Family Time with the DSi XL

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DSi XL - Bigger is Better?DSi XL - Bigger is Better?

DSi XL – Bigger is Better?

The new DSi XL ticked my early adopter button and I decided to get one at launch. Having had one in hand now for a few days I’m surprised at the aspects I like and those features that don’t make a big difference.

Firstly I really miss the GBA slot. Having traded in my DS Lite for the DSi XL I’m painfully aware of those old Gameboy Advance games I can no longer play. Many of them have DS versions with better graphics or improved game play, but still there are those classics (Warioware Twisted, Super Mario World and Yoshi’s Island to name a few) that just aren’t the same on two screens.

The buttons have been changed a little here. I may still be getting used to them (and possibly wearing them in) but the DSi XL buttons have considerably less travel than the DS Lite’s. I would have preferred them to up the button size along with the rest of the form factor. The trigger buttons benefit from the shorter travel and offer a more positive action, but I miss the flexibility I used to have in the D-pad and X-Y-A-B buttons.

The screens themselves are shockingly big next to the DS lite – and offer around twice the real estate. Although I thought games may look stretched and blocky on the displays, in practice the slight movement blur seems to cover any pixilation. And it is so nice to be able to see things from more of a distance.

As well as being bigger the screens also offer a better viewing angle. My kids often like to watch me play games like Advance Wars, but have struggled to both see what’s going on. Now they can easily sit either side of me and join in the action – offering plenty of helpful hints.

The camera has so far been a nice novelty, and now my DS starts up with a random picture – often something snapped by the kids. The free Brain Training and Dictionary games have also been well used. Favourite so far though has been the sound recorder. This little game lets you record you voice and play it back with different effects applied – a little like Electroplankton without the fish. On the title screen of the game there is a little parrot which we discovered will listen and repeat any words it hears. It’s now a regular feature at breakfast, which although a little distracting get’s the kids talking and listening better.

Overall, the DSi XL has been a happy edition to the family. So far it’s been the novelties rather than the new features that have provided the most fun.

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