Nintendo DSi: Launch Party @ Universal Studios
Nintendo's brand spanking new DSi was the highlight of the night at Universal Studios this weekend, with some lucky handheld-hungry gamers getting their mitts on the new DS well before midnight. GamePro hit the scene early in the day, and we're back with photos for you to see!
GamePro's Will Herring stealthily looks for some free Nintendo DSi gear.
Nintendo really knows how to throw a party: Universal Studios' Citywalk played host to the midnight Gamestop launch of the Nintendo DSi, and GamePro's junior crew was on the scene bright and early to bring you the lowdown on the DSi showdown. Not only was the crowd treated to early looks at the brand-new DS, but Nintendo's Assistant PR Manager David Young took some time to sit down with us and chat about all the new features that will make the DSi king of the handhelds...
GamePro: What made Nintendo decide it was time for a new DS?
David Young: Part of the reason started in Japan. In Japan, the Nintendo DS really had seemed to have reached its saturation point, so it was kind of time to introduce something new. The Nintendo DS is still selling strongly in the U.S., but since we've released the Nintendo DSi in Japan, we didn't want to lag too far behind in the other market. So, I think the Japanese market was sort of the impetus for bringing out the new system. Another reason is that a large percentage of the Japanese population owns Nintendo DS handhelds -- in part, I believe, because so many of them commute. In America, a lot of people drive from place to place, but in Japan most people take the train and they find that playing the Nintendo DS is a great way to pass the time. So, reasons like that alone made us think that it was really time to introduce something new with the DSi.
Will talks with David Young about the Nintendo DSi.
GamePro: The DSi is both a very intimate and very social handheld, thanks to its new functions. Could you tell us a little about these new features?
David Young: Well, the DSi certainly has all of the functions from the original DS -- such as PictoChat, DS download play, wireless multiplayer and online multiplayer -- built into it. One of the things that really make the DSi unique and social, for instance, is the new camera. The Nintendo DSi camera doesn't just take pictures, but you can also manipulate pictures and change them around, and really have some fun with them. You can also wirelessly broadcast your pictures to other people that also have DSi handhelds, so you can really share them with other players. Another thing -- and certainly something that I'm going to do -- is the ability to take these pictures and upload them to social websites such as Facebook and MySpace.
David Young: At this point, we have not announced any game cards that are DSi only. Games such as Rhythm Heaven, which is launching the same day as the DSi, work on both regular DS handhelds and the DSi. Rhythm Heaven is a really fun, infectious game that's developed by and features music from a Japanese pop artist named "Tsunku". The game uses some really simple mechanics; it's mostly tapping and flicking, but the creative and innovative ways that it's all put to use makes the game really fun to play.
David Young greets the crowd at the Universal Studios Citywalk.
GamePro: Could you tell us a little bit about the DSiWare?
David Young: Absolutely. So, players are able to purchase new games, or DSiWare, directly from the online Nintendo DSi Shop, similar to the Wii's WiiWare channel. And one of the fun things that I really want to point out to people is that if you get a Nintendo DSi and you log into the DSi Shop within six months of launch, we're going to give you 1000 DSiWare Points to start off with -- so players can really experience DSiWare right off the bat. DSiWare will consist of games that are certainly much simpler than packaged game card software that you'd normally buy in a store for twenty dollars or more.
Yes, the DSi is THAT captivating.
David Young: One of the things that really impressed me about Nintendo's developers is that they create a "canvas" for developers to use. There are other systems out there that you hear are really hard to develop for, but Nintendo really likes to balance things out -- they want to make things fun and affordable for the consumers, but they also want to give developers some great tools to work with. So, with its cameras and sound functions, the Nintendo DSi is certainly a blank canvas for developers, and I'm really looking forward to seeing not only what internal Nintendo developers will do with the technology, but what the wider development community as a whole will do with those tools.
GamePro: Finally, we have to ask -- what does the "i" in DSi really mean?
David Young: The DSi is really about the "individual" gamers. For instance, the Wii console is really meant to be a shared experience for families and friends, where even while you can share pictures and share the fun with multiplayer on the DSi, it's really designed to be an individual experience. My DSi is going to be different from your DSi -- it's going to have my pictures, my music and my DSiWare, so it's going to be very personalized, and that's sort of the idea of the Nintendo DSi. [It's] for all of the users to personalize their gaming experience and make it their own.
The Citywalk also saw a great artist spotlight from 'Iam8Bit', where shirts and posters were handed out en masse.
NEXT: Special appearance by Gym Class Heroes, and more behind-the-scenes shots of the DSi Launch Party!