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Are handheld consoles worth it?

Posted by Aaron Price  April 6, 2012 01:23 PM

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Most of us in 2012 have phones that are capable of playing games. Not all of these phones or games are equal, but whether you have an iPhone, an Android, a Windows Phone, or you are some poor silly bastard still stuck with a BlackBerry, chances are you can play Angry Birds on it. Hell, even if you have one of those crazy old phones with buttons on it, there are still games you can play that are entertaining enough to make you forget your train ride, your wait at the doctor’s office, or those excruciating two minutes of boredom during commercials. Games like this may not be high art, but they are enough.

On the other hand, you have devices like Nintendo’s 3DS and Sony’s PSP and Vita. These guys are portable gaming consoles. Sure, they have Internet browsers and music players, but their raison d'etre (you like that?) is to deliver a robust gaming experience that can be taken anywhere. And they can be taken anywhere, but at a cost.

My phone is in my pocket, which is attached to my pants, which I’m wearing. My PSP is sitting on a shelf at home because it doesn’t fit in my pants pocket comfortably. I could carry it around in my backpack, but then when I want to play a game, I’d have to go into my backpack. I’d also have to carry around game cartridges, which is just silly. I did that with my Sega Game Gear in 1991. Never again.

It’s true that the PSP Go and PlayStation Vita are purely digital and and don’t have physical game discs, but unless you’re my friend Keith or Bailey, you don’t own one of those.


So, why would I subject myself to the hassle of carrying around a gaming console and its games, and buying those games at like $40 a pop, when when I can reach in my pocket and play one of a dozen games that are 99 cents or free? "Because the games are better," you say? Good point! But for me, and for most 'Mericans, those games on our amazing little phones are good enough that the annoyance of a separate device, and the cost required, is just not worth it.

Now, I have a Kindle Touch, and I love my Kindle Touch. I carry it most places I go in my jacket pocket, my back pocket, or my backpack. It’s a hassle, but it’s worth it for me because the advantage of reading books on it versus on my phone is worth the inconvenience to me (though I do read books on my phone as well).

If the advantage your portable gaming device provides is greater than its inconvenience, then you go girl. If not, use your phone.

Love you,

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Aaron Price worked in the video game industry for four years at Harmonix, the studio that created the Guitar Hero, Rock Band, and Dance Central franchises. He is currently a More »

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