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Ten reasons to stick with your Phat


Are you still waffling over whether or not you should hug your big ol' original DS goodbye and pick up a DS Lite? We know some of you are still clinging to the old ways, but never fear -- we're here to help! This week, we're going to look at ten reasons to make the switch ... and ten reasons to stick with what you've got. Oh, we never said we'd make the decision easy.

Of course, the minute we convince you, Nintendo's apt to completely redesign the hardware all over again! But don't worry -- you'll be armed with a list of reasons to wait on anything new ... at least, until we decide to start convincing you to upgrade again. It's the circle of Nintenfandom; you know you're used to it by now.

Ten reasons to hang onto your "regular" DS, in no particular order:

1. Hinge Durability
The DS Lite has a seeming design flaw which causes the hinge to crack. This tragic injury is not unheard of on the Phat, but it is certainly nowhere near as prevalent. We'll stick with the console that is less likely to break due to normal use.

2. Cost
This is the major issue. If you already have a DS, getting another one is going to cost you money. You can trade your old one in and spend some money, or you can keep the Phat and get a Lite as a second system and spend a bunch of money. Either way, you're getting a system that plays the same games in the same way. You know what else money buys? DS games. $130 will net you 3-4 full-price DS games, which would be ... new. Or you could buy another DS and play the same games you already have.

3. Fingerprints and 4. Scratches
If you're concerned enough about aesthetics to change your DS, you may be in for something of a catch-22. While the Lite may be the more design-conscious console, it also has a glossy exterior that highlights scratches more than the matte finish of the Phat. But even if you keep it away from Freddy Krueger, you're going to have to slip on the gloves if you care about your Lite's appearance. It's a magnet for the oily mess you filthy humans extrude from your fingers.

4. GBA stickout
This is the other ironic problem with the DS Lite's design. Putting a Game Boy Advance cartridge into the system immediately wrecks the system's appearance, and adds an unfortunate protuberance that could get in the way of storage. Most DSL users probably opt not to keep a GBA cartridge in the system for this reason. Meanwhile, we can play Super Dodge Ball Advance at a moment's notice. We place high value on short Super Dodge Ball Advance draw time.

5. Rarity
The DS didn't really take off until the Lite came out in Japan. This means that there are a lot more Lites floating around out there than there are Phats, with millions more on the way. Eventually the DS Phat will become something of a conversation piece, the lesser-known variant of the world's most popular game system. Lites will just be commonplace.

6. Comfort
A smaller rectangle in the hands doesn't necessarily mean more comfort. Have you tried holding a NES controller lately? Now, which DS is comfier is more a matter of personal idiosyncracies than of hand size, but the point is that there is a choice. It is in no way a given that the Lite is more comfortable.

7. Colors
One overlooked aspect of the original DS is that it comes in colors that the DS Lite doesn't. The Electric Blue variant is lovely, though our true favorite will always be the classic silver. Its sophisticated silver-on-black design brings to mind high-end electronics, and reminds us of a time when devices didn't have to be white and glossy.

8. Cheap accessories
DS accessories may be on the way out, but you should still be able to find everything you may need: a case and some screen covers (you are playing Elite Beat Agents or one of the Ouendan games, aren't you?) And when you do find such items in a store, they're almost guaranteed to be marked down beyond reason.

9. The Kirby pink stylus
Okay, so the Coral Pink DS Lite comes with a pink stylus too, but it's not a Kirby pink stylus. Nobody had to register a copy of Kirby: Canvas Curse to get it. It's an illogical preference, but it makes us happy.

10. D-pad issues
There have been reports of poor diagonals and D-pad wobble on the Lite, though we don't know how important or how widespread these issues are. What cannot be denied is that the DS Lite's D-pad is 16% smaller than the Phat's. Smaller makes sense for most of the system, but absolutely not for the D-pad. Is it supposed to be more comfortable or something?

While some of these reasons are either splitting hairs or a matter of personal preference, one reason stands out as sound: the cost of upgrading. The DS Lite is simply not a significant enough improvement over the original to justify the expense. It's also fun to be a renegade holdout in a Lite world.

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