This is something I've been wondering for a while as I've grown quite attached to my handhelds of late. I'm playing them more than my consoles by a long margin. So I wanted a thread where we could discuss gaming on the move, somewhat similar to the intent behind the [Insert] Nation threads.
Currently I have a PSP, 3DS, Vita, Android Phone, and Pandora. I have in the past owned a Gameboy Colour and GBA-SP, but never had an original DS, DS Lite, DSi or other variant on the DS, nor did I own any of the older handhelds like the original Gameboy, Game Gear, Lynx or Nomad. At the moment I have l very little bad to say and a whole lot good to say so I'll give them all some attention I think.
Playstation Portable - Exactly what it says on the tin. It's a portable playstation, with a great selection of games and the often mocked UMDs which if you have the AV cable you can always watch on your TV if you want (something the people mocking seem to forget). This is the system that kept me sane. At one point many years back I was made homeless due to unforseen circumstances. I had friends store my stuff, I sofa surfed a fair bit, and I even slept rough a few times until I found somewhere new. During that time my PSP with GTA: Liberty City Stories, Breath Of Fire 3, Tekken: Dark Ressurection, and the Mega Drive Collection was literally the only thing that stopped me cracking. It was my MP3 player and with Lord Of War, Serenity, Bottom: Season 1, and Men Behaving Badly on UMD I had what passed for entertainment. I'd charge it in the library during the day and watch/play during the night. Sure it's not perfect, but damn I have some great memories of it, and I still have that same PSP to this day. Final Fantasy Tactics, Final Fantasy VI Complete, and a few other games have ensured it has a place. Granted I could get the games on my Vita as digital games; and admittedly the PSP is now obsolete if you have a Vita, but it means a lot to me so I don't think I'll ever get rid of it.
Nintendo 3DS - What can I say really. I got this as a free gift as part of my phone package two years ago. I had the choice of a Vita or a 3DS and I chose the 3DS because I already had a PSP and the 3DS was backwards compatible. Knowing how awesome the Vita is I probably made the wrong choice, but still the 3DS is a damn fine machine with some of the best games I've played in a long time. One of the few systems to genuinely get social interaction going as me and my friends actively use StreetPass, this has changed the way I game. I now feel more enticed by portable gaming than I ever did with console gaming, and I strangely enjoy online features on the 3DS despite never normally gaming online. So far I've played the Nintendo staples, Pokémon, Mario, Zelda, and I'm looking forward to more. Deserving of all the praise it gets, this is probably my most played system of 2013.
Playstation Vita - My new favourite I'm sure. This is what I call portable gaming. While it's own library admittedly needs some beefing up, (and is a little disappointing for a two year library), the PSOne back catalogue, PSP digital back catalogue, and the massive library of indie games makes the Vita one of the most varied systems I own. There's some genuine treasures on the Vita though, and a lot of 6th gen games have moved to the Vita so we can play them in portable form which makes it awesome. If you've yet to get a Vita and plan to great, though set up an American PSN account if you want all the features, no Netflix outside USA is a massive shame with that gorgeous OLED screen. YouTube and Facebook however work brilliantly, and I genuinely find myself using the browser. The few great games that shine on the Vita, such as Tearaway, Persona 4 Golden, and Gravity Rush, coupled with the Jak & Daxter HD Collection, Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Collection and more, make the Vita the perfect portable system for someone who wants to be consumed by their games. For me it's become the 'Final Fantasy Machine' as it has Final Fantasy 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and X-2 on it, that's a lot of Final Fantasy and that alone justifies the system for me.
Android Phone - People scoff at mobile gaming but they shouldn't. Sure there's so much shovelware it's not even funny, but some of those casual pick up and play games can be quite good. I've really enjoyed Temple Run 2, Plague Inc. Plants vs. Zombies, Rayman Jungle Run, and even the admittedly overly viral, but still pretty damn good Angry Birds games. It'll never replace the handheld gaming device for me, but with decent emulators for 16-bit consoles, and a few home ports like Max Payne and GTA 3 on Android now, there's still plenty on there. Add in a great browser, apps for YouTube, Netflix, Spotify, Facebook, and of course the functionality of a phone and you've got a pretty awesome peice of tech; let's be fair.
Open Pandora - The Pandora, for those who don't know is a linux PC about the size of a 3DS, albeit about twice as thick. It has a full QWERTY keyboard, D-Pad, 6 Button controls, Dual Analog Sticks, and a Touch Screen. In short it's an input paradise with the option to use USB mice also avaliable. It's main uses are as a miniature PC but also as an emulation device. I use it to emulate DOS, Mega Drive, Master System, NES, SNES, GBA and even the occational Neo Geo game. It's pretty good at all of them, near perfect in most actually, and it can even do PSOne and N64 though I don't bother, (I have the Vita for that). The Pandora is basically the retro-gamers perfect system as it can pretty much take practically the entire medium from 1980 to 1999 and store 90% of it all in one place ready to play, with actual physical controls. Remember you also have the full functionality of a Linux PC and it's unsurprising that this is one of my favourite devices of all time. Perhaps it's just the nostalgia here, after all, the Pandora is more than twice the cost of the Vita which could easily run every emulator on this thing if hacked, hell a modded PSP can do most of this stuff adequately, but there's something about the Pandora that I like. It just feels right to have a designated "retro" device. (if you're interested in the Pandora you can find out more at - http://boards.openpandora.org/page/homepage.html )
So, that's my take on the handhelds of today. What do you guys think? What's the best? Your personal favourite? Let's give the portable market some love.