The PSP: An Oldie, But Goodie

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Handheld gaming has been one of my favorite pastimes, but has dropped off in recent years. You can blame it on mobile games, but there are a few good games on Nintendo 3DS & PlayStation Vita.

Recently, I’ve been on a bit of a nostalgia binge and replaying some classic games. While there have been some amazing games this current generation, I still like to go back and replay ones that I’m really fond off.

Two of my all-time favorite handheld consoles have been the GameBoy Advance and PSP. It’s really hard to pick a winner, but the PSP is up there.

Games

While the GBA and DS had a larger library of games, the PSP has plenty to keep you occupied. It is something I cannot say about the PlayStation Vita.

Some of my favorite games have appeared exclusively on the platform. Two that come to mind are Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep & Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (also playable on PS3 in their respective HD collections).

Both of those titles were among the best in their franchises and included gameplay that would latter migrate to latter games like Kingdom Hearts 3 and MGS: The Phantom Pain. Some of the stories are also fleshed out as well.

Other notables were Dissidia Final Fantasy, Tactics Ogre, God of War, Grand Theft Auto Liberty City & Vice City Stories, and Final Fantasy Tactics. Also, the handheld was compatible with minis and PS1 Classics which allowed you to bring Final Fantasy VII and others on-the-go.

Multimedia Features

Nowadays, we all use our cell phones to consume media and play games. However in 2005, the only device that was truly capable of doing all these things was the PSP.

It’s a bit archaic in 2016, but it was a very advanced piece of tech. Aside from playing games, the PSP connected to the internet.

To watch movies, you can buy UMD versions or get a digital copy through the PSN (which shut down the PSP store last year).

As for music, you could transfer files similar to an MP3 player and listen to your tunes. Although it didn’t have the portability of an iPod so I imagined most PSP owners didn’t use this feature often.

For podcast and internet radio lovers, the PSP was one of few devices to do it. It’s rough to try that today with services like TuneIn Radio and PocketCasts,but it was able to stream and download your favorite radio shows.

There were RSS Channels and an Internet radio app that randomly tuned to Shoutcast and Icecast streams. I used to listen to the BBC World Service and watch “Ask A Ninja” on it before the iPod Touch came to the scene.

Lastly, another neat feature the PSP had was making Skype calls. You could use the official headset or use the built in mic on 2000 & 3000 models.

Connect To TV

People are talking about the Nintendo NX being a hybrid console. Supposedly it will be a device that blurs the lines between handheld & home console.

While the PSP did not had the controls and graphical power to bridge this gap, it was the only handheld gaming device that could connect to a television. If you bought a component or composite cable, then you could display the PSP’s screen on a larger one.

There were certain caveats to this feature. Only the PSP 2000, 3000, and GO models were able to do it. The 1000 model lacked the external connections .

Also, the display would cover a small part of the screen while playing a PSP game. However, the XMB menus, videos, and PS1 games will fill the entire screen.

A way to fix that would to connect it to a HDTV and switch to a Zoom mode.

Overall Impressions

In my college years, I owned a PSP and loved it. It was something that I would carry with me everywhere.

I ultimately gave mine away years ago and over the past few years…kind of regretted it. When I went to my trip to New York City, I lamented about not having one to help past the time on my flights or layover at the airport.

Recently, I found a green PSP (similar to the one I used to own) that was originally bundled with MGS: Peace Walker on eBay.  Being a sucker for my favorite color, I bought one and I appreciate how well Sony made this thing.

Thankfully my library of PSP games and PS1 Classics are still accessible and don’t need to repurchase them. I also realize Sony did a much better job supporting the PSP than they have done with the Vita.

It was truly a product that came out at the right time and plenty of first-party & third-party support that made people want one.  It’s funny to suggest that I would recommend a PSP over a Vita.

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