With the DSi launching today without any dedicated DSi games - outside of a handful of DSiWare apps - first-time owners are going to be looking for some DS games to pick up. Here are my choices.
Advance Wars: Dual Strike The strategy genre is well-served on DS, where solid interpretations of stalwarts Age of Empires and Civilization are joined in the trenches by SRPGs like Disgaea and Fire Emblem. But for me Advance Wars offers just the right combination of depth and accessibility; its rock/paper/scissors formula is easy enough to understand, but the mission and map design provides endless variation.
Animal Crossing: Wild World Although some may suggest any adult playing Animal Crossing is doing so for the wrong reasons, they are, frankly, cretins. This playfully aimless social sim is a breath of fresh air in a world dominated by goal-oriented games. Years later, you'll still be dropping by your village for a few moments each day and still find something new to do or see.
Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia Some might name New Super Mario Bros. as the pinnacle of DS platformers, but I can't help but think its appeal is diminished by falling short of the series' true greats, whether 2D or 3D. I'd pick the third DS Castlevania title as my platformer choice; not only is it the best of the three, it's almost as good as Symphony of the Night. Almost.
Chrono Trigger Forget those Final Fantasy remakes. Forget those Dragon Quest remakes. The finest old-school RPG in the combined Square Enix back catalogue is Chrono Trigger. The exquisitely executed time travel mechanic is just the starting point of a character-driven tale that describes the consequences of your actions like few other games have even attempted. Superb.
Elite Beat Agents Utterly nonsensical yet joyously playable rhythm-action game. You might not be a fan of the at times terrible soundtrack (hi Avril!), but that won't stop you grinning like a fool as you tap your way through one of the most infectious gaming experiences on any format.
Etrian Odyssey Hardcore role-playing doesn't get much more hard - nor indeed core - than this. Roll up your party, outfit them with gear, take on a quest, then head to the dungeon. You can't save in the dungeon. You have to draw your own map as you go. You'll get your arse kicked. For a handheld RPG, Etrian Odyssey steadfastly refuses to hold your hand in any way. But it's brilliantly addictive.
Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars It shouldn't work, but it does. Unlike the PSP GTAs, Rockstar have played to the strengths of the DS rather than trying to shoehorn a console game into ill-fitting hardware. The technology is formidable, but what truly impresses is the inspired use of the touchscreen where every mechanic feels perfectly natural. It doesn't feel like a compromise but rather an extension of the core GTA experience.
Phoenix Wright Adventure games are sadly under-represented on DS. Sadly, because the genre strikes me as perfectly suited to stylus control. The new Broken Sword demonstrates how smart porting can revitalise the traditional point-and-click adventure. But it was Phoenix Wright that did it first and forged its own identity through charming characters, snappy dialogue and hugely entertaining scenarios.
Professor Layton and the Curious Village While Brain Training may purports to keep your mind sharp, Professor Layton will bend it to breaking point. Little more than a series of logic problems dressed up in an endearing tale of mystery, may at times make you feel stupid but it never stops making you want to keep playing. Now where's the sequel, Nintendo?
WarioWare: Touched! Easily the best version of WarioWare. Translation to the DS sees the micro-game formula benefit enormously from the touchscreen and even the microphone. It's also the ideal game for short bursts of play whenever you have 5-10 minutes to kill and feel like switching your brain off.
So, there you go, they're my picks for the DS. Do you agree with me? What have I overlooked?