Nintendo bundles DSi XL with Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem!, $170

Nintendo's new blue and pink DSi XL bundle preloaded with educational Brain Age games and Mario vs. Donkey Kong, is a no-brainer choice for your young gamer this holiday.

Nintendo DSi XL in Midnight Blue with Mario vs. Donkey Kong. Image from Nintendo

Nintendo DSi XL in Midnight Blue with Mario vs. Donkey Kong. Image from Nintendo

The last time I was at Nintendo World in Manhattan, I overheard a very confused mother struggling to decide between the Nintendo 3DS and the DSi XL now that they share the same $169.99 price tag. To help parents better differentiate between the handheld consoles this holiday, Nintendo is giving the DSi XL two new colors ("Midnight Blue" and the previously introduced "Metallic Rose") and tossing in a free game (Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem!) for the same price.

With two conveniently gendered box-sets -- the pink for the gamer girl (bottom) and blue (pictured right) for the gamer boy -- you no longer have an excuse for not knowing what to get the young gamer in your life. If you're shopping for someone younger than 7 years old, the DSi XL's larger screens are more appropriate as the 3DS' three-dimension technology is not ideal for young eyes. (But keep in mind the DSi XL is a previous-gen system that won't be able to play all the latest 3D titles that are just hitting stores now: Pokemon Rumble Blast, Mario Kart 7 and Super Mario 3D Land.)

Nintendo DSi XL in Metallic Rose with Mario vs. Donkey Kong game. Image from Nintendo

Nintendo DSi XL in Metallic Rose with Mario vs. Donkey Kong game. Image from Nintendo

Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem! is quite an imaginative platformer where the player uses the stylus to draw lines (rather than just press buttons) to guide a pack of mini Marios through the amusement park. In my opinion, the best part of this title is that it offers a Construction Zone: the player gets to play game designer by creating and testing his own puzzles/levels, which he can share with others online via Wi-Fi. Plus, Brain Age: Express Math and Brain Age: Express Arts and Letters also come pre-loaded on these DSi XLs so the bundle won't be just fun and games but will be educational too.

For $169.99, this DSi XL bundle will definitely be on wish lists this year and with its educational bent, it will be a gift you'll be proud to deliver come Christmas morning. This bundle goes on sale on November 6 and will probably go fast so start planning your line-up strategy now.

[Source: Nintendo press release, mariovsdk.nintendo.com]

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