Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Nintendo DS (2004 - 2012)

Well, the PS4 has been unveiled, and the last few major PS3 and Xbox 360 titles are due for release before the end of the year, effectively signaling the close of perhaps the most drawn-out generation of video game consoles. The generation arguably began in 2004 with the release of the Nintendo DS handheld, whose last games of consequence, Pokemon Black Version 2 and White Version 2, came out last year.

Perhaps somewhat fittingly (but mostly frustratingly), my black DS Lite finally failed me as I was in the middle of my Pokemon Black Version 2 playthrough. The bottom screen succumbed to the jitters, which would be intolerable even on a normal screen, but, as the bottom screen is the touchscreen, the encumbrance is even greater, as it would impair my ability to helm the controls of a number of games (admittedly, not Pokemon so much). Finally, late last year, I went ahead and bought a 3DS XL, despite my disappointment at its lack of a second analog stick, and despite there being no 3DS games I was interested in.

As I retire my DS Lite at last, I reflect now on how really significant a part of my life it represented over these last several years. When I bought it back in 2006 from Circuit City (remember them?), it was actually the first major purchase I had made with my own money earned from my first real job. (If you know how old I am and are now doing the math, please don't ask what I was doing with my adult life prior to 2006.) It feels so long ago now, even if, in fact, my life has not changed so very much since then. I have (long) since left that job, and the one after. And, toward the end of that period, my gaming habit definitely slowed considerably. I mean, I originally landed that job, a game testing gig, by telling my interviewer that I played about 30 hours of games per week (perhaps an exaggeration). Now I go weeks at a time without touching a video game.

So some things have changed, not necessarily for better or worse. Good times, in any case, and good games. Indeed, I've decided, over the next few weeks, I'll be looking back on and highlighting some of my favorite DS games, as my way of fondly saluting the system as I lay it to rest. See you in about a week with my first entry.

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