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Let's Talk About the Nintendo DS's Weirdest and Wildest Games

Today’s open thread ask is a simple one: What are the most wonderfully unusual (and ideally awesome) games you played on the mega-successful handheld?
‘The World Ends With You’ artwork courtesy of Square Enix.

Between regularly travelling in and out of London to keep my VICE desk from becoming a Motherboard dumping ground, to trundling back and forth along the southern English coast to lecture to university students once per week, I'm on the move a lot, and often for hours at a time with the British rail network as reliable as it isn't. So, I keep handheld consoles on me, always.

Recently, the Switch has been a backpack semi-regular; and, now and then, the Vita comes out to play, usually around PS Plus release time. But my 3DS is, almost without fail, the one that's always in there, beside the notepads and receipts and sweet wrappers and lint and pen lids. I've written before about why I love it so, and consider it the greatest handheld of all time—but to distill that article down, basically, it's the most flexible portable out there, in terms of readily available experiences.


There's all the 3DS games themselves, of course, over 1,000 of them so far. Then, you've the 1,800-titles-and-more DS back catalogue to explore. On the digital eShop, a wealth of Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Gear(!) and NES releases from yesteryear. If you've a New Nintendo 3DS, i.e. the one with that little C stick (which I don't, hint), you can download a selection of Super Nintendo games for it, too. It's a time machine! A fantastic, folding plastic, don't treat it like elastic (? but also, don't), take-it-wherever-you-wanna-get-frantic (sure) video gaming time machine.

Right now, I'm navigating my way through some DS games that truly stood out for being singular experiences, ones that could only work properly on the platform. I've played through Hotel Dusk: Room 215 and the phenomenal Ghost Trick. I've given Aliens: Infestation the love it deserves. Now, I'm puzzling and platforming as far into EA's oddball adventure Henry Hatsworth as I can manage—but, shit, that is one sheer vertical hell of a difficulty curve. The hopefully less-stressful Pac-Pix is up next for a peek. It's Pac-Man, but you draw him. Brilliant?

On the recommended-already list, a number of titles that I've had in mind for a while, but just need to get around to picking up. Kirby: Canvas Curse, Another Code, The World Ends With You (seriously, everyone, I'll get it, eventually, promise), Contact, Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword, Okamiden, Nine Hours (etc), Yoshi Touch & Go, and several more. If I had the money, I'd catch 'em all. But, as it is, I'm ticking them off at the rate of one or two per month.

But what about you? The DS range proper sold in the region of 154 million units, and the 3DS family has stretched to over 66 million since its launch in 2011. Factor in the handful of 2DS consoles out there, with the New 2DS XL imminent too, and you've a shit load of machines that can play the weirdest and wildest DS games. Chances are that a whole bunch of Waypoint readers, viewers, listeners and forum lurkers (hiya, we see ya) have had one of these consoles, and have a suggestion or some when it comes to the most unique games they played on it.

So, recommend away! This is today's open thread: your chance to shout out your favorite DS game(s) that sang in perfect harmony with the hardware. The weirder, the better. I'll be making notes, and I know I won't be alone in doing so.

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