I remember going to a flea market years ago, as a little kid. I bought a cotton candy blue Nintendo DSi for around $40. I probably could have gotten a better deal elsewhere, but I did not know any better.

I always thought that the Nintendo DSi was interesting; at points it seemed a little forgettable. The 3DS has far more to offer than the DSi and the DS Lite offers backwards compatibility with Gameboy Advance games. So what made the DSi so special?

The Nintendo DSi launched in Japan on Nov. 1, 2008, and launched in the United States and Canada on Apr. 3, 2009. During its lifespan the Nintendo DSi and DSi XL sold over 41 million units. The 3DS was then released in 2011. During its short lifespan, the DSi did not do bad in sales. In fact, reviews are generally positive. While I personally think that the DSi is not a bad console, it does feel a little dated.

But should you buy a Nintendo DSi? And what made the Nintendo DSi forgettable?

What do I like about the Nintendo DSi?

The Nintendo DSi looks really clean in comparison towards the other Nintendo DS models. It was the first Nintendo handheld to offer physical and digital media. The system also had internal and external storage, with 256 MB of internal flash storage.

The handheld also had two cameras, one on the back and one on the front. They sucked then, and they suck now. Don’t use them. It was backwards compatible with Nintendo DS games, but to keep the system thin, the DSi cannot play Gameboy Advance games. The screens were also bigger than the Nintendo DS Lite.

The DSi shop, while lacking in comparison to modern handhelds, was also cool at the time.

What do I think about the design?

As previously argued, I thought it was clean and nice. The DSi is shorter when closed and lighter. The system also tracked less finger prints than the DS Lite.

The L and R shoulder buttons are found on the back of the system. The shoulder buttons also access the DSi’s cameras. The stylus holder can also be located on the back of the system. The stylus is lightly different than previous models in physical appearance.

The D-pad and A, B, X, Y buttons are in the same spots as previous DS models. Below the A, B, X, and Y buttons are the start and select buttons. Below the D-pad is the power button. On the DS Lite the power button was located on the side. I like the choice to move the power button below the D-pad.

The volume rocker is on the left side of the system, however, they changed the volume rocker into buttons. This slims down the system which I also like. You can also find the SD card slot on the opposite side of the volume buttons. The headphone jack can also be found at the bottom of the system.

What are my other thoughts on the Nintendo DSi?

The Nintendo DSi had a few exclusive game cards. These titles were:

  • Face Training: Facial Exercises to Strengthen and Relax from Fumiko Inudo
  • Foto Showdown
  • Ghostwire: Link to the Paranormal
  • Hidden Photo
  • Picture Perfect Hair Salon
  • System Flaw

However, only Foto Showdown, Picture Perfect Hair Salon, and System Flaw were released in North America. Thus, North American had access to only three exclusive games for the Nintendo DSi.

The DSi store also sold digital games, however, it lacks when compared to the modern-day Nintendo Eshop.

Should you get a Nintendo DSi?

I think it’s hard to recommend getting a Nintendo DSi right now. The DS Lite seems like the far better choice right now, simply because it allows you to play Gameboy Advance games. The DSi shop lacks when compared to the current Nintendo eShop and this is why the DSi shop is slightly forgettable. The 3DS feels like a much more complete DSi.

The DSi also does not offer enough exclusive games; there are a total of six games on the Nintendo DSi. Nintendo points became irredeemable on Sep. 30, 2016, and the DSi shop shut down on Mar. 31, 2017. The main selling point of the Nintendo DSi is obsolete and completely irrelevant in current society.

The cameras are still lackluster; your current smartphone probably offers better camera options than a Nintendo DSi. While a DSi is ~$25, a Nintendo DS lite seems like the better option because the DS lite is priced at about the same price. And because of the backwards compatibility with Gameboy Advance games, it offers more.

What are your thoughts about the Nintendo DSi? Did you think the Nintendo DSi was slightly forgettable? What did you think about the Nintendo DSi shop?

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