So, Nintendo have created an update of an update of an overhaul of an update of an upgrade of an update of a concept of a small one-game LCD handheld from 1982. But, is it really anything new?
The Nintendo DSi is the latest in a long line of hand-helds that are tiding us over until they can think of something new. However, I will side with Nintendo on the fact that they make something new that is really rough around the edges, and then continuing to improve on it until they have absolutely bled the concept dry. The original GameBoy was a brick, in every way. By the end of it’s particular arc it was the GameBoy Color. Smaller, lighter and generally nicer to use. The original GameBoy Advance was like something from Early Learning, without even so much as a backlight. Two revisions later it was the epoch making Advance SP, finishing off as the Micro. Then, the original DS was a dog, but the DS Lite is quite something to behold, and the DSi is obviously following on the trend that little further. Smaller form factor, bigger screens, other basic revisions… etc. etc.
They have certainly made more of an effort than Sony. 3 revisions to the PSP later, and nothing has changed. Even after all this time, they still can’t place the power button in a more sensible place! I can see the design meeting now: ‘Oooh, I know. Let’s change the layout of the buttons and make it a little less hackable. People will want to pay through the nose for that! Right, okay guys, job done. Let’s hit the golf course!’ The PSP, most definitely the Porsche 911 of the gaming world.
So, the DSi is just a logical progression of planned technological evolution. I do think though, that the DSi could be heading for a rather sticky, stereotypical end… because they have added a whole new range of functions to it. Okay, the camera is new. But, the ability to play mp3s, view photos and movies, while already available to those with carts like the DSOne, has been done before. Hmmm. Let’s think back… Oh yes. The Gizmondo!