Maybe you'll find this funny, or maybe you'll find it tragic. But apparently the United States has turned into such a "books-hurt-my-brain" country that the Nintendo DS title, "100 Classic Books," was finally released in America a few days ago -- after being available around the world forever.
For several years (yes, years), you could buy "Books" in Japan, Australia, Germany, France and other parts of Europe. Now, duh, we can read "Books" too, hurray!
Actually, you might have already read the books in "Books" during high school or college. They're classics from Dickens, Twain, London, Alcott, Lawrence, Poe, Wilde, Swift, Verney and others.
These books have been around so long, they're in the public domain. That is, if you own a printing press, you too could publish Shakespeare and Austen, both of whom are dead, if you didn't know, so they can't sue you.
Reading "Books" is easy and intuitive, as you hold the rectangular DS sideways and scroll its two screens.
Bad news: If you bookmark "Emma," then try to read "Wuthering Heights," the game won't let you bookmark both. To bookmark a second book, you must lose the bookmark in the first book. That is monumentally inconceivable.
Funny: It comes with ambient sounds. While reading, you can listen to crickets, ocean waves, a moving train, a living room fire and other sounds.
And you can go online to rank titles. The top 10 books, ranked by "Books" readers, in order: "The Man in the Iron Mask," "Lorna Doone," "Lord Jim," "Jane Eyre," "Les Miserables," "The Scarlet Letter," "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland," "The Man Who Was Thursday," "Othello" and "The Red Badge of Courage." Now discuss.
■ If you're in the mood to play another DS game that isn't a game, Nintendo has put out a recipe book called "America's Test Kitchen."
There are 300 recipes in "Test Kitchen," from deviled eggs to roasted bell peppers, nicoise salad, shrimp po' boy, pasta e fagioli, twice-baked potatoes, deep dish cheese pizza, lasagna, waffles, quiche, shrimp scampi, chicken and dumplings, grilled flank steak, pork loin, biscuits, scones, coffeecake, peach crisp and lemon bars.
You can easily alter "Test Kitchen" to exclude ingredients you eschew/don't chew, from beef to bananas and beyond. It even comes with helpful videos of chefs showing you how to do things, such as buying and prepping leeks. I don't even know what a leek is, but now I know how to clean one.
■ And finally, if you're ready for a game-game again, the new "Tetris Party Deluxe" offers standard "Tetris" as well as bonus modes, such as speed "Tetris" and bomb-clearing "Tetris."
"Tetris Party Deluxe" is simple and engaging enough to play on the DS. But if you play the Wii version, you can sit on the Wii Balance Board, and the game will read your butt movements, thereby changing directions of falling "Tetris" shapes. That's using the brains you sit on.
("100 Classic Books" by Nintendo retails for $20 for DS -- Plays like reading. Looks like book pages. Challenging to challenged brains. Not rated. Three stars out of four.)
("America's Test Kitchen" by Nintendo retails for $20 for DS -- Plays like a cookbook. Looks like a little cookbook. Challenging if you hate cooking or eating. Rated "E." Three and one-half stars.)
("Tetris Party Deluxe" by Tetris Online retails for $30 for Wii; $20 for DS -- Plays fun. Looks fine. Easy to challenging. Rated "E." Three stars.)
Contact Doug Elfman at email@example.com. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.