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incredibilistic Blog

My PSP (Pleasently Surprised Play)

Okay, so the PSP didn't rock the gaming world or "change the face of portable gaming forever" but on its own it's a smashing success for Sony and valiant first-timer effort for a company that has all but become the standard in videogaming. Once an industry dominated by Nintendo Sony took the number one spot with poise and class.

But the PSP hasn't received quite the noteriety that Sony had hoped for but that really comes down to the lack of titles that separate it from its big brother, host to the living room, PS2.

If I had a dime for every article I've read about the PSP providing nothing more than slightly scaled down versions of current console games, I could buy back Bungie from Microsoft. Breaking down the acronym doesn't really suggest that the PSP will be anything more than a "portable PlayStation". That's what it says on the box and that's what it does. It's basically replicating PlayStation games but for on-the-go-gaming. Having said that, Sony does need to come up with a wholly original and groundbreaking title that distinquishes itself from the console market.

Nintendogs is a great example of that as it's the only game to truly break free of the stereotypical home console to portable console translation. Metroid Prime DS, Mario Kart DS, Mario 64 DS; all of these games are great on their own merits but even Nintendo is guilty of transferring games to their portable systems offering nothing more than a few gimmicks or quirks that make them original to the portable market. Sony isn't doing anything that Nintendo hasn't already been guilty of but they are missing a title that really takes advantage of the system. And without a touch screen there's little chance that Sony will find that sweet spot.

But I'm optimistic that there'll come such a game that'll really bring the PSP into the shining light it deserves. Maybe it'll be Gran Turismo with the online play promised in the console version. Maybe we'll get a ported version of God of War on the system or possibly a mini-sequel that could tie into an advanced storyline of the next game on the console (which would probably be the last great game for the system).

There's also the chance that this current generation PSP may never see a truly exceptional title that dominates Nintendo's systems but so long as Hollywood keeps crancking out movies the PSP will have a place in the digital world. There's little chance it'll ever break the steady stride that the iPod has garnered but it'll be third to none.

No matter. I'm a patient kind of guy. You pretty much have to be with this system since there are some games that take some time to load. And while I'm noticing some sound glitches and loading times with Prince of Persia, I love the fact that I'm in control of such a powerful piece of hardware that all the problems that the game has are overshadowed by the fact that I can't get an experiecne like this anywhere else (how's that for a run-on sentence).

Holding Out

I know I'm not the only person out there waiting for the PS3 or Revolution before making an investment on a next gen console but the more I see the 360 the more I want to forgo my monthly payment to my landlord and get one. But I remember feeling this way (and more so) when the Dreamcast first arrived on the scene. I swore that I would wait for the PS2 before buying into the glory that was NFL2K; at that time the most realistic looking football game ever made.

I managed to keep the hype at bay and resisted spending money I didn't have just to quench a thirst. I got the PS2 and haven't looked back since.

But the 360 is out and I'm wondering why I don't just "jump in" like the rest of America (or a good portion of us anyway). Is it the reports of the system being loud and crashing? Is it the not-so-stellar reviews of some of the first batch of games? Is it the fact that I don't have an HDTV that is said to be the only way you can truly appreciate the graphics of the system? It could be because I just recently got a hold of a PSP and trying to grow that system's library rather than soak money into another system.

But more than anything I believe my driving force for not jumping on board the Microsoft train this early in the next-gen game is because of game trailers like Killzone and MGS4 and the fact that I want to hold out for the Blu-Ray player that is (hopefully still) planned for the PS3.

I've been following the Blu-Ray/HD-DVD story for months and even did a paper on it for my Group Dynamics class and there's almost no reason why Sony won't win the battle of next-gen DVD formats. They have all the right people in their camp including Disney who didn't jump onto DVD right away but is willing to put their entire company's eggs into one basket with Blu-Ray. And beyond New Line cinema and a few other companies, what real threat does Toshiba pose to Sony/Phillips especially after Warner Bros. signed on with Blu-Ray exclusively?

I'm in no way implying that the PS3 will blow the 360 out of the water and send all 360 devotees running with their Xbox Live headsets tucked between their legs but similar to the PSP vs. DS feature, the PS3 will offer more out of the box than the 360 will but of course Microsoft has the whole online thing in their back pocket. Unless Sony can match that type of online capability with the PS3, the 360 will have little to fear when it comes to online play. But honestly, with a little under a year left before the system is released it would be totally stupid of Sony to not dig deep into what makes Xbox Live tick and then spin the technology to suit their system.

Either way, I'm the guy at the wedding standing in the back not trying to catch the garter in hopes for something better.