Nintendo DSi: The Pricey Downgrade

If you recently sold your DS Lite and bought a DSi, sorry pal, you’re a sucker!

Don’t get mad at me, get mad at Nintendo. They promised you an upgrade. The ability to buy brand new mini games and a sleek form-factor with a slightly bigger screen. All they took was that useless old GBA slot that was taking up so much room. Unfortunately for you, that means you traded the best SNES games and frankly some of the best handheld games for Mario Clock, Mario Calculator and the ability to buy small, or “express” portions of other games. On consoles we call these demos and don’t pay for them (Yet… God I hope I didn’t jinx us) It was, in effect, a downgrade.

Tell me, with your hand on your heart that DSiware is what you hoped it would be right now. Obviously it’s early days, there’s so much Nintendo could do with this new market. But if you look at their track record for the past year of WiiWare, they’ve yet to even approach the signpost for the parking lot to the ball-park of quality that some of the titles you lose in this transaction equate to.
Here’s just the briefest of lists of games you can buy as GBA carts cheaply on eBay.

Super Mario Brothers 1,2,3, World and Yoshi’s Island (Advance)

Zelda: A Link to the Past and Four Swords and The Minish Cap

Metroid Fusion and Zero Mission

Golden Sun 1 & 2

Final Fight

Street Fighter Alpha 3

Warioware Twisted

PoKeMoN Ruby and Saphire

Fire Emblem

Final Fantasy VI and Tactics

Mario Golf

Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow

PLUS Guitar Hero on the DS

By all means add your own in the comments section. You may not want to buy games second-hand. If so, Nintendo loves you and you will probably be able to buy all the above again legitimately. You may also still have a GBA,  I have a GBA SP for when my wife’s using the DS, but the screen isn’t as bright. You may simply not care about these games. If that’s true of all the above, why do you own a handheld at all? Now in a year’s time, look back on this article and it may be that I’m dead wrong. I’m sure a few good games could come out. Nintendo could even pull some classics out of their magic hat to rival even A Link to the Past, and the others from both the shining days of the SNES and the quirkier inventive streak that the GBA development cycle represented, but let’s face it, it’s not likely.


  • I didn’t upgrade, I didn’t feel the need to. I have a ds lite, I traded my ds for it and I just don’t use it. I actually use my psp more then I use my ds lite, which is actually once every 4 months. Now all my gaming is on the iPhone and while I know there are other great games out there, I just don’t care to pick up my handhelds to play them.

  • justin stargell

    you know what you fucking asshole!!!!! everyone seams to hate nintendo….. they did a excelent job on the dsi and know body fucking cares about the gba slot and that platform was out 2 years ago so there so reason why you shouldnt upgrade…… oh dumbass you forgot to mention that the dsi has significent software upgrades and the posibilitys are truly endless so before you start bashing a good company find the facts……. oh and guss what sony is last in both markets bitch!!!! so whos better????? try to wrap your small infintil brain around it….

  • Anon

    DS lite has an inferior d pad, DSI addresses the problem. Personally I agree with this post, i upgraded from a DS phat and I don’t regret it but for a ds lite owner it is simply not worth it. The DS lite has more battery life too but this conversations was relevant when the dsi was coming out not several months later with half the facts. Enjoy the flame fest thats about to reign down on your comments from nintendo loyalists, in your case it is well deserved.

  • Roto13

    The DSi is a more powerful system with more features. It is unquestionably an upgrade and to say otherwise is just plain wrong. (And pretty stupid.

  • srkelley

    For me it’s been upgrade/sidegrade with bonuses. I actively play Mario vs. DK: March of the Mini’s. Nintendo puts up new levels for download every week and the fanbase is creating some great content. That game is fun and brilliant. Mighty Flip Champs is just as good. I just wish the gui was better. We have to scroll through levels, it should have used a channel-like or more familiar interface. Something more friendly. Brain Age Express Math is also great. VERY GREAT. It may only be the math games, but there are plenty of them. It comes with Virus Buster which is knock of Dr. Mario (A DSi download that’s only missing muliplayer). I rarely used Brain Age on a cart because I would take real games with me. Now, I’m keeping up with Kawashima much more often and I do enjoy it more.

    The camera has been fun and useful. I have pictures of my nephew on it, and I used it to help configure the timings of the ram because I’m too lazy to write out the specifics.

    DSi Sound has also been useful. I’ve converted my favorite songs to aac using iTunes and now I listen to music when I’m not playing games or don’t have another music player with me.

    I do like being able to swap DS game carts without switching the system out. I like that I get 3 more spaces for internet connections and WPA support. The larger screens really do make a difference. In Advance Wars units more recognizable and easier to select when they’re all focused in one spot.

    While I can’t sell my DSiWare games, I’m still coming out even or ahead. Mario vs. DK 2 costs $30 but isn’t nearly as flexible as Mini’s March Again. If I wanted to sell it, I could at best get about $20 from another person. $25 if they’re desperate. The former leaves me $2 ahead, the latter $3 behind. With DSiWare I still have the game.

    I just wish Nintendo would announce some type of contingency plan. The DSi is not a console. These things are much more subject to a abuse than a console is. What happens if its’ stolen, dropped in water and damaged beyond use? I want some way to get my digital games back without having to buy them back. I want to be able to back up game saves so that I can have that precaution taken care of. I want Nintendo to at least make something resembling PSN for the PSP. 5 system activations? A real contingency plan. You can even deactivate systems.

  • lol @ justin stargell’s comment. I know that isn’t on topic but I thought it was funny to read.

  • racingfreak92

    I have a DS Lite and before that only had a Gameboy color so i never played any of the games you listed for GBA but honestly i wouldnt name that as a reason not to upgrade. There is a huge DS library that i rather put my time into.

    The DSI is WAY to expensive. $130 for the DS Lite was to much and the DSI barely has any new hardware features worth the additional $50.

    Two low-res cameras: 20 cents each
    16mb of slow ass ram: $.20
    Ripping off your loyal fans: Priceless

    The DSI needs to be $100. Then i might buy it. But my biggest interest in DS arent games i buy, if you know what i mean

  • William

    Well all i have to say to justin is what happened to the ps3 when they took out ps2 compatability?It started failing.What is now the destiny of the dsI by comparison.

  • Pingback: The DSi – a pricey downgrade? « Wii Vidz()

  • Roto13

    “The DSI is WAY to expensive. $130 for the DS Lite was to much and the DSI barely has any new hardware features worth the additional $50.”

    It’s a more powerful system. It’s not just the same hardware with a camera in it.

    “Well all i have to say to justin is what happened to the ps3 when they took out ps2 compatability?It started failing.What is now the destiny of the dsI by comparison.”

    This shows a real lack of understanding of the PS3’s situation. It has very little to do with backwards compatibility, and the part that does have to do with backwards compatibility is just that it was taken out when there weren’t enough PS3 games to play. The DS has an incredibly strong library (much stronger than the GBA) that can support itself.

  • ObsessedMikey

    Damn right! Thank you for this article, it’s about time people realised that the DSi was a downgrade. I’ve ranted to all my friends about not buying one of these things since its release.

    The true reason for the DSi was to be able to bring up the price of the DS. It costs £50 more (in the UK) and they are now abolishing the DSLites now, so they are essentially upping the price and people are dumb enough to pay for it.

  • srkelley

    Upping the price, but adding more features. I’m sorry about the UK situation, but I’m in America. I can buy either system and you and everyone else there can with importing the syste from elsewhere.

    I traded my DS Lite in at Game crazy and got $90 shaved off the top of the DSi’s price. I then traded in 2 Wii games I didn’t play and got another $40 knocked off. I only payed $40 plus taxes for my DSi, at just the $80 it would’ve been a good price, at $40 it was a greatdeal and a worthy upgrade.

    Without my DS Lite I’m only missing the GBA port which I did not use. I have two gba sp’s and a micro. The SP’s have batteries that last about 3x as much as the DS’s. The rumble pack is loud, and honestly on the DS and DSi sound is good enough to provide a feeling of rumble when used right and works much more better than Nintendo’s rumble pak. Sound rumble is more noticeable and enjoyable on the DSi.

    I don’t care about the DSi’s Guitar Hero issue’s. The team is working on one for the DSi now that I fully expect to plug into the SD card slot and have an SD card slot pass through and downloadable songs and improved controls. I probably won’t buy that one either. I’m just not a huge gh fan.

    The DSi is mostly potential at this point, but a lot of it should be realiazed in the future. Some of it’s being done right now. So many people are giving this upgrade so much flak. This is a much larger jump of going from the DS Lite to the DSi then it was from the DS Phat to the DS Lite.

    That first jump made games look more beutiful and made the system slimmer. The second one made the system more slimmer, the screens noticeably larger and brighter, the sound is improved, it has non-gaming related features built into the sytem that can be added to DSi only games, it adds 3 new spaces for wifi connections and updated wifi support with the possibility of a future update that could allow for more save slots and other featres; The system has an updated version of Pictochat (ya, I dont use it) and many other things that can simply be done straight out of the box when you first buy it.

    When you first connect to the DSi Shop you get 1,000 Nintendo Points added toyour account and th chance to download the Opera Web Browser for free. So at $170 you’re getting a massive upgrade with plenty of potential since the system has been changed so much. You get the ability to download at least two free games and a free web browser that works great (no flash, but you can still hit news sites, forums, blogs, facebook, ebuddy for im’s and many other great things accessible only through the web…). The stylus is longer and more comfortable, you can reset the system back to the main menu without shuting it off and switch a game without shutting it off. You can cheat in Animal Crossing with swithing off the sysem too.

    This system just adds so many perks. It’s even possible to manage your Wifi connection settings without using a wifi enabled game now. It’s possible to change scren brightness while in-game. How may times have you played Pokemon only to be stuck in a battle and find yourself with a red light glaring at you for too long? It usually happens that one time you decide to up the brightness and go crazy battling. You can’t save, quit and waste precious energy in the middle of a battle to lower the light. Just a aimple act of holding down the select and using the volume button saves your Mewtwo from defaulting a battle against a lesser pokemon

    Yes, the sound is improved. The speakers on the system are loud, the ear phones are just a bit above meh. They did weaken it purposely, head phones are still on par wih the DS Lite, but you can tell Nintendo is trying to protect peoples ears instead of giving us a choice. Maybe that’ll be fixed in an update or something?

    The DSi may not be the ideal music player, but it can be a godsend when your other device dies or when you just want to play some real games and then switch to listening to a few good songs like Thriller.

    The DSi is a major upgraded for a person like myself who primariy games on the go. The better our preferred hand held device is the more we love and use it. The DSi does not need to be a Zune or a cell phone or anything else, but its’ inclusion of new gaming and non-gaming features have made it a device that I spend more time with and enjoy much more thoroughly.

    Please don’t let trash like the fake Warioware DSi game turn you off from the motion sensing abilities of the DSi’s cameras or the gold mine the DSiWare can and will be. That Virtual handheld is coming only after DSiWare has some serious legs to stand on. A VH would canibalize it right now.

    Please don’t let the limited music playing ability of the DSi turn you away from having custom sound tracks in DSi and DSi Enhaned games. Don’t let the fact that you only use two connections turn you away from having a wireless network with improved securty.

    The screen size may have seemed not worthy of being looked at, but that slight increase makes it noticeably more comfortable to play stylus based games. And increasig text size at a constant rate with the rest of the game is never a bad thing. It won’t let your grandma play Hotel Dusk, but it will let you keep the system further away from your eyes.

    The DSi is completely worth the upgrade, especially if you got a deal like I did. It’s so many things now and will be many more in the future.

  • EdEN

    I’m trading my DS Lite for a DSi in about two weeks.

    I own a Micro and an SP so I can play all the GBA and GB and GB Color games I have. I won’t purchase GH on DS and only have one game that uses rumble (Metroid Prime Pinball) so I’m set.

    A DSi and one 2000 Nintendo Points Card will be purchased on July and all will be well.

  • Luis X

    I have both, so it doesn’t matter to me but really, I don’t play my GBA games all that much with the plethora of strategy games being released for the DS. I’m very sure nintendo has some great stuff for DSIware. Personally I like the bigger screen and better dpad on the DSI especially when I’m playing games like Hatsworth.

  • if you dont like it theres no point bieng stupid and posting its bad everywhere and if u do UPGRADE to a dsi keep your old ds then u can play gba games, or buy a emualator.

  • Fair enough.

    Not to stir up a hornets nest here, but how do you guys feel about the announcement of the new larger DSiLL?

  • tom Walters

    wtf nintend r good but now 3 days before the year warnty i find my self taking it back fore the same reson i culdnt do whith my dsl a folty L key

    but now my dsl is totaly craped up

  • dshawn

    nothing is wrong with the dsi its actually pretty cool and I play it way more than my ds lite. And you can buy a dsi 2000 point card and can get up to 10 games its better than paying for one ds game that cost $20 don`t you thank. It sounds pretty good to me

  • Anonymous

     DUDE, you 4got about the cam. That’s the advantage, as u can take pics, and play games that use camera, like WarioWare and Photo Dojo!