Now that the current-generation Nintendo DS is sailing out the door and the 3DS is just a couple of days away from kicking us in the eyes with 3D handheld gaming, we thought we’d go back through some of the best DS games for fathers and kids – that you’ll probably end up playing even when your kids aren’t around. Also, your pocketbook (do people even have those anymore) will be pleased to know that the 3DS does in fact play DS cartridges – so if you do get your hands on a 3DS this weekend, you don’t need to feel pressured to buy a launch title if there’s not something that immediately grabs your fancy.

Pro Tip: Something will grab your kid’s fancy, so stick around for a couple of upcoming Nintendo 3DS game previews after our look at some excellent last-gen DS games you can enjoy with (or without) your kid.

First, a look at some games that you might have missed on the now-last generation DS:

Clubhouse Games (2006)

The secret to Clubhouse Games being a fun game for both fathers and children is the fact that it includes 42 games! Nowadays, we’re wary of minigame compilations like this because, unfortunately, “shovelware” minigame compilations on the Nintendo Wii console is common. With Nintendo at the helm, however, Clubhouse Games ended up being on everyone’s top 5 list for 2006 – and it’s still a favorite around my home.

The 42 games are split into five different categories:

  • Card games: Old Maid, Spit, I Doubt It, Sevens, Memory, Pig, Blackjack, Hearts, President, Rummy, Seven Bridge, Last Card, Last Card Plus, Five Card Draw, Texas hold ’em, Nap, Spades, and Contract Bridge.
  • Board games: Chinese checkers, Checkers, Dots and Boxes, Hasami Shogi, Turncoat, Connect Five, Grid Attack, Backgammon, Chess, Shogi, Field Tactics, and Ludo.
  • Variety games: Soda Shake, Dominoes, Koi-Koi, and Word Balloon.
  • Action games: Bowling, Darts, Billiards, Balance, and Takeover.
  • Single player games: Solitaire, Escape, and Mahjong solitaire.

Yes, I copied that directly from Wikipedia.

Some of these games are definitely throw-aways. You’re never going to play Hasami Shogi, Koi Koi or Soda Shake. But you and your kid, I promise, will play the hell out of Darts, Bowling, Grid Attack (which is a generic Battleship) and Checkers. You’ll even have a great time playing Word Balloon, which is a four-player hangman-type game.

What’s great is that for all of the little, fun kid games, there’s also a lot of card games that appeal to older players. I play Rummy and Solitaire before bed sometimes to relax my brain.

With on-and-offline multiplayer (single cart for offline), Clubhouse Games is an awesome game that you can enjoy even without the kids around. The only mode that you might not be fond of is “Stamp” mode, which forces you to play all of the games, earning stamps for them whether you win or lose. What’s the point? A “Mission” mode has you complete specific feats in games to earn little icons to represent your character.

As for the graphics – the interface and games all look good without getting too complicated. You’re able to earn different color/texture schemes based on how many times you beat certain games. The sound is also simple – mostly to its benefit. No speech and no outlandish effects – just simple bleeps-and-bloops, coupled with a jazz music soundtrack (that you can thankfully turn off).

Overall, this might not be the most fun game for your kid – but it’s got a good handful of minigames that he or she will really enjoy playing with you. And who knows, maybe you can teach your kid to count cards now so that when they’re old enough for Vegas, they can help you pay off their college tuition.