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Nintendo DS Lite
Member Name: BitterFusion
Nintendo DS Lite
Date: 14/11/11, updated on 14/11/11 (75 review reads)
Advantages: Unique design, light, good battery life
Disadvantages: Disappointing range of games, which can be expensive
About the DS Lite...
The DS Lite fits comfortably on my outstretched palm, and is not at all heavy in my opinion. It is a well designed console, looking far sleeker and tidier than its older brother, the Nintendo DS. With the lid shut, the DS Lite is incredibly compact, allowing it to be easily carried around, while also making a protective case for the dual screens inside. The stylus is stowed away safely and discretely in a small hole on the underside of the console, which is tight enough to keep the stylus in place, but not so tight to make it difficult to remove.
One of the most distinctive changes of the DS models from previous Game Boy series was the size of the DS games. Nintendo decided to go micro when they released DS games, making them little bigger than a stamp, and less than a cm in depth. However, happily, two game slots are included on the underside of the DS Lite - one for DS games, and one for Game Boy Advance games (although sadly not Game Boy/Game Boy Color games).
Upon opening the DS Lite, aside from the obvious difference of having two backlit screens (7.6cm/3" display) as opposed to one (that had no backlight if you had anything other than an SP), the console very much resembles that of the Game Boy series. With a familiar control pad on the left, A & B buttons on the right (joined by X & Y), as well as 'Start' and 'Select', Game Boy veterans had very little to adjust to in terms of button bashing. Even the left and right triggers found at the upper corners of the bottom lid of the console found their way over from the Game Boy Advance. Of course, the biggest adjustment to make was that of having a stylus. Control pad, A & B buttons AND having to hold a stylus?! How would we ever cope? While it does take some getting used to holding the DS Lite in your left hand, and tapping the touch screen with the right, it is soon picked up, and you'll find that most games either opt to primarily use a stylus or to focus mainly on button play, while some give you the option to switch between either.
Range of games
The range of games for DS consoles are...well...just plain disappointing in my opinion. Don't get me wrong, there are some that are absolute gems. However, these few are overwhelmingly outnumbered by a lot that are just plain boring and unimaginative. I think I can demonstrate this point most clearly by citing two of my favourite games, 'New Super Mario Bros.' and 'Mario Kart DS'. Both are currently in the top 10 Amazon bestseller list for DS as I write this, and have been in the top 100 games for DS in excess of 2000 days, or to put it simply, for the past 5 years. While I do not deny that they are both addictive and fun games, to me, this demonstrates clearly that there has been a distinct lack of gripping, must-have games released for the DS consoles.
In fact, it is quite clear by browsing through the games available for the DS, that this has become a very casual gaming console. On the one hand, the DS is dominated by cutsie pet games such as 'Nintendogs', 'Zhu Zhu Pets' and various 'Hello Kitty' pieces of nonsense, while on the other hand, there is a huge amount of puzzle games available, ranging from 'Brain Training' to 'Puzzler World' to 'Jewel Quest'. While these games are suited to younger players, and a maturer audience (my mum has a DS, and she'd never have considered getting a Game Boy of any description), I feel that Nintendo have alienated the old Game Boy fans, with a distinct lack of good platform games.
Despite this, I feel I am being a little harsh on the console, as there have been some games that I have thoroughly enjoyed, and being a lover of puzzles myself, there are some games that have really worked my brain. Some of these include: the Professor Layton series, Pokemon White, Pokemon HeartGold, Picross etc.
On a full charge, my DS Lite lasts about 6 hours, which I think is a reasonable amount of time to play on a journey, away from a mains power source. However, the DS Lite's battery life can be increased by dimming the brightness of the screen. I, however, take no chances, and have a mains plugs, as well as a car charger (bought separately) to ensure that, no matter how I'm travelling, I won't run out of battery.
Over the years, it is fair to say that the DS Lite has been tested to the limits. Clumsy as I am, I have dropped it a number of times, gotten water on it, and have probably not been the nicest owner in the world. Despite this, it still looks great and unmarked (although this might have something to do with the fact that it's black). The speakers still work as well as they ever did, giving a nice clear audio sound (or annoying if you don't like gaming music), whereas I managed to kill my old Game Boy Color's, probably through over use.
However, one thing that has not quite stood the test of time has been the touch screen. Over years of use, the touch screen is now quite badly de-calibrated, despite my efforts to re-calibrate it via the menu many a time. While I can still select things by touching the screen, in games where precision is important, it gets annoying trying to work out how far away you have to position your stylus to get an accurate touch on the screen.
I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with my DS Lite, and I can't lie - I initially had my doubts about getting one myself. I just could not see how a point and click type of console was going to improve on what was already a perfect method of play, developed by the Game Boy series. Sure, the DS Lite looks and feels nice, but at the end of the day, it is the enjoyment gotten from the games that is the most important thing in a games console. For me, the range of games I'd like to see just aren't available.
Nowadays, the console will cost you in the region of £109.99 (Amazon.co.uk), coming in colours such as black, white, bright pink, red, and metallic blue. Prices of games range massively, from £3.35 for something like 'Cooking Guide' to £44.99 for 'Moshi Monsters: Moshling Zoo'.
Ultimately, I would suggest that you thoroughly have a good look at the games available before deciding if this is really the console for you. If you are a casual gamer, then there is an abundance of games that will be right up your street, and it may be worth considering if you would like the extra features that come on the DSi models, such as an integrated camera. However, if casual gaming is not your thing, then I would say that this is one to avoid.
Summary: For the casual gamer
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