28/07/2015

☆ The Handheld That Almost Passed Me By.... ☆ #GamersUnite

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Having never been one to keep up with current trends in video games I tend to focus my efforts on obtaining the retro gaming systems from the past that I owned and loved or the ones that I wish I had owned.
 
More recently though I have been dabbling in looking out for more current consoles that are now available at super cheap prices.
 
One such console that I recently acquired fitted the super cheap bill perfectly and it's now something that I just can't put down…..

This handheld passed me by in the first instance because at the time it came out I dismissed it as a gimmick. Meanwhile the rest of the world lapped it up and bought into the awesome games that were released on it.
 
Any system made by Nintendo has fun running through its veins and this little beauty is no exception.
 
I am of course talking about the Nintendo DS and in particular the DS Lite.

eBay To The Rescue 
Having had my interest in the DS piqued by certain articles praising it I recently spied one on eBay where the seller could only guarantee that the Game Boy Advance Cartridge (slot 2) worked and listed slot 1 as 'untested'.
 
I read between the lines and came to the assumption that slot 1 didn't work, but at a Buy It Now or Best Offer Price of £9 I thought it was worth a punt.
 
I offered £7 and secured myself a DS Lite in seemingly decent condition with a question mark over the DS Cartridge Slot 1. At the very least I saw it as a project and I was intrigued to see what the DS was like. The only other problem was that it was in pink……….but hey pink is okay for a male gamer nowadays surely??
 
While waiting for my new purchase to arrive I bought myself a brand new DS Lite zip case for 99p and begun the search for a game that I could purchase for my new machine.

Check 1 Check 2 
When my DS arrived I set about switching it on for the first time and it worked……Check 1 done
 
Check 2 was to test the Slot 1…..So I borrowed a DS cartridge from my friendly neighbour and slotted it home. It felt solid enough but as I switched it on it didn't recognise the cartridge in any way. I was slightly deflated but thought that there must be a way to fix this baby. I set about trawling You Tube and Forums and saw that it was most likely not working due to:
 
A) Bent Connectors
 
OR
 
B) Dirty Connectors
 
The connectors looked straight enough but as I shined my tiny torch into the slot I could see some discolouration of a couple of the pins which led me to believe that they were dirty or slightly rusted maybe?
 
Out came the trusty rubbing alcohol and cotton bud combo and I proceeded to clean each pin inside the slot with as much force as I could apply without breaking the pins.
 
Then I took the borrowed cartridge and insert it and took it out a number of time to try and 'friction clean' the pin some more.
 
After a 5 minute session of this I inserted the borrowed cart and crossed my fingers as I turned the little marvel on………….
 
Hey presto! The cartridge now worked!! Hurrrah! I had a fully functioning DS Lite so now it was time to choose my first game of choice to play on this not so brand new system.

The Slow Boat To China 
Having read vast amounts of Top 100s, Top 25's and Top 10's & 5's of the greatest DS games of all time, I decided to purchase GTA ChinaTownWars as my first forray into DS gaming.
 
I based my decision on it being kind of a retro styled title that went back to GTA roots on the PS1. The top down element with the 3D styling really caught my eye and I loved the look of the comic book / graphic novel cut scene visuals. So, I ordered my secondhand but boxed with map and instructions version of GTA CTW for an awesome £5….
 
I waited for my new addition to arrive and when it did arrive I was NOT disappointed. This game is a cracker. I am in love with the GTA franchise again as I maraud around Liberty City causing chaos while cleverly using the second screen with the stylus for all sorts of things such as hot wiring, Sat nav, email, searching nearby dumpsters for loot and a bit of wheeling and dealing in certain substances.
 
This game has got me and I am starting to see why the DS was and is so popular. It's a delight to use. Originally I saw this whole second screen business as a bit of novelty but I can now see that if devs use it wisely it adds to the game experience, especially on a small handheld.
 
I am now a DS convert and will have my head buried in GTA at every opportunity I get over the coming months.
 
All hail Nintendo (even if I am a bit late to the party)
 
What's Your Favourite DS Experiences?
 
Do you love this little pocket rocket?
 
What's Your Favourite DS Game?
 
Let Me Know In The Comments Below