To purchase a DSi?

2 weeks ago Nintendo released the third generation of the Nintendo DS entitled the DSi.  The DSi doesn't iterate on the visual design of the DS Lite, but makes several hardware changes.  The screens are slightly bigger and brighter.  The speakers are more clear.  The power button has moved.  They've also added 2 low quality cameras for some reason.

But the biggest change is the removal of the Gameboy Slot on the bottom of the unit.  It's sad that nearly 20 years after the original release of the Gameboy that that name will no longer carried.  But oh well..  It's been a very long time since I've even used that slot for games.

With removal of the GBA slot comes the addition of an SD card slot.  The SD slot is located on the side where the power button used to be.  The primary purchase for this is to store downloadable games and applications from the DSi store, which opened on the same day of the DSi launch.

Is it worth it?

Yes, yes, all these features are all well and good but does this really warrant a purchase?  There's a little bit more processor power, and a little bit bigger screens.  But essentially the DSi is identical to the DS Lite.  There's no killer-app on the DSi store and no plans for DSi specific games.  Why waste $170 buying a new DS?

Well, my reason for wanting a DSi is the same reason a few others are willing to "upgrade": My DS is beat to shit.  I own a launch Japanese DS and over these past 3 years my DS has been my most played gaming platform.  I've played the thing so much the touch screen can no longer be re-calibrated to precision.  Those super-market credit card signature pads have more precision than my DS touch screen.  Trauma Center is unplayable!

In addition, there's been a tiny renaissance of games lately.  (ie: Pokemon Platinum, Tokyo Beat Down, Docomo Dake, Retro Game Challenge, Harry Hatsworth.)  There's also a few future titles to look forward to.  (ie: Edgeworth Perfect Prosecutor and Zelda Train Simulator.)  There's also some great games from the past year that I missed.  (ie: Zelda Phantom Hourglass, Trauma Center 2, Bangaioh Spirits.)

I think an upgrade to workable DS hardware isn't such a bad idea.

Region locking

Up until now, all Nintendo portable hardware was region free.  You can play any Japanese games on an American DS and vice versa.  But Nintendo had announced that the Nintendo DSi is region locked.  What does that actually mean, though?

Well, for #1: The Japanese DSi will only have access to the Japanese DSi store.  Americans can only access the American store.  I think that was already obvious given the way the Wii store works.  Unlike Xbox or PSN, the region is embedded in the device itself.  So the only way to access a store outside of your region is the purchase the device for that region.

Pros: Access to kooky Japanese games not available in the US.  Games like the Katamari Puzzle game, which may or may not actually be fun.  The Art Style series which includes Decode, Pico Pict, Somnium, Hacolife, and a couple others.  These games remind me a lot of Bit Generations.  The Dr. Mario games is over there too.

Cons: I won't have access to the American games.  Though, I don't really see this as much of a Con since the games I care about will already be on the Japanese DSi store.

#2: DSi Region locking could also mean that DSi specific cartridge based games are un-playable on other regioned devices.  Though, this hasn't actually been confirmed since Nintendo has not mentioned any plans of making DSi specific games.  However, if they did plan to make DSi specific games, and they were region locked than I would not be able to play American games.

#3: DLC.  Let's say cartridges were not region locked and they were some DSi-only cartridge games.  Well, if Nintendo introduced DLC for these titles, it wouldn't be able to access the store for my American  games.  Though, are there any games for Wii that have DLC?

Do I buy import?

Personally, I'm going to bet on DSi-only carts being region-free, even though I really have no proof to back that up.  That's a problem for future-Me anyways, since all current DS software is region free.

The decision of whether I buy domestic or import comes to down to the DSi store.  It's hard to judge the American DSi store after a mere two weeks of operation, but there are definitely some Japanese games that will never be released here.

So, I think I will buy a Japanese DSi.  They are $20 more expensive than the US ones and come in a few colors not available in the US including Pink, Navy and Lime.

In 10 days, I leave for Japan.  When I'm over there I'll either chose a Navy or Lime one.  Who knows, though.  I might change my mind while I'm in Japan.  Or I might not be able to find any.  $200 can always buy something else.

That's not the only thing on my shopping list:

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