Game Bytes: April 1
Game Bytes: April 1

WELCOME TO THE MACHINES

The familiar way to start up a video game — sticking a disk into a console or a computer — isn’t about to go away anytime soon.

But much of the buzz at this year’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco revolved around machines that do without the disk drive. The devices’ creators hope to be at the forefront of a new age of downloadable gaming.

OnLive Inc., based in Palo Alto, Calif., plans to host dozens of popular computer games, from big publishers like Electronic Arts and Ubisoft, on its servers. Anyone with high-speed Internet could then connect a PC or a Mac to a server and start playing, say, “Crysis” without having to worry about whether his computer was powerful enough to handle its high-end graphics.

You could even play PC games on your television through the OnLive MicroConsole, a sleek device that’s about as big as a pack of cigarettes.

THE SOFT PARADE

Nintendo has a new console coming out this week: the DSi, the third generation of its DS portable.

Nintendo President Saturo came to GDC with the DSi in hand, but got a far bigger reaction when he announced “The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks,” the second Zelda adventure for the DS. Iwata’s second software debut — “Rock and Roll Climber,” which uses the Wii Balance Board to simulate rock climbing — got a far less enthusiastic reception.

Just a handful of other games were announced at GDC, led by Sony’s “Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time.” Also intriguing: Ubisoft’s “R.U.S.E.,” which promises to bring actual strategy (in the sense of outwitting rather than overwhelming your opponent) to the real-time strategy genre.

— Associated Press