Yes, I said it. Handheld gaming consoles have ate my soul.
Why you might ask? How kind of you. Before such questions can be answered, however, let me explain myself a bit as I'm fairly new here and most people probably don't give a damn as to my opinion.
Like many who are self-proclaimed enthusiasts of gaming, I was reared by the sacred love of my NES. Though I had played video game consoles before that time, no console was able to pull in my interest to a point where I became a devoted disciple. And though my family was probably considered quite poor by most people's standards, by some miracle of sharing video games with neighbors and renting titles for a buck a pop at the local movie rental store, I managed to play most of the hit titles of the system. Mega Man, Mario, and Link were my heroes, and even though I was a young little tyke, the timeless gameplay of the generation had been embedded in my mind permanently. All of this was only further escalated when the Super Nintendo was released in 1991.
Wow. The NES was fun, but the SNES was simply AMAZING. As far as I'm concerned (and I'm sure many would agree with me in this matter), the SNES is one of the best consoles that has ever been created. The controllers were outstanding, and the gigantic library of titles that would be developed over the years very easily rivals the library of games of any system ever created. And while my family's somewhat poverty still remained, our rental habits kicked into full gear. Secret of Mana, Legend of Zelda, Chronotrigger, Final Fantasy 4 and 6, Populous, EVO, and others were Goliaths of their time, and very few titles will ever be able to rival their legendary status in my heart.
All of this changed, however, when the N64 was released. I'm not sure what spurred it, but the magic of 3D really didn't do anything for my already well-established aesthetics in games. I tried going back and picking up a Sega Genesis and a TG-16, but eventually all my 2D hopes and memories would fade away into a big sea of suck. Though, in 1997, our family managed to get on better feet and we finally were able to purchase a PC...
<insert random number of years where my soul was consumed by Ultima Online, Everquest, Star Wars Galaxies, Asheron's Call, Diablo 2, practically every single Blizzard title released to date, and others>
At a point some years ago, I realized that I've wasted at least several years of my life playing meaningless online games that have no story nor, in fact, have enjoyable gameplay in the slightest. The amount of hours wasted in MMO's alone clock easily into the tens of thousands, and those hours can never be returned. I could have read a library of books in that period or completed a Master's Degree. What a waste.. At any rate, I doubt I'll ever go back to any PC gaming of any kind. And while I was free of the shackles of online gaming, I still had a hole in my life where enthusiastic obsession with gaming once lived. To fill that hole, I simply tried to busy up my life to a point I simply had no time to reminisce of good times once had as a child. That changed when at some disclosed point after its released, I discovered the Game Boy Advance.
Now, I had played the Game Boy back in my SNES days, and I even owned an Atari Lynx II, but let's be honest with ourselves here, the games were mostly completely horrible. The GBA was wonderful, and it nearly perfectly emulated my childhood memories of 16bit and 2D gameplay. Additionally, the very aspect of a handheld gaming is the ability of short term gameplay. This too reminded me greatly of the games of old, as most NES titles could not solidly be played for more than 30 minutes at a time. Truly, I was in heaven. Since the release of the DS, the handheld market has only further exploded into a wondrous tidal wave of awesome. Now, after DS titles have began to fully mature, there is excellent titles in every genre, and I would argue that nearly anyone could be comfortable playing a Nintendo DS. RPG's, for example, have by far more titles being developed for the DS than any other platform.
Needless to say, I've became a very large fan of handheld gaming of all kinds and platforms. And though I didn't mention such consoles as the PSP, all handheld consoles have eventually played a major part in development of me as a gamer. The nature of handheld gaming will probably change over the coming years, but like many of the older generation of gamers that still can seem to let go of their Atari 2600's, I doubt I'll ever find a better replacement for my tastes than my trusty Nintendo DS. It is the quintessential gaming machine.