We’re almost done! Just two posts left in this series on the franchises Nintendo has left behind. Some would be welcome back to aid the flagging Wii U or further boost the 3DS! Others… not so much. It’s really amazing, though, just how many IP Nintendo has introduced over the last 30 years, only to abandon it later for whatever reasons they may have.
This week, I’m looking at the most-successful platform Nintendo ever produced: DS, and its many unique titles published by Nintendo that have not (yet) made it over to the 3DS.
Introduced: 2005, Another Code: Two Memories (DS)
Latest Entry: 2009, Another Code: R - A Journey into Lost Memories (Wii)
Published in North America under the title Trace Memory, the Another Code series was a sort of interactive visual novel / point-and-click adventure. It certainly seems well suited for the DS and Wii, but the Wii sequel was limited to Japan and Europe. Both are niche titles, with a teenage girl as protagonist, lots of text, slow pacing and an emphasis on puzzles and exploration. The developer, Cing — which also created the critically-acclaimed Little King’s Story — is now bankrupt, so production of any further games in the series seems unlikely.
Introduced: 2005, Electroplankton (DS)
I don’t really know how to describe this odd title. I guess you could call it a music / art game, as you create music with plankton-like creatures in an oceanic setting. It’s very unique and very “Nintendo” if that makes sense. (Heck, it even got its own Super Smash Bros. stage.) The DS game card version is a collection of mini-games, which were subsequently made available as DSiWare and can still be had on the 3DS eShop for $2 each if this looks like something you’d enjoy.
True Swing Golf
Introduced: 2005, Otona no DS Golf (DS)
We’re all familiar with the Mario Golf series, but did you know Nintendo published a “realistic” golf sim, aimed primarily at adults and “real” golfers, for DS? Named three ways in the three major territories, Otona no DS Golf (Japan) / Nintendo Touch Golf: Birdie Challenge (Europe) / True Swing Golf (North America) comes from the video game golf experts at T&E Soft (Virtual Boy Golf; SNES True Golf: Wicked 18; N64 Masters ‘98 among others), and it looks pretty solid for the time. Similar titles for a non-traditional gamers audience are now found in abundance on iOS and Android, so we won’t see Nintendo try this again any time soon.
Introduced: 2005, Daredemo Asobi Taizen (DS)
Here we have more evidence that Nintendo saw the potential in a “casual gamer” audience long before smart-phones became ubiquitous. Sold in Europe as 42 All-Time Classics and as Clubhouse Games in North America, this game provides exceptional value if variety is what you’re looking for. Darts, bowling, pool, backgammon, chess, checkers and various other board and card games make up the roster. Oddly enough, it was one of the few titles compatible with the DS Rumble Pak as well. Because, you know, it’s just not rummy without force feedback.
Elite Beat Agents
Introduced: 2006, Elite Beat Agents (DS)
This very silly rhythm-matching game needs no sequel, as there are plenty of similar titles out there now for 3DS and Wii and probably Wii U in the future. Nintendo loves its music games!
Introduced: 2007, Hotel Dusk: Room 215 (DS)
Latest entry: 2010, Last Window: The Secret of Cape West
Known in Japan as Wish Room: Angel’s Memory, this is another point-and-click mystery / adventure from Nintendo and Cing, mentioned above. It too supports the DS Rumble Pak, because, you know, force feedback. Games of this genre are seeing a bit of a revival as of late, with titles like Gone Home and The Novelist getting early praise. I guess you could sort of lump this in with Professor Layton too, given its heavy reliance on puzzles.
(H/T to thezombiemessia for pointing out this game did indeed get a sequel, now included above.)
Master of Illusion
Introduced: 2006, Magic Encyclopedia (DS)
Of all the strange games Nintendo has released over the years, this is among the most unusual. It’s a game of doing magic tricks! Impress businessmen, cute girls and moms with your ability to guess whatever card they are holding by using a video game system. Or something. (The original packaging included a deck of cards, which is appropriate given Nintendo’s history.) Nintendo later broke down the mini-games found within and published several of them on DSiWare, if you’re inclined to give it a try.
Introduced: 2008, Bokura wa Kasekihorida (DS)
Latest entry: 2011, Fossil Fighters: Champions (DS)
It’s like Pokemon! But with dinosaurs! You know Nintendo is starting to run out of ideas when they’re riffing on their own products.
Introduced: 2010, Aura-Aura Climber
I recently downloaded this on the eShop, as it carried over there from the original DSiWare service, and it’s definitely worth your time if you own a 3DS. I don’t know to what I can compare it — it’s a climbing game / score attack with a solid challenge and a lot of charm. A 3-D version would be welcome if Nintendo want to create a sequel...
Introduced: 2010, Photo Dojo (DSi)
Originally free for DSi owners and later a modestly-priced 3DS eShop title, this very simple 2-D fighter lets you create characters with photos and make them fight. Kotaku’s EIC had a little bit of fun with this one.
I’ll wrap things up next week with a handful of Wii titles that seem unlikely to make it past that distinguished console’s surly bonds.