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The number of hand-held Nintendo DS consoles has proliferated quite rapidly in our household. First there was mine - a black one, which I received for my birthday a few years ago. Then there is our white one, which I bought as a reciprocal birthday present for my wife. However, the white one went missing (we suspected it had been left on a train) so we bought a replacement red one.
Then, about a year ago, when I was disconnecting the VCR in our living room in order to replace it with a DVD recorder, there was a suspicious rattling inside. It turns out our precocious daughter, who was nearing three years old at the time, had managed to remove the so-called "child-proof" VCR-guard, posted her Mum's white DS through and carefully replaced the cover. I didn't know whether to sue Mothercare, who sold me the darned thing, or praise her ingenuity. In any event, given that my daughter ended up inheriting the spare DS, I suspect I am minded toward the latter.
The upshot of all this is that, given our vastly different tastes in games, we now have far too many of the tiny Nintendo DS cartridges to try and keep track of. We needed a decent storage system, but they are - surprisingly - hard to come by. We found many "take-along" wallets and cases which would hold three to six cartridges at a time, but nothing small or discreet enough to securely store a larger volume, and which was also highly portable. As such, we would periodically lose track of games - they are small and easily mislaid - which is not ideal given that some can sell upwards of £25.
HAPPINESS IS A HORI
Having tried, tested and discarded several solutions, we have finally found one that completely fits the bill. Manufactured by Hori, an established Japanese company that specialises in accessories for the video game market (they've been in the business for almost twenty years), the Nintendo DS Game Card Case (long title, nifty product), which was released by the company in November 2008, holds sixteen DS cartridges by utilising an ingenuously compact design.
The outer casing is made of clear, hard plastic and opens in the middle to reveal two internal dividers. Each of these hinged dividers holds four cards - in a 2x2 square grid - on each side. The transparent plastic allows you to clearly see the eight cards stored on the out-facing side of each divider (four front and four back), making it dead easy to find your game.
The retaining system is very simple but also highly effective. Each "compartment" has two small plastic clips that hold the card in place with a satisfying "click". On the side of each of these compartments, there is a fingernail sized space allowing you to easily pop the cartridge out of its compartment with minimal pressure.
The genius of this Hori product is that it has found the perfect balance between keeping the cards securely in place and making them easy to get out. The same is true of the locking mechanism for the main case - it opens readily enough, but stays shut with satisfying security. In a way, it reminds me of the ingenuity of Lego, which works on a similar principle.
The design is surprisingly robust. My five year old daughter has been using hers now for around six months and it has survived relatively unscathed, despite the type of destructive testing kids of her age subject their toys to as a matter of course. A fully stocked case is about the same weight as the DS itself and about three quarters of the size.
It measures a very tidy three and a quarter inches in both length and width and is only about three quarters of an inch deep (or 8.5cm x 8.5cm x 2.5cm in new money), making it truly pocket-sized. The product, officially approved by Nintendo, currently comes in three colours - white, black and pink - has an RRP of £4.99 and is usually available from Amazon for £4.49 (the price varies across the colours, which tend to go in and out of stock fairly rapidly).
Hori have provided easily the best storage system for DS cartridges that I have yet to come across. Previous solutions have failed, mainly because they don't get the balance between storage and security right. For example, I had a wallet from Game which had twelve "pockets", but the games kept falling out of them, and also a hard clamshell design which required games to be stacked on top of each other, making it impossible to see what lay underneath as well as being difficult to extract. For the money, you can't go wrong with the Hori, which when put in perspective, costs around a quarter of one lost or misplaced DS cartridge.
© Hishyeness 2010