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Children's Video Game Console Review:    Nintendo DS

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Console Review: Nintendo DS

By Nintendo

Released: 2004

Reviewed: November 2004

Our Recommended Age: 8-up

Our Rating: A




Buy: Nintendo DS


Nintendo DS Bundle with Super Mario 64 and Leather Case


Nintendo DS Bundle with Spider-Man 2 and Pro Gamer's Kit












E-Rated Nintendo DS Games Currently Available:

Super Mario 64
Spider-Man 2 The Movie
The Urbz: Sims in the City
NDS Madden NFL 2005
Nintendo DS Ping Pals

Titles such as Animal Crossing, Yoshi's Touch and Go, and Mario Kart will be released in January 2005.




The Nintendo DS is a new portable gaming system that is the latest model in the GameBoy line—but it's really a step beyond GameBoy. This exciting new unit is loaded with features, including dual screens. The DS is, happily, backward-compatible with GameBoy Advance games.


There are two cartridge slots on the unit: one slot for the GameBoy Advance cartridges, and another for the smaller DS game cartridges. 


The new wireless connectivity feature is impressive. We have seen the wireless feature in games like Pokemon Leaf Green and Fire Red, and the DS has a built-in feature that supports this exciting technology that has a radius rated at 30-100 feet, depending on signal interference. Kids love this feature that allows them to play games with their friends without the need for cables.


Effectively, with the technology built into the Nintendo DS, players are able to play games through touch (touch screen) and voice (microphone), monitor two-screen action, and compete wirelessly with others. Of course, DS games will take advantage of the unit's technology. We haven't yet seen the voice recognition feature in action, but expect that future games will incorporate the technology.


Kid-friendly DS titles that have already been announced and/or released include such titles as Animal Crossing, Pokemon Dash, Frogger, and Super Mario 64. Super Mario 64 (for the DS) and The Urbz: Sims in the City (for the DS) were released the same day as the launch of the DS.


PictoChat is an application that is built in the DS. It allows kids to communicate with other DS users by writing with the stylus (words or pictures), and they can type words/symbols using the stylus to tap out words. Kids choose a chat name (preferably a nickname) when they set up the system, and can change the nickname at any time. Because kids can chat wirelessly with up to 15 other DS users within range, and their messages might be viewed by strangers within range, caution should be used. The DS manual clearly states that chat rooms are not monitored and parents should warn their kids about receiving messages from strangers. Personal information should not be shared, even with friends, because it is possible that that information can be read by a stranger.


The dual screens work in such a way that the main game is shown in the upper screen, and (depending on the game) such things as maps, stats, and alternative views are displayed in the bottom screen. Each screen is slightly larger and wider than the GameBoy Advance screen, and both feature the extremely handy back-lighting first seen in the GBA SP version. Back-lighting, of course, is a necessity with the DS because of its two screens. 


Wireless gaming is best when all systems begin a session within 30 feet of each other. Gamers can spread out up to 65 feet after start-up. Each system shows the strength of the signal via an onscreen icon.


Thoughtful little features abound with the unit. For example, the system can be configured for left-handed kids. When kids play a GBA game on the DS, they can select whether to play it on the upper or lower screen. A clock (it's analog!) and a calendar are featured on the menu screen. 


Kids will love personalizing their DS, from whether or not to bypass the menu screen when a game cartridge is inserted right down to the color scheme of their menu. 


The DS has a built-in alarm! The alarm can be set through the Options screen, and it begins softly before becoming louder and more urgent.


The unit is heavier than the GameBoy Advance, as is to be expected. Its wider body makes it somewhat awkward to use for younger players. In fact, we recommend the system to children ages 8 or 9 and up. The larger price tag is probably a good enough reason for parents to reserve the DS for their older children. Kids accustomed to the GameBoy Advance will most certainly take a bit of time getting cozy with the design of the DS, but this shouldn't take too long—and, of course, they'll happily take that time!


Nintendo has quite consistently delivered resilient, family-friendly products, and the Nintendo DS is yet another outstanding product for kids and families.


For more information, user reviews, or to buy the game, follow this link:

Nintendo DS

Our Rating:




[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Nintendo DS]


Bundles are also offered, such as these ones: 

Nintendo DS Bundle with Super Mario 64 and Leather Case

Nintendo DS Bundle with Spider-Man 2 and Pro Gamer's Kit



Reviewed November 2004


















To Buy this Video Game:

Buy Nintendo DS at

Buy Nintendo Ds  at



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