It seems that Nintendo of Europe is dealing with a little plastic shortage right now, and as such will be shipping certain new Nintendo DS games in cardboard boxes instead of the standard plastic case. It's only temporary and in December the company will give free plastic cases to everyone who wound up with a cardboard temp box. That's acceptable for a short-term problem, but Joystiq has the audacity - the audacity, I tell you! - to suggest that Nintendo ditch plastic cases overall and regress to the cardboard packaging of yesteryear permanently.
We admit, those are some high quality plastic cases, but c'mon. The DS cartridge is tiny and holds just 128 megabytes of content. Does it really need to ship with plastic that weighs many times more than the product (3.5 grams)? It's environmentally irresponsible. We understand that large game cases help titles fight for attention on a retail shelf, but there's no reason that they can't do that fighting using more responsible materials.
I'll be the first to admit that I'm a box packrat. I still have all of my original NES, Super NES, Nintendo 64, and Game Boy boxes from the old days (and a handful of Virtual Boy boxes for games bought used). They're boxed up and stored safely for the ages. The box is an important part of the gaming experience (not a major part, admittedly, but an important one) and as cardboard has taught me over the years, cheaply made boxes do not last for years and years (hence the careful storage). This generation's plastic Nintendo cases, however, are perfect for my collecting/hoarding ways. I can stack them, sort them, alphabetize them, and generally arrange them for my own compulsive enjoyment. Unlike cardboard boxes, they won't deteriorate every time I open them or move them around. So keep the plastic coming. My need to organize and maintain my collection depends on it.