Things to Love--and Hate--about the Nintendo DSi (and the GDC)

Disclaimer:

The following notes are the random ramblings of a heavily medicated journalist, trying to fight whatever alien flu he contracted while covering the 2009 Game Developers Conference.

On Sunday, April 5th, Nintendo rolls out its latest iteration of the Nintendo DS, the DSi. It offers a bunch of cool little features (including two digital camera lenses, internal storage, and SDHC card support)--and it manages to look and feel even better than the Nintendo DS Lite. So, the question remains: Do you drop $170 on this new gaming handheld?

I'll give you one pro, one big con, and then you can throw in your two cents in the comments section of the Nintendo DSi Hands-on story.

The Pro: The extra features tacked on to this iteration make it a gaming- and gadget-lover's plaything.

The Con: As much as I love what Nintendo is trying to do here, I think most of it is in half-steps. I mean, just 256MB of internal memory? I think you can find that inside cereal boxes at this point. Memory is cheap--and yes, space isn't. Let me run a game off of an SDHC card if you're trying to save money, but don't tease me with that slot and say it's only good for stashing photos, unused apps, and AAC music files. (AAC only? Really? No MP3? No WMA? No....WAV? Jeez.) In short, I think the DSi is very much one system update shy of greatness.

This year's Game Developers Conference has come and gone, but it really left a lot to process. And I'm not just talking about all the neat-o high-res screenshots of upcoming games. The conference was the stage for some genuinely interesting tech news last week. A quick recap, if you will.

The Pro: Thankfully PC World was on hand to catch some of the majesty of the show. This Best (and Worst) of GDC slideshow breaks down some of the major happenings of the week, so there's no need to dwell on it again here. Jump to the slideshow for the information (and the pretty pictures, not to mention the ha-ha's)--and come back for my post-conference gripes.

The Con(s): As for pet peeves, well, this might be a little "inside baseball" information, but the Game Developers Conference used to be about just that--the game developers. It may not have been very sexy, but back in the day, it had plenty of panels where you could sit down and learn about the creation process. These days, it's got panels--and more than a three-ring circus's worth of stuff to cover. I know, I know--boo-hoo, he gets to play the hottest games and check out the latest tech. The GDC is now a promotional halfway point between CES and the Electronic Entertainment Expo in June. I say less pomp and circumstance...and fewer meetings!

And then there's the on-going hype overload about OnLive. I've covered this at length, but bear with me for a sec. As a geek, I love the idea of not being tethered to a single place--or a single device--to play my games. The natural-born skeptic inside me, though, wonders if they'd ever have ample data centers to stream games to all the people who presumably would play. And the costs involved make my head hurt! Or maybe it's just my cold.

Speaking of which, I should probably duck back under the covers and take my pills. See you next week.

Need even more nerdity? Follow Casual Friday columnist and PC World Senior Writer Darren Gladstone on Twitter (gizmogladstone) for random reviews, strange links, time-wasting tips and free swag giveaways.

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