These days, it seems that everyone has a DS. You've got one. Your grandmother has one. Everyone in Japan has four. The dual screens are everywhere, especially at the tops of the sales charts, and the juggernaut doesn't seem to be slowing down at all.
So ... why doesn't it get talked about more often? Why don't the games get better review scores?
Listen, we may be hardcore fans here, but we're also the first to admit that the handheld has flaws. The online play isn't exactly the best. There are as many less-than-good games as there are great games. But those things can be tolerated in the name of an amazing portable experience -- and they are, by us and apparently, everyone else. So why is the DS the bastard child of the gaming community, doomed to less exposure than every other system?
Reader Comments (Page 1 of 1)
1-02-2008 @ 9:27AM
you started describing the psp for a moment.
Just doesnt get talked about much cause of the lack of nintendo games so there isnt much to talk about.
1-02-2008 @ 9:31AM
You won't believe it, but I think about the same thing all the time. Face it , the DS is so successfull because it is open to all kind of people's.
I guess it will change now because it get's more serious titles like KH 358/2, Assassins Creed, Ninja Gaiden and so on.
It just took some time for the DS to prove it's worth, now the Developer seem to recognize it and the image should change soon.
Thats my 2 cents.
1-02-2008 @ 9:57AM
Historically, portables have always been considered second-class. Despite owning almost every system made, my face is more often in the DS. It has the widest range of games, both traditional and DS-specific and that keeps me coming back for more. Still, I don't understand why the most popular gaming system in the world is considered second-string.
1-02-2008 @ 10:23AM
Bill McCai said...
I gather it's just down to the sorts of 'hardcore' gamers that likely fill most of the gaming media community. I mean the DS is very much for everyone, from kids to parents and everything in between. While I'm guessing the type of person that makes gaming their 'job' basically is a different breed and seeking different things than most of us. With obvious exceptions, of course.
1-02-2008 @ 12:52PM
Alisha Karabinus said...
This is where I must disagree -- because 90% of those gamers most of us would describe as "hardcore" also own a DS, at least, in my experience. XBL fanatics, PS3 devotees, etc... also DS owners.
1-02-2008 @ 10:36AM
A lot of DS games have poor scores, and don't think I'm crazy as I say this... Most games for it are shite. Sure, you have the good games like Hotel Dusk, Mario Kart, Lost in Blue, Phoenix Wright... But these titles probably make up 25% of the overall titles for the DS. A lot of them are cheap mini-game centric games, GBA-like waste-money, low-budget titles which weren't very well thought out like Sprung, those 3-in-1 game bundles, board/card game remakes...
But it's okay, every console goes through this... I mean, look at the PS2. That is chock-a-block with shit titles with very few AAA titles which you actually want to keep in your collection. With next-gen consoles wading in, these small time, low-budget games are dying out because devs can't afford to foot the bill to get next-gen games out the door. While dev costs are still pretty low on the DS and Wii, you'll see a higher ratio of shit games to good games than any other console... Doesn't mean there are less good games on the DS than any other console, just means they're being drowned in the brown mess left by every other dev. Which is a shame...
1-02-2008 @ 12:50PM
Alisha Karabinus said...
But every system has those poor games, and they get poor scores. Those aren't the ones that concern me. What concerns me is that the BEST DS games don't get review scores that stack up against the BEST games on other systems. Why is that? Does a game have to be a certain type to get a good score? That's ridiculous; fun, amazing games that make incredible use of the DS are just as deserving of 10s as fun, amazing games that make incredible use of the 360.
1-02-2008 @ 12:13PM
I totally agree with Bill McCai... If you add the fact that the percentage of ds games that are actually rated well.. ( only 85 games are rated as 'good' on metacritic compaired to psp's 102. And how many more games does the ds have? ) I own both systems, but I play the psp more.
It basically comes down to the fact that every fanboy community thinks they get hated on by the other communities.
DS thinks they get hate cause their games are kiddie ( and they are )
PSP thinks they get hate cause their sales are way less than the DS, and they sell even less games.. ( witch is true )
360 gets hate cause you have a 3 in 10 chance of the system crashing or banning you for no reason, and if you don't play shooters.. tough. Cause nothing will ever come out of Japan.
PS3 gets hate cause it's expensive with 76 games. Don't like those, and finished the ones you liked? Wait 6 months..
Stop caring what other people think, especially on the internet.
1-02-2008 @ 1:43PM
Alisha has a point. What kind of game, exactly, would critics rate higher than a 9.0/10 for the DS?
1-02-2008 @ 4:47PM
I think Penny Arcade hit the nail on the head.
Game reviewers do NOT play games like normal people. They have a huge stack of games to review, and they try to speed through them as fast as possible, w/o taking the time to read text, "think", etc. while playing. If they get stuck, they call the developer/publisher.
The very best DS games are NOT ports from other platforms (like the PSP games), since the stylus and dual screens allow a creative and original gaming experience. HOWEVER, all that originality and creativity is ANNOYING to professional game reviewers who are trying to get through a game as quickly as possible. So DS games get bad reviews. I've noticed alot of people who grew up on the NES/N64/etc. HATE stylus controls, etc. or anything that is new and different.
Cooking Mama 2: Dinner with Friends is completely stylus controlled and gameplay relies on watching both screens, so (of course) game reviewers gave it a bad review. Touch Detective and Touch Detective 2 1/2 is one of my favorite game(s). Both games are completely controlled by the stylus and you must read everything CAREFULLY (keeping in mind your objectives), and touch EVERYTHING (to complete MacKenzie's touch list) to complete the game sucessfully. Game reviewers don't have time to touch everything in the game and to carefully (slowly) read the in-game text. So they can't solve the clever puzzles themselves and must call the developer multiple times for the answers (which ANNOYS them, and cost too much time). So Touch Detective/Touch Detective 2 1/2 get bad review scores.
Those are just 2 examples, but you get the idea. Anything new, anything creative, anything that requires any thinking whatsoever, is panned by the game reviewers. Whereas, something like Contra 4 which is exactly like the old games they used to play on the NES/N64/etc. is reviewed quite well. Unless the game is 1st party from Nintendo, games with original gameplay/stylus control/etc. receive poor game review scores (because game reviewers can't be bothered, they have more games to review, and they favor FAMILIARITY over innovation, since they can't spare the TIME to learn innovative, new, or stylus driven gameplay).
The best place way to find out about a game is asking OTHER GAMERS who have the time and patience to lovingly play a game like the developers meant the game to be played. Developers made the game for YOU, NOT the game reviewers, because ultimately word of mouth NOT game review scores will drive sales (look at the sales for Cooking Mama 2, IGN has a thread on how hard it is find/buy a copy). For game review sites, check the review of game that you have already played and compare them to the game site's reviews. If you can find a game site where THOSE reviews match your experience, then you've found a good review site for future games.
The Nintendo Forums were a good place to read about game from other gamers, but the site is gone.
And I would ALWAYS ignore reviews from people who say "I've beaten "game XYZ" is 2 hours and I hated it", because anyone who says that is a liar or just too stupid to play through a game (ADHD).
Also, I heard a kid at Circuit City tell his parents that games based on movies suck (I laughed out loud), it's soooo true.
Also ignore people who say "this game sucks" who have never played the game (Meteos fans reviewing "Meteos: Disney Magic", you know who you are).
End of rant. :)
1-02-2008 @ 5:52PM
well written, couldn't agree more.
1-02-2008 @ 8:56PM
Agreed, very well written and insightful.
1-02-2008 @ 5:17PM
I've failed to pick up on the DS being universally ignored and shunned by the media, I think you guys made that up. -___- It might also be a good idea to have a look at the DS section at GameStop or some other game store. The majority of the games available are not very good or wouldn't appeal to anybody enough into gaming to visit websites and blogs on the subject. There's plenty of worthy titles but because the DS is so popular it also attracts a hefty amount of rubbish, so does the Wii and so did the PS2.
1-02-2008 @ 5:55PM
Alisha Karabinus said...
Compare the scores between the DS and systems like the 360 on Metacritic. There's a huge gap between the top games there -- something like six points. Look at content on many major gaming sites. Even our own Joystiq tends to cover the DS less often than the PS3 or the 360. Gaming forums? Twice as many threads about "next-gen" systems than about the DS, though again, everyone seems to own one. It's subtle, but it's there, and it's pretty mystifying, considering that DS outsells everything, everywhere, constantly.
As best as I can figure, it may be as simple as the fact that DS games just don't have the production values of PS3 and 360 games. They're not as pretty, so it doesn't matter if the gameplay is as (or more!) engrossing; the images don't get splashed about and the PR isn't as noticeable.
1-02-2008 @ 6:59PM
Wry Guy said...
Not everybody owns a DS. Not even close. There's plenty of people that are completely clueless to the library of good games on the DS, because they have no interest in portable gaming. The DS has tons of great games, yes, but people don't make themselves aware of them until they get caught on the initial hook of the system: The fact that you can take it with you.
Come to think of it, that's probably why so many people in Japan own a DS. Residential and suburban areas tend to be segregated, and daily train rides are common. Handheld entertain would logically be in fairly high demand over there, but I digress...
In terms of quality games, the DS gives any other system a run for its money, but you can't play the DS on an HDTV (a lot of people hate that small screen), nor does it much processing power for 3D games, nor does it have very impressive online capabilities.
Until you get a DS in somebody's hands and show them all of the good games they're missing out on, they will simply not take a very strong interest in the system. They'll keep their eyes on the bigger and more expensive toys.
1-02-2008 @ 7:01PM
Ry Guy said...
Curses, I had a brain fart there. I meant to say Japan's residential and URBAN areas tend to be segregated.
1-03-2008 @ 10:38AM
What do you mean "Why all the hate?" Just because a good amount of games for the system get less than stellar review scores doesn't mean anyone is hating on it. You answered your own question: "There are as many less-than-good games as there are great games." Though I would go farther and say there are far more "less-than-good" games than great games and that goes for every system ever made. Did you post this "news" for the sake of trying to create drama? Lame.
1-03-2008 @ 8:45PM
Handhelds have always been second fiddle to consoles. I grew up a handheld gamer because my siblings were not very good at sharing the Playstation. But the Game Boy was all mine and I could play it whenever I wanted. I started getting gaming magazines so I could learn about upcoming neat games for my system, and it was then that I noticed that most of the industry doesn't pay attention to the little guy. In any given magazine, there are pages upon pages of reviews for console games and maybe one or two reviews for handheld games. That's why I use the internet now.
Also, I think part of it might be the fact that Nintendo has pretty much always dominated the handhelds department. Consoles are always much closer together in the gaming race than any other handheld is to Nintendo's latest product.
2-26-2008 @ 11:41AM
That is because of the US' strange love for anything microsoft. Gaming magazines from this area, and the british ones who really would like to be american, always cover the 360 first (it comes first alphabetically...?!?!?). Even the various official Nintendo-mags do a 2/3 wii-coverage, leaving the DS to 1/3. But that's no problem, because until the gaming world has been completely japanized, I continue reading exclusively-DS-sites, and don't even know any other sites.