I’m sure people buy portable gaming devices for various reasons; when you can’t take your primary gaming system with you (like on an airplane); to keep the kids entertained out in public; to have something to do when you’re using the facilities (as in, going number two). While portable gaming devices certainly make great substitutes when our primary platforms are unavailable, they are also pretty powerful little standalone systems often able to fulfill our gaming needs.


While my PSP saw hours and hours of continuous use when I was deployed to Iraq, when I returned home it was set aside amidst the stacks of comics, video game boxes and other trinkets littering the man cave. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy it any longer…it’s just that when I’m at home I have other sources of video game entertainment (console or PC).



Well, as is often the case, real world circumstances (my job) required me to go on a weeklong business trip from the East Coast to the West Coast. While packing for the trip, I dusted off my PSP and a game or two to bring along. But I also brought along my iPhone of course.


I was about 30 minutes into the second leg of the trip, a four hour flight from Atlanta to San Diego. I retrieved my trusty PSP, but after 30 minutes, I was bored and put it away. Then I pulled out my iPhone, started flipping through the various games and demos I have loaded and played a few. Before I knew it, the intercom crackled and the flight attendant was instructing us to put our portable electronic devices away in preparation for landing. Time flies when you’re playing video games.


(Mario on iPhone, for real? I don't think so...)


Did my cell phone really replace my PSP as my preferred portable gaming device?




Clearly, the PSP has a few advantages over the iPhone (or similar smart phone like device, although I don’t have any experience with anything other than the iPhone). An iPhone doesn’t really have any buttons, so sometimes controls are very limited and require using the onscreen “buttons” or using the tilt functions (I think it uses accelerometers or something like that, if I recall correctly).  The PSP has like 10 buttons and a thumb stick, so it has a lot more movement capabilities than the iPhone. Also, the PSP seems to have a much longer battery life than the iPhone.



At least with the iPhone though, there are no swapping UMDs, it’s smaller and compact, there are a ton of games that are relatively cheap, and you only have to carry one device around. I don’t think the games necessarily look or sound better on the phone, but as far as a secondary (or backup) gaming solution, the iPhone is definitely capable and convenient.



I don’t even have very many games on my phone…but after scanning the store and seeing page after page, I think I might have to expand my library. There are some pretty cool games like Plants vs. Zombies, Final Fantasy, Monkey Island, Call of Duty: World at War: Zombies, Rock Band, The Sims 3, Assassin’s Creed 2, Doom II, Grand Theft Auto…and…



And Oregon Trail.


Oregon Trail, really?!?


I remember playing Oregon Trail (or at least a version of it) in elementary school on an Apple II and here I am 25 years later playing it on an Apple iPhone (I actually don’t have it, but am tempted to try it just out of nostalgia).


Isn’t it a bit ironic that Macs don’t have near the gaming community (although it’s getting bigger) that PC and consoles do, yet every game I listed above is available on a PC or console; and that I set my PSP aside and used my iPhone as my portable gaming device.


What’s the world coming too?


What’s next…


A Mac console?


Now we have the new PSP Go…no UMD drive. If only it had a built in cell phone…this would be a much easier decision…in the mean time, I’m going to check out the Itunes store for some new games. If anyone has some recommendations, feel free to pass ‘em my way.