Worth Every Penny

If you bothered to download the podcast I was on and listened for the full hour, you'll know what games I'm playing right now. For those with better things to do than listen to four geeks + one half-geek (that would be me) rattle on about videogames, I will tell you. Other than an occasional song or two with Guitar Hero, I have not touched anything but my Nintendo DS so far this month. Make that this year!

For starters, I've been playing Animal Crossing: Wild World, the Nintendo DS version of the popular neighborhood simulator, for lack of a better description. You know, I played this game for a while two years ago when it came out on the Gamecube and I have to tell you, I lost interest pretty quickly. But now that it's on a handheld, it's perfect! Whenever I find myself with 10 to 15 minutes to kill, I just grab the DS and fire it up. Animal Crossing is the perfect type of game for the a handheld in that it only really needs a few minutes of your time each day -- find money, buy new furniture, pay your mortgage, catch a couple fish... done -- and having it so easily accessible means I no longer have to hassle with turning on the Gamecube and the tv, and being parked somewhere. Now I can play it anywhere.

But Animal Crossing isn't the only DS game that's been occupying my time. I also recently picked up Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time and I have to say that I really, really love this game. Not only is it pretty funny, but the controls are tight, it's a fun cross between platforming action and role-playing battles, and its battle system is surprisingly deep. The game isn't the perfect handheld game in that the save points can be pretty far apart at times, but having never played the Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga game (which is similar) I must say that I'm very happy with the purchase.

Of course, two games don't make a system. And although I was pretty harsh on the DS last year I'm really psyched to see me getting so much use out of it right now. And with a turn-based version of Age of Kings coming to the DS in two weeks, things are indeed looking up.

But aside from the miniscule Animal Crossing and Mario & Luigi gamecards, I haven't been playing anything outside of work in quite some time. And I don't mind one bit.

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