Nintendo DS Lite
A year after the DS Lite was released in Japan, I finally got my hands on my own DS Lite by end of last month. So here’s my two cents worth after having played with it for some time. While you can get the PSP for about P10k or so, you can get the DS Lite for just over P7k. Couple that with an M3DS and a 1gig microSD, it’s roughly the price of buying a PSP unit, except you get to download all the games you want and put it in your microSD, while with the PSP you can play…er, well, at that price, you don’t have any games just yet.
In terms of fun, it offers it in truckloads. If you want to be all serious about gaming and play RPGs and PS-style games, by all means go for the PSP. But if that’s not enough for you (it certainly not enough for me), and you want to have some real fun, go for the DS. The unique features of the DS include a microphone, 2 screens, one of which is a touch screen, and Wi-Fi capability. The built-in lithium-ion batteries can give you enough juice for 5-15 hours of play, depending on your brightness setting.
The first things I’ve played with my DS were Ossu! Tatakae! Ouendan!, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Cooking Mama, and MarioKart DS, putting all the features of the DS to the test. In all of the games mentioned, only MarioKart DS didn’t focus too much on using the stylus, which was understandable. How much tapping would you need in a racing game anyway. However, it’s coolness can easily be seen in Balloon Battle–you have to inflate your balloons by, get this, actually blowing into your DS! Cooking Mama, too, involves blowing, and other stylus fun such as mixing, peeling potatoes, slicing carrots and tofu, and rolling stuff in breading. And of course, who can’t resist looking like a fool inside the MRT as you shout “Objection!” at your DS while playing Phoenix Wright! Still not convinced? How does teaching your dog how to roll over by giving verbal orders sound? That’s exactly what you’ll be doing in Nintendogs.
A week later, after having convinced two of my office buddies to get DS Lites, we were having MarioKart parties every morning through Wi-Fi, nearly bursting our lungs out while playing in Balloon Battle mode. Playing with friends across the globe is also possible with some games through the Nintendo WiFi Connection, by use of Friend Codes that are unique to your cartridge and DS pair, which is cool because I can play with my brother in China. Of course you can also play with strangers if you haven’t got any friend codes yet. And the DS is no weakling either when playing serious games for the hardcore gamer. The framerate for the first-person shooter Metroid Prime rarely lagged, even with multiple opponents on screen in multiplayer, and the graphics of Need For Speed are just fabulous.
The DS also caters to non-games, including learning tools like Kanji Sonomama Rakubiki Jiten, a really good Japanese dictionary. Also with the M3DS, you can play music and videos with Moonshell, or play music using the IPod homebrow application. Most of the main IPod feature is there, of course including the touch-sensitive IPod interface.
All in all, the DS Lite is a powerful computer disguised as one of the best piece of entertainment hardware you’d get your hands on, and for a low price. Let’s just say I used a little over half the savings I was gonna use to buy a MP4-enabled Ultra 9.9 Samsung to buy this baby. A warning though, once you get your DS Lite, expect to be bringing it everywhere, always keeping it charged, and fending off would-be borrowers.