Monday, October 30, 2006

Buying On a Budget

Purchasing original games can be quite expensive, not unlike supporting any other good cause. Take it this way, when someone doesn't pay for services rendered by you, it would definitely leave more than just a bitter taste in your mouth.

Nintendo DS games are in particular more expensive then their PC counterparts. Perhaps it is the materials used to manufacture those cartridges or the fact that no form of localization has been done on any of the titles on the DS or maybe it is due the lack of a large enough customer base to drive prices down.

It might seem a bit discouraging but there are some ways to stem the assault on your wallet. Here are some tips if you are on a budget:
  1. Instead of "New", think "Secondhand". Pre-owned games tend to sell for much lower prices compared to their retail counterparts. No need to worry about the condition of the games because as far as original games are concerned, they are usually pretty well treated by their owners. I scour a particular Internet forum for bargains and I bought 3 games for an average of RM 60 each. A new game would cost around RM 130 a title.

  2. Wait. Patience is a virtue and instead of rushing out to grab a hot new game, wait for all the hype (and price) to go down before purchasing the particular game. Besides, waiting allows you to evaluate the game in terms of reading/watching reviews and hearing what your fellow gamer friends have to say about the game. You don't want to rush into things and part with your hard-earned cash for the very latest half-baked trash.

  3. Bargain Bins. From where I come from, I rarely see bargain bins for Nintendo DS games in game shops, but the same does not apply to game shops like Dubai or the online stores of and You can get bargain prices for brand new games with the benefit of free shipping as well (applies only to the online sites)!

  4. Be nice to your game shop owner. This is generally for the more experienced gamer who most likely has a tendency to do his or her shopping rounds in just a few places. Make nice with the shop owner and you probably get a discount.

  5. Research, research, research. Just like how location is important in real estate, it pays to do some research on how prices are for games selling in different locations where you can actually purchase them (so don't go too far). This applies if you are new to video gaming or are a casual gamer who isn't accustomed to purchasing games all the time. Why is research important? It helps a person in this kind of scenario:

    "Once, a guy asked in an online forum where to get a Nintendo DS and a reply came back saying he should get it from a shop he trusts. How would a guy establish a level of trust if he is totally new to video games and has not purchased anything from any video game shop in the first place?"
I hope that the above tips are helpful; I for one know they have worked well for me.

You Don't Wanna Race With Strangers?

Getting on the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection (WFC) service for some Mario Kart action is quite easy, provided you have the right wireless Access Point/Router/Hot spot to deal with. Once connected, it is just a matter of looking for opponents to race with.

Since Mario Kart DS does not have a lobby system, you would have to contend with the service selecting your opponents for you. There is an alternative however if you don't feel like racing with strangers: Friend Codes!

The closest thing I can use as an analogy for Friend Codes would be your instant messaging contact list. Basically by prompting the game to search for "Friends" for a multiplayer match, it will basically go through the friend codes stored in your copy of the game. Simply obtain your friend's Friend Code and enter it into the game for future reference.

To know your own friend code (so that your friends can add you as well), go over to the Friend Code option in Mario Kart DS' Nintendo WFC screen and select the Confirm Friend Code option.

You can find my Friend Code and my nickname in Mario Kart DS on the side bar of this blog.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Adventures in WiFi

Setting up the WIFI LINK Adapter on the PC or laptop is pretty straightforward stuff; just install the drivers, plug in the device and then set it up as an access point using the software that came with the driver installation. Despite how complicated it may sound, access point setup is actually quite easy in practice; just don't forget to select a bridge adapter to a current network connection which hooks up to the Internet.

Things get a bit harder when it comes to connecting the Nintendo DS to the access point. I came up with the following settings for Mario Kart DS' WFC setup through some trial and error. My network is set-up as such that my laptop is connected to my router modem via network cable while the WIFI LINK adapter is connected to the laptop via the USB port.
  1. Set Auto-obtain IP Address to No.
  2. Set IP Address to something along the lines of the IP addresses in your network, but of course choose a unique address. In my case, my laptop's IP address is and I set the Nintendo DS's IP address to
  3. Set the Subnet Mask, which I set to
  4. Set the Gateway, which I set to the router's IP address which in this case is
  5. Set Auto-obtain DNS to No
  6. Set the Primary and Secondary DNS to Streamyx's (or your particular ISP of choice) DNS which are and
Once these settings were entered, I got Mario Kart DS connected to the WFC, and the rest, they say, is history. The Mayflash WIFI LINK actually works!

Good Things Come In Pairs

I made my first order with Play-Asia for a MAYFLASH WiFi LINK adapter on the 17th of October and the package arrived on the 28th of October. It took a little longer to be delivered than expected but it can't be help due to the festivities going on earlier this week; for the record the package passed the customs check on the 21st of October.

The package came in a brown box which seems to have survived unmolested through Customs, unlike some of the horror stories that I've read elsewhere. Inside there was a bubble-wrap pocket containing the box in which the adapter came in, some styrofoam pieces and other stuff.

The adapter's box suffered during shipping with an obvious dent on its side but fortunately this did not damage the contents inside the box. As for the other stuff that came with the package, Play-Asia included a USD 5 discount coupon and a sticker.

In addition to receiving the Play-Asia package, my Aztech wireless router modem was returned to me today after it was sent back to the manufacturer for repairs.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Two Situations

Here are some situations whereby you might find casual games on handheld consoles to be quite handy. I can only think of two at the moment.

1. Babysitting kids

The game is not for you to play with, but rather it's for the kids. If you are babysitting a hyperactive child or basically any kid that has already been exposed to video games, chances are you will have a better chance of keeping the kid occupied with a video game rather than with anything else. If your underage charge starts asking for Grand Theft Auto instead of Mario Kart DS, tell him that playing the game will make him go to hell. Kids are gullible that way.

2. Waiting for your date

Waiting is probably the activity that you do most when you are dating someone who is either a vain pot or a metrosexual. They tend to spend A LOT of time in the bathroom or in front of the dressing table before stepping out with you.

It is normal to be feeling excited over how your date will look like but this only happens at the start of the relationship, the feeling of excitement will soon be replaced with boredom. Short games on your PSP or Nintendo DS will help alleviate your suffering.


For fans of the Worms series of games on the PC and PS2, THQ's Worms: Open Warfare for the Nintendo DS goes somewhere along the lines of Worms: Armageddon but falls short of its highly regarded PC cousin.

However, for first timers, welcome to the mad cap world of Worms: Open Warfare. In this game, you take control of a group of worms to engage in turn-based warfare on another group(s) of worms in randomly generated battlefields. In order to win, you'll need to utilise the variety of weapons ranging from the all-time favourite bazooka to the absurd but destructive sheep bomb.

Worms: Open Warfare offers 4 different modes of play: Quick Game, Create Game, Challenges and Multiplayer. In Quick Game, the game immediately sets you up for a match with another group of computer-controlled worms.

The Create Game mode of play offers versatility whereby you get to select your team as well as the other opposing teams and the particular environment you want to play in. It is easy to setup a multiplayer player match where up to 4 people can take turns on the same Nintendo DS.

The Challenges mode gets you acquainted with the controls involved in playing Worms: Open Warfare and the Wireless mode offers up download play capabilities for other Nintendo DS owners in the same vicinity.

Gameplay wise, you control the actions of your "worm" using the directional pad and the A and B keys. The touch screen is relegated to weapons selection and for moving the camera around the map. First time players might notice that it is impossible to move about the menus in the touchscreen with the directional pad and a stylus would be necessary to play this game.

The weapons selection and graphics, even though falling short of its PC counterparts, are sufficient to provide good pick-me-up games. You may also find that the unpredictable but silly A.I helps as well.

Just try not to play this game in an airplane if you are the emotional type, because you'll find yourself referring to the weapons in the game verbally, example: "Damn grenade!"

Get your copy of Worms: Open Warfare at

Monday, October 23, 2006

Letting Strangers Drive Your Kart

I was at the bookstore cafe again today (refer to this post) getting some Mario Kart DS WFC action when a 7-year old decided to approach and ask me what I was playing.

Seeing that I was playing a racing game, he no longer needed an answer but instead proceeded to give comments on my racing style, the opponents and the kart that I was using. The interesting part came when he asked whether he can give it a go.

As with the previous casual gaming experiment, the kid just wanted to know how to get the kart moving. He proceeded to play for more than an hour while I had coffee with the proprietor of the shop.

Casual Gaming Experiment

I did some sort of casual gaming experiment last Friday night at a birthday party. The total number of people attending the party was 9 and I left my Nintendo DS loaded with Mario Kart on a table which was located a distance away from me but where everyone could see it.

Sure enough, with humans being curious beings, some of the attendees began to take notice of the device without any compulsion from me. Out of the 3, only one had held a Nintendo DS before but all three have never played Mario Kart.

2 out of 3 of them managed to get 1st place position in a race within a few minutes of play each and with very little instruction needed; I can tell you that they were pretty much engrossed as well. It just goes to show that great pick-me-up games are central to the whole casual gaming experience.

Games that fit in this kind of category definately warrant a write-up in this blog.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Jumping into a Kart with Strangers

I recently had the opportunity to play Mario Kart DS on Nintendo's WFC service. I managed to get connected at a bookstore managed by a friend of mine who had installed a Belkin wireless router in the premise to provide free WiFi to customers.

Having no Friend Codes with me, I jumped into a match with a total stranger but not before waiting for the game to look for opponents. The guy that I played against was very fast and I only managed to beat him on my favourite snow covered track.

Overall, the whole Nintendo WFC experience is great and having games against real opponents over the Internet via WiFi provides a real challenge even to seasoned single-player mode gamers.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Revised Wish List

I have decided to revise my wish list since I have already purchased Metroid Prime Pinball. Having read (and watched) some reviews, some games will be dropped and new titles are going to be added to the list, one of them isn't exactly a game.

So here goes:

1. Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis
2. New Super Mario Bros
3. Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime
4. Clubhouse Games
5. Kanji Sonomama Rakubiki Jiten

The last title is some sort of a Japanese-English dictionary with kanji recognition abilities. Nice. I'll write a review of it, if I get it during my Christmas shopping.

I read an interesting entry in a forum that I frequent regarding the official Nintendo counter in Malaysia. Of all the hype, has anyone actually bought anything from there? I have no doubt that people do buy games from this newly minted counter but do they belong to the group that talk about games (and the counter) all day long or those who actually play games?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Video Reviews

Video game purchases are more often than not influenced by the reviews featured in magazines and video game websites

While reading a review about a game is one thing, watching a video review of a game is something else. Video reviews are good in a sense that they show the game in action along with running commentary. I know this because I used to have a blast watching X-Play on Tech TV.

Having trouble visualizing a game through words or mere screenshots, you should check out YouTube which is a treasure trove for both amateur and professional video reviews of video games.

Here are some of the video reviews by GTTV (Game Trailer TV) that I found on YouTube, each of them around 4 to 5 minutes long.

Mario Kart DS:

Advance Wars: Dual Strike:

Brain Age:

New Super Mario Bros:

Metroid Prime Hunters:

Mario Hoops: 3 on 3:

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Trouble with Wifi

I used to have a clandestine wireless network set up in the classes I attended during my final year in college. Basically, it involved having my laptop hooked up to the college's WiFi network using a PCMCIA card WiFi adaptor and then connecting a Bluetooth adapter to the laptop.

This in turn allowed my friends and I to connect our Bluetooth enabled PDAs to the laptop and surf the Internet through the bridged connection. This was way before WiFi enabled PDAs were affordable and this jury-rigged solution allowed my friends and I to do a little surfing or chatting whenever lectures got boring. The best thing was that lecturers assumed that we were taking down notes with those devices.

On to the present day, I've not been able to get my network hardware to play nice with my Nintendo DS ever since I bought the console from Dubai. As a result, I have not been able to experience the fun playing Mario Kart DS on the WFC.

My first WiFi router, an Aztech 600 series model, was invisible to my DS and nothing short of flashing the router's firmware would make it work with my console. Unfortunately, the router overheated and was sent back to the manufacturer before I could proceed with flashing it.

The second WiFi router, a Dlink DSL-604T, didn't manage to work either. The only solution was to flash the device with a different firmware meant for users in Australia! I'm not really in favour of doing this as the possibility of turning my one and only router into a brick is quite high.

You might be muttering at the other end of the line thinking "Come on, show me something that works for a change". Yes, there are several other alternatives in store for those who want to get their Nintendo DS connected to the WFC.

First up, you can purchase a WFC compatible WiFi router. The list of routers is available at and you should go for those that are recommended by the site. This will take the guess work out of choosing an appropriate router.

If you are stuck with an incompatible router, just like in my case, don't fret. You can purchase Nintendo's Wi-Fi USB Connector (USD 44.90, available at which acts as a wireless Access Point by which your Nintendo DS can connect to.

Not many of us would like to spend USD 44.90 on a piece of plastic the size of a thumb drive and fortunately there are other USB adapters available.

The Datel WiFi Max goes for USD 34.90 and is available at

Mayflash produces a cheaper USB adapter that goes for
USD 24.90. This is also available at

For those of you who have money to spare but do not like the plain jane look of the Nintendo Wi-Fi USB Connector, you can go for the Planex GW-US54GZL Wireless Lan USB Adapter. This adapter is slightly more expensive than Nintendo's offering and you can view the
technical specs here.

If purchasing and setting up a router or a WiFi adaptor is too much of a hassle, you can always drop in at the local Starbucks or any other place that features an open hotspot. :)

I opted for the second option and I placed an order for a Mayflash WiFi Link adapter this afternoon. I'll have a write-up when it arrives.

Monday, October 16, 2006

That Rumbling Feeling

As the title of this post might imply, this is not the sequel to "That Rumbling Sound" nor is this about hungry stomachs. This post is about one of the more interesting accessories to go along with the Nintendo DS, the Rumble Pak.

The Rumble Pak attaches to the GBA slot on the Nintendo DS and provides tactile feedback to the gamer when playing supported games such as Metroid Prime Pinball. It is safe to say that Metroid Prime Pinball wouldn't be much of a pinball game without the Rumble Pak, which goes to show how, for lack of a better word, useful such an accessory the Rumble Pak is.

The Rumble Pak not only vibrates, but depending on the duration in which it is vibrating, a certain sound, like a chirp, will be emitted. This might annoy some people and there is pretty much no way of shutting it off.

The vibrations emitted from the Rumble Pak isn't much to shout about, not like the ones that comes from say, a Playstation 2 Dual Shock controller. It is a good thing however that Nintendo didn't go about naming the Rumble Pak somewhere along the likes of personal massagers.

My Rumble Pak came with my copy of Metroid Prime Pinball but I'm not really sure whether it comes with other games. However, I did find several titles that make use of the Rumble Pak:

  • Super Princess Peach
  • Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time
  • Metroid Prime Hunters
  • Metriod Prime Pinball
It is a shame though that Mario Kart DS is not supported. I wouldn't really recommend getting the Rumble Pak by itself, but if you love pinball, go get Metroid Prime Pinball and the bundled Rumble Pak instead.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

ESRB Notices

ESRB is the acronym for Entertainment Software Ratings Board, which is the video game industry's "self-regulatory" body.

The ESRB is responsible for rating games and if you hadn't notice, each game is accompanied with an ESRB notice. This notice is usually found on the cover or the box in which the game came in. This notice rates the game in terms of suitability for different age groups and it usually comes with additional content descriptors such as "Mild Violence" and "Blood".

Some Nintendo DS games have funny ESRB notices and some would have you in chuckles even before you open the game packaging.

I have not played this game, but for a relatively mild-looking game, Cooking Mama has the following ESRB notice:

Next up would be Clubhouse Games, which would make good practice if you are going to holiday in Vegas:

Harvest Moon DS has both the content descriptors and it is a farming simulator? Drop on by for an authentic farming experience:

Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime has a pretty nice rap sheet:

Upcoming Elite Beat Agents' ESRB content descriptors remind me of Jack Black, or an Adam Sandler movie:

Saturday, October 14, 2006

This Post is brought to you by the letters M, E, T, R, O, I and D

The Metroid series of games has been synonymous with Nintendo and its consoles (handheld or otherwise). I don't want to pretend that I know Metroid but it goes to show how influential this series is when someone like me who previously isn't into console games to know the main character's name, Samus Aran and that she is one of the more iconic female video game characters of all time.

Now, the Metroid series has made it to the Nintendo DS and after almost a year since it was first released, I have purchased Metroid Prime Pinball. Yes, it is a pinball game and it comes with a Rumble Pak (more on that next time) to boot!

Gameplay wise, this game provides a very convincing pinball experience. The flippers can be controlled by either the shoulder buttons or the left directional key on the D-pad and the A button on the right. The rest of the buttons X, Y and B are used for weapons and for power-up selection.
No pinball game worth its salt will do without the ability to nudge (bump) the table and this can be done by using the touchscreen!

This game provides several options of play, namely Multi Mission, Single Mission and Wireless Mission. In both Multi Mission and Single Mission modes, playing a table is often peppered with mini-games in which completion will provide you Artifacts or Specials in the respective modes.
Tables can be unlocked for Single Mission play when successfully completed in Multi Mission play.

This game is really fast and vivid graphically with some nice effects thrown in, don't be suprised to see rain in the game. The sound effects and soundtrack compliments the game well and even though I haven't got to the point of hooking the game up with my speaker system, this game sounds great.

Regardless whether you are a casual player or a pinball aficionado, Metroid Prime Pinball makes for excellent pick-me-up games and replayablity. For the hardcore in you, post up your high scores online on the Metroid Prime Pinball leaderboards located here.

Get your copy of Metroid Prime Pinball at!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

That Rumbling Sound

Creative Playworks PS2000Creative first released the Playworks PS2000 Digital 2.1 Audio Speaker System way back in 2000. This particular model had a unique way of presenting 2.1 audio in a form "virtual 5.1 surround sound" using a Dipole unit and an active subwoofer which has built-in Dolby Digital decoder.

The highlight of this speaker system would be the Dipole unit which basically consists of two speakers joined together and placed on a stand. The direction in which the speakers are aimed is adjustable to produce the best possible listening effect to the user.

I got this set just a few days ago as a birthday present from my brother and I'm happy to say that besides the matching colours between the Dipole unit and my Nintendo DS, this audio set produces really great sound. I hooked up the DS with the speaker system and it really made my day hearing the sound effects from Mario Kart, especially that of the engine rumbling at the beginning of the race.

This funky looking audio set, which was marketed years ago as the perfect compliment for the Sony Playstation 2 in both looks and functionality, is currently out of production and thus unavailable in most online stores. However, scouting around your local computer store for this will definitely make it worth your time. Did I mention that this unit comes with a full complement of cables and a remote control as well?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Game Boy Gaming

Aside from my Nintendo DS, I have a nearly a decade old Nintendo Game Boy which I found stowed away in a drawer downstairs. I mainly played Super Mario Land on my Game Boy and no other game really mattered. My best achievement on that game was reaching the final level boss but failing to beat it.

Having talked about the games, the thing I like most about the Game Boy itself is the dimensions. It is large, bulky and somewhat heavy but in my opinion, it has a very nice feel to it. The main reason for it being heavy is the fact that it utilizes four AA size batteries.

Some interesting (and geeky) facts obtained from about the Game Boy include:
  • It was introduced in 1989.
  • The processor speed for the device is 4.19 MHz
  • Over 55 million Game Boys have been sold.

Going Retro

I used to play with my cousin's Nintendo Game 'N Watch handheld games when I was a kid. Looking back, those devices weren't really interesting with their rubber buttons, burnished metal casing and staid gameplay.

But one thing did stand out and that was the dual-screens used in one of those devices. This design has proven to be enduring and is being revisited by the Nintendo DS and Nintendo DS Lite. Going retro is the new black.

Train your brain?

Playing video games can be a mentally stimulating exercise but there are still stigmas whereby video games are associated with violence, sex and are generally a waste of time.

Brain Age is a game that well, defies at least 2 out of 3 stigmas listed above. Based on the work of a certain Japanese neuroscientist, Dr Ryuta Kawashism, Brain Age offers up different kinds of "mental exercises" designed to simulate your brain. Your brain will be rated in terms of its age, 20 being the most ideal and the older it gets, you are in trouble. Get better at the mental exercise and you should have no problem in lowering your brain's age.

Along with his avatar which appears in the game and dishes out funny quips, Brain Age comes with Sudoku! Yes, this is good news for those Sudoku addicts.

Whether or not playing Brain Age would make you smarter remains to be seen, but this game utilizes quite a number of features on the DS such as the mic, touchscreen and the dual screens to provide you with a rather interesting experience.

Get your copy of Brain Age at Play-Asia!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Fan-boys: Keeping the Faith

Hop into any message board or forums with regards to console gaming and it would be not uncommon to find people expounding the virtues of the consoles manufactured by the companies that they practically worship (e.g. the big three: Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo) and the irony being that some of these consoles are not even out in the market yet.

So what makes these "fan-boys" tick and behave the way they do, which can be way beyond civilized conversation (example: "Sony suxor, Nintendo rawks, Microsoft can s*** my b****")?

Is it because of the pleasure obtained when gloating about the features of a particular console or the honor of becoming the spokesperson for a. a well know game developer, b. a console manufacturer or c. the boss of a huge video games publisher?

I offer you a better explanation. Blind faith. These fanatics have absolute faith that their console manufacturer "gods" can come up with something that will totally blow their minds. This is a fact that makes civilized conversation totally useless when it comes to them as nothing else matters (or has any relevance) except their faith in their "god".

As for me, I am just a bystander having a good laugh. It is amazing how much rubbish can be produced when a forum thread titled "Console X beats Console Y in feature Z?" Instead of the normal intellectual discourse that should take place, the forum becomes a battlefield. Get a laugh or two out of this.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

My Current Wish List

The holiday season is coming up, and I do hope that online retailers and game shops alike are going to provide good offers for original Nintendo DS games. Like anyone who owns a DS, I do have a wish list:

1. Club House Games
2. New Super Mario Bros
3. Metroid Prime Pinball

4. Mario Hoops 3 on 3

5. Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime

Playing with Mario, Wario, Luigi and Yoshi

This marks the first time I played a Nintendo DS game with so many control schemes. This can be attributed to the fact that unlike any other Super Mario games on handheld consoles, Super Mario 64 DS is in full 3D. This isn't your Dad's Super Mario on the Gameboy.

You get to run about in 3D worlds and this necessitates the choice of three control options. I find it comfortable going for the one with the stylus and d-pad. Gameplay wise, the new 3D environment provides a whole new experience especially for those who have not played Mario games on the Nintendo 64 or Gamecube and the game those have the graphical chops to match!

Aside from the main Adventure game, the mini-games are good time wasters in their own right. Play card games with Luigi, pluck flower petals with Yoshi, guide Mario down some slides or bounce him about some Fly Guys and shoot stuff with Wario.

I am putting this game up for rent. Rent this game from me for RM 50 and return it within an agreed upon time, I will return no less than 70% of what you paid me.


Get your copy of Super Mario 64 DS at!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Nintendo In Malaysia

For a while, Nintendo's presence in Malaysia is generally limited to parallel importers who operate from video game outlets that mainly sell pirated video games.

Today, I paid a visit to the first official Nintendo counter in Malaysia. It operates in the electronics department of one of the anchor tenants of Mid Valley Megamall, Jusco. Albeit small, the official counter comes stocked with quite a decent library of GBA and Nintendo DS games as well as the respective hardware needed to run them. You have the usual suspects which are the GBA, Game Boy Micro and Nintendo DS which is available in both "phat" and Lite versions.

I did not pay much attention on the additional hardware available at the store but from my brief glance, most of the hardware is from Nintendo and I didn't notice any third-party labels. I did spend some time looking at the DS games library and several titles caught my eye namely New Super Mario Bros, Metroid Pinball and Brain Age.

The prices of games sold at the counter range from RM 99 to RM 179 for newer titles. It does seem a bit expensive but since the games sold are brought in via official channels, the increase in price is at best, understandable but not necessarily agreeable to those accustomed to parallel import prices.

Even so, the impression given by the sales girl seems to indicate that business is good. The counter is only five days old and it is sold out on one of the Nintendogs title. Having shown her my Nintendo DS, she became a persistent sales person asking me to purchase a new NDS Lite as an upgrade.

At present, the counter has a launch promotion for the NDS. RM 719 buys you a NDS console, one free NDS game and a NDS screen protector. The free game applies only to any game selling for RM 99 at the counter.

Also available at the counter is a console stand with 3 NDS Lites for you to try out games with; they were loaded with Big Brain Academy, Nintendogs and New Super Mario Bros when I went there today.

The jury is still out on the Nintendo counter. On one hand, the price of games is higher but on the other hand, the perks available for "going official" such as official console warranty and support provides a compelling reason to purchase stuff at the counter. Even so, it is heartening to know that Jusco has decided to come up with the Nintendo counter and hopefully as time goes by, prices will go down.

In the mean time, I think I need to fight off the temptation to purchase Metroid Pinball, at least not within this month.

Go Wild in this Wild World...

You know how some people have the compulsive habit of collecting stuff? Well, Animal Crossing: Wild World scratches that itch and then some.

Wild World can be best described as a small-town simulator. Despite the word "small", the game has many things going for it. Your in-game character is created based on your answers given to the taxi driver that brings your character into the town of Animal Crossing.

While in town, do what the residents do. Go about talking and waving to residents and do stuff like fishing, planting stuff, digging stuff up, collecting fruits, designing clothes, writting letters, drinking coffee in a basement cafe beneath a museum and as mentioned earlier, buying stuff to fill your expanding home.

Some of the activities are geared towards generating income which in turn pays off your housing loan. Yes, there's no escape from the realities of life even in a game.

Having said all that, Animal Crossing is best played in short bursts as everything happens in real time. There's no rush and you can invite friends over to your town via the WFC service for a change. You get to trade for stuff that is not available in your town amongst other things!

Get your copy of Animal Crossing: Wild World at!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Mario Kart DS

I've never played any previous iterations of Mario Kart but one thing is for sure, this game rocks. In Mario Kart DS, you get to race Mario and other characters from the Mario video games both in single player and multi-player modes.

There are a plethora of game modes, such as 8 different Grand Prix (32 track where you can race in three different classes, time trials, VS, battle and mission modes. This game has a very good "pick-me-up" factor with non of the races lasting more than several minutes. For an even exciting experience, challenge a friend over Nintendo's WFC service.

Gameplay wise, the game presents a fine example of racing mixed with the quirky elements from other Mario video games such as power-ups (and power-downs) and crazy maps. From winning races to getting better lap times or simply succeeding in battle or mission modes, Mario Kart DS guarantees great replay value.

Get Your Copy of Mario Kart DS at!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

My Nintendo DS

The first thing people would notice about the DS is that it looks like a bigger, fatter version of the old "Game and Watch" handheld games produced by Nintendo. In my opinion, the Nintendo DS' most striking feature would be it's dual screen. Both screens display graphics but the bottom screen is touch sensitive. Technical details aside (both screens have their own ARM processor), the utilization of the screens would generally depend on the game you are playing.

Games like Brain Age and Animal Crossing would require you to utilize the touch sensitivity of the bottom screen although it is not as intensive when you are playing the latter. Games like Mario Kart DS almost don't require you from touching the screen.

Dual screens aside, the DS' exterior has the prerequisite directional pad and four buttons, 2 trigger buttons, old-school volume control, built-in microphone, ports for headphones, mic, a Nintendo DS cartridge slot and a GBA slot. Under its rather solid appearance, the DS is WiFi equipped for both multiplayer with one or more DS units in a local area or over the Internet.

I've got asked quite a number of times on why I bought the DS instead of the DS Lite. Well, the DS is certainly cheaper and sturdier compared to the DS Lite and it is very much not a fingerprint magnet. It is pretty much a bargain for such a cool gaming device.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


I've been playing computer games when I got my first computer during my early teens. I started off with Wolfenstein 3D, from which I got hooked to 3D shooters such as id Software's Doom, Doom II, Doom III, Quake, Quake II, Quake III Arena and Quake IV.

I am never a fan of "realistic, one shot kill, team-based" 3D shooters such as Counterstrike or Rainbow Six but when it comes to team-play in a sci-fi setting, Unreal Tournament 2004's Onslaught mode had me at hello.

Aside from 3D shooters, I also have a penchant for strategy games, be it real-time or turn-based. From building theme parks in Bullfrog's Theme Park game, I went on to building transportation networks in Chris Sawyer's Transport Tycoon. I dabbled in the SimCity series but the only title in the series to hold my attention long enough to produce a decent end-game would be SimCity 2000.

In terms of turn-based strategy games, I had my fill with Sid Meier's Civilization series in which my favourites are Civilization 2 and Civ 4. Heroes of Might and Magic 2 further expounded the appeal turn-based strategy games by making the "just one more turn" itch so much harder to scratch.

Just recently, two RTS games had grabbed my attention, Command and Conquer: Red Alert 2 and Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War. Westwood Studio's (and subsequently EA's) line of Command and Conquer games have always established the bar in which other games strive to achieve or overcome. Red Alert 2 represents the perfect balance between presentation, game play and storyline which I think has not been surpassed by any RTS game yet.

Advancements in computer games such as hyper realistic graphics, physics algorithms and improved artificial intelligence have all led to increased demands for more powerful computer equipment. As a PC gamer, it is quite difficult "keeping up with the Joneses" in both technical and monetary terms. So from hardcore gamer, I decided to become a casual player. How did I do that? I bought a Nintendo DS.

This blog basically is about my Nintendo DS, and my reviews of the games that I play on it.