Sunday, September 8, 2013

Choosing Handhelds Over Next-Gen Home Consoles?

The last time I played a portable game was nearly a decade ago, when I rediscovered my Gameboy Color and played an old copy of Dr. Mario.  It was summer and it rained quite a lot that week, so playing outside was figuratively out the window.  Old episodes of Disney programming got tiring and Madden was getting boring scoring half a century on the CPU, I didn't want to deal with frustration so I never changed the difficulty.  Going in my room was as foreign an idea then as it is now. The most time I spent there was dedicated to sleep and changing clothes but that week I stayed in playing various Gameboy titles I once adored and I was delighted for the change of pace.

In 2013, gamers around the world might consider re-discovering our portable dreams once again with the Nintendo 3DS and the PS Vita.  The Nintendo 3DS has been on the rise throughout the summer, the highest selling gaming hardware to be exact, while gamers are wondering if the PS Vita is even worth owning.   Both consoles have only just learned to walk, with the 3DS and VIta turning 3 and 2 in February, so they don't have the miles or the demand for hardware like the 360 and PS3.

The XboxOne and PS4 come out in less than two months. The games have been previewed, the pre-orders have been up since the consoles were announced, the comparisons have been made and the war will come forth on November 30th when the PS4 is released (XboxOne releases a week earlier).  But should you join the battle?  With games like Super Smash Bros, Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds and Pokemon X/Y coming out for the 3DS and Final Fantasy X and Oddworld for the PS Vita, both portables are prepared for a fight of their own that will keep their fans happy. 

One thing I have to commend Nintendo on is making franchises that continue to deliver with each release.  We all know Mario and the universe that Shigeru Miyamoto has created around him for over 25 years. Each of Mario's friends and enemies have received their own titles. Pokemon will remain a go-to game for any Nintendo fan and with Pokemon X and Y dropping next month in October, they might bring back old fans of the franchise with the return of the original lineup of Charmander, Bulbasaur and Squirtle.

Are handhelds the best option for gamers looking for a new piece of gaming hardware? They both cost around $200 after tax which is about the same as Microsoft and Sony's current consoles.  Games are being pushed out at a steady pace with at least one trademark character from Nintendo every 3-4 months and the there's always a handheld platforming game to dive into, which is something Sony and Microsoft's home consoles seem to lack.  The only notable platform game that has come out on consoles is Rayman Legends in the first week of September, and even that's available on Vita. The next gen consoles have announced first-person shooters, driving, sports and fighting games but the platformer is one genre I wish these graphically advanced consoles would consider.

With new gaming hardware, new titles from big franchises, the potential return of old fans, do you pick sides in this new gaming war or do you continue playing your aging Xbox 360 and Playstation 3?  Come November, gamers have a choice to make.


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