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Sunday, April 05, 2009


Nintendo DSi

Hey folks, spring is here, the wildlife is abundant and the dog is chasing them.

My old Nintendo DS (not DS lite) was getting worn down, so I was looking forward to the release of the new Nintendo DSi.

Like the old DS and DS light, this little unit has two screens, a touch screen interface and wireless communication. What the new DSi lacks is a port for Gameboy Advanced cartridges - which frankly, I don't miss. What it has instead is a slot for SDHC memory cards, giving you the ability to augment the storage capacity of the machine by 2 gigabytes or more.

Why would you want to do that? Well, for one thing, this new DSi has a modular menu, similar to what you'd find on the Wii. You can add, subtract or rearrange your applications at your leisure. One of these applications, the DS store, allows you to download new games and applications directly to your unit (using the same points you use on the Wii). To make things more fun, they're giving you 1,000 points (roughly equal to $10) to play with right off the bat. Unfortunately, there's not a lot of selection in the store at the moment, but you'll want to get the free internet browser right away.

I had noted that my old DS, as of late, was very picky when connecting to the internet, frequently dropping connections. This new DSi has no trouble at all finding and keeping the signal and giving me good data. The browser still isn't as fast as my trusty computer, but it appears to be a lot better than the previous incarnation available for the DS and DS Lite.

Something else you'll want extra memory for is the built in cameras. The DSi has two cameras, one to look at you and one to look at the world around you. This promises to add some cool new features to upcoming games, but for now, you can take pictures with it. However, the DSi camera utility has some fun options that you won't find on most other mobile devices. You can distort, mirror, morph and have other fun with your pictures. I'll show some creations later - at the moment I'm too afraid that I'll break the lens with my ugly mug.

One more thing you can do with the added memory is turn your DSi into a music player. The drawback is that it only plays music in AAC format (MP4) but this is presumably so you can edit the music files in the same manner that it allows you to play with your pictures. I'm looking forward to playing with this.

For me, purchasing this new DSi was a no brainer, as I skipped the DS Lite and my original version DS was definitely showing signs of wear and tear. If you're in the same boat as me, I'm sure you'll have no trouble justifying this purchase. However, for the rest of you, your milage may vary.


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