DSi is not without unique features when compared to previous iterations of the dual-screened handheld, and of these features none defines the system more than DSiWare. Finally bringing downloadable games and content to a Nintendo handheld, it only seemed destined to forge a new path of glory for a system that began as a “third pillar.” However, there is no heavier burden than great potential, and while it may not have lived up to the expectations many had of the service, it did provide a path to a great future.
WiiWare may have been Nintendo’s first foray into the world of downloadable content, but DSiWare marked the first endorsement on the handheld front. The move towards the digital frontier seemed only natural for the successful handheld and brought with it a previously-untapped goldmine for the Big N. Not only that, but by being a service for a portable device there were even more ventures for the company to explore, to cover all aspects of one’s lifestyle that could allow for a personal electronic device.
The service has seen its share of excellent titles. Photo Dojo let you take pictures of loved ones and beat the crap out of each other. The Art Style series saw more excellent entries in the form of Pictobits, Base 10, Aquia, Boxlife, Digidrive, Precipice, and Zengage. And, for even the slightest platformer fan, Shantae: Risky’s Revenge can compete with the best of them.
However, for every Flipnote Studio there is a Mario Clock; for Alphabounce, another Petz title. Perhaps opening the door to “snack apps” also let in a few rotten titles. While any successful system has seen its share of shovelware– just look at Wii and PlayStation for prime examples– with digital distribution lowering production costs significantly, it’s as if a dump truck delivered the content. Not only that, but while Nintendo at least kinda-sorta acknowledged the console back-library with Virtual Console on Wii, for reasons unknown the Game Boy catalog was completely ignored.
Luckily, Nintendo is looking to right this wrong with 3DS and finally utilizing the older classics that were seen on their previous handhelds. Furthermore, several other classics from the home console side are looking to get eye-popping updates on 3DS’s VC. Whether out of necessity or simply out of interest of what gamers would enjoy most, Nintendo looks to have a solid trajectory for a more successful digital platform with the 3DS. However, lest we forget, it all began with an admirable attempt via DSiWare.