Nintendo DS: Day 14 (My Poor Hands)

   24 November 2005, early morning

I have pretty bad RSI, the result of years of very poor posture while using the computer. Keep this in mind when I bring up the following criticism of my Nintendo DS.

I find the DS is actually pretty uncomfortable to play with for an extended period of time. The rectangular shape doesn’t feel as ergonomic as the more rounded Gameboy Advance I had before. It’s also a much heavier unit, which also adds more strain to your wrists when playing with it for longer periods of time. The stylus is very stubby, which makes it awkward to hold. Combined with the weight of the unit, I find my hands get sore after playing Meteos or AdvanceWars DS for an extended period of time. Playing Final Fantasy, which isn’t a fast paced game by any means, really starts to wear on my elbows and wrists. The buttons feel oddly placed to me. Playing GBA games with the DS could be improved if the two extra buttons on the DS, the X and Y, were also mapped to the A and B buttons. They don’t do anything whey you play GBA games, but are definitely easier to press due to the position they are in. Long sessions of MarioKart DS also wear on my hands, for similar reasons.

Despite the fact my arms get sore, I am really liking the system. So far I’m very impressed with the three games I own. If I could go back in time, I’d still get the Nintendo DS over the Playstation Portable or Gameboy Micro. However, if you have very bad RSI, the DS might not be the system for you. (Of course, I imagine if you have killer RSI, you probably won’t enjoy playing video games on any cramped portable system.) I haven’t played the PSP for long periods of time, but its form factor is much closer to what I consider to be the most ergonomic portable system I’ve played on, the Gameboy Advance.



  1. I have to agree. DS form factor is highly uncomfortable even for short periods of time. I find that all of the buttons are too small, too close together and “edgy” ... after 10 mins of MK DS I have a “button circle” embedded in the middle of my thumb ;) Holding the console with all buttons readily accesible is a pain and I end up twisting my hands around all the time :(

    I also own the PSP and I have to admit it has much better ergonomics.

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