DSi XL Played

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Got a little hands on time with the new model Nintendo DSi this afternoon. Truth be told i came away very impressed with what i saw.

The machine itself is about the size of a PSP3000 when closed, and feels very natural and comfortable in your hands. The stylus is chunky and again extremely comfortable. So while to look at the DSi XL is very plain-looking, not sleek and sexy like a PSP or an iDevice, it’s a pleasure to hold and use.

On paper the colour choices (Dark Brown/Wine Red) bring about images of faeces and drunk house wives (not just me i hope), in reality both colour options are gorgeous. Both versions are rich and easy to look at. I say this because the DSlite colours border on the offensive. Lime Green? You have got to be kidding me. Even the Red DSlite is almost TOO vibrant and while clearly marketed at kids, is almost too much for an adult to be seen with on the train or on a side table at home.

This then is the masterstroke of Nintendo’s choice, both colours of DSi XL are earthy, natural and are suited to the older demographic that the XL is being targeted towards.

On its release on March 5th, expect to see bundles featuring 100 Classic Books and Nintendo’s Crossword game. Both titles are aimed at the Senior  Gamers among us.

The biggest aspect of the XL is the screen size. Having them side by side you can really see the difference, the XL screens are HUGE! This creates a giant viewing area that is extremely striking. I played a little Mario Kart DS on the XL and it looked great. It may have been my imagination but things seemed sharper as im sure the jaggies found in the game were gone.

With the DSi you received 1000 points to spend on the Nintendo Store. Sadly this isn’t being continued on DSi XL. It’s a shame, because I’m sure it would drive people towards the store that otherwise might not ever give it a look. Instead, DSi XL owners get an Arts Edition of Brain Training featuring image based mini games, and a 6 in 1 Dictionary.

The Dictionary allows you to type in a word and the program will translate it from English to Italian, Spanish, German, Japanese or French. What blew my mind is that you can take a photo, and the Dictionary will attempt to tell you what you have photographed in your choice of language! So you can take a photo of an Apple, click on German, and it will come up with Apfel.

No matter how good the hardware is the main focus will always be the games. With its focus towards an older crowd i don’t know if the XL will create a buzz with the right kind of gamer to encourage development of the kind of titles I want to see.

It is the best version of the Nintendo DS produced but No matter how much I want to invest in a new gadget, its still ‘just’ a DS.

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