Handheld Consoles Compared


Nintendo DS, the leader

There are three handheld systems that are vying for your attention. If you already have the home console(s) of your choice and are looking to get a handheld system, then you may want to peruse the following information.

  • The Nintendo DS
  • The Sony PSP Playstation portable
  • The Nintendo Gameboy Advance

Two of the three come from our friends at Nintendo, but trust me, there are big differences between them and the PSP. Got a lot of cash and want something? Don’t have a lot of cash and want something? Then check out the pros and cons of these three and thank heavens that the Gizmondo (another hand held system) fell by the wayside so you didn’t have even more problems figuring out what you wanted.

The Nintendo DS
Nintendo has scored a coup when it introduced its new handheld a couple of years ago. Introducing the touch screen was a gamble that paid off big time for the house that Mario built. And although it has already gone throug a redesign in its short lifetime, both the original and new lite versions still sell well and have a bevy of “A” list titles. If you are looking to purchase a handheld system for someone this year, then please look over the following couple of pages.

Why you want a Nintendo DS:
The games. Whew, Nintendo has sucessfully managed to get third party support in spades for their DS system. And with that comes an awful lot of games. In fact, in the battle of the next gen handheld systems, the DS has scored with mega hits like Nintendogs, Mario Kart, New Super Mario Bros and Elite Beat Agents. These are games that make buying the DS all worth while.

The Touch screen; it’s not just a passing fancy. Oh sure there are some games that utilize it more then others, but developers are embracing its uniqueness. They are having you draw arcane symbols to cast magic, or tap it with the beat to keep characters dancing makes for fun and original gaming. Plus, with the microphone that can record your voice and register you blowing on it, games can really come up with some unique challenges.

It plays GBA games. I have all but tossed my old GBA out because with the DS, you can play both types of games. Plug one in on the top and one in on the bottom and you are good to go on any car trip. It’s nice to play one of the 300 GBA games I have lying all over the house every once in a while.

You can play against others even if they don’t have the same game. With the DS, several dozen games have what’s called “download play”, where only one copy of the game is needed to download the multiplayer game to other DSs. Sometimes up to four players can compete with only one cartridge. This is a top tier bonus.

You can draw and send messages to other people who have a DS. Oh I can only imagine the trouble I would have gotten into if I had this when I was in school – sending wireless messages to others who are within a hundred feet.

It hooks up to wireless internet connection and you can go online and compete against others. Trust me, racing against a buddy playing Mario Kart is pretty cool when he’s sitting on his couch five miles away while your sitting on the throne, hehehehe.

Why you may not want a Nintendo DS:
The graphics can be a bit simplistic. Nintendo has always had a history of not producing the best-on-the-market graphics, and the DS is no exception. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of games with good graphics, but when you compare it to the PSP, the DS falls to second when it comes to processing graphics.

That hinge can be a weak point. Especially when you have a young gamer on your list who wants a new handheld. The way the DS opens up, it would only take one good whack on something for the hinges to hyperextend and put your DS out of commission for good. There isn’t much weight to it either, so you may feel like it is too flimsy for any sort of real life treatment. It can take some damage, but I know two people who have broken their DSs from minimal “accidental” damage.