Recommended DS/PSP Titles

The World Ends With You – $15.99

Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep – $39.99

Scribblenauts – $26.99

Mario and Luigi: Partners in Time – $34.99

One year ago at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2009, the PSP Go was introduced to a hand-held-devouring audience. Eager to impress, Sony unveiled the device to much awe and ponder: how would this improve upon its predecessor? As it turns out, not much; and only a few months after release, the PSP Go is a dead horse, beaten only by persistent fans and the faithfully blind. If you own a PSP Go, don’t worry. Selling it now would be a good idea, as it still garners a solid price (at least on eBay).

A glimpse at Sony’s competitor Nintendo, would have you believe that it could do no wrong. With its Nintendo DS Lite still selling well and its DSi growing a few pant sizes to be released as an XL, which features a larger screen (more than likely for the vision-challenged) and a heftier weight (more than likely not for the arthritic), Nintendo is the steady car in this race, not forcing itself into the lead or beyond, but holding position and allowing its competitors to rise and fall as the market goes.

The question at hand is: should you own either? The answer is yes. Probably more so than owning a car or a child. When’s the last time you threw a turtle shell at a child? Or anything?

The PSP (not the Go) has its merits despite being linked in name to the Go. As a portable device, it can offer more than games by means of movies and Internet capabilities — for people who really enjoy squinting as a sport. As a system, though, new games seem to come few and far between. Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker was released recently, and if you’re a fan of the series it’s a must-have. However, the system’s true worth is in its sleekness and ability to help you ignore unwanted attention. It’s better than mace.

Not to mention a back catalog of games available on the cheap, such as Lumines, a puzzle game based on sound and light patterns, and a continuation of the insanely popular Final Fantasy VII, Crisis Core. The original PSP, which can be obtained for around $100, was updated by the PSP 3000, which improved (a little) on issues with glare and video and can be bought for about $50 more, or less if used.

The Nintendo DSi, on the other hand, is a sight to behold. Not only is it equipped with
a camera and a touch- and wind-sensitive screen, it possesses a catalog of games that would take years to weasel yourself through. With remakes of several classic Final Fantasy titles, unique and impressive RPGs such as The World Ends With You and Mario and Luigi: Partners in Time, the system has built into it hours upon hours of game play, best used on long road trips or down time between explaining to your wife why you threw a turtle shell at a child, and when the police arrive.

What’s next? E3 2010 is just around the corner, and though I won’t be attending this year, I can take a firm guess at what to expect: a new hand-held system will be unveiled by (insert big company name here); fans and enthusiasts will flock to it and worship at the altar of (insert big company name here). Nonplussed, (insert competitor’s name here) will also unveil either a minor update or a new, redundant game, which fans and enthusiasts will flock to and drool over. That is, until a few months later, when it goes belly up and the fans claim to have known from the get-go that this would happen.

A used Nintendo DSi or PSP will do wonders for your inactive scratching time. It may even improve your aim. It may get you a girlfriend, before it starts to stink.

Chris O’Neal is a full-time English teacher from Camarillo living in Seoul, South Korea. In his free time, he likes to dream about having his X-Box 360 and fatty American food.