From action-packed games to soft play there are then loads of options for some nostalgic DS gameplay!
There are many ways in which first-year students can cope with the waves of nerves that come with settling in at University. But what is often overlooked is the irreplaceable sense of comfort that can be obtained from gaming. Instead of finding escapism in 90s cult classic movies and immersing yourself in rereading Harry Potter for the umpteenth time, freshers may find it beneficial to make their old Nintendo DS a priority on one’s packing list. Rediscovering the pleasure of the graphics come alive at your fingertips (or stylus to be precise!) is an unbeatable way to unwind and feel homely in your temporarily alien surroundings. Understandably, some may argue that relying on games for company may be an isolating thing to do. However, the array of games with multi-playing features can prove a great way to socialise alongside what a book or movie can offer as well. While many then are bound to have a particular game close to their pixelated hearts, here are some universal favourites to help rekindle your DS’ing drive, like it’s Christmas 2005!
With the customisable companionship that comes with crafting your team and the sense of voyaging out on your journey, it is unsurprising that the Pokemon franchise has become so deeply nestled in the hearts of gamers worldwide. Pokemon has garnished so much attraction as the game provides a unique experience for every player, allowing you to choose from the Pokemon by your side to customising everything from your Pokedex to the glasses you want your avatar to wear. This, of course, refers to the mainstream role-playing games which encourage you to explore different regions of the Pokemon world in the outside world. The Pokemon games range from Pokemon Diamond, Pearl and Platinum, Black and White and X and Y, to glorious remakes like Heartgold and Soulsilver and Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. The journey doesn‘t stop there. There are multiple popular spin-off games like Pokemon Mystery Dungeon, Pokemon Ranger and even Pokemon Dash, providing you with plenty of possibilities to eradicate boredom, battle it out with friends and fuel the imagination.
Perhaps the most niche choice on the list, the Ace Attorney games follow the trials and tribulations of impassioned defence lawyer Phoenix Wright. This game remains one of the most rewarding gaming experiences to date. A more mature deviation from the explorative mystery-solving of the Professor Layton franchise (the two being so compatible however that they have a crossover game!), the stakes in Ace Attorney are considerably more dire as players follow Phoenix – and his resilient partner Maya – in their attempts to exonerate clients from situations both bizarre and sinister. This sounds like a simple enough premise, however what makes the games particularly addictive is the fascinating, even to the point of harrowing, artistry of the storytelling. The crimes range seamlessly from the comic to the unexpectedly tragic. The plots are interwoven between each game with such subtle clues and echoes, proving an impressive example of narratorial prowess. You find yourself bonding with and outright detesting characters the same as those in your favourite books or TV shows, making budding lawyers out of all of us regardless of whichever degree you‘re pursuing.
Another franchise on par with Pokemon undoubtedly is the Mario games, especially as the ones designed for DS are probably the most sociable out of all the games on this list. Indeed, for many DS owners, Mario is perhaps the catalyst in their gaming obsession, as New Super Mario Bros. DS, Mario Kart DS and Super Mario 64 DS all invite an unparalleled sense of thrill and fierce competition. You fall in love with the vibrant, detailed designs in tandem with the sometimes more drastic storylines like Bowser‘s Castle, Ghost Valley and Rainbow Road, alongside the always enjoyable experience of squabbling over who gets to play Mario while the other is stuck with Toad.
One of the most unique and treasured gaming phenomenas, Professor Layton has become a timeless mystery sensation since the days when Holmes and Poirot had swept the nation. The unadulterated, romanticised Britishness of the series is enough to pull you into Hershel Layton‘s puzzle laden universe, inviting us all to become impeccable puzzle solvers and the paradigms of top-hatted, herbal-tea-brewing gentlemen. From the beautiful score to the tasteful animation, it is awe-inspiring how much care and attention is instilled not only into the puzzles themselves but each the plot and storytelling of each games. From Curious Village to Azran Legacy, the experience becomes more ingeniously shocking and emotive as the franchise evolves, the pathos being particularly poignant in Lost Future. You can either enjoy the games solo or invite your flatmates to furiously head-scratch with you, with Professor Layton being an excellent way to get the cogs in your brain churning.
Nintendogs is the game that truly started it all; nothing can replace its magic and nostalgia. As the softest and most wholesome choice on the list, the game stands as mostly everyone‘s introduction to the DS. Nintendogs allowed us to become familiar with the device through activities such as training our adorable puppies, feeding, walking and playing with them – even encouraging them not to fight on occasion! Before Pokemon contests we were enamoured with participating in dog contests, the first multi-playing feature being to meet your mate on a dog walk before ever being able to swill them on the racetrack. Nintendogs additionally may prove beneficial if you‘re missing your real-life fluffy friends back home; perhaps your pixilated puppies can cure this homesickness.
Other notable options also include The Cooking Mama, The Legend of Zelda and Animal Crossing franchises. These and the list above all remain popular and are evolving on different platforms to this day, providing the opportunity to tap into your inner child again while making some like-long companions and excelling onto this new, exciting level of life’s gameplay.
Tanika Lane – Arts and Culture Editor