With the arrival of the much-anticipated PlayStation Vita, I thought I’d talk about its technological ancestor the PlayStation Portable 3000. With its new upstart taking the headlines, many a PSP will be thrown into cupboards and drawers and never looked upon again. I think this is a real shame as I believe there is plenty of life in this old dog yet; for people who don’t already have one then it could be the perfect opportunity to pick up a great piece of gaming equipment for a cheap price.
The psp has been out for years but has been largely overshadowed by the many iterations of the Nintendo DS. I feel this is a mistake as although the DS is a fun little system for the odd short game here and there, the PSP is more of a gamers handheld device. There are so many great proper games out there for the system. There’s everything from quick simple fun games like Peggle to fully in-depth titles such as the Final Fantasies. There are many top class franchises brought over from the PS3 and given exclusive stand alone titles like Assassins Creed Bloodlines and God Of War: Chains Of Olympus. These are great games which beg to be played. The beauty of playing these fully fledged games on the PSP rather than the PS3 is that you can play anywhere, trains, planes, bus stops and anywhere else you can think of. You just turn it on, play for a while then just put it away whenever you want.
The PSP also has a few little hidden features that set it apart from a simple little system. What looks like just another handheld console actually has a little bit of a smartphone to it when you find out what it can do. Yes, I know, it doesn’t seem like it but bear with me and I shall explain.
1. The PSP has the ability to work as a Skype phone and does a great job at it. The screen is clear and the sound quality is well above average. Add the camera accessory and it works as a great video phone. Smart phones have this feature but the PSP had it first and still does it well to this day.
2.With the addition of buying the satnav accessory, the PSP becomes a great in-car satnav. The screen is big and bright and easy to read while on the go. A very handy piece of kit to keep in the glove box and if you already know where you’re going then give it to the kids in the back to play games on and keep quiet, making any journey that much better.
3. The PSP works as an adequate internet browser. Granted, it’s not great but it is functional which is more than can be said about some smart phones back when the PSP originally came out and even today.
4. It can also be used a a media player. Music and films can be downloaded onto the PSP via the PlayStation or pc and it does a great job of acting as your little media centre when away from home. The major limiting factor is the size of the memory card you put in but, that said, you can change the memory card easily and you can carry more than one memory card, so in theory you can carry as many films and songs as you like with no limit on memory. Apple, can your smart phones do that? No, thought not.
5. Remote play. This is for me the PSP’s secret weapon that makes it a bargain to buy cheap or keep hold of. Remote play can access your PlayStation at home via a wifi link. When connected you can access all your music, videos, psn store, friends list etc. If you use your PlayStation, like a lot of people do, as a media centre for their house then you have access to all that from whatever wifi spot you’re at. Some games (and I do mean only some) can also be played remotely. Unfortunately playing Modern Warfare 3 remotely isn’t going to happen but a few titles like Pixeljunk Monsters and Peggle work and can be great fun. I’ve watched many many hours of tv series and films I’ve stored on my PlayStation or on the external hard drive connected to the PlayStation and it works perfectly. There’s something inwardly geeky and fun about watching The Big Bang Theory on your PSP by remotely accessing via wifi the external hard drive connected to your PlayStation. For me this remote play function is probably the best feature that will keep the original PSPs fighting for survival and is what will make them great bargain gadgets to pick up second-hand.
6. Games, games and more games. You go into any games retailer that sells pre-owned games and look at the range of titles for the PSP; there are hundreds of every genre you could possibly want. Then look at the prices. You can pick up a game for near enough the same price as a game on the Android or Apple markets. These are also full titles, full in-depth story driven and well-developed games compared to the majority of small, bite sized games on the aforementioned stores. You could go in, pay £10-£15 and come away with a host of great games that will keep you playing for ages. On top of that, the PlayStation Store has a host of great titles that are dying to be picked up at low low prices, Super Stardust HD, loads of Final Fantasy titles, Motorstorm, Killzone Liberation, Little Big Planet, Modnation Racers and many many more. The PlayStation also plays the downloadable PS1 and mini titles meaning that you will never run out of options to play and enjoy.
So a £500 smart phone or a £60 PSP? Starting to look good now isn’t it? The smartphones of today have some thanks and credit to give to the PSP.
I think that the Playstation Portable is a great system. Yes, it’s older now and will be shown up by its upstart of a younger brother the Playstation Vita with its fancy touch screens and dual analogue sticks but the Vita is also about £200-£250. If you really don’t want your beloved PSP anymore and have bought a flashy Vita then please show the older statesman of the portable world some love. Pass it down to a relative or a friend or even a charity and tell them that the PSP still has life in the old dog yet and will loyally serve any new owner.
Myself, well I’m keeping mine, I can’t bare to just get rid of a piece of hardware that’s seen me through many otherwise boring trips on the train to and from work or the flights to and from holidays etc. I think my little PSP3000 will be sticking with me for quite some time to come.
Here boy, here boy, thats a good PSP, now………….Play.