From when I was little to the present there has always been a desire to
find some way to pass the time while traveling. One of the earliest
solutions was one which is still viable – books. The chief problem with
books, however, is that they lack a sort of interactive element and for me I
could only read so much at a time as a child. The first time I played Donkey
Kong on a pocket-sized Game ‘n’ Watch system, I knew I had found something
special. Things have only improved for the world of portable gaming since
then.

The Game Boy
It wasn’t too long after the release of the Game Boy that my parents
purchased one for me. I remember being extremely excited that I would be able
to carry around a Nintendo with me wherever I would go and be able to play
games to my liking. I realized, of course, that the games weren’t of the same
quality as the ones that I was playing on the Nintendo I had at home but for
me the portability was the main issue.

The other issue for me was that, at least in theory, I could go over to a
friend’s house and connect my Game Boy with theirs and we could compete in
whatever game it was that we had – be it a racing game, fighting game, or
otherwise. There were two problems with this setup. One was that I honestly
didn’t really have that many friends at that age. The second problem was
that most Game Boy games that allowed one to connect required both people
playing the game to have a copy of the game. Between the two elements I
often found myself not being to play the games in multiplayer mode.

Despite these relatively minor setbacks the Game Boy was a good friend to
me for many years. At a certain point, however, due to the other elements in
my life taking priority along with the screen not working as well as it once
had I stopped playing as much as I once had. That was pretty much it for
portable game playing for me until right around 2001, when Nintendo announced
that they were coming out with an entirely new portable gaming system based
on the Super Nintendo architecture – the Game Boy Advance.

I was immediately hooked on the idea of getting a Game Boy Advance. For
one, I found out that one of my biggest problems with the Game Boy was solved
– it allowed for multiplayer games while only having one copy of the game.
This meant that even if I still didn’t have a lot of friends, I could play
multiplayer games without worrying about whether or not my few friends would
have a copy of the game. Furthermore, the graphics were vastly better than
the original Game Boy. I was so impressed with the Game Boy Advance that I
waited until sometime around 2002 to get one. It was probably a financial
issue that was holding me back at the time.

The SP
It wasn’t too much longer after this that I found myself buying the Game Boy
Advance SP. The SP is remarkably like the Game Boy Advance only it is
considerably smaller and has much better backlighting capabilities. The only
problem that it has is that it features a very awkward headphone jack which
the standard set of headphones one might get for a portable music player are
not compatible with. Fortunately for me I most often keep the music / sound
off to keep the battery going for a longer period of time so this didn’t
really affect me. With the release of Pokemon Leaf Green and Fire Red for the
Game Boy Advance I was further excited by the possibilities of playing games
with friends without being connected by awkward cables.

The explosion of awesome portable gaming systems continued and soon it was
announced that Nintendo was releasing yet another system which wasn’t quite
another version of the Game Boy and yet had so many of its features… it was
to be the Nintendo DS. Sony, meanwhile, was making headlines and magazine
covers with the promise of an entirely new portable gaming system – the
PlayStation Portable, or the PSP. Not only did it have all of the glamour and
possibility of carrying around the original PlayStation but it could play
movies on a new video storage format known as the UMD. Sony promised that
soon all of the major film studios would be flocking to the UMD format and
that people would be carrying around film collections in their backpack. I
actually made that last part up but I imagine they were dreaming of this
possibility. Numerous web sites speculated that the PSP’s ability to play
files on a memory card would mean that people would be able to port games and
video files to the PSP format and indeed, people have already managed to
create software that allows you to take a standard film on DVD and make it
such that you can watch it on the PSP without buying the UMD of the movie.

Which to get? A Problem Quickly Resolved
I was honestly torn between the two systems. As with every other system I
have struggled with when trying to decide if I wanted to buy it, one of the
biggest problems I found in the PSP was a lack of actual games that I would
personally be interested in buying. As a long time fan of all things Nintendo
I knew I would not be seeing any games featuring Mario, Zelda, Samus, or any
of the other Nintendo characters that I had long grown to love and which were
pretty much exclusive to the Nintendo platforms. Additionally, I had always
been told that when dealing with wholly new gaming systems that it is best to
wait awhile until the makers of the system manage to work out all of the
various kinks and problems that invariably will befall a new system. This
became obvious when people waited in long lines for hours on end to get the
new XBOX system only to find that they had faulty systems that crashed
repeatedly. I’m not sure I even would be willing to invest in one of the
older XBOX systems for this very reason.

One day I was wandering around the wonderful world of online auctions and
I happened upon an auction that involved four games for the DS, a Game Boy
Advance game, and a DS system for considerably less than what one would find
all of these in stores. Most of the games I got still command high prices in
the second hand market. It was this way that the problem of choosing one
system was resolved for me. With the release of games such as the New Super
Mario Brothers, a platform game featuring Princess Peach, and brain
stimulating games such as Brain Age and Big Brain Academy, I feel as though I
have made the correct decision.

What has happened to the PSP since its release? Besides a hip-hop artist
turned jewelry magnate offering for sale a jewel
encrusted gold psp case
, what has really happened? A recent news item
from Penny Arcade mentioned that a new Japanese game release prompted them to
take out their AC Adaptor for the first time in ages so they could charge
their PSP. While the PSP has turned out to be not really much more than what
its name implies, a portable PlayStation, the Nintendo DS has continued to
push the limits of what a gaming machine is capable of doing with games like
Pokemon Diamond and Pearl allowing people to battle and trade pokemon all
over the world without ever having to be face to face with the other person
(My low number of friends is no longer a barrier!) to software that teaches
you how to cook Japanese food, step-by-step.

Conclusion
The Nintendo DS is simply incomparable to any other system in existence from
its two screens, sharp voice recognition to its touch screen technology which
allows a new level of gaming interaction previously unknown. Though the PSP
also features wireless connectivity it simply hasn’t lived up to the simple
fun that the DS has brought to countless game players all over the world. If
you are looking to be seriously challenged and entertained by a gaming system
for many years to come look no further than the Nintendo DS.