Sunday, August 19, 2007

Free, as advetised

Last week I got a DS Lite. Because I was looking for bargains, I bought it separately from the game, Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords, that I wanted. The DS Lite arrived first, without a game. I knew this was going to happen and had in mind to ask my friend for some games. Unfortunately, by the time UPS brought the game, my friend was already leaving for work. I decided to see if I can do anything without any games. I went through the initial setup and found something curious, DS Download Play.

DS Download Play, as I read in the manual, is a service for downloading free content like demo games and movies to your DS Lite. What the manual failed to mention was the details. I clicked on DS Download Play and watched it trying to connect. Fruitlessly waited a couple of minutes. Deciding that the problem is my basement, I tried different location and event went outside. All for naught. I tried searching on Google and that's when I found out how deviously evil and ingenious Nintendo is. Turns out that though the service is free, and even though all other games require at most an internet connection, for you to use DS Download Play, you actually have to go to a store. The only way you can get free content for your DS, is if you go to a game store and download it there. This is a great marketing tool, forcing people to look at what's new and perhaps buy a game while they get their "free" stuff. Like I said, incredibly evil.

On a side note, I consider the fact that for 15 plus minutes, the DS showed a looking for software available for download message, is a major bug. The correct message would be "trying to establish connection." And the correct way of handling a lack of that connection is not to continue displaying that message, but rather to time out, perhaps, after 60 seconds and display an error message that connection could not be established. An even better solution would be to include instructions on how to use the feature, both in the error message and in the manual.

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