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StickFlick's blog

5:26 PM on 08.15.2011

Handhelds: Now I'm playing with myself.


In the bathroom.

For almost 1.5 hours in the beginning.

Then I was able to do it in my bedroom, in the dark, under the blanket.

It all went downhill from there.

After hearing "I'm beating it!" coming over and over from the bathroom she began to get worried...

That is, if your handhelds maker did not rhyme with crescendo

Handhelds have come a long way. Gone are the days of constantly changing out old batteries with new ones to keep a game going (hopefully that game had a save feature) or alternatively mixing and matching dead batteries with fresh new ones to get an extra few precious minutes with your title of choice. Gone are the days of making sure there was a lamp nearby or telling your friend Lumpy to get his fat head off the way because he was blocking your precious light.

If Lumpy wasn't blocking your light, his latest meal was, and then the crumbs. oh god the crumbs

I've been fortunate to experience all of these changes through the years, but was it really for the better? To put it bluntly, Yes.

Today's handhelds are everything they should be and more. The older units just no longer compare when being matched up to a 3DS, PSP or smart phone and while some of the greatest handheld games were on the older units, no matter how good these were they had one major flaw in each of them and also to an extent the newer ones as well:


No matter how good your game was, you were limited to just how fast your little joy machine can suck the ever loving pleasure maintaining juice out of each handheld you owned, twice as much if it had a back-lit screen! The titles while great each suffered the same fate until we finally moved away from conventional batteries to the superior lithium ion rechargeable batteries. The worst part? You had to buy new batteries. Every damned time. ESPECIALLY if you owned a Game Gear.

WHAT!? I Just bought you those 2 HOURS ago! NO I wont buy more! I swear I will drive this car into that semi that's LOADED with KITTENS if you don't SHUT UP.

- But all you needed was an AC Adapter! What were you poor or something??

Damn right I was! I walked up the hill both ways to buy milk from a farmer who had 1 cow and if we were lucky that cow had just enough milk left for all 20 of my siblings!

In reality parents did not care much, no batteries, no gaming. End of story go play with the console for now, batteries usually at the next grocery shopping time. If you had an AC Adapter then good on you, a lot of us didn't for varying reasons. Some of us actually were poor, for some it wasn't that big of a deal, others didn't even know this option existed. So we did what any kid would do in this situation. Learn to power budget, and maximize the lifespan of that damned handheld as long as possible.

Time management was a big thing and required discipline. If you can't wait half the road trip to turn it on and enjoy the last half instead of being bored the other way around then that was your own damn fault. You KNEW the batteries wouldn't last and you KNEW there were no stores or gas stations with useable batteries for the next 4 hours. You screwed this up, that's when you placed your head against the window and imagined a light sabre extending from the side of the car to the country-side cutting everything in half as you drove by.

You got double points when you imagined entire villages of these flying by as well

When you were screwed, you were screwed. Eventually solutions came in the form of car AC Adapters and emergency power packs and rechargeable AA batteries that were great at home, but useless in the car. By this time however the handhelds evolved, They got faster, more powerful and with incredible SNES style graphics and game play. The cost? Battery Life,

If you got the cheap 10 cent batteries from the dollar store you were lucky those lasted a few hours before you burned through them all.But if you bought the new fancy shmancy 20 times more powerful but 5 times the price batteries, you were seeing comparable results to the Game Boy of old. in some cases.

Most of these likely encountered a Game Gear.

Eventually we finally started seeing handhelds with Lithium Ion batteries. No longer will you need to rush out and buy new ones, just plug in and recharge your pleasure toy! But.... what also happened?

Evolution happened again.

The new handhelds tripled in power and hardware. We now have wifi, internet, facebook, cameras, microphones, 3D effects, Memory Sticks, Downloadable titles HDMI out. The loser? Batteries.

Battery life again decreased, but at a compromise. For all of the features above, you now had the ability to recharge your handheld without ever stepping foot in another gas station ever again, battery companies stocks fell, Nintendo was printing money and Sony made system updates the number one reason to constantly plug in your PSP. Over and over again.

3.692!?!? I just updated to 3.690 5 MINUTES AGO!

By weighing the pros and cons we can see that we get more out of our handhelds today than ever before. It is also to note that society has evolved as well, needing more than just a simple gaming console we thrive for conveniences and having these on our handhelds makes it worth the lower battery life, with social media being huge and the internet being one of the things that most people just can't get enough of, It is interesting to see where we will be going next. Take note that doing these things require more energy, and that energy is currently in high demand.

The question now is will the trend of new hardware to lower battery life always going to be this way? What new breakthroughs will we see for batteries in general? Hardware companies and now especially phone companies will be pushing for better batteries that are likely being developed as we speak.

If it comes down to it, I for one welcome our newer portable nuclear reactors. As long as we can also bust some ghosts with them.

Because that would be awesome.   read

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