Recently, I’ve written about how I used to have an enormous DS collection (500+ games) and how I lost them all in a house fire (garage fire, to be exact). I had also written about how I wanted to send the DS off with a slew of Top Ten lists. Though this may be a little premature because the DS is still alive and kicking, I thought it apt to do so in honor of my lost collection.
Pic courtesy of THE Dustin Thomas. He knew it was a sight to behold.
As disgustingly awesome as it is dumbfounding, my collection was the product of nearly 8 years of excessive hoarding combined with incredibly inexpensive second-hand shopping and flea market spelunking. This was all topped off with genuine love for the system and its games. And let’s not forget the painfully expensive importing. Oh, God, let us not forget about that.
A Rube Goldberg-Machine game with a school girl? Add another zero to the price!
I think it’s the time and effort that went into the collection that’s deterring me from trying to replicate it; however, there are plenty of games for the system that I want back for a couple of reasons: the game was just so fun that I’d like to replay it, or I never got around to playing the game in the first place. This post is dedicated to the games I owned that fit into the latter category.
As you can imagine, owning over 500 games meant I didn’t get to play them all. That sounds stupid, owning a ludicrous amount of games that you haven’t even played yet, but that’s just how things are when you’re a collector. It’s funny: I used to look at my collection and think, That’s a shit-ton of games, but I have my entire life to play them. I really thought I’d eventually get to play ’em all.
Also, catch ’em all…with typing.
Anyway, I should get to the list before the depression sets in. The following are the Top Ten DS Games I Wish I Played. There are only two rules: I had to have owned the game, and I had to have never played it.
10. Bomberman Story DS
I’ve been a huge Bomberman fan since I first played Mega Bomberman on the Sega Channel (damn right, I had the Sega Channel!), and that’s why Hudson closing shop hit me pretty hard. I’m not too sure about his fate, but Bomberman will always be one of my favorite video game characters.
From its deceptively cute appearance, to its addictive multiplayer and trap-and-wait gameplay, to its incredibly enjoyable music, the Bomberman franchise epitomized what I loved the most in gaming: simple, challenging gameplay with overtly Japanese aesthetics. You know what else I love in gaming? The Legend of Zelda series, especially the early, overhead-camera iterations. How do these two things relate? Bomberman Story DS, that’s how!
What I’d gathered from reading the back of the box and from reading reviews and forums, Bomberman Story DS is a Bomberman game that plays like an early Legend of Zelda title. I thought to myself, When has there ever been a time when bombs weren’t a better default weapon than magical swords? The answer: obviously never!
This’ll get that stupid sword outta that rock!
I can’t imagine it’d actually be that good, but that doesn’t mean I’m still not very curious and interested in trying it. As long as it’s colorful and has the upbeat music I’ve grown to love, I think I’d enjoy it.
9. Chrono Trigger & Final Fantasy IV
I put these games together because I played their SNES iterations, and they’re both essentially just remakes with updated scripts and an extra dungeon or something. At least, that’s the case with Chrono Trigger. I’ve heard that Final Fantasy IV was completely overhauled. Obviously, the graphics are different; one can see that simply by looking at the back of the box. I’m curious as to what else was changed. Has the script been altered? Are their more characters? Any new dungeons? How about the plot? Anything added or taken away? The list could go on and on. Basically, I just want to play it and find out. I did hear that it’s much more difficult than the SNES version. I’ve also heard that the DS version is the better version overall. Whatever the case, I’ll figure it out someday. Any excuse to replay these masterpieces is a good excuse, am I right?
8. Dragon Quest IX
I’ve a confession to make: I had never played a Dragon Quest game until Dragon Quest IV on the DS. It seems stupid considering I played the shit out of RPGs back in the day, but allow me to explain: Some higher being hates me.
Probably this asshole.
The first RPG I ever played was Final Fantasy II on the SNES, so I never played any 8-bit RPGs (not until years later, at least). DQI – IV were on the NES, making them a little before my time. DQV and VI were on the Super Famicom and never got released over here in the States. DQVII and DQVIII were on the PSX, and I went the Saturn route (I still have no regrets). Basically, through some divine intervention, I was lead through life in a predetermined path that ensured I’d never play a Dragon Quest game until I was in my mid-twenties. Well played, random deity that hates me. Well played.
How many arms you need, asshole?
Fortunately, I finally got to play the DS Dragon Quest games, and I loved them! I don’t want to get into too much detail, but they were amazing, DQV being my favorite (but that is for another post).
Dragon Quest IX was the first DQ game I purchased. I remember reading all kinds of sweet reviews on it and decided to grab it; however, I took one look at it once I got it home and decided I had better play some of the previous games in the series. I shelved it, and then I went on my Dragon Quest quest, which was as difficult to complete as it was to say. Dragon Quest V in particular was tricky to find. I got so desperate that when I finally found a copy at Game Stop that looked as if someone had dumped a vat of bacon grease on it (cover art, cartridge, and manual) I actually bought it! This was a terrible faux pas in the collecting community, not to mention a flagrant violation of my own personal standards. I’m ashamed to admit that I had done such a thing, but I can no longer deny it. The truth will set me free!
I eventually got a better copy, if you must know, but I learned a valuable lesson through this ordeal: one should never judge a game by its grease stain. DQV is easily one of the best RPGs I have ever played, and that’s why it hurts that I never got around to trying DQIX. After playing through the DS games (the Zenithia Trilogy as I’ve been told), I was stoked to finally dive into the 9th installment. I guess I have to wait a little longer.
7. Flower, Sun and Rain
Flower, Sun and Rain was a PS2 remake of one of Suda51’s first games. Yeah, THE Suda51! The guy who used to make cool and unique games before he decided to become Spike Lee and refer to his productions as “Trips.”
“At least he’s not comparing me to a cracka!” is probably what he’s thinking.
Before pretension set in, Suda51 actually made games that were as unique and thought-provoking as they were fun to play. Killer Seven was a real mind-fuck, and the No More Heroes series is pretty damn amazing. But I’m afraid NMH was Suda’s downfall. After he got away with some dick jokes in that game he went outright bonkers in Shadows of the Damned. Seriously, the guy didn’t even try to be cleaver with any of his innuendo, if you can even call it that, being that there was absolutely no subtlety whatsoever.
Then there was Lollipop Chainsaw. A damn memorable game, that’s for sure; Suda is always bound to leave an impression. It’s just that I don’t like that much cussing and exploitation in movies or video games. I find it to be lazy writing. I’m not for censorship: by all mean, I’m very much against censorship when it comes to artistic expression. But I do believe a healthy dose of self-imposed restrictions and limitations help to foster creativity and aid in comedy and its deliver. That’s just me, though. I’m sure there are plenty of people who disagree and actually enjoy blunt, ham-handed humor about dongs and titties.
Oh, I get it.
Wow. I really got on my soapbox there. Sorry about that. Really, all I wanted to say is that I want to play Flower, Sun and Rain because I’ve heard good things about it. Good visual novel-like games are few and far between, and I hear that this is a pretty good one. It also harkens back to a day when Suda51 focused more on crazy storytelling and less on dick jokes (so I hear). That sounds awesome to me. And its plot is similar to Groundhog’s Day, except with crazy shit with assassins and hyenas. Also awesome.
6. Monster Rancher DS
I really wanted to play Monster Rancher DS because Monster Rancher 2 was a game I played a lot when I was younger. I remember coming home from school, throwing the game into my brother’s Playstation, and playing it until it was time for bed. Or time for WWF Raw. Whichever came first.
That’s pretty much the 90’s greatest hits, right there.
MR2 kicked ass because you had to put CDs into your Playstation in order to get monsters. In the game, you’d go to the shrine or whatever, tell the person there that you wanted a monster, place a CD into your console, and then you’d get a monster. I have no idea how the game created monsters from CDs or why it decided to give me a Pixie from John Cougar’s American Fool, but I didn’t need to know. Because it was bad ass.
Black magic. It’s the only logical explanation.
I scoured my house for every CD I could find, which was never very fruitful considering I lived with my grandmother, and all she had was cassettes and records. My sisters used to have to hide their lame CDs from me because I’d get my “greasy hands all over them” (bitches). I can’t blame them, though: I used to steal their CDs if it had a monster on it I couldn’t unlock yet. I remember hiding my sister’s Tal Bachman CD because it had a mysterious monster that I wasn’t able to summon yet.
Other mysteries about Tal include “Where is he now?” and “Why the dumb name?”
I know that it would’ve been impossible for the DS version to replicate this, but it did try some weird stuff. It had the predictable thing where you had to draw something and it would make a monster, but it also had a feature where you could say something into the mic and it would make one somehow. It wouldn’t have been the same, but I’m sure I would have had some fun with Monster Rancher DS.
5. Knights in the Nightmare
I actually tried to play Knights in the Nightmare, but it took me about 2 hours to get through its tutorial. No joke. Normally, if a game even has a tutorial I get pissed and flush it down the toilet, but I always make exceptions for Atlus. They publish some of my favorite games, and just about all their games are worth playing. Knights in the Nightmare also played unlike any game I’ve ever played, and I’ve played a lot of games.
It’s kind of like a Bullet Hell, but you don’t do any shooting of your own. Sounds lame, but it’s also kind of like a tower defense game. I think. I remember placing my dudes down and then having to wait for an enemy to get within range before I could attack them. That also sounds lame, but when you combine the two genres… WHOA! Maybe. I have no idea.
Thus, the reason Knights in the Nightmare is on this list. Because I want to figure out why I spent 2 hours on a tutorial. Unless I have to do the tutorial again. In which case, gross.
4. Sailor Moon: La Luna Splende
I’m not a Sailor Moon fan. But, I did watch it before school when I was in 3rd grade. I think it came on after Samurai Pizza Cats but before VR Troopers. Whatever. It didn’t matter because I wasn’t actually going to tell anyone I watched it. Getting picked last at everything and being called a queer on the same day was just something my delicate little elementary-school self couldn’t handle.
I’d have to wait till High School to get skin that thick.
I do remember not hating the show, though. It was extremely girlie, but when those girls decided that it was time to transform and kick ass, well, it was something that really grabbed my attention. I don’t remember really being interested in girls until I watched the Sailor Scouts twinkle and spin in and out of their clothes. It seems ironic that my prepubescent sexual nascence became realized through such a flamboyant show.
Anyway, Sailor Moon: La Luna Splende was a game that I came across by accident. Some dude had it, sealed, at the flea market. He wanted $10, but I talked him down to $5. I got the game home and decided to do some research on it. I discovered that it was only released in Italy and that it went for about $80 on eBay. I decided to keep it sealed until I wanted to play it. Sucks that it’s gone now. It looked like a puzzle-platformer, which is a genre that I love. But what disappoints me the most is that I never got to see if they did the whole “Transforming” sequence in-game. That would have been some hardcore nostalgia, right there.
3. Infinite Space
Infinite Space kind of sneaked up on me. I was actually anticipating its release, but then I guess I forgot, and then it came out. Not the best story, but I was surprised nonetheless when I saw it at Game Stop. I’d been watching it for some time for one reason: It was developed by Platinum Games. At the time of release, Platinum Games wasn’t a big name yet. Currently, they’re known for hits like Bayonetta, Vanquish, and the highly-anticipated Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, but when Infinite Space was released they only had MadWorld under their belt, which is a fantastic game thanks in part to Greg Proops and John Dimaggio; however, it was also a fantastic failure, thanks in no part to Greg Proops and John Dimaggio.
Pictured from left to right: Greg Proops and John Dimaggio not ruining MadWorld.
MadWorld didn’t convince me that Platinum Games was a developer worth watching, though; in fact, it wasn’t until a couple years after its release did I even play MadWorld. I started watching Platinum Games after I found out what they used to be called: Clover Studio. And do you know what game I played from Clover Studio that made me completely gay for them? Here’s a hint: it wasn’t Viewtiful Joe.
Here’s another hint: It was Okami.
Okami was such an amazing game! When I heard Platinum Games was going to make an RPG in Outer Space I was all for it. The reviews for Infinite Space weren’t that bad either. I actually popped it in to see if it had an Anime intro, which it totally did! After watching it a few times, I decided to shelf it because I was working on finishing my B.A. and my internship, so I didn’t have time for a “Space Opera.” Now that I’m out of Grad school and in a job with which I’m comfortable, I think I’m finally ready for the great unknown.
2. Inazuma Eleven Series
I’m not a huge fan of sports, soccer even less so, but I have to admit when I heard about the Inazuma Eleven franchise I was more than a little intrigued. IE is a game about soccer, or football for everyone else in the entire world, and the protagonist is an overly enthusiastic little boy who starts a football club whose members do not want to play football. Hilarity ensues, probably.
What makes this game especially attractive is that it’s an RPG. Your characters level up, and the football matches are pseudo-turn based. You have a character run up the field and when he gets near an opponent they have a turn-based battle, the victor stealing the ball or passing the opponent, whichever the case may be. This sounds so ridiculous that it might actually be fun. Things get even better when you start using crazy Dragon Ball Z style special moves to score and defend yourself. I can’t imagine any avid gamer who wouldn’t want to play that.
This looks like it’d make soccer better, but one kick would take like 3 episodes.
Another aspect that really made me want to try this series out was the fact that it was developed by Level 5. Level 5 are the geniuses behind the ever-so-brilliant Professor Layton series, and you can tell they worked on this game, too. The art style, animation, and production values of all the cutscenes, fully voiced mind you, are all reminiscent to Layton. And that is a very good thing.
This game wasn’t released here in the States, mainly because we don’t give a shit about soccer, but it was released throughout Europe. It may be a little expensive, but finding a copy shouldn’t be too hard. I may still yet play this promising series.
1. Freshly-Picked Tingle’s Rosey Rupeeland
Glorious, isn’t it?
I really have no idea what Freshly-Picked Tingle’s Rosy Rupeeland is about, but it has to be awesome. How could a game with box art so terribly amazing be anything less than life-altering? It’s an overhead action RPG, much like the original Legend of Zelda on the NES, but it has Tingle. From the videos I’ve seen online, the game looks bright and colorful, and the animation looks great. Despite it only being available in English across the pond, I think I’m going to import this ASAP. I must know if this game is any good. I just must.