Yesterday, I bought a new Nintendo DS Lite, on the day it was released, here in the U.S. I gotta say, this is one really fun toy!
I fully expected to have to spend all afternoon driving all over town trying to find one. I figured that since yesterday was the release date, that everyone would be trying to get one. I expected lines, and stores sold out everywhere. To my surprise, I found one at the first place I stopped - Best Buy. I walked in and found 3 other guys who were also there to buy one. The salesman went back and got 4 of them for us. One of the other guys who was there mentioned that there was a coupon online for Best Buy that if you buy the DS, they give you a copy of Brain Age for free! Unfortunately, I didn't know about this so I didn't have the coupon. He had a couple of extra coupons so he gave me one and I was able to walk out with a free game! That was really nice of the guy. I also bought a copy of Super Mario Brothers and a case / charger pack for the thing.
I brought it home, opened it up and put in Brain Age, to try it out. That game is strangely addicting. Brain Age is an educational game designed to give you various thinking exercises to test your 'Brain Age'. The more exercises you do, the younger your brain age becomes. My brain age started at 58... I have a long way to go! :) It has various games like drilling you on simple math problems, Sudoku and a few other things. Sudoku is an interesting game. It's a number game where you've got a 3x3 grid of 9 boxes. Each group of 9 boxes has numbers in it. You have to find the right combination of numbers for each box in the 3x3 grid of boxes to solve the puzzle. It's a great game. The game is also interesting in that it has an animated head of the designer of the game who talks to you throughout the game. At one point, I was playing it late last night and the talking head reminded me not to stay up late and get some sleep! The game also makes a pleasant 'writing sound' whenever you write on the tablet. It kind of reminds me of the sound of someone writing on a chalkboard. It seems like a very appropriate sound for the situation and seems to fit just right.
I also played some Super Mario Brothers. A neat game and a lot of fun, but I really stink at those kinda games! I have to play that one some more when I go on my trip next week.
Later that afternoon, I bought a copy of Tetris DS. Now this was a cool experience. Tetris DS is a WiFi enabled game. That means you can play it wirelessly over the Internet with other people all over the world! What's great about this is that this feature is completely free with no registration or anything! You just run the game, say connect and off you go! I was playing Tetris last night with other people all over the world. It's a truly amazing experience to be sitting on my bed, nowhere near my PC and playing on just the DS against someone across the world. I think at one point I was playing someone in Japan (based on the characters in his name). The only problem with this system is that there is no way to chat with other person. It would be truly cool if you could chat, either by voice or text with people all over the world. I can see that feature being truly addicting. You just play the game and that's it. I used to think that I was good at Tetris until I played these people! They soundly kicked my butt in every game! I'll have to practice that game! :)
As for the design of the DS Lite itself, it is quite nice. It resembles a small, white laptop. It is a very clean design that closes easily and looks great. It looks much better than the clumsy look of the old Nintendo DS. I had read an article last week that said that Nintendo seems to have a case of 'Apple Envy', in that they tend to follow Apple's designs in their own products. This certainly seems to be true from the look of the DS Lite! It looks very similar to the iPod. It has that same, shiny, slightly off-white look of the iPod. It seems to be made of the exact same material. The two screens are also very bright and easy to read.
All in all, I think Nintendo has a potential winner here.