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February 16th, 2007


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07:36 am - A gift that keeps giving


Tessa has been talking about wanting another dog, narrowed down to a couple of breeds. But she's concerned about how that would make Corvis feel. One of the top two contenders was a Shiba Inu.

For Valentine's Day, I got her a virtual one (Penny Arcade: fully scratchable, portable pups that pant in a bright, perpetually sterile realm).

Honestly, I had not read this blog report about female gamers until this morning. Yes, I did get Tessa a DS for Valentine's Day. No comment on our own conclusions of the survey.

She had wanted to get me a Wii, but was unable to find one. She confessed this days before, with the intent of avoiding gift exchange in total. (Apparently, I am difficult to shop for). So, in addition to her request for an upgraded hair dryer, I picked up a gift for both of us (the Nintendo DS).

I remember thinking they would be great and one of those few game systems I might actually buy. Atypical of many of my peers, I have only owned two game systems prior -- an original Gameboy when I was young, and a PS2 (mostly for watching DVDs, which bucy eventually confiscatedliberated from a layer of dust). The DS had been intriguing when announced -- when it was news for Total Information Awareness, but then I kind of lost interest. I was made aware of the quality of Nintendogs via Penny Arcade:
It turns out that the game is just sort of Goddamn irresistible, and it doesn't really matter who you are. It is a pet sim, in any case it's a sim where you do a lot of petting. It exerts what I'm certain is a kind of illegal mind control, hooking itself into those portions of the brain responsible for protecting tiny balls of fur.

I've known for a long time that it was a game with dogs in it, and pictured myself rubbing the dog in various places and so forth. Let it be known: dogs get rubbed in this game. I was right about that much. You brush, scrub, rub, and welcome your pup into its ghoulish, emulated life. You might know this already, I missed it because I was ignorant and reveled in that ignorance, but it's the game's use of voice that seizes the very machinery of human empathy. This starts with naming, and moves on to training with verbal commands. ...

It's also a kind of Voight-Kampf test you can use to determine if your friends are replicants. I'm not saying you're a robot if you don't buy it, this probably isn't what many readers are looking for in a "game." But they've made something that is difficult not to respond to.


I had recently become interested in all of the positive reviews for Brain Age. That was my present for myself. It is very nice.

Any suggestions for a new DS owner?

(6 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:gustaf
Date:February 16th, 2007 05:34 pm (UTC)
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Uh, I hear Animal Crossing and Trauma Center are supposed to be good - then again, I think they have wii ports as well.

I have a dusty old Gameboy Advance in the closet with a few games, if you want to try out some retro gaming - I assume gameboys are still backwards compatible?
[User Picture]
From:daemonv
Date:February 16th, 2007 06:40 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Yes, I believe there is a GBA slot on the DS. It looks big and clunky compared to the native SD memory card like cartridge.

Sure, it might be fun to try something that actually uses the buttons.
[User Picture]
From:fws
Date:February 16th, 2007 07:38 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I like (and have) Bust a Move, Puyo Pop Fever and Big Brain Academy. I liked Brain Age too, but have only played it a few times so don't know as much about it. Of the two I've seen Seth play, Kirby's Canvas Curse and Feel the Magic, I think Canvas Curse looks more intersting.
(Deleted comment)
From:maryneedssleep
Date:February 23rd, 2007 01:31 am (UTC)
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I've always wanted a Shiba Inu. They're great for backpacking. Good thing I don't have a DS!
[User Picture]
From:macbastard
Date:March 2nd, 2007 02:10 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Haha, I got the wife a DS Phat for Valentine's Day last year. ;)

Mario Kart DS is good if you're into racing games. If you get a second DS (recommended!) you can do single cart download play (e.g.- one copy of the game, multiple players)... although tracks and vehicles are limited. It's still fun, though.

Bomberman DS (the first Bomberman DS game, haven't played the "touch" version) is a lot of fun with multiplayer, too. With a single copy of the game you and up to 8 other people can play head to head. It uses the microphone and touch screen pretty heavily for things like detonating your bombs. Some of the wildest games we played involved using an option where you had to talk into the mic to make your bomb explode... then all of us yelling at random while playing causing each other's bombs to explode at the most in-opportune moments.

Animal Crossing Wild World is fun. I tend to burn myself out on it after periods of playing obsessively, though. For people who are "collectors", it's a very addicting game. The ability to go online and swap stuff with other players is a nice addition, too.

We've got Brain Age too. I liked it but I never got into a habit of playing the game regularly.

I've heard good things about Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin and Final Fantasy III.

For playing older Gameboy games, the DS will do GBA games... and that's about it. Gameboy Color and original Gameboy games aren't compatible... if you want that you'd need to buy an actual GBA: SP.

If you get a GBA ROM cart (I bought one of these a couple years back: http://www.efa.cc/), you can emulate original Gameboy games. I dinked around with it... but the nostalgia factor wasn't enough for me to overlook how dated the games look now.
Using a GBA ROM cart, you can also emulate an NES. I've had a LOT of fun with this; I played a lot of old school NES growing up, so it's like second childhood sometimes.
There are lots of places around and about that you can, um, "locate" original NES ROMs. Using PocketNES (http://www.pocketnes.org/), you can make what amounts to a GBA ROM file and be able to play dozens of old NES games on your GBA or DS (works on both).

Also, if you're into that whole ROM "locating" thing... you might like something like an R4-DS (http://r4ds.net/). It's like the GBA ROM cart I talk about above, but it runs DS ROMs. But I'd never ever condone using it to run commercial games. Ever. Cuz that's naughty.
There's a good amount of homebrew DS software out there too.

That's my quick and dirty DS brain dump. Hopefully there's something useful in there for you. :)

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