Why I <3 my PSP

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.

8 thoughts on “Why I <3 my PSP

  1. I like the humanistic approach you take in your blog posts toward gaming. How do I explain. You talk more about the lifestyle of gaming instead of just the games themselves. That’s refreshing.

  2. The suspend function is brilliant. I still won’t shell out the price for a PSP, but I love that part of the machine. I love my DS for similar reasons. In fact, it’s in my pocket right now, and I think it’s in the DS version of “suspend”; a closed shell and a “sleep” state.

    I love portable gaming for the ability to play in small bites, and wherever I make time.

  3. “a closed shell and a “sleep” state.”

    !!!???

    What!? Sleep state? I had *no* idea the DS had a sleep state!!! Color me embarrassed, but better to learn that now than to never learn it!

  4. My niece has a terrible habit of doing just that — closing her DS when she’s done. It works, for sure, but I believe it is also a slow drain on the battery? At least hers seems to die often whilst closed, and she’s lost all her gains (since she never truly saves and quits the game legitimately).

    Me, I’m always afraid to trust it, so I typically save out and only play games that I can save at any time for those short bursts.

    I got my other niece a PSP for Christmas, and myself Jeanne d’Arc figuring she’d tire of it fast and I’d get to indulge in one of the titles you’ve written about often. Harumph. She still won’t share.

  5. I regret my PSP purchase, because I simply don’t use the thing. It’s a great little portable system, but the game selection is very limited compared to my older GBA. I currently have to drive myself to work, so the only time I could be playing it is at home, and at home it doesn’t make any sense to play on a portable screen, even if it is a comparatively large one.

    The suspend feature is great…. and there’s absolutely no excuse for why single player games don’t offer this option on non-portable systems. The fact that I’m not currently on a moving subway train does not mean that there’s no possibility that I’m going to need to get up from the game suddenly. This goes double for RPG’s that use save points. (I’m not opposed to restricting unlimited restart saves to specific points, but single use suspend/resume really should be a standard feature, especially if you’re stuck an hour deep in a dungeon and can’t find a place to save.)

  6. Yes, the DS sleep state isn’t the same as the PSP suspend. It’s just an instant “pause” and shutdown of the screens. The game keeps draining the battery since there’s no solid state RAM to hold the game state, so it’s not perfect, but it doesn’t drain nearly as quickly as if the screens are on and the game is processing. It’s great for when you’ve got to go take care of a suddenly awake child, or step off the bus. It’s not as good as the PSP’s suspend, but it’s still better than the clamshell GBA, which doesn’t do anything if you close the machine.

  7. I love my PSP, but not more than my GF does 😛 That’s really why I’m happy I bought it. She goes from one thing to another to another so quickly it’s almost like she has ADD so having something like the PSP around to curtail those moments when she’s lost between console gaming and PC gaming really helps. I personally like it and have enjoyed playing a couple games on it, but not as much as I should, methinks :p

  8. I completely understand. I purchased a DS last year and planned to take it with me on trips and vacations to keep me from going through withdrawal, but I never seemed to remember to take it with me and when I’m home I have tons of other games and gaming devices to keep my attentions, not to mention my lovely wife as well. lol

    But recently, I took a few trips out of town for work and took along my DS. Man, I can’t seem to put it down, even now while I’m back at home. You forget how much fun something is, until you see it in a new light. I think what helped was I put a game in that didn’t take 5 minutes to play like, Brain Age, Space invaders or crosswords DS. I put Final Fantasy 3 in, and it has me soo hooked now, I don’t know when I’ll have a chance to play MMOs again. lol

    Again, I completely understand.

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