Have you started your savings fund for the release of the Nintendo DSi yet? Well, you better get moving on it, because it now has a release date (April 5) and a price ($169.99). The DSi, which will be on sale while the Nintendo DS Lite remains on shelves and in production, is a successor of sorts, in that it has new features, more horsepower thanks to more powerful innards, and will have improved and enhanced online capabilities, including but not limited to the introduction of a WiiWare like service that allows for the downloading of games made specifically for the new system.

That last part is the most important for me, as I’m a sucker for downloading inexpensive things to entertain me with their newness. Given the success and high-quality of the WiiWare games that Nintendo has developed or published so far, I have faith in the DSi’s version also being a hit, especially if we get a hold of some of those Art Style games that the Japanese market has already begun to enjoy. DSiWare is easily the selling point for me, and will be the main push for me to upgrade from my DS Lite come April 5.

If that’s not enough for you though, know that there are other features, like an even brighter backlight option, two cameras, music and picture editors, and the aforementioned improved wireless capabilities. While the cameras don’t excite me as far as taking pictures go, I’m interesting in seeing how Nintendo and other developers utilize the camera, much like they employed the microphone capabilities of the DS and DS Lite before it. Nintendo is promising more details as the release date nears, so we’ll keep you posted as information rolls in.

Also included in the press release was a date for the release of Rhythm Heaven, which means that April 5 is going to be a great day to be a Nintendo fan (or stockholder).

From Nintendo:


New Portable System Offers Customized Gaming Experiences

REDMOND, Wash., Feb. 18, 2009 – Nintendo pioneered hand-held entertainment in the ’80s and made it fully mobile with the Game BoyTM video game system. Now, Nintendo is transforming the way people access, experience, create and share content with the new Nintendo DSiTM system, the third iteration of the world’s best-selling portable video game system. Nintendo DSi launches in the United States on April 5, 2009, at an MSRP of $169.99. The colors available at launch will be Blue and Black.

“Ever since the arrival of the first Game Boy, consumers worldwide have turned to Nintendo for their portable gaming,” said Cammie Dunaway, Nintendo of America’s executive vice president of Sales & Marketing. “Nintendo DSi builds on Nintendo’s commitment to bringing fun and creative entertainment to everyone, and will allow consumers to personalize and share their very own experiences.”

Some features that will be built into the system and ready to enjoy upon purchase include the Nintendo DSi Camera, Nintendo DSi Sound and Nintendo DSi Shop. The most noticeable feature of the slim Nintendo DSi system is its two cameras – one camera is on the external body, and the second one points at the user when the device is flipped open. As the first truly interactive digital camera in a video game system with 10 different interactive “lenses” that can manipulate your photos, the Nintendo DSi Camera offers an easy way to take and share your photos with family and friends. The cameras also present people with unprecedented ways to interact with their games while giving developers a new tool to devise creative games and experiences. If the touch screen gave Nintendo DS a sense of feel and the microphone allowed it to hear, the two cameras give Nintendo DSi the sense of sight.

Another enhanced feature is the Nintendo DSi Sound application, which serves as both an interactive voice recorder and music player that allows users to play with their music while they listen to it. Users can access different audio filters or control the pitch and speed of recorded voice or music files to alter voices or change the tempo of a song. The mic is located between the two screens when the device is flipped open, and there is also a stereo headphone output that lets users listen to music saved on an SD card, even with the screen shut.

In the world of software, Nintendo DSi will be the platform for the most relevant and fun on-the-go games and applications. The Nintendo DSiWareTM application will populate Nintendo DSi with software that can be downloaded using Nintendo DSi Points directly to the portable system, just as WiiWareTM has with Nintendo’s WiiTM console. Developers big and small are invited to create software that makes use of the properties and functions of the hardware. Nintendo DSiWare games and applications will be available at a range of values, starting at 200 points.

In addition to downloadable games, Nintendo DSi is able to play games made specifically for the system and sold at retail. The system can also play most Nintendo DSTM games, and will have access to a library of more than 850 titles originally made for that system.

Also on April 5, a new Nintendo DS game, Rhythm HeavenTM, will join this roster of games available for both Nintendo DSi and Nintendo DS owners in the United States. Having sold more than 1.6 million copies since its July 2008 launch in Japan and still increasing sales today, this infectious game challenges players to tap and slide the stylus on the touch screen in time to original music created by legendary Japanese pop-star producer TSUNKU¢â„¢â€š. Simple gestures with the stylus combined with fun music and quirky visuals make Rhythm Heaven a completely unique musical experience for players of all ages.

Additional features and news of Nintendo DSi will be revealed as April 5 approaches.

For more information about Nintendo DSi, visit www.nintendodsi.com.

About Nintendo: The worldwide pioneer in the creation of interactive entertainment, Nintendo Co., Ltd., of Kyoto, Japan, manufactures and markets hardware and software for its WiiTM and Nintendo DSTM systems. Since 1983, when it launched the Nintendo Entertainment SystemTM, Nintendo has sold more than 2.8 billion video games and more than 485 million hardware units globally, including the current-generation Wii and Nintendo DS, as well as the Game BoyTM, Game Boy Advance, Super NESTM, Nintendo 64TM and Nintendo GameCubeTM. It has also created industry icons that have become well-known, household names such as MarioTM, Donkey KongTM, MetroidTM, ZeldaTM and Pokƒ©monTM. A wholly owned subsidiary, Nintendo of America Inc., based in Redmond, Wash., serves as headquarters for Nintendo’s operations in the Western Hemisphere. For more information about Nintendo, visit the company’s Web site at www.nintendo.com.

About The Author

Marc Normandin was gaming editor of Blast from 2008 to mid-2010. You can reach him via e-mail at [email protected], or follow him on Twitter @Marc_Normandin

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