Monday, March 8, 2010

Nintendo DSi XL Releasing March 28th!!

I may or may not have brought up my excitement about the Nintendo DSi XL before here on Precious Things. But let me tell you... Being able to properly see -- and more vitally read text and stats! -- in portable games is a "precious thing" indeed. And its something that my trusty DS Phat has left me dangling on many times in the past five years. The hard truth of the matter is that for me the DS Phat is great for simpler games like Meteos or Puyopop Fever that do not require a lot of reading. But put in something like Final Fantasy IV DS -- a port of my favorite game of all time -- and the problems become apparent fast.

Not being able to read the text in the RPGs that I buy -- or more clearly: being able to read the text but feeling that your eyeballs may fall out at any minute -- is not fun. Especially when the plethora of RPGs available for the system are the reason you bought it. With this in mind, it is not surprising that I was very excited from day one of discovering the DSi XL's existance, sometime before Christmas 2009. I was still mildly skeptical about how much the screen increase from 3 inches to 4.2 would effect my gaming, but my interest was piqued.

The latest information on the DSi XL has Nintendo claiming that the screens are 93% bigger then those on the DS Lite (correct the version if I am mistaken.) Numbers are pretty, but what does that really equate to in terms of actual added value and usability? Well, the way one person on YouTube has put it, essentially the DSi XL has two large screens. Each of these are roughly the size of two upright standing DS Phate screens placed side by side. Here is his video:

There is a lot of grief going on via the internet about this product, and I also want to weigh in on that. If you just bought a DSi last year and are now kicking yourself and wishing you had known about this, I feel your pain. I have never had that sort of issue with a DS -- I am still using a DS Phat Mario Kart Red version from Christmas season 2005 -- but my brother got a 20gb Xbox 350 within 24 HOURS of the 60gb model being announced. At the same time, that does not mean that this version should never have the right to exist.

A lot of people have laughed at the DSi XL as Nintendo are marketing it toward older DS gamers. I realize this is not necessarily as common in North America as it is in Japan, but older need not mean the post-65 crew either. I am 28 and I am anxiously awaiting this new DS version because of my above-stated crappy vision. Yet let me continue! There are valid reasons beyond old people and those with vision issues to justify the DSi XL's existance. What else is good about it?

-- Better sound
-- Better Battery Life
-- Wider viewing angle for those who have people watching them play
-- Larger screens = more space for working with the stylus
-- Larger build may be better for larger hands, although admittedly buttons are not larger.
-- The DSi XL may be heavier then the DS Lite or DSi but it seems like it would be comparable with the weight of the DS Phat.

I am not a blind (pun intended) zealot though. I realize that there are issues here and that there are valid points for not getting one of these as well. Simply because I feel this is going to be a great upgrade for me does not mean I think it is the perfect thing for everyone.

-- Less portable then DSi or DS Lite
-- Screens are larger but the resilution has not been changed
-- Those with better vision may notice, due to last point, that some graphics are "blocky"
-- Is completely the same as the DSi aside from the larger screen size & system in general
-- Coliurs may not appeal to everyone. While I like wine red, bubblegum pink or violet would have been great.
-- Price Point for this system is higher then any other model since the DS Phat (I paid $200 for my silver one in summer 2005.) at $189.99 USD.

I have seen a lot of confusion and misunderstandings about this product via the internet as well. Let me answer the three most common things that I keep reading based on the research that I have done:

1. Can I transfer my DSi Ware from my DSi to my DSi XL?

Apparently you need to contact Nintendo. They will send you a box and you will put both your DSi and your DSi XL into it. They will transfer the stuff for you. (And yes, if I had a DSi this would definately make the XL seem less attractive!)

2. Does the DSi XL, which is much BIGGER, have a GBA slot?

No. Unfortunately Nintendo did not take advantage of the bulk to put this much loved feature back in. If you are getting your first DS and have a GBA, keep it or get the Phat or Lite. If you are thinking of doing an upgrade from a Phat or Lite and love GBA games too then you will want to keep your old system as well.

3. I don't want to get the DSi XL because I don't want to buy all my games again in digital form! PSP Go was bad enough!

This is a huge misunderstanding about the DSiWare feature. All of your DS games will work just fine regardless of whether you have a Phat, a Lite, a DSi or a DSi XL. Please note that DSiWare, which is usually smaller stuff like Flipnote Studio, is region specific based on where you buy your DSi XL. If you care about accessing the North American DSiWare shop then you need to wait until the 28th of March and get a DSi here. DS ***games*** are region free -- the DSiWare option is not.

As a gamer with vision issues, I eagerly await the release of the DSi XL at the end of this month. A lot of people already have DS systems and while I know I am buying one of these I would strongly recommend, as I do with any product that I am interested in, that you research it thoroughly before you part with your hard earned cash. What is right for one person can be horribly wrong for someone else. What do you use your DS for? What do you like about it? What do you wish was different? When do you use it -- where? Knowing what you need is the first step in getting it. So, is the DSi XL right for you? Have you read anything interesting that I need not cover here? Do you have any questions or comments? Please feel free to share.

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