The Nintendo DSi is on the horizon, but the millions and millions of original DS and DS Lite owners may be asking themselves whether picking up a new version of their favorite portable is necessary. The DSi is not just an excuse for Nintendo to make a quick buck; it's loaded with new features. If these five new fun additions don't have you trading in your old portable at GameStop, nothing will.
The DSi has a pretty snazzy audio player and recorder that has some bells and whistles your MP3 player probably doesn't. You can alter the pitch and speed (the latter of which makes lengthy podcasts a bit speedier), as well as add a bunch of neat effects like echoes, reverse play, instrumental only, and 8-bit tunes. You haven't heard "Any Way You Want It" until it's sounded like an NES game. And if you want to just listen to music, the DSi's good for that too. If you're listening to music when you close the DSi, it'll keep playing as long as you've got headphones attached.
If you've ever messed around with the iPhoto program on a Macbook, you'll probably dig what Nintendo's doing with the DSi's dual cameras. You can stretch a photo, much like Mario's face in Super Mario 64, as well as play with a bunch of cool picture modes like color mode, wherein you take a black and white picture and reveal colors by tapping on different parts of the pic. Mischief mode adds things like moustaches and glasses to your picture. Merge allows you to morph two different headshots, while frames lets you create custom image templates. One bizarre one was someone else's head with the eyes cut out so we could insert our own peepers! Creepy. And if you've got a weird pic to send to a nearby friend, you can do it over local wireless!
With Wi-Fi and a dedicated memory slot, Nintendo is finally allowing the DSi to enter the wonderful world of downloadable games. We got to try three tiny but tremendous downloadable games that will hopefully head stateside. Puro was based off an old Wario Ware microgame. In Puro, you control a small bird who has to eat falling beans before they hit the ground. Speaking of Wario Ware, that series had its own DSiWare iteration, wherein you have to strike wacky poses. And finally, there's Decode, which is bar none the best math game ever. All you have to do is switch and flip numbers (for example, a 2 into a 5) until you line up a bunch that add up to ten. It's more difficult -- and fun -- than you'd think.