Tell Us Dammit: The State Of Handhelds

This is a weird one and it's something I've been meaning to ask you all for a while. In this day and age, with tablets and mobile phones — is there a space in your life for handheld consoles?

For the longest time I thought 'no'. On public transport I used my iPhone to listen to music, used my Nexus 7 to watch movies, and if I wanted to play games I generally just played whatever I had on one of those two devices. I was cynical about the PS Vita and (to a lesser extent) the 3DS. I thought the times of me playing games on the go, via actual game specific handheld devices, was all but over.

I was wrong.

I've been playing my 3DS non-stop recently. And I've been thinking a lot about bring my PS Vita out of retirement.

Why? Well the answer is relatively simple: it's the games. As soon as games I wanted to play came out on the device, I wanted to play them. Also — with recent life changes (having a baby, mainly) I've found handhelds are perfect for the few moments of time I get to snatch for gaming.

Anyway, I was wondering if it was just me. Anyone else feeling a real resurgence in handheld gaming at the moment?


    The best games and hardware 'right now' are in handhelds. The home console market is in flux, PC is really experimenting with more business models at the moment than releasing games, and dare I say it, I think casual/mobile games are in decline.

    Just my opinion.

    I don't do any public transport, but when I did, my DS was always keeping me entertained. Now, the 3DS is like a bedtime book for me - something nice to relax with before sleep.

    You're right about handhelds and kids - it's great being able to just close the 3DS or ipad cover at a moments notice, knowing you can pick it back up at any time without ruining your game.

      Pretty much this, I get home at around 11pm, grab a quick snack and a drink of something, briefly peruse the usual internet sites then grab my 3DS and put in about an hour of whatever I am currently playing before dozing off. Being able to simply close the console and come back to it at a later date is probably one of the greatest innovations of recent times.

    I'm looking forward to seeing a lot more PS Vita Remote Play support for PS4... the PS3 has almost none. Also I should mention that Killzone Liberation could finally be the PS Vita game that FPS fans have been waiting for.

    Playing games on my phone is less than ideal because: 1) there is no way my fingers aren't going to obstruct the screen, 2) oh wow, battery life sucks when gaming (Real Racing 3 drains about 1-2% per minute), 3) these games aren't very engaging.

    There're a couple of games I've played on my phone which I do like, namely Cogs and Cut The Rope, but recently I somehow lost my Cogs save file and I didn't feel like playing through all the levels again to get to where I was. Cut The Rope is fun until the levels where you need really precise timing, because it's so damn hard to time a swipe on the screen.

    Lately I've been going back to my DSlite and playing Bowser's Inside Story. Then I'll play the 3rd Layton Game, and once I finish that I'll probably get myself a 3DS. Looking forward to playing all the great games on that machine that I've been watching pass by. Full-blown games on the phone can't happen until battery life improves drastically, though I admit getting a bluetooth controller cradle would solve some of my other problems.

    My Vita get used EVERY day - usually just before sleep, but yesterday I used it while waiting for the doctor - it was nice to advance the story of P4G a little bit while on the go

    Yes. My 3DS is starting to remind me of the hey-day of my DS maybe 4 or 5 years ago? Playing Luigi's Mansion 2 now, just received Donkey Kong in the mail, and bought some discounted older games (Starfox, Kid Icarus, Street Fighter IV, Resident Evil Revelations). I'm excited to play it on the bus, and to continue when I get home.

    The 3DS has finally hit the critical point where it has a library of games that can offer me something quick and fun, or deeper and more involved, to suit the situation.

    I am also considering getting a Vita, too, because the PS+ free games alone would be enough to keep me busy for a loooong time.

    This is all combined with the long-building situation where I am sick of purely touchscreen mobile phone games. They all feel like they're reskins of what came before. And this is coming from somebody who loves Nintendo games! Also, the added interaction that buttons give you can not be understated.

    So yeah. I think the devices that are focussing on tactile, deep experiences are getting me interested in playing games on the go again. I was playing them simply to pass the time over the past few years. But now I'm finding as much time as I can to play them!

    I actually haven't owned a portable system since the original Gameboy and my Atari Lynx (man I loved my Lynx, awesome system). I just haven't found a place in my life where handheld gaming is appealing for me, despite the fact I catch public transport every day. I just use my phone or my tablet for those times when I actually want to game on the go.

    I don't think that situation is going to change anytime soon unfortunately.

    Last edited 30/05/13 11:44 am

    I'm not interested in mobile gaming beyond the quick and casual experience of playing something on a mobile phone like Jetpack Joyride. I don't want to buy a dedicated handheld and pay full retail prices for what I consider to be inferior games - and the few games that are good, I don't want to play in brief stints while commuting. I'd just want to play them at home where I can really get stuck into them. If I'm playing at home anyway, well, I have an Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.

    There's a few unique experiences on handhelds I feel like I'm missing out on (mainly pokemon) but that's not enough of an issue for me to buy a handheld.

      I was going to write up a long-winded post, but this sums up my feelings too.

    Bought my 3DS at launch and quickly snapped up Zelda, Ocarina of Time. Soon after that y 3DS was gathering dust upon the shelf. It wasn't until recently, when I picked up Luigi's Mansion 2 and Fire Emblem: Awakening, that my 3DS really started getting some use again.
    Casual/mobile games aren't engaging enough, and my 3DS just helps pass time in between lectures as well as that hour or so before I sleep at night.

    I've wanted to buy a vita for quite a while now but then I look at the range of games on it and its not very rich. Then I look at the 3ds, but already got a DS and Mario why should I buy a console to play an even easier Mario game. Though pokemon looks like something I would want to try, but 1 game is not good enough. The range also feels like it lacks

    Working through a backlog of DS games. The only use my psp has ever got is to stream TV and music from ps3. Rarely play phone games. Have a 3DS on order :-)

    Huh? Why is my earlier comment awaiting moderation?

    EDIT: This one is too...I don't understand why...

    Last edited 30/05/13 11:44 am

      Just happens sometimes, all you have to do is edit the comment and it'll approve.

      Eventually the problem will go away but it seems it lasts different lengths for everyone :-/

    With nintendo offering nothing worthwhile on the home console front, a 3DS is the only way I can get a nintendo fix...

    There's a lot of things interesting me in handhelds, but I'm not playing any of them, because I don't have any public transport commutes anymore. When you drive everywhere, there's really not much reason to own a handheld.

    I actually do most of my gaming at home even if it is on a handheld. Don't play many games on public transport. In the end though, I cannot for the life of me play games properly on a phone or tablets. The primarily touch control interface makes me want to stab someone. As for the games, that's just it, there aren't many good games on mobiles and tablets. The library doesn't interest me so much. It's saturated with "casual" games, most of which (even the good ones) I'm not really interested in. The games that aren't "casual", again, the controls get on my nerves.

    It's the control interface that bugs me first and the games second. If they designed a piece of technology to be a gaming device first and a phone, tablet, whatever, second, that's when I would dump my handheld. The Xperia Play tried to put a bit of emphasis on gaming but it doesn't seem like anyone's been trying anything similar.

    Last edited 30/05/13 11:52 am

    Bought a 3DS at launch and got Pilotwings and Zelda. Played them both to death then the 3DS gathered dust for a while. I later got Mario 3Dland and Mario Kart, and now Luigs Mansion 2

    I'm really enjoying my 3DS and glad I made the purchase. Use it most days, except when I have to much real life stuff to do.

    I want a Vita but cant justify the price for the console and a decent mem card. Maybe when there is a price drop.

    I almost never play tablet or phone games. I play handhelds (Vita/PSP, 3DS) almost every day. For me, the experience is more compelling because of the dedicated functionality. Mobile devices are phones/tablets first, games machines second and while that may sound like PCs, a PC can be modified to cater for your gaming hardware and input device wise while mobile devices cannot. Handhelds on the other hand, are primarily designed with gaming in mind and have the hardware and control inputs available to support it. That's not to say that mobile devices don't have some interesting games, they just haven't really reach a point where they can offer a better experience than a game designed to play on a dedicated device yet.

    I looked up from my PSP long enough to laugh at the concept of handhelds not being the ultimate in convenient portable gaming

    I think handheld consoles have their place. The games available offer much more depth than iOS/Android/WP equivalents (for the most part), and having a dedicated device for gaming means I can be sure I'll have adequate battery left on my phone for things like, I dunno, calling people.

    Disappointingly, I have a 1-1.5 hr commute each way to work (bus, then train), but I get motion sickness using my handhelds (3DS, Vita, even just using my mobile phone), so I miss out on 2-3 hours of quality handheld gaming time every weekday (#firstworldproblems)

    I've found most phone/tablet games to be terrible apart from the simplistic ones like Jetpack Joyride but I prefer games with a bit of depth to them, so proper handhelds are still the way to go.

    Theres always time for Metal Gear Solid 3 on my Vita

    I remember owning the original Gameboy when I was a kid, mainly because I didnt have a TV and my folks thought the SNES was too expensive. Then I owned the original PSP on launch, kept me entertained when I worked boring night shift work. I could never do gaming on public transport because it gave me motion sickness (even from reading).

    Nower days I have my eye on the 3DS and Vita. The main benefit I see with them is not hogging the TV when others want to watch tv/sports. Almost got a Wii U because of the remote play.. Now considering a Vita with the recent announcement it will support remote play for the PS4.

    Last edited 30/05/13 12:01 pm

    PC/3DS. THE DREAM TEAM. I'd like to get a vita, but goddamn is it a heavy investment. No doubt it'll pay off in the end, but still a awful amount of moneys to sink in.

    I've always had a handheld at my side, mainly because I've always been in the position where I'm constantly in transit and have free time to burn. It's interesting, though, because while it's easily to disregard the usage of handhelds by replacing them with, say, your phone or your Ipod, it's just as easy to get into the habit of using a handheld whenever you have spare time. In the waiting room, gridlocked in traffic, a quick game or two before bed; a portable console can seamlessly blend in one's schedule far better than a Ipod or a phone.

    Rocking my 3DS whenever I have free time while travelling or waiting for something. Also great when I'm not in the mood to play PC which is my main entertainment source.

    I reckon after this gen of handhelds Sony will pull out. Nintendo will probably keep going as that's their big hardware atm and not the Wii U. Myself though, I picked up a second hand PSP more for playing psone games from the PSN more than anything else. I'm happy with that.

    I do use my smartphone for casual gaming every day though. That's really the future (possibly short term future) of handheld gaming. People want to play relatively simple games in short 5 minute bursts and there's a big wealth of games available on the play store or itunes, most of which can be played for free. Sony or Nintendo will struggle against that business model

      I think you are discounting the shear number of people who take a handheld to school/university/work to play during their breaks. Also great for taking on business trips/holidays. I don't think there are too many games on mobile that would keep me interested for more than 5 minutes, as you say. Where the gap is, it's for gaming for half an hour upwards. The phones/tablets don't really cut it in the software department (although this may change).

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