Sometimes it’s difficult to find games that every member of the family will enjoy. This means looking for challenging games that are appropriate for kids, but don't have the words “Sesame Street” in the title. Happily, no console on the market has a library as well-balanced as the Nintendo DS: numerous titles appeal to everyone, regardless of gender, age, or skill level.
(Rated E for Everyone) - Everyone has played Super Mario Bros. at some point in their life, and Nintendo made sure to retain the original game's accessibility in this side-scrolling action game. New Super Mario Bros. can be picked up and enjoyed by anyone thanks to its familiar play mechanics and settings—not to say it doesn't have surprises, like a mushroom that turns Mario into a Godzilla-sized plumber.
(Rated E for Everyone) - Professor Layton and the Curious Village is a series of brain teasers wrapped up in an incredibly charming presentation. The brainy Professor Layton and his young assistant Luke are called on by the village of St. Mystere to solve various mysteries afflicting the locals, which are tackled through dozens of logic puzzles and brain teasers. It's a tough journey, though beginners can call on clues if they choose.
(Rated E10+ for Everyone 10 and Up) - Fans of rhythm games like Guitar Hero will quickly fall in love with the goofy fun on display in Elite Beat Agents. These sharply-dressed agents exist to literally save the world through song and dance, but they can't do it alone. You have to help them out by tapping to the rhythm of popular pop songs. If you mess up, nobody gets funky.
(Rated E for Everyone) - What if your neighbors were dogs, cats, and ducks instead of busybodies who inflicted fruitcakes upon you at Christmas? Animal Crossing: Wild World by Nintendo is a life simulator that's easy to play, but offers an impressive amount of depth. You can make friends, collect bugs, fish, grow fruit, and decorate your house to suit your tastes.
(Rated E for Everyone) - Engage in high-seas swashbuckling with Nintendo's legendary hero, Link. The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass is packed with challenging puzzles, which you must unravel in order to navigate deadly dungeons. If that gets a bit stuffy for you, you can sail away and seek your fortune in a land covered by water.
(Rated E for Everyone) - In nature, plankton are rather dreary creatures who drift through the day without doing much. But in Electroplankton, these simple life forms help you create your own music using the stylus and the Nintendo DS's microphone.
(Rated E for Everyone) - Nintendogs launched the Nintendo DS's popularity skyward by demonstrating the kinds of new gaming experiences the handheld is capable of. Nintendogs is a very simple, very engaging game that's irresistible, thanks to its subject matter (puppy dogs). Using the touch screen, you pet, groom, play with, and walk your very own dog. You don't get out of cleaning up after its messes, though.
(Rated E for Everyone) - Though Tetris DS is out of print, it's absolutely worth hunting down a used copy of this classic puzzle game. You've doubtlessly played Tetris before, possibly while bored at work, but this Nintendo DS remake adds a lot of fun bells and whistles through tributes to retro Nintendo characters. What's more, you can challenge friends online through Wi-Fi, or you can play against up to ten friends locally with just one cartridge. Consider the joys of a Tetris party!