The weirdest Nintendo DS games that should never have existed

The Nintendo DS is a legendary handheld console that revolutionized portable gaming systems throughout the 2000s, but there are several bizarre DS games that probably never should have gotten the green light in the first place. The system certainly had more than a few weird games in its day, but some are a bit weirder (or more problematic) than others.

The Nintendo DS was launched in 2004 and the DS line dominated the handheld market until its latest iterations, the 3DS and 2DS. During its lifespan, the original DS was home to classic franchises such as animal crossing, Pokemon, Super Mario, Mario Kart, and other Nintendo DS games everyone should try. But some DS titles are so strange that you have to wonder how they could have been created.

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Related: The best Nintendo DS games still worth playing in 2022

Strange, of course, doesn’t necessarily mean bad. An Italian plumber might not have been an obvious choice for a children’s gaming mascot, but expectations are there to be defied, and Nintendo has always opted for highly original concepts to represent its brand. However, subsequent games are less innovative and more inscrutable, raising the question of whether they should have been released to the public.

Russell Grant’s Astrology is one of the weirdest Nintendo DS games

Russell Grant’s Astrology offers personalized wisdom on players’ careers and relationships based on their horoscope. It also includes three short educational paths and mini-games based on the signs of the zodiac. Russell Grant is a famous British astrologer who made his living writing horoscopes for newspapers and offering psychic readings over the phone, even appearing on British television shows such as Come dance strictly and Famous celebrity chef. Russell Grant Astrology was released in 2009, at the height of Grant’s popularity as a prominent astrologer and psychic. Since kids and gamers don’t seem to be the target markets for astrological readings, the reasons this game was released on the Nintendo DS can only be written in the stars.


Elf Bowling 1 & 2 remain weird classics on Nintendo DS (and internet)

Elf Bowling 1 & 2 have the player, inhabiting Santa’s arm, throw bowling balls to knock down rows of elf pins. Released in 2005 and somewhat poorly rated Teen, the strange game of Christmas bowling of the elves does not offer much complexity. While aiming for the ball, players are met with distractions such as a frog wearing a Santa hat and reindeer walking along the lane. Elves also sometimes shout phrases such as “who is your dad?” and “elf, elf, baby.bowling of the elvesThe sequel mixed things up with an elf-themed shuffleboard game, but that didn’t do much to save the experience. Despite the release of 8 different bowling of the elves PC games and a 2007 movie, Elf Bowling the Movie: The Great North Pole Elf Strike, Elf Bowling 1 & 2 for Nintendo DS remains one of the most forgotten releases of the 2000s.


Sprung is a bizarre Western Nintendo DS Dating Sim anomaly

Sprung: a game where everyone scores is a sim-style visual novel game released in 2004. The player can choose to follow either Brett or Becky on a trip to a ski resort, where they must try to connect with one of five characters by the end holidays. Aside from the dodgy art style and tedious dialogue, this game stands out for its unsubtle sexual themes that were otherwise rare for the Nintendo DS. Whereas On springs received positive reviews praising its comedic storytelling and risque dialogue, the game was generally considered a flop that was probably better suited to another console.


Homie Rollerz

Extremely Challenging Go-Kart Racing Game For DS Doesn’t Look Problematic On Paper, But Homie Rollerz proved otherwise. Homies was a series of collectible figurines sold in the late 1990s that depicted various stereotypical Mexican American characters. Homie Rollerzreleased in 2008, puts these characters behind the wheel in a game heavily influenced by Mario Kart DS (no surprise, given Mario Kart being the best-selling racing game franchise in gaming history) released three years earlier. With a framerate of 30 FPS, no different running stats, unstable physics and disorienting camera shakes, Homie Rollerz was unanimously panned by critics. Plus, the litany of racial slurs and awkward stereotypes makes Homie Rollerz a game best forgotten.


While these games arguably should never have been erased, the vast array of gameplay concepts, mechanics and styles is ultimately what made the Nintendo DS such a versatile and exciting console. With Nintendo eShops 3DS and Wii U scheduled to close on March 27 next year, these games serve as a reminder that modern popular games are built on the backs of those who tried, and sometimes failed, before them.

Next: The Best Nintendo DS Games Still Worth Playing In 2022

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