The DSi – Misconceptions and Observations

7 04 2009

So, it looks like Nintendo has thrown yet another system into the ring.  Is it a totally new system?  No. Is it worth getting?  It depends.


“Hmm . . . that power button seems to be in a potentially annoying position — D-pad looks better though.”

What people seem to not understand about the DSi is that you cannot look at it as a totally new system.  A lot of critics tend to bash Nintendo for re-releasing things to the point that they become “unnecessary rehashes.”  They think that they have the right to criticize everything Nintendo releases — comparing it to the last iteration, which they already own.  If you already own a fully functional DS-Lite, then no, you probably don’t need to go out and buy the DSi.  Does that mean the DSi is a waste of money?  No, it doesn’t.  The DSi is catered more to the casual gamer, which of course is Nintendo’s approach this generation.  A new set of mini-cameras, music functionality, and an improved online interface all cater to a niche crowd that a lot of “hardcore” gamers won’t necessarily relate to.

Will I buy a DSi?  Probably, since I never got a DS-Lite and my old DS is getting a bit worn out.  Am I upset that the DSi does not have a GBA slot?  No, since if I wanted to play a GBA game I’d go grab my GBA SP.  I for one have never been a fan of backwards compatibility, primarily because it shuns our older systems to the point where they are no longer needed.  “Hey, I need something to hold up my broken door, go grab the Gamecube from the closet;”  heh, it’s never nice to hear that one.

What appeals to me the most about the DSi is that it’s another great step Nintendo seems to be taking.  Opening the door to better technology and advanced media will help them in the generations to come.  I mean, just a few years ago we heard Iwata saying that gamers didn’t care for online gaming, and now both of their primary systems use a fairly solid online network.  For those who’ve tried out the online capabilities of games like Pokemon Diamond, Star Fox Command, or Animal Crossing: Wild World, you know the potential that Nintendo’s systems possess for online play and communication.  Sure the friend codes are a tad bogus, but hey, you got to start somewhere.

iwata“Hey, you got your online. . . in my gaming!”

Now though many consider the camera a lackluster addition to the handheld, what is great about it is that it opens up new game-play elements.  Sure no one really needs a 0.3 megapixel camera, but no other system today can utilize functioning game-play based around one.  Sure you have those little web-cam type apps for the PlayStation 3, but who really wants to spend all that extra money for a device that will work with one or two games.  Look at “Warioware Snapped!” for example; the DSi just came out and already it has a title based around one of its newest elements.  With the ability to play music (yea I know it’s AAC – but it’s not like it’s hard to convert the formats) , take pictures, and interact with the touch screen, the DSi is just Nintendo taking the handheld field to a different dimension.  There’s a reason the DS has sold over 100 million units.

Another intriguing element to the DS line is the addition of an SD card slot.  Though this was put in place of the GBA slot, I feel that this is a better use of the DS hardware space.  The PSP has been hailed such a good underground handheld because of its ability to utilize roms and other saved formats.  Will the SD card be more restricted on the DS?  No one knows at this point, but it paves the way for endless media possibilities.

The DSiWare though is definitely going to be the highlight of this revamped console, primarily because of the online success of the handheld system’s younger brother, the Wii.  The Virtual Console has been a staple on the Wii, ultimately making up for the lack of new IPs on the system.  Hey, when all else fails you can always fall back on the classics.  Super Mario RPG, Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and ActRaiser have all stood the test of time; here’s hoping that developers start coming up with titles that can give us memories similar to what those games gave for us back then.

bluedsi“Sure beats the tired ol’ black and white.”

So, yea — in the end I’ll probably go out and grab me an electric blue DSi sometime next week along with one or two games.  As mentioned earlier my DS “Bulk” has worn out its welcome with its larger size and darker screens, so I’m looking forward to a lighter and more vibrant console to lug around; my eyes are bad enough as it is.  For those that currently own a DS, DS-Lite, or DSi, could you give me some pointers on what to pick up next weekend?