The Weird Reasons I’ve Stopped Playing Handhelds Regularly

The Weird Reasons I’ve Stopped Playing Handhelds Regularly

This is just a short post with a simple question. I’m really keen to see if I’m alone here or if I’m just the laziest, most disgustingly disorganised human being in Australia.

Here’s the situation. A cool new handheld video game is released. It’s available on the PS Vita or the 3DS, doesn’t matter which one, this is a hypothetical ya dingus.

You think about your handheld console. You scratch your head. “Where did I leave that gosh darned PS Vita/3DS?”

And if you’re a terrible person like me, you shout “HEY! SIGNIFICANT OTHER. DID YOU MOVE MY 3DS/Vita? WHERE IS IT? I LEFT IT IN THE toilet/living room/random cupboard in the kitchen.


(I really am a terrible husband.)

Okay, so let’s fast forward. I find the 3DS/Vita. Eventually. It was — of course — lying in the random place I left it and its ‘random’ disappearance was completely my fault. At this point I try and turn the thing on. It’s out of battery. I’ve left it on sleep mode for the last two weeks or so — what did I expect?

Now a second, far more difficult search begins: the search for the bloody charger.

Now I understand that the brand new PS Vita sensibly allows users to charge the console using a common USB connector, but my 3DS XL and my PS Vita both require that most inconvenient of things: the bone-stupid, proprietary cable for charging. The kind of cable you only ever have one of. The kind of cable your wife/mum/husband/dad casually lodges into the proverbial black hole box labelled ‘cables’, never to be found again without you absolutely turning every inch of your living space into disarray.

This, dear friends, is what my life looks like roughly every month or two when a ‘must-play’ handheld game is released.

Then you charge the thing. Fine. Then you turn it on. Finally.

Then you’re faced with the laundry list of firmware updates. It never ends.

See, the problem here is that post-smart-phones the handheld console has become a luxury as opposed to a necessity. Once upon a time my handheld console of choice lived in my travel bag. It was a constant companion. I knew where it was at all times and its companion — the humble charger — had its own special place in an easily accessible power point. Nowadays handheld consoles are something you have on your person only at specific times, and only when there is a game you specifically want to indulge in. They gather dust until the precise moment they become essential, before returning to obscurity. This is the cycle of the modern handheld console.

Am I completely alone here? Is this just my own specific experience? I’m really keen to find out. I love my 3DS and I love the Vita, but they are no longer regular objects that I constantly carry on my person. I have a phone that I use for almost every form of entertainment imaginable. That is my staple. The handheld consoles are for special occasions.

And they are always, it seems, lost somewhere in my house.


  • I’m still in the phase of 3DS-ownership where I take it with me wherever I go and the charger is always in a convenient location. It’s partly because I’m sort of (not really) competitive in Pokemon so I probably play it a lot more than someone who just picks it up to play a new game then forgets about it until the next game.

    Having a proprietary charger is bollocks, though.

  • My vita sits in my bedside table (well, bedside small bookshelf if you want to be boring and accurate) on the charger pretty much all the time. Since I go months between uses I do tend to turn it on, think “Ugh, update marathon” and by the time it’s done I’ve lost the mood for whatever I was planning to play or gotten distracted playing something on PC by then (It’s also just a different device to me, I don’t need anything mobile).

  • Sounds like a change in your personality and situation, to be honest. Getting older, marriage, kids etc. probably have a lot to do with it.

    My handhelds are almost always with me if I’m going anywhere with a bag sometimes even without a bag, or even on the john – that’s been the case since I got my first grey brick GB in what, 89 or 90?

    They’re actually a more consistent part of my life than consoles and PC’s which I tend to go through phases with.

    EDIT: I still can’t get to grips with playing smartphone/tablet games as a replacement. The only exceptions are ones that benefit from such platforms like Hearthstone, Space Hulk, Shadowrun Returns, FTL, etc on my iPad. I always go back to my handhelds for portable gaming,

  • my 3ds has been on my person since day 1. i don’t even play it that much but i’m crazy hooked on streetpass so i never let it go flat.

  • Since I bought a 2DS I’ve played a bit of handheld. Only thing interrupting it is playing consoles.

  • My vita has seen regular use since launch, charger permanently affixed to my bed side table electric socket. Bonus points the charging wire is long enough so I can play in bed while charging. So no, I almost always be able to find where my PSV is. My 3DS and PSP on the other hand …..

  • My PSP was sitting on my bedroom drawers until my cat decided to help it meet the floor. Since then I am without a fully functioning handheld console. As it is, I use them mainly for bedtime gaming or if a roadtrip’s on the books (althoguh I then get an ear full for being unsociable…) My charger is usually plugged into the adapter my PC is plugged into though so I know exactly where it is.

  • Seems like you are the problem. Is your house/apartment disorganized because of any reason in particular? I moved at the start of the year and my new apartment is the most clean and organized place I have ever lived in. It might seem like an uphill battle to organize your place but the satisfaction at the end of it is well worth it.

  • I keep my vita and 3DS charger near my bedside table, either under the bed or near the lamp.

    When I was on holiday in the US however, I got a cheap USB-3DS cable, so I just plugged that into my phone charger since that had a USB slot. It works surprisingly well. It also meant that I could play my 3DS on the plane, since most flights now have seats with USB slots. The cable is thin too, so it fits in the expandable mesh pocket of my case. I use a Waterfield designs case for both handhelds.

    Still though, after building my PC I don’t play handheld games that often, so the myriad of firmware updates is still a thorn in my side.

    • When I was on holiday in the US however, I got a cheap USB-3DS cable, so I just plugged that into my phone charger since that had a USB slot.

      I snagged one in an accessory kit. It stays connected to my desktop PC. I keep my 3DS XL in my back jean pocket when I take it out and the PC is usually the first place I sit when I get home, so it lives on the end of that cable.

  • My 3DS is almost constantly gathering dust. But it is doing so, on charge, sitting next to the sink in my bathroom (cos its the only place with a spare power point). My Vita is likewise gathering dust, but I don’t use it often enough to move it somewhere I’ll forget about it, and it remains face down on my bedside table with a (by now, very) flat battery.

    That said, I don’t use them enough to misplace them, and as I only have two rooms in which to do so, the most convenient place to leave them is usually back where I got them from.

  • An article that resounds strongly for me — I was about to launch into a tirade about how I play my Vita every day on my commute and I love it, it’s wonderful, yada yada, until @Serrels goes and pretty much sums up a conversation between my wife and I last night as I hunted for the Vita charger (to play Walking Dead S02E05). Only thinking about it now, but the last time I picked it up before that was WD S02E04, so it’s becoming less and less critical hardware for me.

    While the thought of it makes me a little anxious, Xbox players seem to survive without Achievements-on-the-go, maybe I should take a lesson off them?

  • Gosh, I think my partner plays his Vita more than annnnything and has done since he got it. But.. this is true of my 3DSXL right now. I haven’t played it since we moved. I’m 99… 96% positive it’s in my bedside table, and the charger is crammed into another drawer. 90% positive.

  • I’d consider buying a handheld if I had a long commute, but I pretty much have zero use for one as is. I go where I need to go, do what I need to do, and the only time I have time to play is when I’m at home with my 65″ TV.

  • My wife is exactly the same. We go for walks everyday and now we have to walk through shopping malls and past EB Games/JB HiFi on the off chance that we pick up someone through Streetpass.

    My 3DS is always on me too.

  • I know exactly where my 3DS and PSV are, as well as their chargers(which is kind of a miracle in this house at the moment!). But I still haven’t played them for ages because I know they’re both out of charge and I really can’t be bothered charging them and updating them, especially when my PS3, WiiU and PS4 controllers are always within easy reach and almost always charged.
    So basically I don’t play my handhelds at the moment because I’m lazy. 😛

  • I still smash out about an hour everyday on the 3DS. Pokemon X & Y usually (partly at work, ssshhh). Kinda like the first post on this thread I am, what I would call, semi competitve pokemon player so if i’m playing the 3DS its mostly Pkm XY (Mega Venusuar FTW). But i’m also what I think has to be half way through Batman AO Blackgate too, and replaying through Orcarina Of Time. Mario Kart will pop into that list sometimes too.

    I wish i could Minecraft on 3DS though. sweet geezuz.

  • The main reason I don’t often play my handhelds is because their main appeal, the portability, is lost on me. I don’t really GO anywhere. So I don’t need my games ON the GO. And pretty much any handheld game I play, I just can’t help but think I’d like it 50x more if I could play it on my friggin’ TV instead of having to stare at this small-ass screen for hours.

  • I really like the Vita. When I was traveling and didn’t have a proper console or PC to use, I played LittleBigPlanet religiously. Some people say smartphones are more convenient …I’m not at all interested in that experience. There were a handful of games on the Vita which could have kept me entertained for a year.

    But nowadays I drive to work (hence no public transport) and if I’m at home I’d much rather jump on the PC or Wii U. I know some people who like to play portable games while their S.O watches TV or whatever, but even that use has been overtaken with the Wii U. Occasionally I see a post about Minecraft/Walking Dead/etc. being brought to the Vita and I think “oh cool maybe I’ll get those so I can…play them…never”.

  • I have been playing both my 3DS and Vita regularly for over a year now. Before that it was one or the other but I started switching between the two in my spare time since both had some long burn games I was playing through (Just like some people read more than one book at a time). As for the “Where the heck is the charger/handheld?” problem, I have specific drop points for both so if they aren’t in one of those locations then there’s a big problem.

  • I’ve only become a 3DS owner quite recently, so I’ve only just finished Mario 3D Land, and started Ocarina and Mario Dream Bros last month and this week respectively. Right now, I’m loving it… 6 months from now, who knows?

  • I don’t play my 3DS much at all anymore, I find the screens too small and I don’t want to fork out for one of the newer models…oh there’s that, and if I’m in a position to have a game, I’m usually at home in front of my PS4. I do, however, take my 3DS away with me on holidays.

    …you’re a dingus!

  • I would say the 3DS is still on par with the WiiU and PS3 as my primary consoles at the moment. (I’ve got a PS4 as well, but that is quite literally the FF14 machine, & by the looks of upcoming releases will remain that way for a long time…)

    My chargers have always stayed in a particular pozzie in my house so I always know where to find them.

    As someone else mentioned, handheld gaming FTW on holidays! Especially ones with plane trips!

  • My 3DS hasnt been turned on in months I started charging it last weekend as well as the vita, the 3ds got a glancing over as I have no new games for it and wasnt feeling the ones I had so ive been playing the vita and to be precise Little Kings Story, its suprisingly fun and good for a pick up and play

  • Both of mine live in the cupboard, with the chargers, so I always know where they are when (if) games are released.

  • I find i can mindlessly read so many articles and fb posts on my phone I have no energy/enthusiasm to turn a hand held on when I’m about regardless of must have game.

  • I’ve been playing more. Picked up an Atari Lynx with Viking Child and Gauntlet – The Third Encounter at The Gamesmen yesterday, all mint and boxed. Not for long though, I plan on playing the hell out of it…

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