So you've decided to pick up a portable game system to ease yourself through those tedious waits at the subway station. Congratulations on your resolve to be kind to yourself and your brain. Just one question remains: Which portable game system will you buy?
Nintendo has long held a monopoly on the “Game Boy” breed of handheld systems, and the Nintendo DS Lite is likewise a huge success. But some serious competition, including the Sony PSP and Apple's iPhone/iPod Touch has recently muscled its way into the market. What should you choose? I'll give you five good reasons why you should pick up a Nintendo DS Lite instead of a PSP or an iPhone.
#1 – The Nintendo DS Lite Has a Game for Everyone
The PSP and iPhone both have a pretty varied game library that includes samplings from numerous game genres—but the Nintendo DS Lite has both handhelds beat when it comes to the sheer variety of games available. RPGs and puzzle games are just a start. Though Nintendo's Wii usually gets the glory as a game system that appeals to everyone, the DS easily matches the Wii's balance of games meant for mom and dad, and games meant to appeal to “core” gamers. Brain Age and Brain Age 2 will keep the whole family busy with its Sudoku features alone. Kids and adults alike will get a lot out of New Super Mario Bros. Gamers looking to test their skills can tuck in with Contra 4.
The Nintendo DS' stylus-driven interface also makes for a unique gaming experience that can't always be duplicated on another handheld. Scribblenauts and Nintendogs both require precise manipulation via the DS' stylus, whereas the iPhone's finger-touch and tilt controls tend to be more hit-or-miss.
#2 – The Nintendo DS Lite is Easy to Jump Into
The Nintendo DS Lite is strictly “plug n play.” With very few exceptions (such as downloading a demo at a designated Nintendo DS demo station), you pop in your Nintendo DS card, or Game Boy Advance game, and you're set. There's no App Store to mess with, and no shuffling through icons to choose between a UMD, memory management, or mp3. Potential gamers who find themselves intimidated by today's increasingly complicated console interfaces and options have nothing to be afraid of when they turn on the Nintendo DS Lite.
#3 – The Nintendo DS Lite is Both Sturdy and Portable
The Nintendo DS Lite is a lightweight little thing: 5.2 inches wide, 2.9 inches long, and 0.85 inches tall. It weighs 7.9 ounces, and you'll barely notice its presence in your knapsack, purse, or man-purse.
The PSP-3000 (an updated, more compact version of the PSP, sometimes called the “PSP Slim”) is also a tight portable, weighing in at 6.66 ounces. And the iPhone was developed to slip into one's pocket. But people have complained that Sony sacrificed the PSP's durability for a smaller, lighter product.
The clamshell design of the Nintendo DS Lite, however, is designed to take some bumps and scrapes. Both the iPhone, PSP, and the PSPgo have exposed screens that easily get knocked about, scratched, and smudged. The Nintendo DS Lite's screens are protected as soon as you close it—not to mention your game is automatically put into Sleep Mode if you need to put it away quickly.
#4 – The Nintendo DS Lite is Backwards Compatible with the Game Boy Advance
Before the Nintendo DS, there was the Game Boy Advance. Nintendo's follow-up to the original Game Boy (and the Game Boy Color) was hugely successful, and garnered a very large library of fantastic games. If you missed out on the Game Boy Advance generation, or if your GBA has since been lost or has gone on the fritz, the Nintendo DS Lite has you covered with its GBA cartridge slot.
#5 – The Nintendo DS Lite has Lots of Family Games
Every game console boasts a handful of “family-friendly” games, but it's hard to argue that Nintendo knows how to cater to people who usually find themselves intimidated by video games. In fact, it was the Nintendo DS's family games that put the system into the hands of the mainstream populace. Brain Age, Elite Beat Agents, Animal Crossing: Wild World, Nintendogs, Picross DS and New Super Mario Bros. are just a few of the games that have hit it off with every member of the family.