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naia-the-gamer avatar 4:21 PM on 04.03.2009  (server time)
Nintendo DSi hands-on

The DSi is launching this weekend. It looks nice, and Nintendo knows how to sell a portable. In fact, I don't go anywhere without my DS. I wasn't sure what to think of the DSi, especially given the $170 price tag, but Nintendo invited me to a preview event a few weeks ago due to my Club Nintendo Platinum Status. Since I registered everything I've ever purchased from Nintendo and will never have this many coins again, I may as well enjoy the perks while it lasts. I went out to Universal Citywalk and played around with a DSi. I figured some people may be on the fence, or just curious as to how it looks/feels, so I am here to share my experiences with the DSi.

For starters, the system is a little bit longer than the DS Lite, but not quite as thick. My guess is due to the lack of GBA slot. The matte feels really nice compared to the glossy finish of the DS Lite. The buttons feel pretty similar to the Lite, but the D-pad is much nicer.

The interface looks a lot like a miniature version of the Wii in terms of how it's set up. You can check the firmware, manage data, etc. You use the stylus to navigate through the menus which include the game menu, camera, and music player. I played around with the camera a bit and messed with my face. Like a simple version of Photoshop, one can change the picture to be in black and white, sepia, distorted or split the picture into multiple mirror images. It was fun, although I can't imagine myself using this very much unless it is incorporated into future games. Since Nintendo has said there will be some games in the future with DSi exclusive features, this is a possibility. The people at Nintendo were nice enough to print one picture per person and gave us a spiffy magnetic frame to go along with it. Overall the whole setup was pretty easy to use.

(That's me in my new glasses)

I didn't do too much with the music player, mainly because I didn't have any AAC files on me. I use either mp3s or snobby raw WAV files for my music, but from watching other people test out the music player it does what the other sites say it does. One can play around with the speed of the music and reverse it. It's basically a very watered down version of audio editing software. Again, this is a feature I wouldn't really use, unless it was incorporated into future titles.

Unfortunately there weren't any DSi ware titles to try out and was one of the main reasons why I decided to attend. On the bright side, I did bring some of my own DS games to try out and compare the DS Lite screen to the DSi screen. I put in Puzzle Quest Galactrix (yes I'm still enjoying the game), into my Lite and then into the DSi. The screen is bigger on the DSi and actually made things easier for me to see. While the resolution is the same, there wasn't much of a visual downgrade due to the screen being small as it is, and with the extra brightness level, it made everything look much more vibrant to me. It was kind of nice being able to take the cartridges out without having to completely shut down the system.

Now this brings the magic question: is it still worth getting? My answer is yes and no. The Nintendo rep was very nice and tried to answer my questions, but unfortunately it's not clear yet if we will be able to play DSiware directly from the SD card or if we will have to do some fridge cleaning. That concerns me, although a little less now than before with the 4.0 firmware update on the Wii. The upgrades are really nice, and once there is enough DSiware out that interests me, I will gladly trade in my lite. Until then I'm not sure it's worth it as a DS Lite owner to upgrade. I would say for those out there debating on picking up a DS for the first time, or those who still have a DS phat should get one without hesitation. It will be much easier to see things and with the DS's library, there's TONS of amazing games to play (unless you hate fun. You don't hate fun, do you?)

I kid about that last comment, but this should give people an idea on what the DSi has to offer.

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