Let’s face it, the Sony PSP doesn’t get a lot of love out there in the blogosphere. And there are excellent reasons for this: game selection is fairly thin, having only one analog stick makes for some wonky controls, battery life could be better and it really isn’t quite as portable as a handheld should be.
But I still love mine. I just forget that I love it for long periods of time. Then I fire it up and swoon all over again. I forget how awesome the screen is, how light it is (mine is a PSP-2000) and how many cool things it can do besides play games. But most of all, I forget about its Suspend function.
As I mentioned in my last post, gaming time during the week has become very rare. Last night, it was after 11:30 by the time I felt like I’d done “enough” and could do some gaming. So already it was really past my reasonable bedtime, but the itch to game was strong. I figured I could play for 15 minutes and get away with it. That totally ruled out any MMO, of course. And for that matter, anything on the PS3 or 360. By the time I turned everything on and got settled, it’d be time to quit. Nothing I had on the PC really was fine-grained enough to offer 15 minutes of satisfying gameplay.
Then I remembered the PSP. And it isn’t that the games on it are satisfying in 15 minute chunks either, but it’s the fact that I can just hit the Suspend button at any point, and come back to it later, pretty much instantly. So I restarted Final Fantasy: Crisis Core based on the fact that a Twitter pal had just finished and really enjoyed it, plus I’d recently read an interesting article (Opinion: Crisis Core’s Quiet Redefining Of The Gameplay Narrative Divide) about it at Gamasutra.
I didn’t get very far before my 15 minutes were up; the opening FMV intro and the first training battle. And then, right in the middle of a dialog, I hit Suspend. And I know tonight if I have 15 minutes to play games, I’ll spend 14:40 of it actually playing the game, since it’ll take no more than 10 seconds to unsuspend and resuspend the title. Getting in and out of a suspended game is faster, even, than loading and saving a DS game (though granted, that’s pretty fast too, and I also love my DS).
I realize that to some extent, lauding the Suspend function of the PSP is damning with faint praise. But so be it. Last night, I was *really* happy that I’d invested in the PSP. And I suspect I will be again tonight.