PSP - An Ugly Duckling

[Originally posted on 1Up.com]

It's raining. It's been raining for a week and my vacation is ticking away all too quickly. My girlfriend is jacked-up on pain relievers to sooth her continual back pains and her brother has run off somewhere with my DS. The three of us are on a small remote island with no roads, stores or means by which to leave - the strange thing is, I'm somehow still enjoying myself.

What's even stranger is that I'm doing it by way of a racing game - a genre I almost never play. It's a two year old game, it's on the PSP, it's Riiidge Racer!!!

The PSP has taken a lot of slack during it's relatively short life, though some is unfounded - a lot of it is firmly grounded as pertains to handheld gaming: It's too big to fit in any normal-sized pocket; You're lucky if it's done loading from the UMD before your plane has left the runway and even so the battery will run out before they've even served coffee; Too few of it's games are really suited (and in some cases are completely unsuitable) for short and bumpy bus rides. And contrary to the early advertisements about it being 'a nut you can play with outside' it's completely unusable outdoors in daylight.

This has lead many a PSP owner to let their portable collect dust on their dresser or to replace it with a DS. Like you may have read in one of my earlier posts on the subject, my disposition has been no different. PSP-gaming has remained at an alarmingly low amount ever since I purchased the machine.

There are however a couple of exceptions. Namely my two summer holidays with the machine in tow. The aforementioned Ridge Racer - last years game of choice during this period - is now fighting to retain it's title this holiday and I've come to realize just where the PSP is most at home. It's actually rather self explanatory when you look at it's name. It's a play-station that's portable. A station by definition is a stationary unit, so while the PSP is portable, that should maybe not be interpreted to be in the same way a mobile phone is portable, but rather in the way a port-a-potty is portable - you could use it while en route - however chances are it will kind of stink...

The PSP should be rebranded as the away-from-home console. I have too little urge, time or concentration on the train for a racing tournament, a level of 3D-platforming or lightning-speed in-the-zone Lumines sessions, however once settled into a hotel room or cooped up in a cabin, these types of games will definitely give Nintendos handheld a run for it's money.

Now to find my girlfriends brother for another heated Ridge Racer wireless match-up...

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