Continuing with our coverage of the Nintendo DSi story, today, we bring you the story behind another important enhancement included in the DSi – the web browser.
Nintendo DSi Browser
Let’s first start with what prompted the guys at Nintendo to include an Internet browser in the first place. As mentioned before, the DSi was meant to be a console that would reflect its user’s personality. And what better way to do it than allowing users to view the Internet at the press of a button!
As the team consisting of Shinya Takahashi from the Software Development & Design Department, Eiichi Shirakawa, the man in charge of the Nintendo DSi Browser, and Satoshi Furukawa, who deals with user interfaces, sat down to work on the new browser, the first thing they had in mind was to make it as smooth and quick as possible. However, when you’re under strict constraints due to the hardware of small consoles, there is a limit to how much you can do. Therefore, designing a good browser with select features is tricky business.
To this end, the team at Nintendo has been working for quite a while with Opera Software to create custom web browsers. While Nintendo as a console developer has specific ideas and concepts about how an Internet browser should be for their consoles, Opera has other priorities and preferences while creating a web browser for the computer.
Therefore, in order to help smooth the process, the guys from Nintendo visited the office of Opera in Norway. Out of this concerted effort at creating something unique for the DSi, there emerged a browser that has – as the per the team at Nintendo – the “Nintendo touch”. This browser is snappy, and has numerous subtle features that don’t jump out of the screen but have the effect of making one feel completely at ease while using it.
Speaking of these subtleties built into the DSi’s browser, each of the team members had something unique to say. Furukawa said, “I think the Nintendo DSi Browser is easier to view and easier to use than other handheld devices out there… Various operations are represented via icons. We had quite a few debates about what those icons should look like, because if we simply used icons familiar from personal computers, they would be incomprehensible to people unfamiliar with the Internet… We were very attentive to those things.”
To this, Shirakawa added, “When you use the Nintendo DSi Browser Overview mode, the lower screen shows a magnified portion of the upper screen. If you want, however, you can reverse what the screens display. With Nintendo DSi, the screens don’t just simply switch images, their images rapidly shrink or enlarge. I think that really changes the way it feels. I think little things like that contribute to ‘the Nintendo touch.’”
In addition to these features, the availability of internal memory allows users to download and install additional software on the DSi. When it comes to personalizing one’s system, installing software of one’s choice is the most important thing. The DSi lets users do just that, all the while remaining true to its main purpose – of being a fun game system.
The availability of more hardware enhancements in the DSi compared to other consoles has enabled its makers to include some remarkable features in it. With this article, we’ve covered the final section of these enhancements along with the story of how each one of them came to be. We hope you’ve enjoyed reading it; we sure as hell enjoyed bringing it to you!