With the recent (oh, I guess not that recent anymore) release of the Nintendo DS Lite, Shigeru Miyamoto and crew have found themselves at the forefront of video gaming again, having sat under the shadow of Sony and their PlayStation, PlayStation 2, and — to a lesser extent — PlayStation Portable. The DS Lite brings iPod-like glossy appeal to the video game arena, and when coupled with Nintendo’s innovative dual display set up (one of which is a touchscreen) and incredible gameplay, the DS Lite is quite the winner.

Speaking of great games, here are just a handful of titles available for the Nintendo DS that should be a part of every gamer’s library, regardless of genre preferences. Action junkies, RPG lovers, and simulation aficionados should all have a nice long gander at these titles.

Mario Kart DS: This is the “killer app” for the Nintendo DS (Lite). It is an absolute must-have title, not only because it brings such a long tradition behind it, but the compilation is an absolute masterpiece. The gameplay mechanics are second to none, the graphics are vibrant and colourful, and who can resist the appeal of hucking a red shell at Donkey Kong as he drifts around the corner on a goofy-looking 150cc go-kart. Veterans of the series will find themselves right at home, as many of the tracks are direct translations of those found in the Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64, or Game Boy Advance variations of the Mario Kart franchise. Not only will you enjoy playing the single player mode in MK-DS, but you’ll really appreciate this title when you go online and challenge other Mario Kart-ers from clear cross the globe. There are at (at least) 12 characters, 36 karts, and 32 courses to be found in Mario Kart DS.

Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day: Known as Dr. Kawashima’s Brain Training: How Old Is Your Brain? in Japan, Brain Age is a collection of mini games designed to help improve your brainpower, processing speed, and reaction time. It’s funny, really, because this “game” was originally marketed at the middle-aged set in Japan in an effort to slow down the brain aging process, helping those folks feel young and revitalized again. Never before has there been this much of a focus on marketing a video game to anyone over the age of 40. Don’t diss this title until you’ve tried it: you really can’t appreciate how much fun memory games, mathematics, and screaming out the word “yellow” can be until you’ve tried Brain Age. In many ways, Brain Age is superior to its follow-up, Big Brain Academy, but both games are pretty darn good in their own right(s).

Animal Crossing: Wild World: Another game compatible with Nintendo’s free WiFi Connection (WFC), AC:WW takes the concept of EA’s “The Sims” to a whole new level, not to take anything away from the series inspired by the legendary Sim City. Animal Crossing: Wild World for the Nintendo DS is very similar to the original Animal Crossing for the GameCube, but with plenty of extras thrown in (like being able to visit other gamer’s towns online via the Nintendo WiFi Connection) to keep every gamer satisfied. Another unconventional title, Animal Crossing: Wild World gets you to take on a mortgage, go fishing, catch bugs, and write letters to your neighbours. Just like Brain Age, this is another instance of “Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it”.

Trauma Center: Under The Knife: A sequel to this surgery game, Trauma Center: Second Opinion, is destined for the Nintendo Wii and it will feature much the same kind of gameplay. Whereas the Sony PSP has taken more conventional games and genres — like first-person shooters, standard action-adventure titles, and simple racing games — Nintendo has ventured into arenas never exploited in video gaming before. Trauma Center was developed by Atlus, and gets you to take on the role of Derek Stiles, a 26-year-old surgeon who is only starting to realize his genius at Hope Hospital. You remove shards of glass from an explosion victim, sew up the wounds, and other necessary tasks when it comes to rescuing someone using surgical techniques. All of this is accomplished with an intuitive touchscreen interface.

Magnetica: If you’ve played the free online game Zuma , then you’ll feel particularly comfortable with Magnetica for the Nintendo DS. The mechanic is nearly identical, where a train of different coloured orbs is slowly making its way toward a death pit. Your task is to create sets of three identically coloured marbles (which will then disappear), before this train of orbs reaches the black hole. There are a few different orientations, trails, and specialty orbs to jazz up the gameplay. Other puzzle games you should check out on the DS Lite include Meteos (a variation on the standard match-three gameplay) and Tetris DS (with online play and 6 different game modes).

Other Notable Nintendo DS Games:

Coming Soon:

  • Madden NFL 2007
  • Star Fox Command
  • Mario Hoops 3 on 3
  • Cooking Mama