Nintendo DS Shortages

“Nintendo DS Lite is the best-selling video game system in the world right now. It has an amazing library of great games for people of all ages, which only adds to its popularity. Nintendo DS Lite proved to be a huge hit for holiday shoppers, which undoubtedly resulted in some spot shortages in various regions. As with all our products, we’re working to keep the supply chain filled to meet consumer demand, and the DS Lite should be more readily available over the next couple of weeks. We expect the popularity of DS Lite to continue well into 2007 and beyond.”Nintendo of America

Part of the problem could also be that, as of Thursday, our household contains two of these.

As she had with the Wii, AEJ convinced me that the Nintento DS Lite was something awfully fun, so on Tuesday, I drove around LA looking for one. No go at Target in West Hollywood, where they seemed to think I was crazy for even imagining finding one. Same deal next door at Gamestop. Just past Gamestop, though, was a Best Buy. I hate Best Buy, as I’ve written about before, but by this point I was getting a little desperate, so I checked there, and by chance, they’d received a large shipment of DS’s that morning. I bought a black one (they come in black, white, and pink) and two games — Clubhouse Games (so I can play darts on the plane — something that would normally be discouraged by Homeland Security) and Big Brain Academy (so I can have a numerical rating of how dumb I’ve become).

Both games were fun, so that night, we headed to Burbank to see what games we could find at Costco. And the Target in Burbank. And another Best Buy. We may have gone a little overboard with our games.

We were having so much fun with all of the games, but I thought it would be extra fun if we could play together — something that can be done wirelessly with two DS’s. So, I bought AEJ her own DS for her birthday. And I bought more games — things that I thought she’d like, like Nintendogs where you raise and train a puppy. (The puppy responds to voice commands, so I don’t plan on taking this one on the plane,I don’t quite have the self confidence to feel comfortable saying things like “who’s a good puppy?” and “who wants to go outside and do his business?” out loud in front of strangers — especially not in my “I’m talking to a puppy” voice.)

Yes, I bought two copies of Animal Crossing: Wild World because it’s awfully fun (you move to a town populated by nothing but cute animals!), and I’ll definitely want to take it with me on my trips, but I don’t want to deprive AEJ of playing it while I’m gone.

A few days ago, we networked the DS’s so we could visit each other’s Animal Crossing towns. I took some oranges from her town back to my town to sell them (you get a lot more money selling fruit from a foreign town), and I collected shells from her beach. I know it sounds lame, but it’s pretty damn fun. The game is soothing and engrossing at once. There’s a movie based on the game, coming soon to Japan. Watching this trailer will not help you to understand the game any better — unless you know Japanese, and perhaps even that will not help.

Of the above games, Elite Beat Agents (a game where you listen to music and tap the DS screen in time with the music) is great, and Catz, believe it or not, is lame, lame, lame.

Here are the two DS’s side-by-side – with Loki in the background. I swear, that cat sniffs out cameras better than Britney’s hoo-ha.

And here they are open, AEJ’s running New Super Mario Bros., and mine running Cooking Mama (a game where you race against the clock to, yes, cook – including dicing onions, flipping a steak on a skillet, and eventually arranging your meal on the plate to make an attractive presentation).

You’ll see that the DS has dual screens – thus the name. The bottom screen is touch-sensitive, PDA-style, using a stylus. In Cooking Mama, for example, you use the stylus like a knife, cutting the tendons out of a cut of meat. In Kirby – Canvas Curse, you use the stylus to draw bridges for Kirby to cross, or walls to block Kirby’s path so he doesn’t fall off a platform.

You have to hand it to Nintendo for developing systems as creative as both the DS and the Wii – systems based more on the creativity and fun of the control mechanism than the graphics engine. The graphics on both systems are just fine – it’s part of their charm, and means the games have to be deeply fun and not just rely on eye candy.

It’s also nice to have such fun distractions to entertain me while I avoid any thought of music for a few weeks. I just hope I can eventually pull myself away from these systems to get some work done…


Cathy says

Is this a new version of the DS? Or is there a shortage just because of the holiday season? I swear my sister's had one of these for a year or so....

Kevin Howlett says

Cathy - it's a new version of the DS. Like what Nintendo does with all their systems, the DSlite is simply a DS that has been given a visual overhaul.

I've owned Animal Crossing for the Gamecube for quite a while now. For anyone reading, this is the best way I can describe it: Friends, family, work, society...these are all obstacles in the way of more Animal Crossing. When you play, you are acutely more interested in it than you are with what's happening in your life. It's that addictive.

Then you stop playing it for two weeks and wonder why you ever wasted your time with it to begin with.

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