Lectures
Brings back some memories.
Handheld Games To Hold On To

Turn back the pages to 1998, a golden year for every child in America. The Gameboy Color is hot on store shelves and every kid who isn’t color blind from the old one is lining or buttering up their parents to get one. My contented smile with both Pokemon Red and Legend of Zelda DX would be the happiest I’d ever been with a handheld console. As the years rolled slowly by, I would not be forced on the long boring road trip or fateful cross state flight. No real requirement for the whimsical tones of the handheld device. Now, in my prime, are cellphone and iPod; mobile device and mp3 player. A new world caught in the the throes of the old. But, amidst the darkness of the past exist glimmers of light on the horizon. Echoes beckoning to a once familiar time where simple pleasures remain to be had. I’m speaking of the games that make me want to dig up my handhelds, released or soon to be. Let’s take a look!

Nintendo DS

I have a lot of games for this thing already. A lot. A damn lot. Why don’t I play them? I don’t know! If I did I’d do it! Doesn’t mean I can’t pique my interest with games on the horizon does it? Okay, I didn’t think so either. Thanks. I almost bought DSi a few months back. Then I realized I’d be trading in a bunch of games and my DS Lite just to play Pokemon Platinum on a screen a half inch wider and to take pictures nobody but me would see anyway. Useless. So I decided to save myself the time and money and just buy some new games. I think overall that was the better call…although I didn’t really play those either…so fail. Moving on! These are the games that shine above what I already own or otherwise.

Brings back some memories.

If I don’t ever even play or even look at any of the other games in this list, Golden Sun DS will be the game that I DO. I liked the first one for Gameboy Advanced and was blown away by the fact that it was 3D on a handheld (you should’ve seen me when I got a PSP). The story was strong and the combat was inventive. There never seemed to be a shortage of things to do in this game. Although it was mostly linear it never seemed to get repetitive and kept you with the feeling of exploration. One of my favorite handheld JRPGs of all time. To show you how good it was: there were only two games I used to carry around with me and play wherever I went: Pokemon Gold and Pokemon Silver. This game made me put down both!

smtds

I can hear the voice of SimonM7 from the beyond calling out to me “Finish Persona 4! Finish it and be amazed!” I also will get no sympathy from Heretic seeing as he had to beat this game a dozen times or more being a tester at Atlus. Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor (continuing the trend of console ports fitting DS in their titles). So far the reviews have been very strong for it and it’s on my long list of games I should play instead of twittering on the toilet. But, there is always that notion that JRPGs, console or otherwise, are going to eat the duration of your time on this earth! I’m saving what little remaining JRPG time I have left for Final Fantasy XIII. I know it’s wrong, but if you can only waste 40hrs on one, you’re usually safer to choose the one with the FF in it.

What unfortunate dungeon boss could stack up to Goku, Gohan and Piccolo?

I love me some Dragon Ball Z. I haven’t played a handheld Dragon Ball game since Goku’s Adventure on GBA. It was a surprisingly well thought out beat em’ up. There was also Supersonic Warriors, let’s not really mention the sequel to that…But Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans looks to – if nothing else – sport some incredibly unique art design. I don’t care if you like Akira Toriyama or not, but this game’s development team put together some interesting level design. Not quite sure how they’re going to stretch out the “story” of the first season to get the full mileage of role-playing game, but it looks to be inventing some of its own. Can’t fault it for that at all. After living with the show for more than twelve years any change of pace is welcome. Color me interested. Well, who am I kidding you could’ve done that with just the mention of Dragon Ball on the cover. We DBZ fans are a gullible breed :(.

Layton

I really like puzzle games. I really like adventure games. So when it was relayed to me that Professor Layton does both, and well, I made it a point to check it out. Now I’m somewhere stuck in the first. I’ll admit that I sometimes couldn’t get through a few of the basic puzzles in one “sitting” (on the magic thinking stool). But I’m never one to not play a sequel to a fun game. The series has taken a long time to get over here properly so I would hate for them to get the impression that it’s not wanted. They probably think Americans are too dumb for it. We’ll show them! I should stand in line to show them how smart I am! Although I really should get through the first just to put on my merit badge. I’m just hoping Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box doesn’t speak towards the villainy of the cartridge when placed into the DS. However, I don’t mean to brag, but I was able to solve the first puzzle in thirty seconds flat. Yep. Genius. Hopefully they’ve decided to release a game that could match my unique skills ;).

I swear it's magic!

Here I was thinking Scribblenauts was just the developer’s new Drawn to Life game, but it takes the user interactivity far beyond that. You write what you want on screen and then it appears. What is this? I didn’t know Nintendo had licensed the use of magic on the DS. Nothing more magical than solving puzzles with your vocabulary and not your brain – wait. Sure, there seem to be a few limitations, but the fact that the game takes itself as far as it does is pretty impressive in my book. I’m not usually one to complain about magic though, so I’m biased.

Playstation Portable

Once more, Sony managed to anger fans with a price point at E3. Lucky for them it wasn’t their main bread maker this time. The PSP GTFO! (alright, it’s really called the PSP Go!) not only costs way more than the existing PSP bundles, but I’m pretty sure on the receipt it will read “Arm & Leg required for activation fees!” But as the dust settled and my rage subsided, they showed me a number of games at their press conference that had me fishing under my bed to find my PSP and charge cable.

Pata-pata-pata-pon! *boom boom b-b-boom* Pon-pon-pata-pon! *boom boom b-b-boom* Notice a pattern here? Patapon 2. It’s a rhythm/strategy game. I played the first shortly after seeing 300, and I made my opponents dine in hell. As Pataponidas we drove back the horrible beasts of the desert and our horrid foes to the brink of extinction. And then, as quickly as we’d conquered I stopped playing. To be honest? I ran out of charge and didn’t feel like unplugging an outlet to charge the PSP. Depressing. This time, if I feel the beat and rhythm collide, I’d better have a free plug or a 5hr energy for my lazy ass. Hopefully the decision to forgo the retail distribution paid off for the developers of this title. They deserve some reward for their smart pricing.

This game is full of one eyed monsters.

I loved the first Resistance game. Me and a buddy breezed through a lot of it in co-op in one afternoon. We however got to a point we couldn’t get past and gave up. The game was hard. If it hadn’t been for the reviews and user encouragement I would’ve let the demo keep me from buying it. But the fact that I had no other games for my PS3 practically forced me to do otherwise. Resistance 2, it’s lack of co-op and all around last gen game design principles kept me from enjoying it even slightly. I couldn’t even play traditional co-op. But when will I ever learn? Resistance: Retribution looks pretty awesome for a PSP shooter. I enjoyed the crap out of – and I mean the CRAP out of – Coded Arms and that only met the basics on even the most simplest requirements. The PSP’s inefficient design is not tailored for shooters. One thumbstick, awkward shoulder buttons and clumsy face buttons, and I still loved Coded Arms. I’m wondering just how much Insomniac with all their acclaim could push the shooter on PSP. It would seem a fool’s quarry for me. However the graphics and overall visual fidelity seem unmatched in other games of the genre. I’m willing to give this game a chance if its willing to go the distance. One of these days I’ll have to pick it up.

A lot of dumb things to shoot sums up Resistance in a nut shell.

When I heard of the Jak & Daxter: The Final Frontier, my hopes were dashed when it was announced for PS2 and PSP. I had dreamed of a full retail PS3 game ala Ratchet & Clank. Not to sound like I hate Insomniac, but I wasn’t wowed by the their series at all and always felt bitter that what I felt was the better series went down in flames. Que sera sera. Uncharted is awesome, so that takes care of my Naughty Dog needs, but this game – this game has potential. I liked Daxter enough on PSP to get half way through, which is a pretty big feat for me with handhelds these days. I always wanted some Jak action on the platform, so if this one is able to deliver I’m happy to oblige. I’m wondering if it’s best to not just get the PS2 port though, but there’s always a chance I could put down twitter for some “quality” time in my hot spot.

jak

I literally thought Gran Turismo PSP was dead. It had become a long running joke among the PSP ports. Next thing you know Devil May Cry PSP will be announced. I haven’t played since Gran Turismo 3, I don’t think Gran Turismo HD on PSN counts really. I refused to buy Prologue and I could go ahead and wait till GT5 to dip into the franchise again. But I haven’t played a good racing game on a handheld since Ridge Racer. Racing games are one of the few game types I think work on handhelds. They’re very pick up and play because most races last only five minutes or less. Good for daily “trips.” GT has always had a good amount of depth for a racing game, and before I got hooked into Forza  it was what I considered to be the deepest racing franchise. It can still manage to become the deepest on handheld with a strong showing on the PSP.

Gran Turismo - not Gran Torino "Get off my lawn" the video game

I honestly can’t remember the last Final Fantasy I played on handheld. Maybe Final Fantasy Legends III on Gameboy. The trailer for Dissidia pretty much had more fan service than Advent Children showed at a Japanese cosplay convention. I think it’s some sort of fighting or action game at least. Not quite sure what to make of the videos to be honest, but it does look interesting enough to make me want to play it. Screw Cloud and Sephiroth, I haven’t seen Zidane and Kuja go at it so fiercely in over a decade. I hope it manages to be a quality title, and not another Square-Enix cash in game designed to rake in profits and keep straggling developers busy while the rest pound away at FFXIII.

dissida

Well, I’ve got to admit, writing this post got me hyped! It really did. I’m searching for free outlets for both my handhelds as we speak. Might even unplug my VCR. Yes. I seriously have a VCR plugged in instead of my PSP or DS. In my defense it plays DVDs too. Combo. Anyway, I’m looking to track down a few of these that are out and not in my library. And yes, even playing a few (a lot) that are already in there. Maybe I’ll finish off God of War: Chains of Olympus. Like halfway through that and I don’t even remember which god I’m supposed to be avenging or what not. Oh my God! I left my Pokemon at the day care in Pokemon Platinum! They’re gonna charge me so much! I gotta get outta he –

1 comments
Czartim
Czartim

I'm the same way with the DS. I get hyped about a game, go buy it (and by it I mean a DS and a copy of the game), never play it, and then sell it again. I've owned three in total and with the exception of Brain Age, I haven't put more than an hour into a game. My latest fascination\obsession is Scribblenauts, but I think I'll resist the urge. You're right, portable gaming is perfect for road trips and long commutes, and I haven't taken part in either in quite a while. I don't see myself ever picking up a DS or a PSP at home when I have a million other things I could\should be doing. Even now if I'm out and about, my iPhone is my go to platform. The games on it are truly pick up and play. I don't have to feel guilty about not finishing story mode, or be upset about having to put it down despite being in the middle of a level. Plus it's one less device I have to carry around.