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Tycho / on Fri, Sep 2 2005 at 9:31 am

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There Are Terrors Which Cannot Be Borne

Pictochat signal permeated the entire convention, as anyone who attended was probably aware of, and from time to time naughty images would appear within that clean interface.  I don’t have a problem with that sort of…  expression, but then I am possessed of a magnanimous character.  Not everyone shares my view.

I will tell you that I saw perhaps 10 PlayStation Portables the entire weekend, and we gave five away during the show, so the amount of brought hardware could have been half that.  They were easy to pick out against the sea of dull platinum they bobbed in, the contrast you understand.  I think it’d be difficult to enumerate the DS population at the event.  As I’ve said, I think the systems are for different people, and so comparing them straight across is goofy at best.  And I hold to that high-minded view when I look out from the parlor of my manor house, gently tapping my pipe against the cool window.  So, basically never

I try to be fair about it, but I don’t feel any particular compulsion to analyze any group but avid game players, and outside of some extremely classy titles available at launch the PSP has lurched to a stop.  There’s good stuff coming, Virtua Tennis springs energetically to mind, but the fact that I’m now in a position to recommend a piece of hardware that costs a hundred and twenty dollars less than the other is something that makes me hear the Twilight Zone music.

Before Advance Wars:  Dual Strike, the system was building toward a solid first party lineup, but many of the titles were clever games that were situated too deeply in a niche.  Excellent, provided you owned the hardware.  Advance Wars completes the shift that games like Meteos and Canvas Curse started - to the degree that I can wholeheartedly recommend the hardware.  I didn’t know that I’d ever be able to, and it took a while, but they’ve really learned to make the machine sing.   

I still believe that the PSP is an amazing piece of hardware, but it’s a sentiment I’m not entirely sure Sony shares.  It’s clear that there is a kind of tug-of-war going on internally about the level of multimedia power they should expose to customers, and it’s really diminished my perception of the company’s stature.  Their lineup is anemic.  UMD movies are apparently moving briskly, but as a game system all that initial momentum has evaporated.  You’ll recall that the PlayStation 2 entered a phase like this as well, its multimedia prowess taking the fore.  I wouldn’t be without it on a plane, but that’s got nothing to do with games.       

I would never have called it, indeed, I remember that it was once the uniform, unassailable belief that the DS was proof Nintendo had gone out of its fucking mind.  I didn’t want to subscribe actively to the position, but all the same I feared it was true.  It’s also widely held that innovation is either dead or, at the very least, bad business where videogames are concerned.  It’s refreshing to see the counterexample.     

(CW)TB out.

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