Nintendo DS Lite (NDS)

Gaming is what got me into computers, I was facinated by the idea that it was possible to create your own games.  I started out with the Commodore-64 which let me play lots of games, but also gave me a chance to learn a lot of programming.  My next computer was a PC (386sx) and by this time I was more focused on programming than gaming.  Later on after university I picked up a Nintendo 64, which in its day was a ground breaking console.  This was also around the time that id Software was reinventing the PC gaming market with Doom and later Quake – this resulted in many late nights sessions at work where we’d setup a network game after hours.

Having met some seriously fanatical gamers, I can’t call myself one.  I like to play from time to time, but the constant hardware upgrades and time investment keep me from being very serious.  In late 2004 I picked up a GameBoy Advance SP – it was a great way to kill time in an airport.  Ken had purchased a few MovieAdvance carts, which let me play some homebrew and movies (poor quality, but this is a 16MHz ARM chip!).  For my birthday in 2006 Jenn got me Nintendo DS Lite, and it is so much more than just a simple game machine..

When I got a copy of Super Mario 64 for the NDS, it completely blew my socks off.  Here is a game that in 1996 was one of the coolest looking (and fun) games I’d ever played – and now 10 years later its running on a handheld.  Of course there is also the well known side scrolling New Super Mario Bros and of course The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass which are must have games on the NDS.  Moving a bit away from games, the BrainAge series are very addictive – and the web browser gets regular use by me.

In my opinion a must have is one of the many flash cartridges for the NDS.  I bought an R4DS from back in early 2007.  The flash cart world is a bit odd, there is a very strong homebrew scene – but an even stronger pirate community.  The flash carts themselves live in a gray area, and are illegal to sell in some countries.  Some of companies making these products tend to seem a little shady as well, often creating cheap knock-offs so there is an element of buyer beware.

The R4DS takes a microSD card, which is almost hilariously small.  Let’s take a quick look at some of the software I have loaded on mine today.

There is plenty of other stuff as well, but those are a few highlights – every one is worth the time to download and install.

I also use the NDS as a reading light – so while I don’t play games every day, I do use it almost every night.  The new DSi looks very tempting, but I suspect I’ll wait until the price comes down a bit – and we start to see more software which is unique to the DSi.  I can’t wait to see what the homebrew community cooks up for it.

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