Sunday, June 24, 2012

I Want to Hold Your Handheld

     A lot has been said about the viability of dedicated handheld gaming system in today's market. It's a common opinion that we don't need a system just to play games when we already have one in our pockets that can play Angry Birds thank-you-very-much.  But I've played a fair bit of a friend's 3DS, and now recently a Vita, and I say we absolutely do need these things. And we always will. 

Fun? Maybe. Challenging? Sometimes. Deep? As a Kardashian.

     The main appeal of "mobile" (smartphone/tablet) games is the ability to just play quick game sessions whenever you want with no big commitment. And that is a fantastic benefit. It's not really worth it to turn on your Xbox 360 for one fight in BlazBlue. It takes like 10 minutes to start up the darn thing and the fight's over in 30 seconds. But you can do that in a mobile game. Similarly, you can do that in a proper handheld game. But here's the difference: you can do that with good games. You want just one match in Marvel vs. Capcom 3? You can play one in between bus stops. You want just three holes of Hot Shots Golf? You can putt while your boss is talking about TPS reports.

The difference between mobile games and proper handheld games is massive. Even "real" games on a mobile device device just don't work. A touch screen will never, ever be a viable control method for core gaming.

GTA III, seen here controlling like ass.

     But handheld games are over ten times more expensive than most mobile games. Does the game buying public care that they are also ten times better? It would appear the answer is a resounding "Ehh...sometimes."

     Now, I'm not ranting against casual gaming here. Casual games can be really fun. I'm arguing for core gaming. They can coexist. They both serve a purpose. Gamers like me will always want deeper experiences, even when we're out and about.

But I wonder.....are we a big enough market anymore?



  1. I play my 3ds every day( which is the same 3dsphysics previously mentioned, which will now have to be bedazzled as a result of her rise to internet stardom.) And i flippin love it. Now, i also use my phone every single day, and of course i have games on it, too. The difference between the two is that my cell phone (droid x) is aweful for games. Controls suck, sound ( which is very important to me) is terrible, the games constantly crash, plus they are usually unoriginal. You can only play the same physics game so many times. Also, with todays hanhelds, you cab just close the screen or put it in sleep mode to play again later!

  2. Gorilla With Turtle EggJuly 9, 2012 at 10:54 PM

    What an amazing article. It made me think about things that I hadn't before with these handhelds. Yeah Jamirus, the controls just suck on these phone games it seems.. wow. I only recently started getting into a couple of them earlier in the year.

    But I really, really have a hard time with some of these controls, even the ones with the simulated dpad thing. I don't know. I have a hard time with everything on my new phone, that's no exaggeration.