Friday, June 02, 2006

shift: from the psp to the ds

A little over a year ago I waited on line to buy a Sony PSP the day it was released. I bought a few games - Lumines, Untold Legends, Ridge Racers, Metal Gear Acid. Over time I picked up some movies, a few more games (most notably Hot Shots Golf and X-Men II: Rise of Apocalypse), a memory stick, and a case. You could safely say I was well-invested in the platform.

Today I struck a deal to sell my entire kit of PSP games, movies, gear and the PSP itself. Quite a generous deal, I should say.

I didn't have to, but it was a symbolic action on my part. I want no more of the PSP. It has failed me in ways I could not have anticipated when I bought it a year ago.

1. UMD Movies killed battery life, which reduced the PSP's usefuless as a platform for watching movies. Hey, I'm not about to rip DVDs, right?

2. The dearth of imaginative original games - and a surfeit of mediocre and just plain bad games (Death Jr., Midnight Club come to mind) - left me playing the same old titles over and over.

3. The web browser interface is broken - over-complicated, over-proprietary. Besides, why do I want a web browser on my game system?

4. And finally - fatally - it's just to damned bulky in practice to be truly portable. I do a fair amount of travelling (this week I was in CA Wednesday and Thursday, and dambit, got stuck on the red-eye last night) and can't afford to schlepp it all around. I also got tired of worrying about scratching the screen - that beautiful, big screen - and tired of cleaning the faceplate.

So on June 11, I'll be on line to buy a Nintendo DS Lite. I'll use it to play games with my kids (Mario Kart, Super Mario Brothers), fiddle with music (Electroplankton), slip into a meditative state (Animal Crossing), or fly around and shoot crap (the upcoming Starfox Command). I'll feel good about clamshelling it shut, about its incredible battery life, and about its brain-dead easy local wireless connectivity.

Will I miss the PSP? It's absolutely killer screen, extensive memory, be-everything-to-everyone capabilities? Maybe. I just have to remind myself that I haven't watched a movie on it in months, haven't played a new game on it in months, and never got around to upgrading the OS to 2.7. Because I just didn't care if I had the fancy new Location Free TV capability that I'd never use, or the RSS reader. . .

Or the zillion other features that Got In The Way Of Playing Fun Games.

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