Why should Nintendo have the entire handheld market share to themselves? There’s no logical reason that another competitor couldn’t succeed in this arena considering that by the mid 2000s, there were three major companies successfully manufacturing home video game consoles. I guess one major reason why companies may have been hesitant to believe they could compete with Nintendo would be recent history. Atari, Sega, & SNK, among others, gave the whole, “let’s compete with Nintendo in the handheld market game” a whirl and all of them ultimately failed. Sony had yet to give it a go and with the successes of the PlayStation and PlayStation 2 emboldening them, they felt like they were uniquely positioned to be successful where previous companies had not been. It was Sony’s turn to create something that could compete with Nintendo’s juggernauts, the Gameboy Advance and the Nintendo DS.
I was intrigued by the concept of a handheld gaming device that could not only play games but play movies as well as surf the internet. Before smart phones, the concept of having an all in one handheld device was definitely appealing. I didn’t buy one immediately when it was launched in North America in the spring of 2005 but I probably picked mine up within the first 12 months of its release. I grabbed a couple of sports games, Virtua Tennis World Tour & NBA Live 06, as those tended to be what I enjoyed playing on handheld devices at the time. I didn’t buy any movies at first as I wanted to try the system out for a bit before I poured any money into the other media option. One thing I noticed shortly after buying was that it’s battery life was less than stellar. It could have just been my unit, or it could have been due to my own mistakes of overcharging and ruining the battery. Either way, I more or less had to use my PSP while plugged into an outlet, which was a major bummer. I also tried to give the internet aspect a try but it always seemed cumbersome and my connection was painfully slow. That also may have had more to do with my set up at the time but nevertheless, I almost never used it for internet browsing either.
I bought two more games for my PSP over the next couple of years, picking up yet another sports game, Madden 07, before branching out to the Grand Theft Auto series and picking up Liberty City Stories. I’m not sure why, but I ultimately never really got into my PSP and rarely played it. I might not have found the right games for it and the battery issue didn’t help, but I feel like I missed out on a lot of good handheld gaming back in the mid to late 2000s as a result. Maybe 10+ years later, its time for me to revisit the PSP library and find some games that are worthwhile to own, giving my neglected system renewed life.
Currently in my collection: PlayStation Portable complete in box with instructions, sampler disc, AC adapter, protective cover, headphones, memory stick
Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories – game, manual, case
Madden ’07 – game, manual, case
NBA Live ’06 – game, manual, case
Virtua Tennis World Tour – game, manual, case