Keep Calm and Game On: “Consoles trump handhelds”

In Arts & Entertainment, Columns

Video games are awesome, and we all know it. Shoutout to all gamers worldwide, especially the console gamers. We are individuals that will dedicate a portion of our day to sit in front of the television, alone or with friends, and play for hours with no shame. Those who do the same for handheld consoles, I didn’t forget about you either; you are awesome as well.

Consoles in general have been around for decades and continue to impress me as the years go by. With the first ever home video game console, the Magnavox Odyssey, arriving in 1972, to the newest Xbox One S released this summer, console size, design and specs have changed for the better. Although I wasn’t alive for the first half of the video game console generation, I got to experience what I consider to be the better part of it.

During the beginning of the sixth generation of video game consoles in 1998, I was barely old enough to understand my surroundings. However, seeing Mario, Donkey Kong and Link on the big screen was something I could never forget. Although we still had our fifth generation Nintendo 64, my brothers eventually upgraded to the the Sega Dreamcast, where I met the blue anthropomorphic hedgehog, Sonic. My brothers also played the game “Shenmue,” which was an open-world adventure game set in Yokosuka, Japan. That particular game sparked my interest in sandbox-type games where you were free to do anything.

At the time, my brothers weren’t interested in handheld consoles, so neither was I initially. The first handheld console I owned was a Gameboy Advance that was given to me as a Christmas gift. With games like “Super Mario Advance 4,” “Pokemon Ruby & Sapphire” and “Rocket Power: Beach Bandits,” the Gameboy Advance really proved itself to be a worthy option, often times when my siblings hogged the PlayStation. I was able to enjoy some of my favorite cartoon and childhood characters in the comfort of my bed, with just my Gameboy, two AA batteries and a game cartridge.

“Super Mario Advance 4” was always my go-to game because it was fun and easy to play. Occasionally, I’d play “Pokemon” with my brothers, but I would often lose my battles and never earn any badges. It’s safe to say I sucked at that game, but nonetheless, I still enjoyed the idea of “Pokemon” because I faithfully watched the cartoon series everyday.

Similar to the “Pokemon” series, I frequently watched the Nickelodeon series, “Rocket Power,” and decided that playing the game would enhance my experience with the show. Sure enough, it did, and I managed to finish the entire game in a matter of days. The bond I had with my Gameboy Advance was so special and unbreakable that I was convinced that it was all I needed.

However, as I grew up, I began to find my place in the video game world. Violent video games really intrigued me, so Nintendo really wasn’t able to satisfy my sinful pleasures as much. I found myself reverting back to home consoles, finding a particular fondness for the PlayStation 2. I was able to play “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas,” which had the same sandbox-type gameplay that I really liked with “Shenmue” on the Dreamcast.

This game was filled with everything from blood, guns and robbery to foul-language, drugs, gangs and prostitution. Even though a version of “Grand Theft Auto” was released on GameBoy Advance, I still preferred the PlayStation version. It seemed more realistic and the visuals were definitely better in my opinion. Playing on the big screen allowed me to feel more immersed in the gameplay and the controller vibration just added more to the overall experience. Unfortunately, I was never able to reach that level of effect with just my Gameboy.

Handheld consoles have their fair share of benefits. The fact that it is a portable, compact device you can basically use anywhere is one of the main appeals for gamers. While these characteristics make most handhelds desirable, battery life, risk of damage and graphic sacrifices deter my desire to make those purchases.

The original Playstation Portable (PSP), was the most recent handheld device I have owned in comparison to my up-to-date PlayStation 4. The more I age, the more I believe that there is a time and a place for everything. The idea of whipping out a PSP during a class lecture or free time at work sounds amazing, but isn’t considered professional and might be looked at as immature.

Overall, my personal preference of video gaming devices is definitely traditional home consoles. When it comes to specs including graphics, speed, online capabilities as well as game selection, home consoles have handhelds beat. Nonetheless, portable games are still fun, but appeal to a different crowd of gamers; a crowd that I am not really a part of anymore. I’ll just continue to play in the comfort of my living room, where my adult days are coming to a close.

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