Nintendo DS Lite
Manufacturer: Nintendo (product page)
Price: US$129.99 (shop for this item. Note: DS Lite listings are mixed in with regular Nintendo DS listings.)
I’ve bought so many Game Boy products in my life that I wish I could subscribe to a service instead of handing Nintendo my hard-earned cash every few months. The amount of product Nintendo has released in its portable gaming line over the years is amazing. Including the DS, there have been ten portable systems released between the first one in 1989 and now, and that’s not including special-edition hardware and different colors.
That works out to Nintendo’s releasing a new iteration of their handheld line roughly every 1.7 years. Considering the life of a console at its shortest is four or five years you can see how much of a cash cow portable gaming is for Nintendo. Across all those systems there has really only been a few core updates, from the first Game Boy to the color, then the Advance, then the DS. Those three changes happened across ten systems. Amazing, isn’t it? And we keep buying.
We’re going to be looking at the DS Lite, the newest upgrade in the DS line and the tenth portable system Nintendo has released.
The Nintendo DS has been a big success in both the United States and Japan, despite doubts of the product’s power and screen size in relation to the competition from Sony. Our original review of the device was positive, despite the fact that the first pass at the DS made the system look like something you kept makeup in. It was bulky. It was big. It just wasn’t sexy. You could impress people with the novel technology and the game play, but it just didn’t have that "wow" factor you got when you played with your PSP. When you put the two next to each other, one looked high tech and the other looked like a toy. The design of the DS simply isn’t aging well. Plus, it’s been about 1.7 years since Nintendo launched it, so they needed an excuse to get another system out there. Time for a redesign.
You’ve come a long way, baby!
(Public domain picture from Wikipedia)A Lite DS
The DS Lite seeks to do away with the problems people have with the original DS (which has started being called the DS Fat online) and put the DS back in the news, getting mugs like me to talk about it. The system is smaller, sleeker, and the lines are more modern than the odd angles of the first DS. They also updated to screen to be brighter and clearer. Still, it doesn’t do anything the first DS can’t do. Is this another incremental upgrade or something that will drive all of us to sell our first DS?
The DS Lite launched in Japan with what can only be considered pandemonium, and after the game Pandemonium on the N-Gage, I don’t use that word lightly. Lines stretched around the corner, units were sold out almost before the boxes could be opened, and used units were selling for higher prices than the new ones. Everyone wanted one, and Nintendo again had a redesigned system that was a best seller. In America people either watched the system sell with envy or broke down and imported one; like the rest of Nintendo’s handhelds, there is no regional encoding, which means that the few DS Lites that didn’t sell in Japan are selling out in the US.
Both are much smaller than a brick
I happen to be holding one of those import units in my sweaty little gamer hands, and I have to admit I’m skeptical. I’ve just owned too many Nintendo portables in my life. Is upgrading to get a smaller system and a brighter screen worth it? Nintendo wants your cash, and they’re not above cranking out systems every few months to get it. Americans are savvy consumers though, right? Surely this system doesn’t offer anything that’s worth upgrading yet again, right?
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