Thursday, December 19, 2019

Ben's 12 Days of Christmas Memories - Day 6: The DS

By the time 2004 rolled around things were starting to change. I wasn't a little kid anymore, so the things I asked for got more and more expensive. In previous years my parents had always managed to somehow make things work, but as I got older for them that got harder. That year the only thing I really wanted was the DS, but that wasn't as easy as it might sound. The thing was very expensive when it first released, and it was also almost impossible to find. Considering it came out only a month before Christmas I guess that isn't too shocking, but that didn't make things any better. I really wanted it, and I thought there was no hope.

The first time I had seen the DS was in one of my first copies of Nintendo Power. The "Nintendo Development System" as it was called at the time. It was a handheld device with a top and bottom screen, with the bottom one being a touch screen. It kinda reminded me of the GBA SP, but it was capable of playing 3D games. Animal Crossing was one of the games shown off in the magazine, but they didn't go into too much detail. It wasn't until I started reading more about it over at Nintendo Nsider that I realized what the console was going to be. Not only was it a handheld that could play 3D games, but it was also one that could use this crazy new feature called "wi-fi." What is wi-fi you might ask? Yeah, I know. No one asks that... But back in the day they did! Believe it or not there was a time when wi-fi was a strange new concept, and it was extremely rare to find someone who had it. Newer routers allowed you to connect to wi-fi, but who had those? I sure didn't! Heck at the time businesses didn't even use it, nor did we have devices that allowed for it. It was basically reserved for laptop users and higher end hotels, and that's about it. And if you lived in a small town like me, it basically didn't exist. Anyway the Nintendo DS was going to be the first Nintendo console to use it, and I couldn't wait to play with friends online. Thankfully somehow my parents didn't let me down.

(This is actually how it looks on the Wii U)
I actually remember the day my mom found the DS, but I didn't realize that was happening. I was at Walmart with my parents, and I remember them trying to keep me from looking at anything. We were just there to get some things, and then to quickly leave. I thought it was odd, but whatever. I didn't want to be there anyway! Apparently that's when my mom bought a DS for me, and picked up one for a family friend as well. That Christmas when I opened the package up I was pretty shocked, but sadly it wouldn't be until another year that I really got to see what the DS could do. In the mean time I had Mario 64 to play (something I had always wished I could play on my GBC in the car), and that Metroid Prime Hunters demo that helped convince me to try the series. Those games were a lot of fun, and over the next year I would pick up a few other games as well. Plus considering it doubled as a GBA, I was able to keep playing the existing games I loved as well. Then 2005 came.

That Christmas is easily another favorite of mine. It's the year I got Mega Man Zero 4 (which ends the Zero series), King Kong for GameCube (game was amazing), and it's also when I got Mario Kart DS and Animal Crossing Wild World. As I mentioned before Animal Crossing became one of my favorite games on the GameCube, but Wild World took things to a whole new level. It and Mario Kart both were the first games to use Nintendo's new Wi-Fi Connection, and I couldn't wait to play them. Of course I didn't have a router at home so I had to have that USB connector, but thankfully that was a part of my gift as well. That morning the first thing I did was jump into Mario Kart DS (the first MK I had played since the original on SNES), and played my first race online. I was a bit freaked out at seeing the name "Ben" above my character as I played, but my mom assured me there were millions of other Bens in the world -- so it wasn't a big deal. Afterwords I would try out Animal Crossing as well, and just like the original it became a daily must play for me. Not just because it was Animal Crossing, but because of my friends as well. I knew quite a few people with the game, and thanks to it's online mode we got to spend a lot of time together in that world. We even added others from Nsider to change it up! Sure that was against Nintendo's rules, but whatever. They couldn't control what we did in private messages, and it only made the game a lot more fun. Meeting new people, exploring their towns, etc. You never knew what you'd run into, and I loved it. Afterwords I would go on to play that game for years, but eventually it did get replaced with City Folk on the Nintendo Wii.

Anyway, the DS is something that still hasn't gone away for me. Thanks to the 3DS supporting DS games as well, I often return to these games from my past, and I still enjoy them as much as I did back then. Sadly all of the online games have since been shut down, but that doesn't make single player games like The World Ends With You from being any less fun. I love that console, and a part of me is sad to see it fade away along with it's successor. But that's life. Man I want to play Wild World now...