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Nintendo DS: The first five years

2008 – Continued dominance


Year in brief: Not a lot changed this year from the previous two. Nintendo continued pushing the DS Lite as an “everyone” platform while third parties picked up the hardcore slack, releasing dozens of top-notch “gamer games” throughout the year. From RPGs to puzzlers to classic 2D action titles, the DS proved itself as a robust platform with plenty of traditional and off-the-wall efforts, making it the system to beat for yet another year.


Above: Carrie Underwood totally loves that old ass game!

Criticism: If you were tired of the Brain Age / Nintendogs / Cooking Trainer scene perpetuated by Nintendo, 2008’s series of celebrity-endorsed commercials probably irked you even further. In fact, Nintendo seemed almost devoid of “gamer” marketing, focusing instead on people who prefer Dancing with the Stars to the latest Zelda or Metroid. Not only was this campaign loaded with “um, why?” celebs, it also promoted age-old games that we’d long since passed on. A Nintendogs commercial in 2008? C’mon!


Above: 2008 also brought us the carpal tunnel-inducing Guitar Grip

Sales: It wasn’t another doubling of the previous year, but the DS was still steamrolling the competition with 96 million units sold through December. At this point it’s entering the top tier of best-selling game machines of all time, closing in on the current king, PS2 with 138 million over nine years.

Best game of 2008: Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword

This was an amazing year for software, usually with 2-3 quality games released every month at a minimum. But no game better exemplified the platform’s strengths than Dragon Sword, a fire-blooded action title that was just as intense as the console versions yet completely controlled with the stylus. It looked great, sounded perfect and played better than 90% of the games claiming to have intuitive touch screen controls.

Honorable mentions: Final Fantasy IV, Professor Layton, Ninjatown

Worst game of 2008: Homie Rollerz

Meanwhile, some people don’t mind releasing unfinished catastrophes like Homie Rollerz. We don’t want to spend any more time discussing this flotsam, so read our 1/10 review for the details. Yes, ONE out of ten!

Hateful mentions: Tornado, more offensive shovelware crap like Hell’s Kitchen

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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