The things we love - and hate - about Nintendo's new handheld mobile gamer
- A slimmer, sleeker multimedia-minded Nintendo DS; two Webcams
- Skimpy internal storage; only AAC music format supported
The Nintendo DSi is a slimmer, sleeker multimedia-minded Nintendo DS, with two webcams. But it has skimpy internal storage, and AAC is the only music format supported
Price$ 299.95 (AUD)
4. STORAGE AND DOWNLOADS
LOVE: Nintendo finally decides to add internal storage for saving games on a device. Yay!
HATE: A meagre 256MB of storage.
LOVE: Nintendo finally has a download store for DSi games — appropriately named the DSi Shop Channel. It's accessible on the device through any wireless Internet connection. Unfortunately, I can't tell you much more about it right now. The store doesn't open until April 5.
HATE: Applications must run off the sparse internal storage. If you download something and save it to a memory card, you'll need to copy it back onto the unit's internal 256MB of storage to run it. At least that's the way it was when the DSi launched in Japan last year.
There is, however, one glimmer of hope. You see, last week during GDC, Nintendo announced a smart move: the latest system update allows you to save your downloaded WiiWare and Virtual Console games onto an SDHC card.
And to play those games off the card, since the Wii has little internal storage. What a concept! Now if some rocket scienists at Nintendo are reading this — do the same thing for the DSi!!
6. THE INTERFACE
LOVE: Nintendo learned a couple of valuable lessons from the Wii. So much so that the new navigation looks like a modded, mobile version of what you'd find on the home console. Boxes that scroll along the bottom show all the features/games/applications available... and a number of open boxes await your favourite downloads.
Of course, since it's so closely emulating the Wii interface, don't be surprised if there are frequent system updates to foil system hackers from crafting homebrew games.
HATE: Of course, as a huge homebrew fan, the first thing that I had to do was test out my R4 cartridge (1.25 build) to see if I could play any of my homegrown games on the DSi. Absolutely no luck, it won't read the card. Now I know that the big concern about these things is that it's some gateway to pirating games.
You know what? So was a VCR. So is a DVD-R. Does this mean you should punish homebrewers? Okay, I'll step down off the soapbox for a sec. I'm not saying that Nintendo has any obligation to open up its platform (hint, hint), but it sure would be nice to see some of these freely made apps for the NIntendo DS work on a DSi. Any chance that'll happen?
Well, I'll bet that some industrious modders will figure out a workaround well before Nintendo will allow it officially.
The Nintendo DSi still has two X-factors to be checked out before we can pass any kind of final judgment on the device. The first is the DSi Shop Channel, which, as mentioned, won't open it's doors until April 5.
The other problem is more of a practical test. We need to stage a gaming horse race to see how the battery life compares — better, worse, or the same? — with earlier versions of the handheld.
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