Over the years, I’ve been on a quest for the perfect handheld gaming system. I was completely obsessed with gaming on the go. I was a kid that grew up clutching my overheating GameGear in the early morning hours until every last drop was sucked out of the 6 AA’s it took to run. I pulverized the purple buttons on my GameBoy until they worked no more. I went through the whole gamut — a Lynx, a GameBoy Color, a GameBoy Advance, you name it. The callouses on my fingers grew thick from Double Dragon, Mortal Kombat, Tetris and the like. Throughout the years, my portable gaming system was my sidekick. I took it (and played it) everywhere.
As I got older, my quest for portable gaming continued. When the original PSP was released, I rejoiced! Finally, strong hardware behind some solid titles. I bought two of them. (Multiplayer Grand Theft Auto was *really* addicting.) Sadly, the world was not gripped with the same fervor as I, and the UMD format has already been pronounced dead. Although the PSP is still strong at the moment, I find it hard to stay in love with my now antiquated first-generation units. (There is still the Xperia Play, which I can’t wait to try!)
Slowly, very slowly, the void in my heart for a trusty portable widened. I wasn’t playing any of them. I looked on as they collected dust. Then one fateful day, I bought an iPod Touch, not even realizing it’s potential as a gaming device. Of course, my love for it grew, and I carried it as much as my cellphone. I realized then how the “i”-line of devices are absolutely wonderful for gaming in many ways, and how casual games like Angry Birds have easily skyrocketed to a windfall of popularity. However, there are not many true core titles on the platform, and for those that do exist (see: Rage), the controls can either be difficult to master, or frustrating in such a small form factor, amongst other various minutia. Touch screens are great and engaging on their own, but as the only input method (aside from accelerometers), the gameplay for many genres can be limited.
Recently, (and sadly, it is only recently) I have discovered Nintendo’s DSi. My iPhone, for a long time, successfully fulfilled my mobile gaming needs. Combining a touch screen with physical buttons, accelerometers, and cameras on their quest to immerse their players in more games daily, Nintendo has come out with a sure-fire hit. Initially, I wrote off the DS’s touchscreen as a gimmick, and nothing more than a glorified GameBoy. Boy, was I wrong. With a solid range of titles and killer battery life, the DS has become the best selling portable console and the second best selling console of ALL TIME (bested only by the PlayStation 2), with 144.59 million units sold as of December, 2010. An amazing feat to say the least, and the 3DS is set for release later this month. If you haven’t picked one up, I highly recommend it. I bought a DSi XL for my girlfriend, and I haven’t put it down.
As I said before, the 3DS is coming out later this month, but that’s not a deal-breaker. The DSi XL and the 3DS are two very different monsters. The DSi XL is a souped-up version of previous DS’s, with larger screens and a longer battery life. The 3DS will come in around $100 more, with smaller screens and a shorter battery life. However, the promise of Augmented Reality games is tempting… but that’s an article for another time. Beware of picking up any DS system, for even a few minutes. I fell in love with it right away.
DSi XL Specs:
- Extra-large dual 4.2″ (diagonal) screens (93% larger than DS Lite)
- Includes full-sized stylus and traditional stylus
- Brain Age Express: Math, Brain Age Express: Arts and Letters, Photo Clock, Nintendo DSi browser, and Flipnote Studio software all pre-installed
- Dual cameras (front and inside) with multiple effects for photo fun
- Sound recorder with built-in microphone and effect options for fun with sound
- Sound application compatible with AAC music files stored on additional SD card (requires Nero Music2Go)
- DSiWare downloadable software available through Nintendo DSi Shop
- Bottom screen is touch screen
- Built-in wireless connection for downloads and multiplayer over LAN or world-wide
- PictoChat drawing app allows local sharing
- Dimensions (closed): 6.34″ W x 3.60″ H x 0.83″ D
- Weight: 0.69 lbs
Nintendo DSi XL Warranty Details
12-month limited manufacturer’s warranty
More reasons to buy the Nintendo DSi XL from Vanns.com
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