On Sunday April 5th, Nintendo will release the Nintendo DSi, successor to the wildly popular and successful DS Lite. The “i” in the title showcases individual play as well as the two digital camera “eyes”, one in the inner middle of the handheld and one on the outer top right. This colored progression of the Nintendo DS, the third so far since the original was released in 2004, has some exciting features.
The first NDSi feature point concerns an important money saving element – being backwards-compatible, so your game library can stay intact. The NDSi still has Pictochat but no GameBoy Advance slot, so you won't be able to play GBA games or rumble pack-related accessories. The power button on the inner lower screen also functions as a reset button, so you don’t have to totally shut down the system.
The NDSi is thinner than the DS Lite and has a special “matte” coating that reduces fingerprints and other natural smudges. The bigger, 3.25-inch screens get closer to that of the PSP (at 4.3 inches), while the speakers enhance music/audio functions like tuning into podcasts, voice recording, changing speeds, removing vocals, listening to music (even with the console closed), and other features. MP3 files will however not be compatible with the DSi.
The camera features include picture manipulation like transforming color to black and white, morphing two faces together, etc. You can also share your creations/manipulations via local wireless connection or save them in that convenient SD memory card slot — one of the most exciting NDSi features. This element greatly expands storage and data transfer capabilities.
The DSi Shop will be similar to that of the Nintendo Wii as you buy Nintendo Points then spend them. You also get a free web browser and 1,000 Nintendo Points to spend before the March 2010 expiration date. Initial games that also launch this Sunday include an Art Style series, as well as recognizable Nintendo characters in another series. The Shop channel will also feature even more titles, plus you can enjoy improved Wi-Fi capabilities as you play, share and establish friend codes with other players. The Wi-Fi indicator light lets you know your current status, plus the NDSi has five brightness settings.
The Nintendo DSi will retail for $169.99. Already released in Japan this past November, this latest handheld console update will release in Australia on April 2 and in Europe on April 3. Canada will also get their chance at a NDSi on April 5.
You’re in luck if you’re on the West Coast. This Saturday night Nintendo is hosting a midnight launch party at GameStop’s Universal CityWalk location in Los Angeles. Entertainment includes gaming stations, stunt performances, and music by VJ Fader. If you're in the LA area, stop by on April 4 from 9 p.m. to midnight for the NDSi excitement, giveaways, and a surprise.