Sony PSP vs. Nintendo DS
In one corner, the slick combo entertainment system known as PSP! In the other, the dual-screen behemoth, Nintendo DS! Ding ding!
Ladies and gentleman! This contest, scheduled for one fall, is for the Supreme Hand Held Leader of the World championship!
Making its way to the ring, weighing 8.36 ounces, from Japan, the Sony PlayStation Portable, otherwise known as the P...S...P!
And its opponent, also from Japan, weighing 8.84 ounces, the Nintendo DS!
As the year as well as the battle rages on, the hot topic of debate among hand held owners around the world (even those in Guam) will revolve around trying to prove which system is better; the PlayStation Portable, or the Nintendo DS. Well now that both machines are out it's only fitting that Modojo stack them side-by-side to determine which pint-sized portable is superior, the goal to make some of you extremely angry as well as think the entire site is run by a bunch of no good fanboys! But at least we won't wimp out like other sites and declare the contest a draw, so grab a soda, get comfy, and watch the fur fly! Just refrain from throwing low blows.
The first official tie! Here's the deal. The PSP is the sexiest piece of hardware to ever come from the industry's loins. It's super hot, it's got a fantastic screen, it's easy to hold, the analog nub works surprisingly well, and the Home button totally rocks. Oh, and my system's triggers are wobbly and the square button doesn't depress like the others do. As you can see, even sexy creatures have flaws.
In terms of the DS, the machine looks great when it's open and dry hamburger ugly when it's closed. It appears to be a lot more durable than the PSP, but its face buttons are small and in order to comfortably hold it you need to know some secret insider strategy.
This one's obvious, isn't it? You can either play around with a souped up Nintendo 64 or enjoy the goodness that is PlayStation 2 quality graphics that are presented in near HD quality. I'm convinced that the DS is more powerful than most of you give it credit for being, but is it going to outdo the PSP's processing muscle? No means no!
Shocked! Repulsed! Amazed! Those may be your reactions after learning who won this category. The PSP is capable of pumping out CD quality music and it all sounds great when I'm wearing head phones, but on its own the system's very inconsistent. Some games are louder than others and that really ticks me off.
With the DS the sound is always on tap. The music and various effects boom from the tiny speakers, and games like Electroplankton are a great example of this. At a January press con in Vegas, Sony lead man Kaz Hirai happily invited Xzibit on stage to demo the PSP's MP3 capabilities and through the room's sound system what I heard was very impressive, but that doesn't address the machine's woes. Pimp my Ride? How about you pimp your system so it plays music loud enough!
I love the DS microphone and I think the touch screens are cool, but the system can't compete with a device that plays movies, MP3s, displays digital photos, plays games, and may even allow you to surf the web in the future. While I'm convinced that we haven't seen everything that the DS can do and that there will be a lot of E3 surprises, right now Nintendo's system is just this thing that you poke with a stick. The appeal of making characters move and watching map screens while you race is going to wear off very quickly unless developers find new ways to utilize these unique features. The PSP isn't necessarily a great MP3 player and looking at photos from your trip to Greece on it is pretty boring, but how many casual buyers know that going into the purchase? PSP wins.
Dual-screens are cool in that they allow me to both play as well as check out my stats at the same time, but what's also pretty sweet is a 16:9 screen that displays jaw-droppingly beautiful games. I really like the DS design and the fact that I can make music and move Mario around by interacting with its bottom screen, but in retrospect those screens are pretty small compared to what the PSP's got. Even if Nintendo or another company releases a line of movies for the portable the picture quality won't be nearly as good. Bottom line, when you first open a DS you won't (nor will you ever) say or think WOW! How many times have you or people around you stared at a PSP and exclaimed WOW?
This category is just too hard to call. On one hand we've got UMDs, mini discs capable of holding almost 2 gigs of data. They can hold movies, music, and games that feature graphics that are near PS2 quality. They're also well-protected within a shrine of plastic, so you'd have to be the clumsiest oaf in the world to actually scratch the darn things. On the other hand, UMDs, despite being small, are so big that it's difficult to carry a lot at one time unless you have a special case, and speaking of that plastic, if you happen to somehow get liquid or dirt inside of it, you're screwed.
The DS' game chips are extremely small and easily transported. This also means they can be easily lost, but that's not a strike against Nintendo. However, the games contained on these tiny guys don't have PSP quality graphics. In fact they're a far cry from being PSP quality. They're also more exposed to the elements than UMDs are, so as you can see, this one's a draw.
We live in an age where everyone wants their technology to be smaller and more compact, and both Sony and Nintendo have failed miserably in providing its consumers with devices that are easy to transport. In the PSP's case, the damn thing's just too pretty to take outside of my home. Not only does it look extremely fragile (though reports say it's a lot tougher than it looks), but its surface picks up more fingerprints than a doorknob, so each time I want to take it on a plane or to a restaurant I'm constantly reminded of what it may look like when I bring it back. Plus, I really don't like it when people ask to play. Despite what Nintendo says, touching (at least in the PSP's case) is definitely bad and should land you in prison for four to six years, whereupon which you get out and no one wants you living in their community. I mean seriously, don't give me a snooty look when I look back at you in Barnes & Noble and respond with an emphatic yet respectfully polite NO!
As for the DS, although I appreciate Nintendo's efforts to protect the dual screens by allowing the top of the system to close over the bottom the machine's much too large and heavy to just slide into your pocket (unless you're wearing painter's jeans, and then by all means). I also wouldn't toss it into a back pack either. In my opinion, portable systems that require an actual carrying case are poorly designed. However, I'm going to give the nod to the DS here simply because the company took measures to shield parts of the system and out of the two machines it's the one that needs a case the least.
The DS is going to have a lot of really cool games...some day, so for now, the PSP's available titles completely annihilate Nintendo's slim pickings. Sony made sure that it catered to a whole bunch of us by releasing sports, racing, puzzle, platform, and adventure games, many of which are based on popular PS2 franchises except they feature extra content including new game modes, and unlike Nintendo, its competitor isn't slowing down. There's at least eight plus PSP games that'll hit before the end of April.
The Nintendo DS launch was very lame. Super Mario 64 DS, despite having those cool Rec Room mini games, is a disappointment because Nintendo couldn't find a good way to mimic the analog control the N64 original was built around. Madden is sloppy. Feel the Magic is fun for a while but it's in no way thrilling, and the rest of the games are very lackluster. Since last November we've been treated to Ridge Racer, Mr. Driller, Wario Ware, and Yoshi Touch & Go, but that's really it, and four decent games over a four month span is horrendous. I mean come on! Nintendo needs to get its head out of the dark ages of gaming, but what's really bad is the lack of third party support. Last year Reggie told us that third parties were excited about making DS games. Methinks if they were excited there would actually BE DS games. Yeah, PSP wins.
Ah yes...battery life. That old chestnut. Nintendo as well as its fans insist that its battery lasts longer than Sony's, and they're right. A DS will outlast a PSP, so kudos! However, don't be fooled into thinking that your DS is going to last longer than 15 hours. I once had my system crap out on me after a measly eight hours of play, great by Lynx or Turbo Express standards, but for a Nintendo product that's bad. Also, keep in mind that if you're playing a wireless game the DS will die sooner, but the same goes for the PSP.
So there you have it! The PSP defeats the DS by a score of 4 to 2, the result of 2 ties. Now before you jump down my throat and call me a Nintendo basher keep in mind that I want nothing more than to see the DS succeed, and with games such as Metroid Prime: Hunters, Electroplankton, Meteos, and Mario Kart on the horizon, I'm sure it'll do just that.
Also remember that this article was written during the beginning of April pre E3, so I'm evaluating both systems as they exist in the market now. I was going to include a "Future Outlook" category, but since I expect some big E3 announcements it would've been a tie that wouldn't have helped either side. Besides, as you can clearly see, I wasn't out to bash either company or product, and the score seriously reflects that.
In my opinion, it's best to just purchase both machines and enjoy the available games, but if you can only afford one of them do some research, decide which games you like more, and pick up the system that suits you. What did I do? I bought EVERYTHING!!! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!