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Nintendo DS Lite

By Michael Waskiewicz

Fort Wayne Reader

2006-06-05


Writerís Note: I was halfway through my promised review of the new Godfather title when something strange and amazing happened: A package appeared in my mailbox. Upon opening the box I was obvious this was no ordinary piece of mail, but an extraordinary gift from Nintendo ó the new DS Lite. Once I realized what it was, I opened it to tinker around with it a bit and it suddenly became obvious that my review must be about this amazing new piece of hardware I am fortunate to own a week too early.

On the surface, this is just another DS. It doesnít do anything new. Itís not faster or necessarily better. It doesnít play music or video and hereís no web browser (yet). There is absolutely no reason to buy this piece of hardware at all, especially if you already own a Nintendo DS. However, if vanity runs oil-thick through your veins like me, then youíll love this one. Because the only reason to buy this baby is for the amazing cosmetic changes Nintendo has made.

The Nintendo DS is, without question, the single greatest looking handheld device ever created. Itís leagues better than the original and makes the PSP (a.k.a. a doorstop or paper-weight) look like a toy. It is now a device to be carried around with pride and will look great sitting next to your iPod.

First of all, the clamshell design of the DS Lite is perfectly sealed around the middle where the two parts meet. It is sheathed in clear plastic and has the DS logo emblazoned on the cover. These two elements fix the awkward, clunky feel of the original and when you carry it around, unless the people around you are in the know, they wonít necessarily know this is a gaming device. This is great for those few of us who are still afraid to admit weíre gamers.

The DS Lite is also about 1/3 smaller than the original and weighs noticeably less. Itís about as wide as the original Gameboy Advance and fits perfectly in your hands. The built-in mic has been repositioned to the center of the device, so it is more natural when youíre trash talking your friends before a Metroid deathwatch. The other noticeable changes: the Start and Select buttons have been repositioned to prevent people from accidentally hitting them (apparently a problem with the old DS). Plus, there is a new stylus thatís bigger and fits in your hand more comfortably.

Aside from the fact that this is one great looking machine, the only truly functional reason you would want to buy this is for the new screens. Nintendo improved the screens beyond measure. Theyíre brighter than ever before and look amazing. Every game I tested looked better than before due to the added brightness. Frankly, I never even noticed how dim the original DS screens really were until I tried the DS Lite. Whereas I donít believe the screen is as nice as the PSP (a.k.a. waste of money or device that does everything, but nothing well), it is much brighter.

Whether you own a DS or not, I believe you must own the DS Lite, not necessarily because the hardware is so great, but the fact of the matter is the DS (Lite or not) simply has the best (and worst, frankly) handheld titles available on the market.

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