james debate
james debate

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Manufacturer Nintendo
Type Handheld Console
Style Oriental Fusion
Online Nintendo Wi-Fi

In these past couple of years Nintendo has really had the edge in the videogames market, to put it mildly. The Wii and DS put together has sold more than every other console currently on sale put together, more than twice as much in fact. This is largley down to the complete failure of the PS3 and the continued lack of respect for the Xbox360 outside of the US, especially in Asia. So as soon as the new iteration, the DSi was released, I was keen to get myself one to test it out.

nintendo dsi

Now on first impression I have to admit being vaguely underwhelmed. The appearance was simply less sexy than the DS Lite, gone is the glossy apple-esque finish in place of a much more economical matte plastic. It wasn't a good start. However everything else seems to be vastly improved. The screens are bigger, the controls and buttons feel perfect, and the stylus has also been re-weighted.

The GBA port has been dropped, although admittedly I never used it anyway. There is also a new SD card port, which is an awesome idea to add external storage for the system, which allows some of the other key features to reach their full promise.

These key features include all new online features. The entire DS OS has been remastered to have more of a Wii feel, with different channels and an online store, including it's own 'app' store involving DS ware programs of varying quality. It's all very interesting and after the iPhone showed us the marketability of such things it seems an obvious step, however this may well be a worrying sign for Nintendo, they don't usualyl do 'obvious' and it's their style of ingenuity and thinking outside the box that has given them such market domination recently.

The DS also has a camera built in, 0.3 megapixels. This seems a bit pointless I have to say, and a bit gimmicky. However if I can trust any company to find a way to make this a useful or compelling feature, it's Nintendo. Just look at how they used the touch screen and microphone so brilliantly in DS games.

And speaking of the games, well they're exactly the same as the DS games, which is no bad thing, the DS has awesome games. However the poor technology present in the DS compared to competition like the PSP becomes every more noticeable, with the DS a full generation behind the PSP in terms of graphics and power. It's hardly crucial, but it is noticeable.

In summary, this is a great little evolution of the best handheld console on the planet. However it has lost some of the sex appeal of the DS Lite and the 1995 era N64 style graphics are becoming a bit old.

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