One of the reasons why I decided to get the Sony PSP over the Nintendo DS was the issue of size. I’ve always felt that the DS was bulky and therefore hard to bring around. However, I must admit that Nintendo games tend to be way more fun (e.g. Mario Kart DS, Animal Crossing: Wild World). A lot of game developers seem to miss the point that a key proponent to gaming is fun, and realistic graphics should only serve to compliment that, not dominate it.
This is why I think that that even though Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and the Sony PSP are powerful systems for pumping out great graphics, companies like Nintendo focus on the right principles of fun and hit the mark with their GameCube and Gameboy games. One of the defining factors that make Nintendo game more fun is their openness to multiplayer. While most systems require to you sign up for expensive online gaming subscriptions, or to buy another console (e.g. system-link) just to play with others, Nintendo tends to have more games that let everyone in your living room just join in and play. Combined with the simple (often silly) rules and game play, everyone enjoys. A game that mimics this for the Xbox is Kungfu Chaos, which appeals to both guys and girls of all gaming levels.
That said, I heard that the Nintendo DS Lite might be heading our way in May. Being slimmer (and sexier), I might just break down and get one for casual gaming. Nintendo’s Japan site states that the DS Lite should retail at 16800yen, which works out to around US$149. If you’re interested, here’s a mockup video of the DS Lite while here’s a hands-on report of the mockup on NEXT Generation (yes, they’re all mockups).