Following on from my original article on the  Nintendo DSi XL, I wanted to let folks know whether this mobile gaming device was still on my hot list after after 4 months play, or heading for their recycle waste collection…

Well, to describe the impact on this device on my everyday life, I would need to briefly explain that I’ve been messing with electronics and computing equipment since my academic studies, circa 1993, and as a late teenager I loved my ‘hand me down’ Commodore 64 (especially learning to program the little sprite balloons with my initials and battling my sister in Boulder Dash)… over the years I’ve messed with a lot of kit over the years and spent some hard earned pennies in the name of technological exploration, but so far,  my Nintendo DSi XL has become very much an integral part of my enjoyable everyday activities.  I have laptops for everyday use too, but these are rarely as mobile as you think and as much fun! Perhaps the scope of content you can buy for the Nintendo is part of the success of maintaining my interest?? My collection as described in the original article provides plenty of grey matter challenges in the arts and sciences, and at the time of writing this article I’ve performed the following:

    • Completed one more still-life ‘painting’ using Art Academy: First Semester . I find this software very easy to use, now that I’m confident switching between the palette, brushes, canvas, and grid/zooms functions, whilst working.  I find it very relaxing to curl up in my big velvet chair and disappear into concentrated oblivion!

Cheese and Wine (painted using Art Academy First Semester software for the Nintendo DSi XL Art)

  • Drafted a game-play scenario for WarioWare: D.I.Y, which I’ll pursue in developing as autumn approaches.  I’m really looking forward to seeing how this works out
  • Completed up to lesson 50 in My French Coach (Level 1). My criticism of this software is from Lesson 41 onwards the learning structure disintegrates into lesson-after-lesson of just vocabulary learning, most of which you’ll rarely use in everyday occurrence.  It almost seems as if the content developers got bored after Lesson 40 and decide to auto-populate the rest of the software with random extracts from a French dictionary! I will continue to use the software to finish it, but I’m hoping it improves quickly.  My exposure to French whilst living in Belgium contributes a larger part to my learning experience (particularly listening skills) but it’s still a shame that this software couldn’t maintain the same level of variety from Lesson 40.
    If anyone from Nintendo is reading this, can I also suggest that the Bridge Building exercises in this software is greatly expanded – the language learner really needs all the opportunities available to develop their ability to construct sentences in a 2nd language, and this is a very useful exercise indeed – at present, its seriously underdeveloped and under used in this software
  • Completed up to lesson 11 in My Spanish Coach (Level 1) so only just got started here!  So far, I’m enjoying it but I’m hoping it doesn’t turn into a vocabulary bombardment like I explained above for the French level 1. We’ll see…

Practising with piano

Measures and Time lesson

  • Completed all the lessons of Music and taken all the tests; I’m now practicing to play music on an electronic 61 key hand roll piano keyboard and reading music from Beginner’s sheet music.  The Nintendo software was very good in opinion, though it helps if you’ve learned to read music before as you’re thrown straight into music theory from the beginning!  I wouldn’t say this was not suitable for beginners – it is, so long as you’re prepared to study hard! I took notes throughout, like you would on any course of study, and made sure I understand concepts before moving onto the next lesson.  The hardest parts in my opinion were the ‘notes and rests arithmetic’ and the tests for tempo/rhythm.  I believe these become more natural to you as you practice an instrument and learn to read music with more ease. If there is one irritating aspect of this software it is the continual background tune of Twinkle Twinkle, which is very distracting throughout. I tend to mute the volume during lessons until I need sound for the tests or explanations. This background music cannot be turned off (in Options) either….
  • Completed all the Mahjong games – good fun, shame I finished them all!

I also purchased some anti-glare screen protection specifically for the Nintendo DSi XL, which works a real treat to protect the screens and care for your eyes.  Highly recommended by me!

So that’s the update after 4 months!  I think I can say that I love my Nintendo for helping me to become a little more accomplished in the arts and for reconnecting my creativity with the use of technology.

Originally published: Sunday, August 22nd, 2010 at 14:01 in Atelier, Inspiration

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