I'm not a 12-year-old boy -- So walk me through Nintendo DS Lite?
February 15, 2011 1:50 AM   Subscribe

I think I want a Nintendo DS Lite, but I'm totally ignorant. → I'm in Greece ←, and don't want to spend the money (this money, it is tight) only to find out that it was a bad choice for me in terms of game level and types of games, acquisition of games, country specific restrictions, and if the one I have my eye on (via EBay) is the right choice. Can you hold my hand?

When my husband asked a friend about getting a Nintendo DS for me, the friend said, "What? Is your wife a 12-year-old boy?" If I were, I'd probably know the answers to the following questions (in order of probable importance):

* I don't want to have to be shipped games; I want to download games. I don't want to have to walk to the post office to get my games. I don't want to have to try to find an electronics store that will sell the games I want (they won't) for twice what I would pay in the U.S. and make me stand in line for a half-hour to get it. Can I buy online to download? (If getting games isn't easy for me, then it won't be worth it to get the console, and you can stop reading the rest of my questions.)

* I like hard puzzle games of all kinds. If most of the games for Nintendo DS are pretty easy it won't be useful for me. I became interested in this platform because I read comments here about Brain Age, and that you can get NYT Crosswords and such for the DS. So, is it a good platform for puzzlers? (I also like puzzle games wrapped in a story, a la Myst-type, and for other stuff, two of my favorite-ever online games are Reflections and Blocks with Letters On, as a couple of examples.)

* Is there going to be a problem getting games to play on a DS console that comes from China, and being played in Greece? I don't understand anything about this. Basically, restrictions? Do they apply, and how?

* Does the following sound like the right thing to get? Package Content:
1 x Brand New Nintendo DS LITE Console
1 x Soft Bag(Gifts)
1 x Card Reader(Gifts)
1 x 2GB TF Card(include 30 games)
1 x Charger(we will send the charger according to your country specific need)
1 x Stylus
1 x User Manual(English)
1 x LCD Protector(Gifts)

I'm not experiences with Ebay, but I'm looking at this item because the shipping is included (big consideration here), the over all price seems the best ($129), and I can pay by PayPal. The seller is in China and has 97.6% Positive feedback over 12 months (442 pos / 5 neutral /10 negative). For contrast, other similar sell for around $115 but charge around $35 to ship. (MeMail if you want the URL of the one I'm looking at.)

* Will I have to buy anything else? Do I need any other devices in order to get and play the games I want?

Finally, I'm looking at the DS Lite, for reasons of price; is that unwise? Is there a good reason I should get a DSi instead?
posted by taz to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (12 answers total)
To the best of my knowledge, legitimately buying games online isn't really an option on the DS/DS Lite. The DSi has the DSi Shop where you can buy DSiWare games, but it's more expensive than the DS Lite, unfortunately.

Honestly, if what you want is puzzle games and the ability to easily purchase games for your device online, I'd personally suggest seeing if you can find a reasonably priced secondhand 8gb iPod touch.
posted by lwb at 2:26 AM on February 15, 2011

I think the extra screen space of the DSi would be worth it. I don't own either, but when I tried the DS Lite in stores I found the screen to be to small. The DSi seemed just right.
posted by smokingmonkey at 2:27 AM on February 15, 2011

Seconding the ipod touch. Tons of great puzzle games and all easily available through itunes.
posted by smokingmonkey at 2:29 AM on February 15, 2011

Regarding downloads, I'm not suggesting that you should engage in any illegal activity but I know that there are a lot of ROMs easily available online that people download for the DS. Some of those games are homebrew and can be legally downloaded, but others are copyrighted. To run ROMs you'll need to buy an R4 cartridge and SD card to store them in, but the whole procedure is fairly straightforward and there are Googleable instructions.

I think the DS is pretty good for puzzle games. For those that also have stories, you could look at stuff like Zelda and Professor Layton, off the top of my head.

I expect that it'll be fine to use the DS in Greece even if it's from China. You can change the default language so that it isn't in Mandarin, if that issue arises. My friend's DS is from Japan and mine is from the US; I haven't noticed differences and we've used them in other countries without any problems.

The package that you're looking at seems sufficient and it looks like they're already throwing in a free SD card plus card reader. You should confirm that they also provide a cartridge that you can slot the SD card into. Other than that, you won't need to buy anything else.
posted by swimmingly at 2:37 AM on February 15, 2011

Seconding the DSi. You can't download to the DS Lite, only the DSi, DSiXL. The DS is not region locked, so games should play whatever country you buy them from. But I don't know about international downloads.

There is a new type of DS, the 3DS which has 3D capability. It is coming out in March in the US, I think. So you should see a big price drop in used DSi when it comes out. Wait a little bit longer and you should find something cheaper.

Also, I know that you don't want to have to be shipped games, but when you get a DSi, you should also get the three Professor Layton games. They are very good puzzle games.
posted by Caravantea at 3:12 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Regarding downloads, I'm not suggesting that you should engage in any illegal activity but I know that there are a lot of ROMs easily available online that people download for the DS. Some of those games are homebrew and can be legally downloaded, but others are copyrighted. To run ROMs you'll need to buy an R4 cartridge and SD card to store them in
From the description, I get the impression that these are already included in the eBay package. DS's are not normally sold with cards with 30 games on them. It is possible that those games are homebrew, but it is also likely that they are pirated.

Personally I would wait a little while longer, as Caravantea says, and see if I couldn't buy one in a local store. I am a big eBay fan, but not so much for items like this. I would want to have warranty as well. If you do want to buy on eBay, check toolhaus.org to see what the negative feedbacks are about. Sometimes sellers sell lots of cheap things, like chargers, to get lots of good feedback, and then aren't so good with the more expensive items. That's something you'll want to look out for.

I like the DS Lite, but if I were to buy now, I would wait a bit and go for the DSi. In your case however, I second the suggestions to check out an iPod touch as well.
posted by davar at 3:54 AM on February 15, 2011

I definitely might be wrong, but there's something a little off about that auction you mention--it's coming from China, it's the lowest price available, and they throw in a TF card with 30 games on it? There's a red flag in there somewhere, I think.

As others have said, the DS doesn't offer legitimate downloadable games. If you're willing to spend a few bucks on a 'backup' cartridge (last I knew, the R4 was a popular one, but that was a while ago) and hang out on file-sharing sites, that's no biggie. But if you're not, it's a dealbreaker.
posted by box at 4:00 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

You HAVE to go to the store to buy your DS games. Period. Sounds like that is a deal breaker by your post.

So, if your willing to know and understand that you physically have to go to the store and buy your games, a DS is a great time waster for us adults....
posted by TeachTheDead at 6:01 AM on February 15, 2011

Thanks for all the info so far! I was just looking at the Nintendo Shop about downloadable games for the DSi, and I see from Wikipedia that they charge Europeans about 25% more than U.S. for the "game points" you need to buy in order buy/download online. :(

Does anyone know if iTunes also charges Europeans more than Americans?
posted by taz at 7:00 AM on February 15, 2011

iTunes does have region specific pricing, although I don't think the difference is too bad for Europeans (somebody correct me if it's horrific!)

It's also worth pointing out that there are hundreds upon hundreds of free games available on the App Store. For puzzle games with a good story, you'll probably have to pay (though there are very few games on the App Store that cost as much as a DS game), but your more basic puzzle games can easily be had free of charge.

Many games also have free or 'lite' versions, so you can often try games out first in order to decide whether you like them enough to pay for the full version.

What you could do is download iTunes and browse the iTunes store from its PC interface to see if there's any games that interest you and if their pricing is acceptable to you.

But definitely see if you can play with a DS/DSi and an iPod. They suit different people, IMO, especially with regard to screen size and stylus/physical buttons versus finger controls
posted by lwb at 5:15 PM on February 15, 2011

Sometimes you can also buy those Nintendo Points card somewhat cheaper online or in a toystore sale than trough the official Nintendo store. It doesn't save much though. Where I live, buying directly from the Nintendo Store (through the console itself) is normally cheaper than buying the cards in retail stores. Also, I am not sure if that is the case here, but usually euro pricing includes VAT, while US pricing doesn't.

Does it say anywhere in the listing what region the console is from? I would think buying a console from China would mean it is a different region which would mean that you'll have to use points meant for that region. Normal DS games are not region locked, you can play physical games that you bought in the US on a DS bought in Europe, but it is my understanding that for downloadable stuff there is a region lock and European DS's require European points cards and so on.

I don't think I would buy a DSi if my intention was to only/mostly play DSi puzzle games. There don't seem to be that many of them, and many are of the solitaire/sudoku/crossword variety.
posted by davar at 12:08 AM on February 16, 2011

So, in the end, I did get the DS Lite, but from a different seller as a result of info from davar. It turns out that seller did have a ton of sales for small items and only a couple of larger-ticket sales... and I think maybe only one NDSL in his/her history. Thanks a lot for that tip, davar.

I looked at iPod Touch and would have gone that way, but they were a lot more expensive – twice the price at best, basically, which I can't justify spending at the moment.

The seller I ended up using had 100% positive feedback, lots of glowing comments, and tons of sales for the NDSL, with a six-month warranty, and also offered all the items of the initial one I was looking at, except games (though it did end up coming with a CD of games -- most of them in Chinese, so not very useful, but there were a couple that were useable), plus I got a bunch of other things (in-ear headphones, crystal case, extra styluses, wrist strap, an extra T Flash reader – I don't know why), and the price was only $10 more. This one shipped from Hong Kong, and came in right around €100 with shipping, which is the price I set as an upper limit. So, quite a bargain.

I'm playing a Professor Layton game right now. :) Thanks for all your help, everyone; it definitely gave me a better idea of what I was doing. I found some downloadable games, and I can order games on eBay and get the sellers to mail without the large boxy packaging, which was my main issue: if the package is too big to fit in my mailbox (this sort of thing) , they hold it at the post office for pickup, which is a pain in the ass, and to get a somewhat decent price locally, I'd have to go to a big electronics store, and they aren't in walking distance.

The size of the DS Lite is okay for me... I mostly wanted it to take the place of my crossword and puzzle books at night in bed before I go to sleep, so something small and very light; the DSi screen turns out to be only slightly larger (3.25 inches vs. 3 inches), and the battery life is longer for the DSL (15-19 vs 9-14 hrs, at low brightness; 7-11 hours vs 4-6 hours at high brightness). The DSi is actually a tad bit lighter though, but only by 4 grams. And, of course the DSi is more expensive.

Thanks again, everyone!
posted by taz at 10:11 PM on April 29, 2011

« Older Is it time for our group massage yet?   |   What is to Comcast as phreak was to AT&T Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.