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11:16 AM on 09.16.2007

PSP Silver - A Quick Review

So I went to the local Gamestop and picked up the silver PSP package. Why would I do that since I own an original version? I don't know, maybe I am a glutton for punishment. Or was it the promise of faster loading times, slimmer look and feel? Or maybe it's because I like the color?

Anyhow, for $200, you get a silver PSP, a Family Guy UMD (5 episodes), a 1GB memory stick, AC adapter, and the Daxter game.

Wait, where's my non-protective case? Where's my cheap headphones? Nope, you don't get those. Maybe it's the price overhead on PS3's? (I'm kidding, they are just being....cost-effective?)

This new PSP looks nice. It is lighter than its predecessor, but still not as light as a PS3 controller, so don't get carried away. The thinner profile comes from a smaller battery and housing for it. It fits a bit too loose in my Logitech case, so I will wait for a new one. I have heard about the UMD door being somewhat flimsy, but I don't think it's quite that bad. The support mechanisms are fairly solid. The silver finish makes the PSP appear less smudgy than the black version, although touching the screen will leave better fingerprints than CSI could extract. I didn't like the new memory stick door, it gets in your way when you insert a stick into the system. You have to pull it back behind the PSP in order to insert the memory stick. The door is held to the unit with very thin rubber connections that some kid could easily yank off if he/she wanted to. Gone is the IR port. I know, it will be missed.

The D-pad feels more like it's controller counterpart now, though I have yet to see how it handles the Street Fighter caliber movement. The analog nub has slighlty more play to it. The buttons are about the same, a little looser. Three of the buttons have a nice click to them. The square button still has less of a click, but no longer feels like it is sitting on a small hinge. The screen itself seems a bit brighter and has no pixel drops. I like the fact that the speakers now sit near the top of the unit, and sounds as good as the old version.

I have yet to test loading speeds, but that will be hit and miss with older PSP games. With twice the internal memory I am hoping that load times will be more bearable.

I wouldn't call it PSP 2.0, but the improvements are worth a buy.   read

9:12 AM on 09.05.2007

Next Generation Angst

Not so long ago, I remember camping out for 13 hours, waiting to buy my beloved Playstation 2. I remember the anxiety I felt when I heard the rumors fly through the crowd about how many systems our local Best Buy had in stock. Was it 38? Where are we in line? NO CUTS!! Ah, good times. After grabbing my PS2, and a few games (DOA2, Tekken Tag) and heading out a SUV pulls up in front of me.

"Hey, I'll give you $600 for your PS2."

"No thanks" I said.

After all I waited 13 hours in the October chill of Michigan for this system, go screw yourself Mr. SUV. Thus, a love affair was born. SONY was doing things right back then. Microsoft was working on Windows Me, Nintendo was still making cartridge-based games. Yes, they were simpler times. My PS2 has endured much since that day. But it still works today. It has never bricked, never RRODed me, never made me regret buying it. Hell, I had no concerns about buying the system at all. I trusted SONY and they delivered.

Then SONY made the PSP.

As I walked out of the store with my shiny new PSP and Lumines, I felt excited about the prospect of a handheld system that wasn't named Nintedo-something-or-other. But then I was disappointed. The hardware was good, could have been better, but good enough. Why do I want to play movies? What is this UMD crap? Why am I getting nothing but ports of PS2 games? ARGH! So my PSP sits with 5 games in a corner of my videogame library. I'm lucky if I find two games worth playing on it the remainder of this year.

Which brings us to the PS3.

Like everyone else, I was excited at the announcement of the next-gen system. But then came the price point. Hmmm, $600 bucks? Maybe I should have sold my PS2 years ago. Okay, that sounds a bit steep, but I'm in. How about the games?


So the launch is pushed back, we see bits and pieces of MGS4, a mythical Killzone 2, LAIR, etc. Delays, delays, delays. My enthusiasm is waning. I want to play next-gen!! So, I purchase an XBOX 360. Gears of War, Rainbow Six: Vegas, GRAW2, and Dead Rising. Wow, this is what I waited for from SONY.

Naturally, all is not well in the land of Gates. So I hear I have a ticking time bomb that threatens to brick on me anytime I power it on. There is that pause when I turn on my 360, just a moment when I think, "Okay, this is it, RED RING, RED RING!" Nothing yet, but it curbs my excitement a bit. That said, I know that the 360 launch wasn't electric either. I wonder why SONY decided to jump in before seeing what Nintendo had to offer, why they didn't wait until they had a better launch window, why they didn't give developers more time to work with the PS3 before slapping a November 2006 launch date up? They had a dominant postion in the market, they could have stood to wait.

Don't get me wrong, I still love you SONY. I love my Playstation 2 and will continue to buy games for it. A friend of mine has a PS3, and no games for it at all. I want to like the PS3, give me some damn games. Give me a reason to buy your system. And no, I don't care about Blue Ray, or HD-DVD for that matter.

I want to play games, that's it.   read

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