The lights are on
Power Member - Level 10
A car ride, long wait time at the doctor's office, or lazy afternoon
when the television was preoccupied used to mean time with the latest
handheld console. I was a kid with a Gameboy readily at hand. Pokemon
battles ensued on the bus ride home from school, Link's Awakening would be
played for the fourth time in a row as I traveled to visit relatives, and Castlevania made long Sundays more bearable. I was a
mobile machine, picking up every major release that accompanied the Nintendo DS.
Then one day...it stopped.Friends grew up, straying from handhelds to consoles, and even then
barely touching them. Car rides evolved from the role of passenger to
driver, and relaxing time with music overtook the necessity to complete a
dungeon. Even long waits at the doctor became routine visits to the
latest app for a quick time wasting puzzle breaker. As quickly as my
infatuations with gaming on the go hit, they seemed to subsequently fade and eventually I gave my Nintendo DS away to a relative.
Beyonce could not even sway me...
I would be lying if I did not admit that part of the reason I
dropped gaming on the go was the social stigma of pulling out a Nintendo handheld in public now that I am technically an "adult". This was worsened by an interview last year with Playstation CEO Jack Tretton who quoted:
"Our view of the 'Game Boy experience' is that it's a great babysitting
tool, something young kids do on airplanes, but no self-respecting
twenty-something is going to be sitting on an airplane with one of
While I do not agree with the notion and the quote is an obvious attack from Sony on Nintendo's handheld, it further emphasizes that the "social norm" is that handhelds are for kids. That argument was put to rest when I witnessed the multitude of adults freely playing at the Zelda symphony and read numerous accounts of people in my age range that still openly play at the theatre or airport. But while tapping my screen furiously with a stylus or tilting a device every which way, I could not help but feel a little self-conscious.
I was weened off the handheld necessity by the emergence of the App
store. Simple, cheap, enjoyable titles to occupy the small window of
time that needed to be wasted. Some of these have even expanded to
become full fledged hack and slash or RPG titles using the simple touch
functionality. It was a vast market that constantly added new entries on a daily basis. The biggest benefit of it all was having one machine, and the extra pocket space was a nice commodity.
Another round of Angry Birds or epic adventure?...hmm..
Recently I have come to the realization that despite the apps providing some entertainment...they are just a shadow of the experiences I used to have with a dedicated gaming device. Full-blown adventures with Link in numerous dungeons that culminated with a thrilling boss fight, responsive controls that never misread or failed to work properly, and legitimate stories evolving past the typical save the princess expectancy. Hand me an app and I am entertained for a few minutes, but hand me a PS Vita and I could sit and play for hours.
With E3 2012 showcasing some intriguing additions to the existing library, I found my interest in returning to handheld gaming reinvigorated. After trying out the Vita at a recent display and looking at
the slew of Nintendo 3DS titles already on the market, I wanted to get back into what made gaming on the go enjoyable.
The biggest issue holding me back at this point is cost. The
Nintendo DS ran $250 at launch and that was pushing it for me back then. Now with a
Nintendo 3DS at $200 and a PS Vita at $250, it begins
the "or I could buy" phase of purchasing. Shelling out that much money when there are so many other items on my backlog makes me a little hesitant.
I still feel a bit undecided. Here I sit, staring at an order screen from Amazon every now and then, pondering if I would regret such a purchase. Would the cycle repeat of setting aside a Nintendo 3DS in favor of a less demanding task? Would cost outweigh interest? Is the Vita naturally tastier than the 3DS? I at least sit in the satisfaction that the consoles I have still see plenty of use, and I am sure they taste just fine. I just wonder how things would work if I introduced a little handheld flavor in the mix...
Interesting. Ironically enough, all I do is play on my 3DS, either on the go or when I'm alone. Great blog, man.
I'm with you. I'm only 15, but I lost interest in handheld gaming as soon as I found that consoles exist. All the time for my handheld vanished, and it's now sitting in its case, inside my closet, waiting for a revisit that may or may not happen.
I did just get Radiant Historia in the mail from GameFly, so I'll have to try it out soon.
Given my age, I still don't feel uncomfortable if I ever were to pull out a type of handheld in public. Thing is now, I just never have it around. Good blog, and topic.
I'm a 28 year old father of two. Both of my boys are proud owners of Nintendo 3DS', and I'm the proud owner of a Playstation Vita. I take the thing everywhere. Car trips, doctor's appointments, bus rides, and even on a recent flight. Believe it or not, most of the stares I've received while playing in public came from kids who were interested to see what I was playing, while most adults were too wrapped up in their smart devices to give me the time of day. It seems that the rise of smart phones and tablets has all but eradicated the social stigma attached to handhelds.
I'm 24 and I've been playing consoles for as long as I can remember. I actually only just recently got into handheld gaming. I bought my PSP less then two years ago, and I bought a DSi XL about six months ago. Yes, the 3DS was out by then, but I didn't have $250 to spend at the time, and the XL was on sale. Anyway, I love them both. They're great for playing when I'm on a flight, out to lunch, or even in the bathroom. :/ I particularly enjoy playing the PSOne classics on my PSP. I get to play a ton of games that I missed out on 10-15 years ago. The sleep feature makes this so much more convenient, particularly with the super long JRPG's like Final Fantasy VII and Xenogears.
That last picture... Really? I'm curious how you found that.
Anyway, I would advise buying neither the 3DS or the Vita. Instead, stick with a smart phone. If you have an Android phone, you can get a Game Boy emulator. Bam, you can now play as many Game Boy games as you'd like without losing your dignity.
You shouldn't put too much weight on what people around you think, if there is a stigma..."those that matter don't mind, and those that mind don't matter."
I had the Vita momentarily until I had to take it back because it was too much money and I needed to pay for something, but I digress. I had it and did enjoy it, especially with MLB 12 The Show. But the turnoff for me was the lack actual titles that were worth playing. Honestly, Uncharted was the only thing I wanted to play. And even though I like FIFA, it didn't have the pro ranked matches I love to play. Regardless, I liked it and thought it could eventually produced even more power and knowing myself, I'll get one when Assassin's Creed Liberation comes out.
Honestly, I have far more respect for someone playing a handheld in public than someone playing something on their smartphone. Hell, I rotate between my 3DS, PSP, and GBA on a regular basis. There is really no way to hold a smartphone while playing a game that doesn't make you look like a moron.
Let me put it this way. When I see someone with a handheld, I think, "Oh, they came prepared." When I see someone with a smart phone, I think, "Oh, they're going to need glasses and a neck brace pretty soon."
@benderstrike_24 - Thanks, a 3DS is high up on my list of possible purchases =)
@GoldvsSilver - The console seems to take priority most of the time, exactly what happened with my DS.
@sealsaa - We do seem to live in an age where everyone is absorbed in their own tech and not even bothering with their surroundings. Glad to hear your love of gaming has been adapted by your kids as well!
@JonnyLikesGames - That's what seems to have rekindled my sudden interest in the handheld, the new features and expansive amount of content compared to what the older devices offered.
@ElGato - The stigma is not so much a concern anymore, just a small factor that led me to drop handhelds for a time. Judging from the slew of comments it is a very unnecessary feeling to have =P
@Doctor_Apozem - That picture usually pops up when I google search "PSP" so felt like a necessity to end the post. Have not heard of mobile emulators, I'll look into that.
@Kate_Willaert - Fitting quote. The stigma is hardly any issue anymore, just an honest little gnat on my shoulder I cannot deny
@tomasg2488 - Liberation is a huge incentive for me to pick one up. I may wait for a holiday bundle of sorts..
@HarmlessKiller - Yeah smartphone games do provide some awkward positioning. I wonder why the glasses and neck brace aren't standard pre-order amenities by now...
I'm 15 and the first game I've ever played was a rugrats game on a Gameboy Advanced. I have a weak spot for mobile games, for I bought almost all the versions of the Nintendo DS, but I am mostly a console gamer. Consoles generally have more meatier experiences when it comes to gameplay and features like multiplayer. I also don't travel too much, so I don't have much time that I could kill to get quick games of Fruit Ninja in, either.
Great article! Brings back the nostalgia of elementary school with my Gameboy and Pokemon, Super Mario Land 2, and Links Awakening. But like many I stopped using handhelds. Recently however, the Ocarina of Time 3DS has caught my eye...
I love my Vita, so if you haven't already picked one up - I would recommend doing so. The cross-save function and some of the smaller, cheaper titles are hard to beat!