Author Topic: Nintendo DS Learning Curve - Control Pad?  (Read 17163 times)

« on: July 31, 2015, 10:57:06 PM »
It's been a while since this rusty old dude posted here, but I actually got a new/old system.

My grandfather died in June. I inherited his Nintendo DS Lite, which he used for playing Brain Age and occasionally for Madden (he always wanted to play football in high school but his father wouldn't let him, so he decided to live out the dream in his golden years).

First, let me just say, the hardware itself is great. I think he got it in either 2007 or 2008, not sure when, but I know he hadn't used it at all in the last few years. It charged up and the battery holds a better charge than any laptop or cell phone I own!

Now, the hard part. My best friend decided it would be good to get my mind off things (Grandpa was my father figure) so he got me a copy of Super Mario 64 for DS. I played through this game years ago on the N64 and, believe it or not, a lot of the stars came back to me as to where they were.

However, I'm having some problems adapting to using a control pad instead of a control stick. Namely, I find the following happen quite often:

--I can't really get Mario (or anyone) to move in a straight line. It seems worst with Wario (I have unlocked all four and am up to 45 stars).
--It seems I'm really prone to falls in this game, and it seems worst in the lava course.
--Running in circles is coming easier as I continue to play it, but swinging Bowser by the tail is tougher than I remember.

If I got my N64 out, I know these issues wouldn't come up. Any tips on adapting to the control pad? (No, buying the fancy new one with the stick isn't an option since I have other sources begging for my, girlfriend, family, savings fund for a sailboat...)

I know there are supposedly ways to make Mario move with the screen but my friend told me they're sort of pointless...any other thoughts on that?

Unrelated, but is it indeed common for these Super Mario 64 cartridges to glitch occasionally and temporarily lose save data, then get it back? It happened to me a few days ago but things came right back when it was re-inserted (I looked it up and apparently others have had problems). Curious to see if it's widespread or maybe just a bad batch of cartridges.

Learning curve aside, I do like this little DS and may have to get another game for it once I come close to finishing this one. Good thing they're all cheap on the used market now!!

« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2015, 12:05:59 AM »
About being unable to walk in a straight line, do you mean that Mario wanders off to one side when simply pressing the control pad in one direction?
YYur  waYur n beYur you Yur plusYur instYur an Yur Yur whaYur

« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2015, 07:12:52 AM »
He actually seems to do that when holding it in two directions (really I notice this more with Wario than anyone). Maybe I'm just not pressing this thing hard enough? It just seems tough to want him to go where you want, and the camera doesn't seem that great either (of course, I thought there were faults with the C-button controlled camera in the original game, too).

Is there a way to go into the Mario perspective mode in the DS game? In the 64 game, you could press the L button and this would happen, but I haven't found this in the DS version. (My game didn't come with a manual).


  • he was hello
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2015, 09:49:10 AM »
No, there is no way to get into "Mario mode" in 64 DS. However, the camera is a bit more, controllable, I guess, as you can rotate it as much as you need, or behind you. It's a fine trade-off, in my opinion.
I agree wholeheartedly with the D-Pad thing, though.
read jitsu wa watashi wa

« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2015, 06:03:24 PM »
You know, maybe I should just spend a day with the camera control!

Ready for a case in point about weird muscle memory? I bump that L button for the camera all the time if I want to do something with the R button since apparently my reflexes are still trained to use that finger to hit the Z button on the N64!! I had no idea how ingrained that controller was in my mind!!!

One other comment--are the "bullies" from the lava board a little harder or is my timing just off? I remember beating them easily on the N64, even the first time I faced them, but they seem to be a little quicker on the DS game.

Final remark--it seems they made it easier to get some of the stars. I'm not complaining since it's been years since I've played the original, but the pink Bob-Ombs with the red coin locations are great (especially in the hazy maze cave where some of the coins are hidden).

Overall I do like this game, it's just the learning curve...maybe I'm getting old? Haha....


  • Beside Pacific
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2015, 08:11:49 PM »
It is awkward to control. It was made with the notion that using the touch screen to move the characters would feel at all natural. There was a little wrist strap-like thing packaged with the first DS model. You were meant to loop it around your thumb so this sliding plastic pad would rest under it and serve as a thumb-stylus for the touch screen.

So it operates under the assumption that you were going to draw circles to throw Bowser. In the original game, if you defeated him at the end with 120 stars, he would tell you "keep that control stick smokin'", referring to the way you throw him. In SM64DS, the comment is rewritten to be about the touch screen.

Totally weird. That thing wasn't included with the DS Lite or any other incarnation of the DS. Maybe it worked better than I remember? Don't know. Don't have one anymore. I just dealt with the D-pad. The game is much more natural-feeling on a 3DS. You don't get a real full 360 degrees of control from the circle pad, but it at least makes swinging Bowser around easier. I think the touch controls probably didn't go over so well, because DS games that I played after that either went all-out with touch controls that a controller could never do, or all button controls as if the touch screen weren't there.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2015, 08:13:54 PM by BP »
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« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2015, 08:43:31 PM »
So that's what the mystery strap was for.
YYur  waYur n beYur you Yur plusYur instYur an Yur Yur whaYur

« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2015, 10:47:25 AM »
I got all 150 Stars using the thumb nub. It took a long time to master but once you did it was definitely superior to the d-pad. The only other game that I remember that had nub-sticking was Rayman DS.

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« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2015, 11:15:51 AM »
You're making me wanna try that, although I'm not sure if I still have the thumb nub...


  • i can make this whatever i want; you're not my dad
« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2015, 11:14:39 PM »
In Rayman DS, the virtual control stick on the screen stayed in one place I think, while the SM64DS one got dragged around the screen if you went past the edges. I always wondered if that worked better, but never got to try it.
"Oh man, I wish being a part of a Mario fan community was the most embarrassing thing about my life." - Super-Jesse

« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2015, 12:04:00 AM »
Hmm, I may want to track down one of these thumb nubs. Can't say the DS I have came with one--I'm guessing the Lites didn't? Everything is intact here (I even have the original box for this DS).

I tried something else tonight--playing a Game Boy Advance game (Mario Kart Advance). It worked great and it was awesome to finally play the game with backlighting! (I had the original Game Boy Advance--still do actually--and finding ways to get that thing working in less than ideal light conditions was probably the reason I didn't play it a whole lot).

Having broken up with my girlfriend this weekend, I suddenly have all this extra time to play games again...the silver lining of a dark cloud?