Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Review of the DSi XL

I write strategy guides for Harvest Moon games made for handheld and console gaming systems. Among them is the Nintendo DS, a system that replaced the old Game Boy. In a couple of years, the DS has been produced in a number of different editions. The original DS and DS Lite allowed a player to play both the old GBA (Game Boy Advance) cartridges as well as the smaller DS cartridges.

More recently, the DSi replaced the original DS system. Vaunted as superior for its internet capabilities, it had one major disadvantage in that it did not support the old GBA games.

Although my DS has been dying slowly, part by part, I was more inclined to think in terms of purchasing a new DS rather than trying to invest in the DSi. Some of my favourite games were made for the Game Boy Advance...

A couple of days ago, becoming irate at the inability of my Character to run because of the demise of the L Button, I looked seriously at the DSi for the first time. In doing so, I discovered another system called the DSi XL.

As the name suggests, the DSi XL is an extra-large version of the DSi. Although I personally love miniature systems because they are portable and lightweight, I have corresponded with many players who, for whatever reason, find it difficult to see details on the tiny screens of the DS.

The screen of the DSi is FAR larger than that of the original DSi. The system is a little heavier but still is lighter than the PSP. Although some purists complain about the deterioration of image quality in the larger screen, players who liked to play their old GBA games via their television screens would find the quality of the images more than satisfactory. The screens, moreover, are brighter and have less glare than the DS.

I tracked down some one who actually owned a DSi XL and begged to borrow it for a day. It is one thing to read descriptions and quite another to experience a system firsthand.

Although many individuals now have cellphones with email capability and links to the internet, I do not. Rather to my delight, I was able to browse the web with the DSi XL and find my own website! I have included a screenshot of the DSi XL and my site.

The DSi XL has two cameras. I would have been very excited by this if either camera had been able to take screenshots of the current game. That would have made sense to me as a guide writer. Neither have this capacity. The camera either can take photographs of the person using the system or a photograph of an object in front of the system. There are all sorts of editing capabilities for these photographs, but it is more like a game than serious photography.

Speaking of which, the DSi XL includes three games, two of which are Brain Age games. There is a link to the Nintendo Shop where one can purchase and download games as well.

This is where the DSi and DSi XL differ significantly from the old DS systems. Like the Wii, the DSi was created partly to allow players to download games. I did not explore the titles at all but it would be interesting to know what games are available. Probably many classics from the old GBA days...

It is the size of the screens that prompted me to write this post as I feel that many players who have eschewed DS games in the past few years because they could not see the details clearly would be thrilled with the DSi XL. Any one who has not touched a handheld system since the demise of the connection between GBA, GB and television screen should invest in the DSi XL.

As the official price dropped by $20. three days ago, the system becomes even more attractive to any one who is not satisfied with the size of the screens on the original DS or DSi.

I have included a screenshot of a Harvest Moon game on the original DS and the DSi XL for comparison purposes. You can see how much larger the screens of the DSi are.
Another photograph shows my website on the DSi XL. When visiting any site, you can enlarge any section of the page as you can see. The third shows a photograph I took of a German Engel-Puppen doll with the DSi XL camera.

No comments: