PSP + Me

I’ve been feeling some gadget lust for a new gaming system recently. My last game system was a Nintendo 64. I’ve completed most of the games I have for it and it probably hasn’t been played in at least a year. Before that was a PlayStation, an NES, Coleco ADAM, Atari 2600, and some kind of generic thing that played pong-like games. It only worked when it was upside down for some reason.

I looked at the Xbox and PS2 but they’ve both been out for a while and I don’t want to buy into old technology. As details of Sony PlayStation Portable came out, I found something that could quench my thirst for some gaming.

For one, it was new, it was a cool gadget and I’d be more likely to play it when I can do it anywhere. There’s too much setup for me in playing a game on a TV, especially when we only have one TV in the house.

I pretty much made up my mind a few weeks ago, but things were very busy at work, so I didn’t want to temp myself with a distraction. Plus, it would be a good reward for myself later.

I went down to Fry’s on Thursday night, hoping they would have one. I was there a few days earlier looking for some for my team and they didn’t them. I was hoping I’d get lucky this time since others had said they had seen them there.

I approached the tables where they have the PSP stuff. They apparently haven’t bothered to put it on a shelf I guess because it sells out so quickly. There were none on the table. I decided to ask anyway. He said they only ones they had were ones with bad pixels and said they would have some more “in a couple of weeks.” So I asked him if other stores might have them. He started to check and then said they may jave JUST gotten some in. He went to the back to check.

While I waited, I watched people wandering around the store. Everytime I come to Fry’s I hope and pray that I look less nerdy than just half the other people here. My standards aren’t that high, I just want to be in the top half. I think you can get most of the way there just by remembering to shower daily.

I could feel the aniticipation while I waited for the clerk to reappear. I would be disappointed and pissed off if they didn’t have any. I wanted it now! Suddenly the clerk showed up, with a nice little PSP box in his hand. Awesome!

I went over to the table to grab a few games. I picked up Untold Legends: Brotherhood of the Blade, Wipeout Pure, ATV Off-Road Fury, and Darkstalkers. Kelly seemed to like Untold Legends. Wipeout Pure would be fun with a bunch of other people. Anne expressed an interest in ATV Off-Road Fury and Darkstalkers fit the bill for a good fighting game.

Once I had picked out my games, the clerk insisted he had to escort me to the checkout counter. I asked him if this was for the store’s protection or mine. He said it was because they usually keep the PSPs behind the counters. Sure enough, while I was waiting a guy went behind the counter with a basketful of PSPs, probably the remainder from the box mine came from.

Soon I was on my way. When I got home, I had some things I needed to do, so I made sure I did them first; I knew that once I started playing there’s no way I would be convinced to do chores. I finished them quickly and unwrapped my new toy.

It’s much smaller than I imagined it. That’s a good thing, it just looked bigger in the pictures. Even more amazing is that how the space is allocated. The front half is for the screen and buttons. The right back side is where the battery goes. The middle is for the UMD card and the left back is for the Memory Stick. Where the heck did they put the processor? It must be jammed in by the Memory Stick somewhere. I’m impressed that this thing does anything at all.

The screen is big and bright – very nice. It booted up and I set up the time and date, and then the network. It connected to wireless LAN just fine once I figured out there was a switch on the bottom left to turn on Wifi. Why couldn’t I set up the network first, then have it set the date and time automatically?

There are quite a few buttons, including the analog stick which I thought was a speaker at first. The UMD slot continues to puzzle me. I can never remember which way the cards go in. Luckily they go in only one way. I’ve found that the door for the Memory Stick slot is poorly placed and it often comes out when I’m playing it.

I tried all the games, but so far I’ve been playing Untold Legends almost exclusively. I think I’m almost done with it. ATV Off-Road was fun too, especially as frequently and comically I ejected myself off the bike.

I haven’t actually used the Wifi for anything yet or tried to play music on it. The headphones are suspiciously iPod-like, especially since they’re white when the PSP is mostly black.

Overall, it’s a damn cool toy. I just need to find more time to play it! I also need to find some people to play head-on against me, which should be even more fun. Unfortunately, the wifi at work takes up all the channels, so you have to go outside to play. There’s something very ironic about needing to go outside to play video games.


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