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Thursday, 31 March 2011

My Handheld Game Consoles over the years



Behold my collection of Nintendo and Sony handheld game consoles. The original grey Gameboy from 1989 with several of the original games I bought at the time is at the top left. There was a Gameboy Pocket, smaller and lighter, but I never got one as it played the same games.

The Gameboy Color added (guess what) color to the display in 1998, but the graphics and cartridges were otherwise very similar. It wasn't long before the Gameboy Advance was released in 2000, so the Color had a short shelf life. The original Advance was an ugly shape, and fortunately an upgrade was on the way.

Nintendo launched the Gameboy SP, an improved version of the Advance console in 2002 and the SP was a tremendous improvement on the original. With a back-lit screen, built-in rechargeable battery, and folding to protect the screen so carry cases were unnecessary, this is my favorite of all the Nintendos, which is probably why I acquired multiples.

The Micro was a sidebranch to the Gameboy tree in 2005, playing the same Advance games as the SP. It couldn't play the original or Color games, which was annoying. The screen was smaller than the SP screen, and as the SP wasn't that large to begin with it wasn't a big success. I bought one fon an impulse, but it never got much use.

The Nintendo DS dropped the Gameboy name in 2004, substituting two screens, one a touchscreen activated with a  stylus, and another rather ugly design. It also reduced the size of the cartridge to something not much bigger than a camera SD card. Some games work really well with the stylus, but in many it's an annoying nuisance, and actually rendered a few unplayable to me. Fortunately the DS lite came out in 2006, a much tidier design, with the same size screen. The DS Lite could still play all previous games right back to the original titles too, thanks to having two cartridge slots.

The DSi added a camera, which I've never used on my DSi XL, but got rid of the second cartridge slot so it could only play DS games. The XL has a 93% bigger screen than the DS, and importantly for me the battery light goes from green to blue instead of red when the power is low. In almost every previous generation (except the Micro) I've either had warning from Beth when the power was dying, or a sudden blank screen, very annoying when you haven't saved your game recently.

The Sony PSP at the front is not the first generation, but there are far fewer games available for this unit, and most of the ones I want I buy online as they are not usually titles carried in stores. I resisted buying one until Final Fantasy Tactics "The War of the Lions" came out for this, as tactical RPGs are my favorite style of game for handhelds. Thus my library of Sony PSP games is much smaller than my library of DS games, but there are some gems there which I could not play any other way. The UMD disk is a rather clumpy device to load and I broke the back on one PSP when I dropped it while putting in the disk. You can buy movie disks to watch on the PSP, but I've never bothered.

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