-Under Construction-Remember Gameboy? It grew up and has a mustache now. Nintendo evolved that shit like a Pokemon, and now it's the DSi...and it's even more addictive than before.
Nintendo has been an unstoppable force in the videogame market since the day they rolled out their original "Donkey Kong" arcade consoles. From that point on, a dozen other large companies have tried to get all up in Nintendo's grill, but only two have even managed to count as competition.
Probable future finance developments from Nintendo.
You might think that Nintendo simply sends out Yakuza enforcers to break the competition's knees and cut off their fingers, but it's nothing so gritty. They just remain insistent about trying for a high quality level and they never never stop. They are always thinking about their next step forward, and 9 times out of 10 it's better than what anyone else thought of. Admittedly the 10th time gives you a headache or makes you want to smash the game to pieces, but that's still pretty much better than anyone else's rate of success.
Once upon a time, Gunpei Yokoi made 2 wonderful incredible things for Nintendo: Metroid and the Gameboy. Then he fucked up and made Virtual Boy. Then he got fired. Then he got hit by a car and killed.
Over time though, Nintendo would regret firing him, because both of his good contributions proved to have some serious staying power. Metroid has become one of the best known sci-fi action series of all time, and Gameboy revolutionized gaming itself.
Before that, there had been attempts at handheld electronics with interchangeable cartridges, but they were pretty lame overall. For whatever reason, no one seemed able to take an obviously good idea and make it work. Then Yokoi dropped the Gameboy and changed that completely. Not only could you play a dozen or more games on it, they actually moved pretty smoothly, and looked ok (considering they were monochrome), and the music and sound were better than what anyone expected from a tiny little plastic box.
Then they did it in color. Then they increased the resolution, memory, and sound capability and caled it Gameboy Advance. Finally, they gave it a touchscreen with a regular screen that folded down to close the unit (protecting both screens), and called it Nintendo DS (DS for "Dual Screen").
The GBA had been incredibly good and had been a huge market success for them. The DS seemed like it could reach that same level.
"Free" - Ha! Free games from Nintendo...hilarious! There ain't nothin' in this category except a DSi web browser (which utterly sucks and has zero Flash compatibility) and "Flipnote Studio" which is actually kind of cool anyway. It's not a game though, it's just a little drawing app to let you make 3 color animations like a flip book. For some of us that is fun, but for the rest it's pointless.
"200" - Well, at least most of these are games. Be careful though. There's also some total crap in here that is even less fun than that flipnote thing, and it will cost you two dollars to download it. The reality is that most of the games here are pretty much like browser games or free downloads you could easily have with a PC or Mac. In some cases that's great, because some of them will be stuff you like and want to have in your pocket. In other cases it's a waste of time and money. However, there are a few definite gems in the collection. Your measly two dollars could get you the old-school arcade-like "Aura-Aura Climber", stealth running game "Escapee Go", or the unusal "Primrose" which is like solitaire Othello but with slightly annoying music (which you can turn off).
"500" - Now there's more to choose from. Surprisingly, there are a number of games available for 5 bucks which are probably worth 10 bucks. Every entry in the Art Style series is available for 500 points, including Precipice (like Q*bert with falling cubes that can kill you) and Pictobits (like Tetris with a touchscreen). Other good bets include Soul of Darkness (which isn't Castlevania, but for 5 bucks it's close enough), Trajectile (like Peggle with rockets), and If you have a serious thing for vampires, Dracula Rising is basically like Robotron or Smash TV except with zombies and monsters in one of three closed arenas.
"800+" - Well now we've gone too far the other way. Some of these games are good, but you do NOT want to pay 8 bucks (or more) for some annoying crap either. There are some good ones in here, though it seem like "500" is really the best price for decent games. If you love the shit out of Lemmings, both Dodo Go and March of the Minis have similar gameplay. For MORE than 800 points (hey, that fucking plus warned you this was possible) you can get the retro awesomeness of Cave Story (ported from indie freeware) for 10 bucks, or hit everything with your hair as a little Tinkerbell looking half-genie in the SNES-like "Shantae: Risky's Revenge" for 12 bucks (which is insane because it clearly worth 20 or so, but whatever). It's actually the sequel to a game almost no one ever heard of, but it seems like Shantae will definitely be back again after this.