Square Enix realizes the potential of the DS
Uh oh, someone told Square Enix that developing for the DS would be a good idea. Spin-offs and remakes, oh my! Not only that stuff, but Square Enix dropped the bombshell on us in the very last days of 2006 (it's close enough to count): Dragon Quest IX would be exclusive to the DS. This opened the flood gates for the company to bring tons of games onto the platform, including the spin-off Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker. That game, you all know, sold very well in Japan and didn't do so badly elsewhere. And, let's not forget Dragon Quest IV.
Then, there are other games in their popular franchises. Revenant Wings, Final Fantasy IV, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, Final Fantasy Tactics A2, Front Mission and Kingdom Hearts. Heck, it's so much, we can barely remember. And, toss in new IPs such as It's a Wonderful -- er, sorry, The World Ends With You and you've got even more to remember. Our wallet cries for all of the stellar titles we're forced to plunk money down on.
Special edition DS Lites
At one point this year, a light switch was flipped and every single game that was releasing in Japan had a special edition DS Lite bundle. Whether it's this Pokemon DS Lite or this one (or the most yellow thing ever created), the monster-collecting crowd is definitely covered.
For other special edition DS Lites in the country, we've got a unit with scribbles all over it, one from Hudson, one for Crystal Chronicles, an It's a Wonderful World Lite, one for a Gundam game and ... come on, do we need to list them all?
Outside of Japan, some other special edition units hit the scene. There were a few plain old Seattle Mariners units made, as well as a boring Phantom Hourglass unit that came bundled in the UK. Not much compared to the plethora of Japanese units that hit the market, but at least it's something.
On top of that, Nintendo saw fit to offer us some different official colors themselves. It started with black and pink, then they hooked us up with the "senior edition" unit. Folks in Japan got their hands on a metallic duo, which is nice. Anyone looking for some flair on their DS should be covered. Oh, and let's not forget Nintendo's own special edition bundles ...
Training for a better you
Nintendo's brain-training title paved the way for more and more, causing some to believe the DS replaced self-help books and motivational speakers. Through select software, people could teach themselves how to do just about anything. Our very own blogger JC (he's also quite the man of international leisure, although we're not all too sure what that means) touched on the ridiculous nature of these training games, adding his own insights into the matter, as well. No matter how you look at it, the year 2007 was very big for the training game on the DS.
The rise of the peripheral
One of the things we absolutely love about the DS is its sleek and slim nature, which is kind of funny considering how so many big, bulky peripherals would be released for the unit over the course of the year. Card readers, a paddle for Arkanoid, a TV tuner, and the camera are some of the more high-profile peripherals that immediately come to mind. Then, there's the newest: DSvision. This will allow DS owners in Japan to download books, movies, music and comics right onto their DS. It's the kind of download service we dream about arriving to other territories.
Get naughty with your DS
While it isn't strictly something having to do with 2007, we did have some interesting stuff that pertained to the naughtier side of the DS this year. There's the story of the 11-year-old girl being subjected to a very bad word after playing a her pre-owned copy of Animal Crossing: Wild World, for instance. And who can forget the whole Scrabble fiasco back in September? But, the real reason for this paragraph is this (Warning: link is totally NSFW). Eric's write-up of naughty homebrew was one of our favorite things to have read in 2007 and we'll take every opportunity we can to discuss it.
Nintendo wins the customer service award
Tales of Nintendo's customer service were prominent this year due to the whole hinge scandal. We call it Hingegate around here, to be honest. Nintendo has shown their staff is ready to please, even going so far as to call you directly. Heck, if you just keep your mouth shut, there is a good chance they'll just help you in the most awesome way possible. Of course, this isn't the same for everyone, as we're sure some of you might not have come away satisfied in dealing with Nintendo's Customer Service department, but most of what's been reported has been favorable for Nintendo.
Now that we have come to the end of our little stroll down memory lane, we figured it's about time we addressed the sales figures. Nintendo's DS Lite has been in a constant state of selling the hell out. It's ridiculous how popular the handheld is, both in Japan where a lot of our stories constantly talked about how sold out the thing was for just about forever, to just recently, where the sales in the U.S. totally blew our minds apart. Now, the DS is scarce in the U.S. here and doing okay over in Japan. The story of its sales in the year 2007 is quite an engaging and surprising one.
As you can imagine, looking back over an entire year is rough work. There's been a lot of happenings in the world of the DS in 2007 and these are only some of the things we felt were worthy of taking a look back at and commenting on. It's been a wild ride, with a lot of ups and downs (eh, who are we kidding -- it's been pretty much ups all the way). But we look forward to 2008. Probably more so than we looked forward to this year back in 2006. A lot of interesting things are on the horizon for the DS and we can't wait to be blogging them as they come. Hopefully, you'll be as enthused to read about it as we are to write about it.