like many others, when the DSi came out i didn’t feel compelled to get it right away, especially since i like being able to play GBA and DS games on the same device (as you probably know, the DSi removed the GBA slot). the main new feature of the DSi was DSiware, but it wasn’t until the release of the DSi XL with its larger screens (which was just about two years ago) that i really started thinking seriously about getting one since i’m getting too old for squinting at tiny screens for extended periods of time. i was a bit concerned about the trade-off between bigger screens and some added weight and bulkiness, but since i play most games at home anyway it wasn’t a big deal and it turns out the device feels perfectly comfortable for my usual gaming sessions on the couch. although i think i may have alluded to having a DSi XL in previous posts, i’ve actually been playing most of my DS games on it rather than my DS lite, although i hadn’t really spent much time exploring the XL’s unique features since for various reasons i had gotten a 3DS around the same time.
all this is a roundabout way of saying that i’ve been spending more time with my DSi XL lately and ended up actually getting into the DSi-specific features, in particular the camera, or rather cameras since there’s a separate inner camera and an outer one. i spent a surprising amount of time taking stupid pictures and before long had amassed a sizable gallery that, also surprisingly, didn’t seem to lose much entertainment value from being fairly low resolution. some features, such as the distortion lens, have been seen before in other software and devices such as webcams, but the DSi camera app provides an excellent variety in a portable format. (nintendo’s DSi site gives an overview of all of them.) as with other DSi-specific games, such as photo dojo which i recently played through, creative types and groups will get even more out of this deceptively simple app. also, as a side note, i hadn’t realized that the 3DS’s face raiders‘ facial expression gimmicks had originated in the DSi camera’s “emoter” lens.
the photo clock application comes pre-loaded onto the DSi XL. (see the review at nintendolife.com for all the gory details.) as a digital photo frame the app certainly has limited use, but as an application that gives a bit more mileage out of all the photos you’ve taken with the DSi camera it’s a nice little freebie for XL owners.
as for the DSi XL itself, as i said it’s perfectly comfortable and makes it easier than ever to explore the fantastic library of DS games. the only complaint i have about it is that they replaced the volume slider with buttons, which means i can never get the volume at exactly the level i want it. anyway, i’ve been delving more into the other pre-loaded titles as well, so i’ll have more on that before too long.
super-size these DSi XL links!
– there were a series of iwata asks interviews about the DSi. this page specifically discusses the camera app and includes a video showing off all the features. and here’s the link to the interviews about the DSi XL.
– to show off the DSi’s sound and photo capabilities, nintendo commissioned a great remix by a guy named jamie lidell. check it out here.
– gallery of unboxing of the DSi XL
– review of the DSi XL at about.com