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Mobile Gaming

March 6, 2013


Life, Is the name of the game. However you don’t get trophies or achievements for that game so you better find something to play in those times when life draws you away from your couch. It’s also the reason why I haven’t been able to post in a couple of weeks. I have actually been planning and preparing for an actual holiday away from home for two weeks. TWO WEEKS. I haven’t been away from home for that amount of time in close to a decade. While I am incredibly excited and as of the time of writing less than 24 hours away from being in a much warmer and alcohol fueled climate, not having the home comfort of picking up a controller and relaxing whenever I want is not a situation that I’m used to and made me feel a little nervous.
Now I haven’t had a strong history of taking my gaming away from the couch. I did have a Gameboy when I was eight and I played the hell out of it, probably creating a small mountain of used batteries in my time. Many a family member would get annoyed with me staring at the grey and yellowish grey screen instead of interacting with grand parents,family friends or oncoming traffic. 
This version was freakin sweet though

I didn’t upgrade afterwards. The promise of a colour screen didn’t interest me other than a small pokemon addiction using my sisters newer console.

Since then no hand held consoles have ever interested me. The Game boy advanced came and went soon to be replaced by the various DS consoles which all had a very reasonable price point but never the games to push me into buying one.
Sony’s psp’s came close to tempting my wallet but reports of outrageous load times made worse by Sony trying to force UMD’s into the market as a viable new format thankfully made me wait it out.
Not even useful as coasters

It may be because of my age but using my mobile phone to play anything more than scrabble makes me feel depressed. I see people playing Angry birds and Cut the rope and my reaction is always the same. “I’m sure your experience of playing those games is a positive one, but why don’t you try playing a bigger game on a console with a story and more of an adult focus that will show you what video games can do?” I also see those people playing mobile phone games not calling themselves a gamer or even see those games as video games. The console and PC, while being the location for most of the best interactive experiences ever made are still seen by some as only for geeks and loners. Even though the platform they play their mini games on could potentially by the console of the future.

While I do have a very new phone that could play many games well and fill up my time, the need for buttons to mash needed to be filled. I set about finding a portable console.

The Playstation Vita has always intrigued me. It holds a huge amount of power and boasts a brilliant screen which had now been upgraded to a touch screen. I had not bought it before mainly because of the cost. Sony have a habit of making something seem incredible and then souring everybody’s opinion by pricing themselves out of the competition. It’s not even the cost of the console, (£250 when it was released) it’s the extras that you HAVE to buy in order to use the product properly. £45 for a 16 gig memory stick is absolutely crazy given that you’ve created the memory sticks specifically to work with your system and no other memory cards will work. It’s a cynical and trust breaking move that has pushed away a lot of customers. Considering how badly the PS vita is doing in the market I have no idea why they haven’t brought the price down still to at least try and compete with Nintendo.

The only reason that I have been able to push past these crazy sales points is that I have a PS+ membership. Not only do I get more games than I can play on the PS3 but I also get games on the Vita. Once I bought the system, a memory card and a case I didn’t have to buy any games as I could download five games to my Vita as soon as I turned on the system. I also get two games a month and considering that there aren’t many games on the vita I’ll probably have the entire collection available to me in a few months.

On day one I downloaded Wipeout 2048, Gravity Rush, Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Pinball Arcade, Big Sky Infinity, Imaginstruments and Lumines Electronic Symphony. All of that without spending any more money. That should be pushed a lot more from Sony if they want the Vita to sell. I also bought some more games to make sure I definitely didn’t run out. For £35 I was able to pick up Retro City Rampage, Urban Trial Freestyle, Jet Set Radio and a Tekken 6/Soul Calibur: Broken destiny combo deal. That’s 12 games to last me during my two week holiday. I doubt I’ll be stuck for games to play. One quick note is that games are added to the PS+ store every other week and while I’m on holiday I’ll be able to download the HD remakes of Metal gear solid. All I’ll have to do is find a wifi connection somewhere and I’ll have two more games to fill my time.
My first impressions are very good so far. The interface is simple and easy to use. The screen looks fantastic and the controls are tight. I’m not sure how the touch panel on the back will react as you will accidentally hit it when playing games due to the layout. So far I’ve restricted myself to Wipeout (Adult Mario Kart) and it is a lot of fun. It’s clear and manic and challenging but it doesn’t cheat (Like Mario Kart). Once I spend more time using it I’ll update this with my thoughts. Hopefully there is some sun while I’m away so I can test out the screen outside. Although going outside sounds like the opposite thing that a gamer wants to do but I will strive to test my vita in all conditions and let you know if you are indeed interested.

Have you got a hand held console? If you do which and why? If you don’t, then Why? What do you think of mobile phone games? Let me know in the comments. 

As always if you want to hear my ramblings while drunk and on holiday in 140 characters or less then please follow me on twitter @Urbundave


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