Are you a stylus or button fan?

Nintendogs, touch, touchscreen, stylus games

Remember when you first saw the DS in action? When it was all new, and very special? To have not one screen to view your game on, but two? I remember it very well, even though I wasn’t a gamer back then. We had a Gameboy Advance for my daughter, who played Disney Princess games on it. Otherwise it didn’t get much use, unless my husband decided he wanted to try the Lion King game where he had to run various levels with Timon and Pumbaa. I wasn’t the least bit interested, but when friends came over with their boys, I got my first look at the DS. I marveled at how the boys Nintendog listened to its name, how he could make it do tricks and wash it. We were surprised at how good the graphics where, and of course, my then 7 year old daughter was infatuated with Nintendogs. It didn’t take long before she was the proud owner of a DS (Phat) and the Dachshund Nintendog.

The one thing that really got my interest was the use of a stylus. No need to remember all the variations of uses for the A, B, X and Y buttons. No need to remember all the complex combinations of buttons when you wanted to make a move. All that I needed to do was to move my stylus over the screen. And before long, games were released that used the stylus in the most innovative ways. Games like Pokémon Ranger, where you caught the Pokemon by drawing circles around them. Or Animal Crossing Wild World, where you didn’t need any buttons at all to play it. Big Brain Academy and Brain Trainer, where you could exercise your brain using only the stylus. Scribblenaut of course, and Yoshi’s island, where you had to draw bridges and lines for Yoshi to walk on. Phantom hourglass, Zelda, DS stylus, stylus onlyOther games took stylus use even further, like Zelda Phantom Hourglass, utilizing all the features the DS could offer. Remember drawing which route to sail on the screen? Or to draw the flight of the boomerang? Or prioritize which levers to pull by drawing numbers on the screen? And Professor Layton and the Curious Village: using the stylus made for some innovative puzzles.

I have always loved using the stylus. It occurred to me the other day that somehow the developers of 3DS games are leaving the stylus path. I still have my pen-like stylus, that goes everywhere my 3DS goes. But more often than not it fits in my hands naturally, not needing to be used anywhere in the game I’m playing. And I wonder why that is? I know a lot of gamers don’t like using the stylus at all. They prefer using the buttons and arrows, some people on the gaming forums even go as far as saying that it’s not a real game when you can only use the stylus. It’s my opinion however that the stylus enriches the game play, bettering the game by making more innovations possible. What do you think, are you a button fan or a stylus fan?


  1. Buttons all the way.

    It may depend on the game however. There has never been a good baseball game on the DS. All of them make you bat by swiping the stylus.

    Ugh. (has to sit down)

  2. I’ve always preferred the buttons, because most of the time, the touch screen feels too small. That said, I haven’t yet played a touch screen heavy game since I bought my larger New 3DS, so I might enjoy using the stylus more. Maybe it’s time for me to revisit Fire Emblem or Animal Crossing…

    Even while favoring buttons, I still tend to have the stylus between my fingers as I play.

    1. Me too, isn’t that strange? Even if I don’t need the stylus in the game, somehow it doesn’t feel right just holding the 3DS. I have to have a stylus in my hands too!

  3. Hm, coming from a guy that owns a Psvita and a 3DS. It mostly depends on the game, but usually when I play my 3DS I always use the stylus. Some games like Zelda, where you swipe the screen to fight is always a great feeling :3

    1. I guess it’s comparable to when you use the touchscreen on the Vita, like in Tearaway! I liked that a lot too, like using the stylus on the 3DS.

  4. Some games are amazing with a stylus, some are terrible and are obviously the result of the designer just trying to make use of it cause it’s THERE. Kirby’s Canvas Curse? Best possible use of the stylus on DS. Stupid camera controls on Monster Hunter? Hate using the stylus for that. Some games, like SSB4, aren’t going to make use of the touchscreen at all, which is okay.

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