Japanese Wii Owners Finally Have Exciting DS Demo Downloads


I don’t know if it’s because Nintendo is a Japanese company, but they often bless Japan with games and services well before the rest of the world. One of these features is the Everybody’s Nintendo Channel on Wii, which has been live in Japan since November 27 of last year. While Nintendo has announced plans to bring this channel to North America and Europe, they have yet to announce a specific date.

The primary function of Everybody’s Nintendo Channel is to allow Wii users to watch trailers and videos of upcoming and recently released games. You can also find developer interviews and discussions about some of the games. Currently, this channel has videos featuring most of the Wii Ware games, Metroid Prime 3 (which just came out in Japan last week), Pokemon Ranger for DS, the new Television Guide Channel, and Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword, among others.

While I regularly check up on the Everybody’s Nintendo Channel to see what new videos are out, there is another key feature of this channel that I have yet to use much. That feature is the DS Download Station, which allows you to, obviously, download demos of select DS games. Up until this week, the demos have almost exclusively been of Nintendo’s popular series of Touch Generation games. Unfortunately, these have been software such as a Kanji training game, a vision training game, and a cooking guide with 1,000 recipes. I don’t really have much use for any of these non-game items, especially since they’re in Japanese. Luckily, Nintendo is finally starting to make better use of the service.

I loaded up the DS Download Station yesterday for the first time in many months, and was shocked to find that Nintendo had finally made something of interest available. Until March 25, I can download and try out Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis, and even more exciting, Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword. The process is incredibly simple, and can be broken up into 4 easy steps.

  1. Select Ninja Gaiden from the DS Download Station menu in the Everybody’s Nintendo Channel.
  2. Turn on your DS.
  3. Select DS Download Play on the DS.
  4. Bask in the glory that is Ninja Gaiden.

I’m sure there were some people in Japan who liked being able to sample a few recipes, but it’s nice to see Nintendo putting some demos of high profile games on the service. This is a perfect and exciting use of both the Wii and DS hardware. They’d better keep it up, because it’s good for both Nintendo and Wii owners, in that it lets us sample DS games, and could potentially increase sales for Nintendo.

Before I found the demo of Ninja Gaiden yesterday, I hadn’t really given the game much thought. Yeah, the previews looked cool, but I had never played any of the other Ninja Gaiden games, and I don’t buy that many action games anyway. But after playing through the short demo a couple of times, including a cool boss fight against a fire-breathing dragon, I think Nintendo sold me on how awesome the game is. It’s just a lot of fun, the touch screen controls work great, and it’s one of the most visually beautiful DS games yet. The game is also a lot more strategic than it appears. On my first run through the demo, I spent my time wildly slashing on the screen. I later found that slower, more carefully timed stylus strokes provide for a more fluid, tactical action game.

Great. Now I have to buy another awesome game. Thanks a lot Nintendo.