In short; nope. As great as a newer, better Nintendo DS is in theory there are a few issues the redesign brings to light.
The first problem, and certainly the most discussed on the good old internets, is that the inclusion of a standard memory storage device. Lets face it, the list of applications with external memory support that haven’t been hacked to do shady things/outright piracy is smaller than the list of things that have. Phones, cameras, games consoles, you name it and if it has a memory stick or somesuch then it has been hacked to some extent. It’s slightly telling when even developers have voiced concerns over the matter.
The second point is that the DSi is basically the Gameboy Color to the DS’s Gameboy. While yes we have already had a DS redesign, the DS Lite is more like the Gameboy Pocket in terms of it being a slimmer model with the same funcionality. The DSi is basically a prettier version of the same thing with the capability for more features if the game developers do so choose to impliment them. And there in lies the potential problem really, if there’s a “killer app” that’s DSi exclusive – be it via DSi Ware channel only, or requiring camera functionality – that’s going to segregate the market. While this could potentially suck for DS Lite/Phat users, it will likely suck even more for the initial adopters of the DSi. With an 81 million install base on the older models, it doesn’t provide much incentive for developers to switch from touch gimics to camera gimics.
Lastly is the issue of the missing Gameboy Advance slot. While there was a small outcry when it was found that the original Nintendo DS didn’t support GB/GBC games, I feel that the back catalogue of GBA games and in some cases GBA slot using periferals far outweighs the loss of Pokemon Red/Blue and the GameBoy Camera.
Whilst “my list of friends” is far from an accurate representation of the majority of people who use their Nintendo DS, I’m not sure I know anyone who doesn’t pack a GBA game in there for additional choice on longer journies. And while yes the DSi Ware channel and removal of Slot 2 are clearly a not so subtle way of Nintendo saying “you can buy your gameboy games back from us”, this doesnt solve the issues of peripherals and cross slot connectivity. Sure the list of games this will hurt is short, but there are some pretty significant titles here:
DS Rumble Pack Games:
- Elite Beat Agents
- Metroid Prime Hunters
- Space Invaders Extreme
- Star Fox Command
DS/GBA Slot connectivity:
- Final Fantasy Tactics A2/Final Fantasy Tactics
- Pokemon Mystery Dungeon Red/Blue Rescue Teams
- Pokemon Diamond and Pearl/Red, Green, Ruby, Saphire and Emerald
- Phoenix Wright/Gyakuten Saiban
Opera Web Browser
- Whilst yes, the DSi has a browser built in, this is now a wasted investment
Nintendo MP3 Player
- A European released official Nitnendo MP3 player, another wasted investment
- Face Training (Japan only game. May yet be backwards compatible)
- Sucks to be cheaters, you guys never win.
Guitar Hero Grip:
- Guitar Hero: On Tour
- Guitar Hero On Tour: Decades
While far from a complete list, Guitar Hero is definately the worst hit by this. With the peripheral being a bundled requirement rather than an optional enhancement like the rumble pack, and a sequel (Guitar Hero On Tour: Decades) being released in November, I imagine Activision are mighty sore over Nintendo messing up a reportedly million selling worldwide game; especially seeing as they announced the game at Nintendo’s own E3 conferrence this year.
And so there you have it, in the long run the DSi will once and for all prove whether or not Nintendo can be a complete cock and get away with it.