Welcome back to the fourth installment of “What’s Worth Keeping?” where we help me pare my game collection down to twenty games per system. After all, I own pretty much every system, handheld or console out there and there’s no chance of me ever playing all of these games again, so it make sense to keep only the ones I know I’ll come back to regularly, giving other gamers a chance to own (and hopefully play) the titles I jettison. So far we’ve looked at the Nintendo Wii, Microsoft Xbox and Sony Playstation. This time we’re going to look at a handheld – specifically the Nintendo DS. It’s actually going to be one of the easier columns as it’s perhaps my least favorite handheld. The GBA, GB, Game Gear, Wonderswan, PSP, Neo*Geo Pocket Color and even the Atari Lynx are systems I’ve found more games with staying power than the DS, which has had a lot of games I’ve played but very few I’ve found worth experiencing a second time. It sounds a lot worse than the reality actually is, so keep reading and together we’ll find games I can put on the trade-in list and perhaps a few gems I might have missed along the way.
Out of the 507 reviews I’ve done so far, a whopping seventy-nine have been for the Nintendo DS – the second most for any system. The average score of those seventy-nine games? 5.94. Not too bad, but the XboX had a 6.57 average and the Wii a 6.18, so it is noticeably lower. There are only two systems that have a lower review average – the PC (5.27) and the PSP (5.42) but somehow I have a surplus of PSP games and only eighteen DS games. So why is that? Again, it really comes down to whether a game is worth keeping or not. I’ve played several games like Magical Starshine and The Legend of Starfy that I really enjoyed, but that lacked any replay value. Here now is a list of all the DS games I’ve reviewed from the first (Age of Empires: Age of Kings on 02/21/2006) to the last (Monster High: Skultimate Roller Maze on 11/13/2012):
So there’s a good mix of games there. Some like the Castlevania games were fun but I didn’t keep for various reasons. Some like The Vanishing Files I ended up getting for the PC or like Knights in the Nightmare which was a free digital download for my PSP that I picked up somewhere along the way somehow. Mage Knight I would have loved if it hadn’t been a terrible conversion. The majority of the above were either “one and done” games or titles that I thought weren’t very good and was happy to rid myself of once the review was over. Out of the whole list above the only games I think I would consider picking up again would be Portrait of Ruin, Order of Ecclesia and Strange Journey. Hell, I’ve even gotten rid of a lot of the Pokemon games on the list. I prefer the GBA version of Pokemon Mystery Dungeon so I kept that and there was no point in keeping any of the three for the second generation of those games. I got rid of all the Pokemon Ranger games because as fun as they were, I had no desire to replay them and I even got rid of Black and White 2 because, let’s be honest, they were the least interesting of the core RPGs in that franchise by far and when that includes Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald, that’s saying something.
So it comes down to what I currently have. You can define my remaining DS titles in three major categories: Pokemon, Language Learning Software and Digital Cookbooks. That’s right – my DS is primarily edutainment games. Which is really quite sad when you think about it. Let’s look at the list.
1. America’s Test Kitchen: Let’s Get Cooking (Cookbook, Indies Zero/Nintendo)
2. Diamond Trust of London (Euro Board Game, Jason Rohrer)
3. My Chinese Coach (Language Software, Sensory Sweep/Ubisoft)
4. My French Coach (Language Software, Sensory Sweep/Ubisoft)
5. My Japanese Coach (Language Software, Sensory Sweep/Ubisoft)
6. My Healthy Cooking Coach (Cookbook, Ubisoft)
7. Nostalgia (Turn Based RPG, Red Company/Ignition Entertainment)
8. Personal Trainer: Cookbook, Nintendo)
9. Pokemon Diamond and Pearl (Turn Based RPG, Game Freak/Nintendo)
10. Pokemon Platinum (Turn Based RPG, Game Freak/Nintendo)
11. Pokemon Heart Gold and Soul Silver (Turn Based RPG, Game Freak/Nintendo)
12. Pokemon Conquest (SRPG, Temco Koei/Nintendo)
13. Pokemon Black and White (Turn Based RPG, Game Freak/Nintendo)
14. Shin Megami Tensei Devil Survivor (SRPG, Atlus/Atlus USA)
15. Space Bust-A-Move (Puzzle, Taito/Square-Enix)
16. Theresia (Adventure, WorkJam/Aksys)
17. Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume (SRPG, Tri-Ace/Square/Enix)
And then my one DS game in my backlog
18. Shin Megami Tensei Devil Survivor 2 (SRPG, Atlus/Atlus USA)
Genre breakdown is: Three cookbooks, three language software thingies, four SRPGs, one board game, one puzzle, one adventure and five turn based RPGS. That’s not a bad spread and actually more varied than my Xbox, also less so than my Wii (which had ten).
So only eighteen games, which means I can have two more in my collection, so I could feasibly add both Castlevania games or Strange Journey back into my collection, although I got rid of them for a reason, but time has blurred my memory as to why. If you want to make a case for them, any of the others I’ve reviewed and chucked out, or some other DS game you think I might enjoy, I’m all ears. After all, I have two spots I can fill. Before that though, I should probably explain the others.
Diamond Trust of London is a Kickstarter exclusive and exceptionally rare and so I keep it because of that, but honestly I could let it go if needed to make room for something better. I speak/read/write French, Japanese and Mandarin to varying degrees and so I keep the Coach games around to keep me fresh. After all, if you don’t use it, you lose it and all three are actually surprisingly fun and good at teaching/refreshing you in the language. The cookbooks are all there because a) they are well made, b) I like cooking and c) they take up far less room that physical cookbooks. I have a bookshelf of cookbooks that all get used. The video games though, not so much – mainly because I forget to. Hmm. What do you think of a feature (or series of features) where I take each cooking game and document making recipes with them? Let me know in the comments. Anyway back on topic, I suppose I could get rid of those three if I don’t end up using them anymore, giving me five open spots to fill in my collection. The problem is I can’t even think of FIVE games I might consider owning for the DS. Maybe Warhammer 40,000: Squad Command, but I think I’d rather get that on the PSP for the better graphics and at half the cost. Seriously, I’m all ears here. Every time I look at my collection and see Cookbooks and Language Software as a dominate part of my system’s collection, I honestly have to ask if the DS was really that lackluster compared to other handhelds. In writing this I keep looking at my GBA collection and seeing games like Shining Force, Knight of Lodis, Robotech: The Macross Saga, Eye of the Beholder, Phantasy Star Collection, Double Dragon Advance and other titles and the sheer disparity between what the two had to offer never ceases to blow me away. So seriously people, help me find some quality games for the DS.
In other news, I have updates on the previous three columns. I found my final Xbox game in Robotech: Battlecry. I got an unopened collector’s edition for less than ten bucks! With the PSX, I’ve dumped Metal Slug X and if they ever announce Dragon Warrior VII coming stateside for the 3DS, I’ll replace that as well. After that I’ll probably be dumping Battle Hunter but I have to play through it first. Then it’s just one game to go…and I’m thinking it’ll be either HELLNIGHT (my last remaining import title), Echo Night or Puzzle Star Sweep – I just have to play through them first to decide. Finally with the Wii, I ended up picking up another game – Agatha Christie’s Evil Under the Sun because it’s the only Poirot game I have yet to play, and you can’t get the PC version anymore as the company went under. This however, is a one and done that I know I’ll be trading in. I still have to get rid of two games for that system though. I need to have time to clear out my backlog though and that involves getting other writers to well…review more games so I don’t have to. Or hiring new writers that want free games. HINT HINT HINT.
We’ll see you back in two weeks as I try to narrow down another system’s collection of games to twenty or under. See you then.
Tags: What's Worth Keeping?