Handheld Gaming vs. Mobile Games

Posted: June 4, 2012 by Ian Gaudreau in Gamenomics - Video Games
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

While watching E3, they brought up a very important point regarding how mobile device games are on such a high rise with ‘casual gamers’.

I don’t know about you, but this entire situation drives me nuts.  I love Angry Birds as much as the next guy, but in my head, it somewhat infuriates me that handheld gaming seems to be a dying art.  Now, let me rage at the fact as to why handheld gaming has me so frustrated:

First, they cycle through handhelds nowadays like there is no tomorrow.  I want to scream at both Nintendo at Sony for what was done with the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP.  First, the Nintendo DS is a great system.  Once again, Nintendo had an original and new idea by creating the dual screens (which is the ‘DS’ part for those that didn’t know) for a handheld system.  Nintendo opened up the DS with titles like Super MarioMario KartPokémon, and many others that are loved by all.  Of course I went out and bought a DS because those titles are incredible.

Sony PSP then comes out and releases titles like God of WarFinal Fantasy 7: Crisis Core, and many others.  The best part?  The graphics on this handheld are phenomenal.  Then what happens, do you ask?  These two handhelds are at a standstill for the next few years.  Before you know it, Nintendo 3DS and the PSP Vita are out with a whole slew of new titles.  Why did they not ride out the original consoles until they were completely exhausted.  I still play my DSi and PSP and wish that there were more great titles on it.  But, all I can see are big gaming companies putting in their efforts into the next big thing, instead of working with what they have.

The consoles are also very expensive.  Why would anyone pay $150 for a handheld console that will be outdated in the next couple years, when they can get their gaming fix from a $0.99 game for their iPhone.  If you asked me that question, I would explain long and hard that handheld console games are a special type of gaming experience.

I distinctly remember my Christmas morning in 1998.  I woke up at the crack of dawn (it was Christmas, duh) and walked downstairs to see my jaw crash through the floor when I saw that Santa had finally come.  My dad, being the early bird that he was, was already awake and allowed me to open one small gift so I would stop drooling over the gifts.  I strategically picked a box about 6 inches by 6 inches, praying that it was what I was hoping for.  And it was.  I opened up Pokémon Red and the rest of my day was a blur of fighting gym leaders, leveling up, and finally getting to claim a Charmander as my own.  I was happier than ever.  THAT is why handheld gaming is awesome.  It gives you a personal experience and relationship with a game and characters that is incomparable to something you can get on a phone.  It is an adventure.  When you beat an iPhone game, you quit the game and move onto the next one.  When you beat a handheld console game and see the credits start to scroll up the screen, you feel like champion of the world.  Whether you became a Pokémon Master, saved Princess Peach, or even resumed your position as the God of War, YOU did these things on you became a hero.

That is why handhelds are awesome.  Mobile games are just not the same.

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