreak8 - November 21, 2009 1:59 a.m.

    Nintendo says it's just like Pokemon, collect em all! Lol seriously they marketed the DS to old people and then had to make the XL so they could read the DS Lite's small text lol. I have a DS Lite and sold off my DS along with Mario Kart Super Circuit, since Mario Kart DS has all the tracks (kept F Zero though)! If I had a younger brother (I'm the youngest) I'd get him another DS so we could play wireless locally, one thing I enjoyed alot at college. One thing I'd like is to see my overall driving time for Mario Kart (like Rockstar stat page ha), gawd prob be a solid 2 years. Star Fox Command is a great game but the exclusion to skip those fucking annoying missile missions is the reason its on my shelf and I contemplated selling that sucker. Touch works well with gameplay but sometimes the stylus gets in your way (with Zelda and Metroid), and they're making the stylus BIGGER!? wtf oh and I bought a M3 DS card to play all my games on one card, watch videos/movies and listen to my music on the go. (I do not pirate games on my card, I use it legitimately.) Like to say my fav game of all time on the DS is China Wars and Meteos and Tetris also has an honorable mention. Oh maybe the fact that the DS isn't selling like hot cakes now is the fact that everyone already has at least 2?! lol (You guys should have used Joystiq's DS printing money picture for this article ^^)
  • SuperStingray - November 21, 2009 1:29 a.m.

    I don't see why it's so bad that Nintendo's making a fourth iteration of the DS. It's like complaining that there's at least a hundred different brands of PCs.
  • NotBraze - November 21, 2009 12:46 a.m.

    I have the original 2004 version, and I was tempted by the DSi when it was first announced but the lack of GBA support was a deal breaker for me. I have a few great DS games, but the majority of my handheld collection is GBA games. When I heard about the DSi LL I was hopeful that a bigger system meant that'd there would be room for a GBA slot but of course, there is not. They aren't even going to offer GBA games over DSiWare. Bad move Nintendo.
  • Conman93 - November 21, 2009 12:29 a.m.

    I love my ds. Has some of my favourite games. Prof layton Pokemon and Zelda of course. Hopefully it wont change dramaticaly for another 5 years
  • 510BrotherPanda - November 21, 2009 12:09 a.m.

    I know this might never happen, at least not IRL, but I want something that can play my Gamecube discs like a PSP, Nintendo. Not a huger DS.

Showing 1-20 of 27 comments

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