It's time once again for Defunct Games' 33 Consoles of Christmas, your 33 part guide to the best and worst system designs of all time. Join Cyril Lachel and Chad Reinhardt as they judge 33 different game consoles based on what they think of the look. Forget about actual hardware and software, the only thing these guys care about is talking about their exterior design. Join us every day between November 23 and December 25 for a new console review!
After watching Sega, SNK, NEC, Bandai and Atari fail in the portable games arena, Sony decided they had enough money and clout to make it work. The PlayStation Portable was the best of all worlds, it played games that were on par with the PlayStation 2, had MP3 support, was compatible with all kinds of video formats and seamlessly connected to the internet. Although the Nintendo DS is currently outselling Sony's portable, the PSP is managing to make inroads in a market that was dominated by Nintendo. This year alone saw a dozen must-own games for the PSP, and the future certainly looks bright with more third party support and some big name franchises on the way. With less than two years under its belt the PSP has managed to outsell every other handheld not released by Nintendo, something that proves that there is room for a second player in the handheld market.
Lumines, Daxter, Tekken: Dark Resurrection, Burnout Legends, SOCOM, Syphon Filter, WipEout Pure, Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, etc.
The PSP is, without a doubt, the single sexiest portable video game console of all time. Say what you will about the games (some love them, others could care less, and even more talk out their ass when they haven't actually played them), but the PSP is one attractive handheld. There is nothing embarrassing about holding your PSP; it has a look that attracts people to you. Not only is the screen enormous, but it's also great for watching movies (that you swap to a memory stick, there's no reason to buy UMDs), playing games and showing off your pictures to your family. The console also has a lot of buttons in really good places. Oh sure, the system would be even better with a second analog nub, but we're judging the system for what it has and not what it should have had. Chad has a good point about the system's durability, but when the system looks this good shouldn't you want to take care of it? I know that if I had a girlfriend that looked as good as Brooke Burke I would wouldn't want her to do anything that could bruise her. Well, I may not have a girlfriend that looks like Brooke Burke but I do have a handheld that looks as good as the PSP, and that's good enough for me.
My biggest gripe with the PSP is the fragility factor. I understand it houses some of the most sophisticated circuitry of any handheld to date, and this clearly shows in its games, but with such sophistication comes sensitivity. I can't drop this thing and expect it to work the way I can with my DS. Durability is essential to me when I purchase a handheld, and the PSP doesn't have that going for it. The button layout is also a little bit cramped; there were even reports of buttons not working properly because of their cramped quarters. I also don't feel very strongly about having a single analog stick; I can think of several games that would have benefited a lot with the addition of a second. Finally, the screen, purdy as it is, is a magnet for fingerprints. I also find it much more prone to scratches than other handhelds. The overall look of the system is very nice; it's very sleek and very futuristic. Were it only a bit stronger I would have found it to be more of a portable gaming device and less a fragile, precious investment to be played wearing special gloves and housed in protective Lucite to prevent breakage.