What a year for the DS. It seems that all we ever read about lately is how the DS is destroying top-ten sales charts and breaking hardware sales records around the world.
The DS craze kicked off in Japan and has steadily spread to the West, and now we never get on the train without seeing at least one DS in the hands of a happy gamer - from five-year old girls playing Nintendogs to suited adults pushing their thought-matter to the limit with Brain Training.
We were spoilt for choice on the games of 2006 for DS, but here are our 10 favourites for what has been a truly awesome year for the handheld.
Animal Crossing: Wild World
After gaining a cult following among hardcore Nintendo fans, Animal Crossing was a hit on GameCube, and came to DS with a list of new features that made it the best Animal Crossing yet, and one of the most dangerously addictive DS games out.
Being a time-consuming, real-time life simulator, Animal Crossing was born to be portable. Suddenly, you could carry your virtual town with you on DS, meaning you could dive into your make-belief life at any time to check on the turnip prices at Tom Nook's, pick some fruit or just go fish/insect/fossil collecting. Animal Crossing still gets played daily here at CVG. It started snowing in our virtual town when it turned december in the real world. How cool is that? That's the magic of built-in clocks.
Resident Evil: Deadly Silence
Despite the meaningless subtitle, which was clearly chosen purely to give the game the 'DS' abreviation every developer wants in DS games (pointless), Resi on DS was genius. It has all the zombie-blasting, flesh-eating terror of the console originals, with some nice touch features added in, and not short of a few comedy moments, too. Yes, we tried rubbing the stylus over Jill Valentine's breasts, at which point she yelps in shock and covers her bazookers with her arms - like we said, it's genius.
Yoshi's Island DS
Yoshi's Island on the Super NES is considered by many to be one of the best platform games ever made, so when the N64 follow-up, Yoshi's Story, royally messed up, fans of the egg-laying dino counted it out and looked forward to a true sequel. That came to the DS a decade later on DS.
Yoshi's Island DS looks, sounds and plays almost identically to the Super NES classic, with even many of the same level themes and familiar puzzle scenarios. But for a game as awesome as the original was, that really didn't matter. The addition of the new babies and their individual skills was all fans needed to be satisfied with the dual-screen update, and it made for one of the DS's hottest titles for Christmas 2006.
When it comes to classic Nintendo gaming, it doesn't come more old-school than Tetris, yet the DS update managed to add a huge list of great new features, modes and improvements without messing with or ruining the fundamentals of the game.
If you just wanted to jump into some straight-up block-arranging action on your DS, Tetris DS had you covered. But besides that, an awesome selection of alternative puzzles and challenges gave gamers plenty to keep busy with. And with its awesome new Nintendo makeover, the game looked and sounder much better than ever before, too.