I’ve been half-following the news coming out of GDC this year and among all the chatter I found a little slice of news that really bummed me out: The DSi may very well have exclusive titles. The reason this is frustrating is because I buy game hardware to facilitate use, not out of some sense of brand loyalty or for some nebulous potential. I bought an XBox after KotOR was released, I bought a 360 for Dead Rising, I bought a DS for Advance Wars and New SMB, etc. My intial thought when they announced the DSi was that it was interesting but ultimately irrelevant because my DS Lite works just fine and the additional features seemed more like nice-to-haves rather than pivotal upgrades. Cameras? No thanks, I have enough questionable quality personal-electronics-based photography equipment. SD card slot? Nice, but hardly necessary. Bigger screens? Again, nifty but not mandatory. And the exclusion of the GBA slot makes it significantly less attractive than the Lite to me because I still play GBA games.
But the fact that Nintendo seems willing to release games that won’t work on the Lite means that the potential exists for me to want both a DSi and an DS Lite (the latter being my defacto GBA player). I suppose the same effect could be achieved with a DSi and a Game Boy Micro but either way I’m looking at two systems. I was willing to step away from the Game Boy backwards compatibility but introducing a schism in the user base on the same basic hardware is just mean.
It occurs to me that if someone ever wanted to get me the best present ever they could get me something like a GP2X and load it up with emulators for NES, SNES, Game Boy, GBA, Sega Master System, Genesis, Game Gear, Turbo Grafx 16, Neo-Geo and MAME so I can move on past my infatuation with old school games knowing I have access to them without having to take the bitter medicine of “official channels.” If wanting that makes me a bad citizen in the gaming world, then brand me a traitor. I’ve easily dropped over $100,000 on games in my lifetime so maybe the consumer overlords will forgive me this one little lapse if I promise to keep doing my part to drive the industry on the front end of the cycle. Wanting to play Battletoads from time to time doesn’t stop me from buying the new Call of Duty games so cut me some slack here.