Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Nintendo DSi - Love me or hate me... read this.

I'm pretty excited about the Nintendo DSi now. I wasn't initially, but I see a great potential in Nintendo's newest rendition, and I know I'm not alone in that. The DSi is set to release on April 5, 2009 for $169.99 - it will be launched in Black and Blue (just like our economy!).

In my excitement, I've been hopping around to different sites looking for people talking about the DSi - this has shown me the love and the hate for the DSi. Some of the hate I see comes from misinformation - people who don't have their facts together. Other hate comes from loyalists of other products, iPod or PSP fans? Who knows. Then there's the hate that just seems to be an attempt to ruin other people's fun. Usually a combination of the previous two hates. I've seen some people complain because they've just recently gotten a DS Lite, and now they (understandably) have a bit of a chip on their shoulder.

I would like to clarify some of the "talk-downs" about the DSi, in hopes that at least one person reads this and goes away saying "Oh, I didn't know that..."

"The cameras are 0.3 Megapixel. My cellphone has a better camera than this!"
For the DSi's screen size, the cameras are more than adequate. A simple search on YouTube will yield you some entertaining results. The DSi cameras are not meant to compete with your cellphone or your digital camera - they're there for entertainment. The various photo manipulation techniques the DSi has to offer for example, as well as the downloadable Warioware. I'm sure we'll see some shovelware developed to use the cameras, but I bet we'll see some clever uses for it as well.

"It's $40 more than the DS Lite, and it's a downgrade!"
Wow, there's so much to say about this one... Yes, it's $40 more - but before I address the "downgrade" complaint, I'd like to point out that the original Nintendo DS from November 2004 was $150. Let's not forget how many of us gladly spent that money on a system ridiculed for having two screens.

A downgrade... honestly? The DSi has four times the RAM and twice the processor power of the previous DS models. Developers are sure to take advantage of that, and in the official press release, it's even stated that "In addition to downloadable games, Nintendo DSi is able to play games made specifically for the system and sold at retail." The screen sizes have been increased to 3.25 from 3 inches. The speakers are improved. It has 256MB of internal memory. It's not a downgrade, it's just about a brand new system.

"It's just a filler for Nintendo's next gen handheld!"
Big deal! Who knew there was going to be a DS Lite after the DS? Would you have waited then? Who knew there was going to be a Gameboy Advance SP? Would you have skipped the original? Who's to say there won't be an upgraded DSi [insert catchy abbreviation / phrase here] after the DSi?

The fact is that we don't know for certain what's next.

" GBA slot..."
Some DS games make use of the GBA slot - specifically Guitar Hero, and Pokemon. If there are people making heavy use of their GBA slot, whether it be for trading their Pokemon, rocking out, or just playing GBA games, and you won't be keeping your DS, then the DSi is not for you.

There are a couple of GBA slot accessories, though besides the terrible Rumble Pak (which made more noise than rumble), and the now inferior DS Web Browser expansion pak, nothing else worth noting was released outside of Japan - save for various homebrew tools.

In place of the GBA slot, you're getting a SD card slot, used for storing your music and photos, and more to come. You're also getting DSiWare, which Nintendo of Japan has been getting at the rate of about 8 games/apps per month since launch its launch in November. I would much prefer to have WarioWare, Dr. Mario, and Moving Memopad on my DSi all the time, then a GBA game. But that's me.

"The battery life is half that of the DS Lite!"
No. While the battery life is clearly less than the DS Lite, it's by no means half. On its lowest brightness setting, the DSi lasts 9-14 hours compared to the Lite's 15-19. The reason the battery life is less, is because the new, faster CPU requires more power. There's no question that this is a sad situation, but if you weigh the pros to the cons (better looking/running games), this is one bit I can let go.

"AAC? What's that?"
Advanced Audio Coding.

Open iTunes. Right click your song.

It takes seconds.

In closing... anybody else remember the complaints about the DS Lite? How small the dpad, buttons, and the system itself were? How far the GBA cartridges stuck out? How fragile the system seemed (and ended up being)? Just like the DS Lite, the DSi pros outweigh the cons, and I think it'll be a purchase worthy of your money.