7 DSi Features You May Have Missed

Feature: You won't even find them in the manual

If we made a new console with loads of cool new features, we'd shout about them. Not Nintendo though - it has instead kept fairly hush over many of the more acute capabilities of the recently resealed DSi.

This is where your friendly neighbourhood CVG comes in because we've been toying around the new hardware for a while now and we've found out some cool tricks.


The repeating parrot
From the main menu, hit DSi Sound and you'll come to the screen with the 'Record and edit sounds' and 'Play with your music' options. Oh, and a little parrot that's listening to your every word.

No really, he's listening, and will repeat stuff back to you as well - as though he was a real parrot! And he'll remember too, even when you turn off the DSi, and say stuff the next time you visit his menu screen.

He doesn't say words too clearly (so don't bother shouting four-letter funnies at him), but whistle a few notes and he'll have that down in no time.


A Mario minigame
Load some AAC-format music files onto your DSi (via SD Card). While your songs play, give the pull string on the middle of the lower screen a yank with your stylus (or press the down button on the d-pad). This scrolls through a number of quirky graphic equalisers on the upper screen.

There are two, however, that have little interactive features. The spaceship one lets you shoot bullets with the L and R buttons. But the Mario one is best - Lakitu spits out bullets to the sound of the music and you can tap any shoulder button to make Mario jump and collect the coins. Lakitu eventually starts spitting out blocks to slow you down.

Try and get your highest score by the end of the song, and watch as Mario is puzzled by there being no castle after the flag pole that appears at the end of your tune.


Bring colour to PictoChat
Fire up PictoChat on your new DSi and you'll see at a glance that there are absolutely no new buttons at all. So there are no new features in it, right?

Nope, determined to hide another on of the console's new features, Nintendo has hidden a new rainbow pen on the same button you hit to select the standard black pen (the one on the left above the eraser).

With the black pen already selected, just hit the button again and it'll flash, and you can scribble away in a vivid mish-mash of different colours. Why? We don't know...


No need to reboot
A couple of small but nevertheless handy tips. At any moment while using your DSi, whether you're playing a game, listening to music or just browsing your photos, you can get back to the console's front-end menu just by tapping the power button.

Then, on that menu, you needn't turn off the console to change game cartridges. Unlike the previous DS models, you can hot-swap carts while the machine is on. As soon as the cart is inserted the game icon pops up on the menu.

It's great because it means you can change games or navigate to other parts of your DSi without ever needing to reboot the console completely. Precious seconds saved, that.


Move menu icons around
The new DSi menu is nice, but what if you don't like the arrangement of the icons? No worries because you can rearrange them.

Dragging any icon upwards with the stylus (or highlighting the icon you want to move and pressing up on the d-pad) pulls that icon out of line, letting you drag and move it to a new spot.

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