Bigger is Better: The Nintendo DSi XL

Look at the size of that thing!

A brand new DSi is about to hit shelves and it’s got one major selling point: the thing is big. Sure, it’s also got a brighter, sharper screen that will make Professor Layton’s declarations of “INCORRECT” all the more shameful, but mostly this is just an upgrade that’s meant to spare our generation’s poor, strained eyes. I know it’ll do me some good, though I’m not sure I’ll upgrade–possible the DS Lite’s greatest fault is that it’s so durable I have no motivation to get rid of it!

Here’s the word from CNet:

It was just about a year ago that Nintendo released the DSi handheld system, the next evolutionary iteration of the company’s hugely popular DS portable hardware. Boasting two tiny cameras and larger screens, we only recommended the device for those who were new to the world of DS gaming or wanted access to the online DSi Shop.

At a press conference Wednesday morning in San Francisco, Nintendo officially unveiled the remaining details about the next DS to hit North America. The DSi XL features even larger screens (93 percent bigger compared with the DS Lite) and has a much wider viewing angle. Set to go for $190, we’ll see the DSi XL in stores on March 28 in two colors (burgundy and bronze).

We got some hands-on time with the DSi XL earlier this month and were instantly surprised by its weight. It’s noticeably heavier than both the DSi Lite and DSi, but we actually enjoyed the sturdiness. Obviously, the most notable detail about the DSi XL is its size, and while our Nintendo rep said it’s still “pocketable,” we can’t imagine a scenario where the DSi XL would fit comfortably in a pair of jeans.

When we first flipped the DSi XL open, we were blown away by the two enormous screens. Even more impressive was the fact that video quality didn’t seem to suffer as a result of enlarging games beyond the size of their native aspect. While we had fears about pixilated performance when the XL was first announced, we’re happy to report that games look great, as our demo with Mario Kart DS proved.

Nintendo is branding the DSi XL as a “social” device, partly because of the dual screens’ generous viewing angle. We tested this claim out with an XL set up on a tabletop and couldn’t find a perspective that seemed to dim the display. While this improvement was no doubt exaggerated by having an old DS “fat” nearby to compare to, the screens truly are vibrant, unlike any DS system currently available.

We also really liked the new stylus the XL will ship with that closely resembles a pen or permanent marker. It’s by far the most comfortable first-party stylus yet, though it won’t snap into the device for storage like those before it. We’ll have our full review of the DSi XL in coming weeks, so stay tuned to CNET Reviews for the latest. For now, be sure to check out our First Look at the Nintendo DSi XL in the video player above.

Of course, our blog is figure-related, so while we’re talking about Nintendo, Mario and the gang, here’s a link to our Super Mario section on Cmdstore.com. We’ve got vehicles, plush toys, figures of all sizes, pixellated keychains, cards and more. Just the thing for any retro gamer or anyone currently following the many adventures of Mario (hopefully via Bowser’s Inside Story–that game was awesome.)! Check it out!

Nintendo section:

Mario Bros. Wii: Back to Basics

I know that I grew up on Mario games: while I missed out on most of the NES stuff since I was just slightly too young for it, one of my first major forays into the video game world was with Super Mario World, which revolutionized the world of side-scrollers forever. The levels were complex and a heck of a lot of fun, the design far brighter and more interesting than anything that had come before it. Even the fact that it had secret worlds, bonus levels and alternate level endings (remember those keys?) really set it apart from the competition and then it was on for a crop of new side-scrollers like the Mario sequels or the Donkey Kong Country franchise. Really fun stuff.

And while Mario has strayed from the original formula in games like Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars by Squaresoft, the Mario sports series, the Wii-based Mario Galaxies 1 & 2 and a ton more titles, it’s always fun to get back to basics and enjoy some revamped nostalgia.

Which is exactly what the new Super Mario Bros. Wii has brought the world! Here’s a review from The Sydney Morning Herald


Returning to his side-scrolling roots, Nintendo’s red-capped mascot has finally given Wii owners a taste of the nostalgic gameplay for which he is renowned.

Rather than a Mario-by-the-numbers remake, this fresh instalment brings with it some Wii-specific touches.

While the on-screen charm and chaos will be familiar to Mario fans, the chance to play co-operatively is a first for this decades old gaming franchise and it’s both a blessing and a curse, depending on your choice of gaming companions.

While it’s possible to play the game alone as Mario, up to three friends can jump into the action at any point, which can be both exhilarating and, at times, frustrating. One minute you’ll be working together to reach hidden areas and items, then a moment later you’ll be screaming at each other over stolen power-ups, being pushed off ledges or left behind.

The game is designed to be played with the Wii Remote held horizontally and operated like a traditional controller, plus the Wii’s Nunchuk controller is also supported for those who prefer analog controls. The motion-sensing feature of the Wii Remote is put to good use, activating certain actions when it’s shaken or tilted, though, thankfully, this option is not over-used.

Veterans of this series can expect some gruelling, though rewarding, challenges in the later levels, while inexperienced players can, for the first time, take advantage of the new Super Guide feature, in which the game offers to complete difficult sections automatically. As a penalty, however, all-important star coins, which are needed to unlock later levels, are not collected during this time.

While this latest instalment doesn’t feel as innovative as earlier releases and an online component to play friends afar would have embellished the game further, New Super Mario Bros. Wii remains a solid addition to this much-loved series.

If you want to pick up the game, you can snag it over on Amazon.com right here–it’s currently the NUMBER ONE video game on the site! Snag it: New Super Mario Bros for the Nintendo Wii

Or if you’ve already got it or just want to relive the Mario of yore, check out our massive collection of Super Mario figures, cards, plush toys, vehicles and accessories. We’ve got a ton of stuff from a ton of games and if you’re a Mario lover, you’ll be sure to find something to your tastes! Click the pic below to have a look!