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Nintendo DS Lite: Play and be proud

The Nintendo DS was beautiful on the inside, but needed a paper bag when out in public. So have a go on its sexy younger sibling, the Nintendo DS Lite!

Many Crave staffers are obsessive Nintendo fans. Some of us wear Mario-inspired t-shirts, others sport large, comedy moustaches, and many of us eat spotty mushrooms of questionable legality.

But as Nintendo-obsessed as we are, we could never get into the Nintendo DS. The games were awesome but the original DS looked like the console equivalent of the Nissan Multipla.

Thankfully, Friday 23 June saw the UK launch of the new Nintendo DS Lite -- a sleeker, sexier, more iPod-like take on the dual-screen concept. At 130 by 21 by 71mm when closed and weighing 217g, it's 39 per cent smaller and 21 per cent lighter than its predecessor.

Fed up with playing DS games in the dark where nobody can see us, we went out to HMV and snapped up the £110 bundle, and lo and behold, there were other people playing DS games in public! For once we outnumbered the PSP-playing hordes and could hold our heads high.

Sure, some people will say the Sony PSP was the perfect accessory for the superficial gamer -- and it still is. But many people think it has gone from being the most attractive portable gaming platform to a place where rubbish old PlayStation 2 titles (and their unbearable loading times) go to die. And as for its music and movie playback abilities -- nobody wants a 5m-wide iPod, and we'll give a fiver to anyone who bought a film on a UMD disc and doesn't regret it.

The DS is where it's at -- just ask the Japanese. The Nintendo machine outsold the PSP by almost 11 to one in May and six DS games occupied a slot in the top ten Japanese all-format games charts, compared to just one for the PSP. With the redesigned DS now available in all major gaming territories, is Sony's machine about to do a Gizmondo?

Perhaps not, but we know where our allegiance lies -- the DS Lite is the new Best Thing Ever. Buy one. But read our full review first. -RR