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  • DS vs PSP and Old-Fogie Newbie Help

    I'm guessing handheld devices belong in this "Console" subforum. Correct me if I'm wrong.

    I have a two-part question, but it may take some explanation -- so pardon me if I get longwinded as usual. Anyhow, here's the question: (1) Are there games for the Nintendo DS or Sony PSP that I'd like, and (2) Would you recommend the DS or PSP?

    Now for the explanation.

    I'm an old guy (52, to be exact), and I ought to be too mature to be wasting time with toys like this in the first place. But, hey -- life's to be enjoyed (among other things), and game playing has been a lifelong hobby. When you've got a good thing going, why stop it just because your hair's turning gray?

    However, my age does factor into the question, because it means I'm not up on most of the newfangled games that are coming out these days -- and I don't really want to be. From what I've seen of 'em, they're not my thing. So, to answer my question, you have to know what my thing is.

    For one thing, I'm an old wargamer. But most of my wargaming history dates back to before regular people had computers, so I'll stick to talking about computer games here.

    One kind of computer game I've liked is the turn-based strategy (TBS) game. I've played Civilization since version 1, and I've enjoyed its spinoffs. I've also enjoyed Warlords II, Age of Wonders, and others. I don't like scenario-based TBS games as much (e.g., Heroes of Might & Magic and Disciples II), but they're OK. Years ago, I liked QQP's Conquered Kingdoms quite a bit, and I still play The Lost Admiral sometimes. When I'm in the mood for something simpler and deeper, I'll even play classics like chess or go.

    Another kind of computer game I've liked is -- well, I guess FPS (first-person shooter) would be the generic name. But I'm really remembering the game Red Baron in particular, which is a WWI flight sim. I loved that game and, to a lesser extent, got into two other games by the same company -- Aces of the Pacific and Aces over Europe. Those games always made for a great change of pace when I was in the mood for something quick and dynamic. But we've upgraded our computer system a couple times, and I never got around to finding any new FPS games, so my old joystick has been gathering dust in the basement for years. I guess the only other FPS game I've played is Wolfenstein 3D -- which was pretty fun, but I got tired of pushing on walls all the time, looking for secret passages or treasures.

    I also like traditional games, though they're not very popular in computer-gaming circles. I'm talking about good old-fashioned card and board games: chess, checkers, dominoes, rummy, and so forth. Also newer card and board games. I've been playing Astral Tournament and Astral Masters a lot lately (spinoffs of Magic: The Gathering).

    Oh, and I like wargames -- provided they don't get too fussy or time-consuming. I don't have the patience anymore to sit there pushing a hundred or more units around the mapboard every turn, especially if there are administrative "housekeeping" chores to do between turns. A military theme is great, and the more historically accurate, the better; but the interface has to be intuitive, fun, and easy to use.

    So much for what I like. Now, here's what I don't like:

    I don't like games that look and sound like movies. I can do without a lot of graphic detail. A cinematic look isn't really a deal-breaker, though; if it's there, it's icing on the cake, I guess, as long as it doesn't slow the computer down or drain the battery or whatever. But the underlying gameplay has to be good, because I'm not going to be impressed by graphics or sound effects; I'm more likely to be turned off by them (I quickly got tired of the Combat Mission demo, for instance, and never bought the game).

    I don't like games that force me to jump through many hoops each turn. When there's something to do in the game, I want to just do it; I don't want to have to work my way down a long checklist of tasks to get it done. An example is the X-Com series. Great game for those who like it, but I soon lost interest because each turn I had to assign weapons to each character and then meticulously walk each character step-by-step through all its actions. Way too much fussy detail! When I play Civilization, I automate all the workers and follow the computer's suggestions for where to build cities; I only want to deal with the high-level stuff (heck, I might even like Master of Orion III; maybe I should give that a try).

    Oh, and I don't like puzzle games much either.

    OK, 'nuff of that. Now, why am I considering a DS or PSP?

    Well, basically I'm a computer-game addict and just can't get enough of it. It'd be great to be able to play a few turns of a game during my lunch break, or while sitting around waiting for my wife to get out of the doctor's office or whatever.

    After a long day's work, when dinner and chores are done, I love to kick back in front of the computer and play Alpha Centauri or Astral Masters for a couple hours. It's relaxing, refreshing, and enjoyable. Kinda makes my day. And it'd be great to be able to do a little more of that in the middle of the day, when I've got an hour off for lunch and usually end up reading a book while eating (reading is not a great change of pace for a guy who works as an editor).

    Last Christmas I bought my wife a Nintendo DS, and she uses it with Brain Age and now Brain Age 2. But that's all she'll use it for. She hasn't touched the Tetris, Super Mario Bros, Puzzle Quest, or Clubhouse Games cartridges. We'll see if she takes a liking to Picross, which I just ordered for her (I saw her playing it on our main computer, and she seemed to be into it). She likes puzzle games; I don't.

    I also bought myself a Palm Z22, mainly so I could use it as a portable chess computer. And I do use it most every day, though I play rummy more often than chess. But every time I play a game on my Palm, I find myself wishing I could be playing a more elaborate and engrossing game instead -- the kind of game that keeps me glued to my chair on a typical weekday evening.

    So, I suppose I could buy a copy of Advance Wars or something, plug it into my wife's DS when she's not using it, and find out if it's something I'd like. But before I try that, I thought I'd ask here, and see if anybody has any suggestions.

    The thing is, every time I go shopping for a DS or PSP for myself, I'm instantly turned off by all the Pokemon and Mario Bros games and others of that kind. Games that my nephew might remember from his childhood, but which mean nothing at all to me. Nor am I thrilled by cutesy things like Nintendogs. Then I zero in on the wargames, but they all look like action movies more than games, and I'm wondering if there's really a game lurking behind all that cinematic detail. And I finish up by scratching my head over games like Grand Theft Auto, which just looks like a bizarre theme for a game.

    So, are devices like the DS and PSP just for kids? Should I avoid them like the plague and get a laptop instead if I want to play "serious" games? Or do I just need to look a little deeper to find what I'm after?

    And if the DS and PSP are good options for me, which is better?

    I like the look of the PSP better. The whole dual-screen thing strikes me as kinda weird, and I'd rather that everything be on one screen. But the PSP is more expensive and seems to have way fewer game options. Then again, maybe I could get rid of my iPod and use the PSP for music and other things too. (I'm not very electronically savvy; I haven't kept up with all the gadgetry that's come out in the past few years. My cell phone, for instance, is just a cell phone; it doesn't take pictures or anything.)

    OK, I've rambled on longer than I should have. If you've read this far, thanks. It's more than I deserved, I'm sure. Anyhow, I'll welcome any tips or comments.
    --Patrick Carroll


    "Do all you have agreed to do, and do not encroach on other persons or their property." (Richard Maybury)

  • #2
    Wow, that was a long post.

    I'll keep mine short - DS, all the way.

    As an aside, I did a review of Advance Wars DS for this site some years ago.
    Dr. S.
    Imagine a ball of iron, the size of the sun. And once a year a tiny sparrow brushes its surface with the tip of its wing. And when that ball of iron, the size of the sun, is worn away to nothing, your punishment will barely have begun.

    www.sinisterincorporated.co.uk

    www.tabletown.co.uk

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Doctor Sinister View Post
      Wow, that was a long post.

      I'll keep mine short - DS, all the way.

      As an aside, I did a review of Advance Wars DS for this site some years ago.
      Dr. S.
      Thanks! Great review. Sounds like I ought to follow my nudge and buy a copy of Advance Wars to try out on my wife's DS. If it pans out (and it sounds like it will), I can later buy a DS of my own (probably not a pink one like hers).
      --Patrick Carroll


      "Do all you have agreed to do, and do not encroach on other persons or their property." (Richard Maybury)

      Comment


      • #4
        My wife has my "old" DS - I have a DS Lite - we occasionally play against each other but the real killer app' for the DS from our POV is...(drum roll...) Animal Crossing!!

        Dr. S.
        Imagine a ball of iron, the size of the sun. And once a year a tiny sparrow brushes its surface with the tip of its wing. And when that ball of iron, the size of the sun, is worn away to nothing, your punishment will barely have begun.

        www.sinisterincorporated.co.uk

        www.tabletown.co.uk

        Comment


        • #5
          I have the DS myself, (so does son) and being I am a wargamer and have no interest in a PSP, that says all you need to know from a wargamer viewpoint.

          The PSP isn't useless, I just don't have any interest in it's non gaming uses.

          The DS has some solid adult wargamer titles too.

          Age of Empires: Age of Kings, turn based modification of this well known RTS title. It's VERY enjoyable, plays long, lots of repeat use, AI is beatable, not like it's no challenge, you have to actually earn your wins.
          Great Graphics.
          Human to Human option.

          Steel Horizon, very engaging WW2 turn based naval wargame. No land combat, it's all about using ships. Battles have a limited real time aspect, emphasis on limited, you get to make a few quick choices, that's it.
          Simplified Graphics, it's about planning, not eye candy.
          Lots of repeat use.
          Human to human option.

          Tank Beat, very nice tank driving simulator, challenging dexterity game though, not turn based, you're a tank driver. Multiple use of controls simultaneously. Fictional story based. You get to drive many WW2 tanks though (you have to earn them by unlocking them).
          Great grpahics.
          Lots of repeat use.
          Human to human option.
          I think this is a young persons game though (it's the dexterity thing).

          Brothers in Arms.
          Same game, but on your DS. A serious dexterity challenge. Multiple use of controls simultaneously. Can't comment on the play, I suck entirely at playing it (likely will be traded in), limitation of being an old fart hehe.
          Amazing graphics.
          Human to human option.
          I think this is a young persons game though (it's the dexterity thing).

          Brain Age, Brain Age 2, Big Brain academy. You buy these so that you don't feel like a dolt with a kids toy hehe. These games are better than awesome though. Some businesses actually encourage their use by their employees.

          Panzer Tactics (coming in October, finally, I hope hehe).
          This is the reason I bought the darn DS. This is like Panzer Leader on a hand held. I suspect I will be playing it to death. Friend wants one as well. Might finally actually get to play a real wargame against a human hehe.

          There are a few other titles due out shortly.

          Vietnam, a title I think will be like Brothers in Arms for instance.

          So as you can see, a DS CAN be for a wargamer

          And while I shouldn't say this, you CAN currently buy a doodad, that modifies your DS's capacity, by adding an insert into the DS game slot, which allows you to then insert into it a standard SD card, which basically opens up the option to play videos, mp3s, and yes, as you might guess, games you might have gotten through improper methods.
          But I'm not about to put a link to where you can buy these entirely legal hardware options You get to figure that out on your own.

          If not for the above, you might have a case for the DS. But with that hardware add on, who needs a PSP.
          Last edited by LRB; 06 Sep 07, 18:11.
          Life is change. Built models for decades.
          Not sure anyone here actually knows the real me.
          I didn't for a long time either.

          Comment


          • #6
            I have a PSP, mainly for it's non game uses. I travel a lot so use it mainly as an MP3 player and most importantly for watching movies on flights. I do have Medal of Honor and Call of duty on it as I do like FPS.

            Sorry, not really much help!!

            Wolster

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Wolster View Post
              I have a PSP, mainly for it's non game uses. I travel a lot so use it mainly as an MP3 player and most importantly for watching movies on flights. I do have Medal of Honor and Call of duty on it as I do like FPS.

              Sorry, not really much help!!

              I always find it amusing, that a person would pick a PSP over a real mp3 player (which will play indefinitely in comparison, and likely hold many more songs), or a portable dvd player, which in addition to being cheaper will provide a decent screen size 8 inch screen is much better) and will play real dvds, not those over priced discs that never have enough titles.

              The PSP, if the owner is clever, can be used interestingly with a tv at home (I have a friend that has found all sorts of interesting uses for his). But to not get it primarily as a game tool, just seems weird.

              The DS, if you get the adaptor, can be used as a web browser tool. But, I would rather hope I am not sufficiently desperate, as to want to type something like this message on one hehe. Or browse and try to read the forums, on a screen that size.
              Life is change. Built models for decades.
              Not sure anyone here actually knows the real me.
              I didn't for a long time either.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Aries View Post
                I always find it amusing, that a person would pick a PSP over a real mp3 player (which will play indefinitely in comparison, and likely hold many more songs), or a portable dvd player, which in addition to being cheaper will provide a decent screen size 8 inch screen is much better) and will play real dvds, not those over priced discs that never have enough titles. . . .
                Actually, I've always been a sucker for all-in-one gadgets. I'm always on the lookout for the Swiss army knife of electronic devices -- one portable device that can do everything. But I rarely see anything like that. When I do, it's prohibitively expensive, or certain features turn out to be very weak.

                I hate the opposite kind of gadget -- the kind that can only do one specific thing. Like the kitchen appliance that can only cook hot dogs or the handheld computer that can only play chess. The more useful things a device can do, the more impressed I am with it -- especially if it's also portable and convenient.

                Thanks to my wife, though, I have several specialized devices already. She bought me a DVD player for Christmas and an iPod for my last birthday, and she got me a cell phone that's just a telephone. And since I have all these things and they work just fine, I'm not very motivated to buy something new that would replace them.

                I was disappointed last year, though, when my handheld chess computer died, just when I'd taken a renewed interest in chess. So I went shopping and ended up buying a Palm Z22 PDA. I'd never owned a PDA and didn't really want one, but this relatively inexpensive device would run a decent chess app as well as numerous others.

                At first I was enthused about my new toy. I loaded up all kinds of information and downloaded several apps for it. Then the novelty wore off, and now it sits in my fanny pack until I want to pull it out and play a game. But my interest in chess has dropped off again, and I don't have any really absorbing games on it, so I mostly end up playing gin rummy or backgammon just to pass a little time.

                So, now I'm thinking, Wouldn't it be great to have a small device that could play "real" games like Age of Empires or maybe even a flight sim! Then I'd have a boredom-combating device in my pocket all the time.

                Last night I tried out my wife's DS. But I didn't have a chance to really test its features. I loaded up Clubhouse Games and played a little backgammon and started a game of chess. The dual-screen feature is almost useless in those games, so I was kinda playing on half of the DS. It played a strong enough game to be interesting. I was a little turned off by the cutesiness (the need to toss virtual dice by flicking them one at a time with the stylus, the word Dance! floating across the screen when I'm stuck on the bar, the squishy little chess pieces); I'd rather that the game I'm playing look serious instead of overly friendly.

                This weekend I'll probably try Puzzle Quest on the DS. It's a dreaded puzzle game, but it has a role-playing dimension to it and probably makes full use of the dual screens. That should give me a better impression of what this little device can do.

                The small screen itself may end up being a deal-breaker; we'll see. I like pocket-size devices, but I must admit the tiny screens take away some of the game-playing enjoyment. (Digression: Years ago, I found this to be the case with board wargames. Fed up with standard-size and monster games, I decided, as a matter of principle, that smaller is better. But when I turned to the compact Smithsonian series of wargames, I ended up shaking my head and thinking, Nah -- this just doesn't have a wargamey feel. You need a big mapboard and lots of units.) I want portability, but I also want a satisfying gaming experience.
                --Patrick Carroll


                "Do all you have agreed to do, and do not encroach on other persons or their property." (Richard Maybury)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Everyone has their specific needs

                  I don't really see the DS as anything other than the doodad in your pocket when you are out of the house, and at risk of sitting or standing somewhere with absolutely nothing to do.

                  If I'm at home, hell why pick the DS when I can play a real game on my computer hehe.

                  But they also excel at giving me something I can do, that requires almost NOTHING serious in the process. Because even a computer game like Civ IV takes a few minutes to get loaded and under way. And a DS game is an instant install, and is running in moments.

                  The key word is convenience.
                  Life is change. Built models for decades.
                  Not sure anyone here actually knows the real me.
                  I didn't for a long time either.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Aries View Post
                    I always find it amusing, that a person would pick a PSP over a real mp3 player (which will play indefinitely in comparison, and likely hold many more songs), or a portable dvd player, which in addition to being cheaper will provide a decent screen size 8 inch screen is much better) and will play real dvds, not those over priced discs that never have enough titles.
                    Because, when flying, I don't want to carry several devices. The logical answer by your reasoning would be a laptop which does all of the above a lot better. But hardly fits in the pocket!!

                    Originally posted by Aries View Post
                    But to not get it primarily as a game tool, just seems weird.
                    From you, I will take that as a compliment

                    Originally posted by Aries View Post
                    The DS, if you get the adaptor, can be used as a web browser tool. But, I would rather hope I am not sufficiently desperate, as to want to type something like this message on one hehe. Or browse and try to read the forums, on a screen that size.
                    You can browse the web from the PSP with out adapter. But I wouldn't bother unless you have the text messaging thumbs of a teenager!!
                    Wolster

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Patrick Carroll View Post
                      Actually, I've always been a sucker for all-in-one gadgets. I'm always on the lookout for the Swiss army knife of electronic devices -- one portable device that can do everything. But I rarely see anything like that.
                      Me too! I have just got a ***** N95. It has a 5MP camera, perfect for on the spot snaps!! It has an MP3 and video player (to replace PSP son has pinched since his broke). It has GPS which actually works!!! It can access the internet so I can look at ACG at the mall whilst waiting for the missus outside a womens clothes shop. I believe it can even make phone calls!!



                      OOPS, looks like a certain well known Finnish mobile phone manufacturer is a bad word!!!
                      Wolster

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally Posted by Aries
                        The DS, if you get the adaptor, can be used as a web browser tool. But, I would rather hope I am not sufficiently desperate, as to want to type something like this message on one hehe. Or browse and try to read the forums, on a screen that size.

                        Originally posted by Wolster
                        You can browse the web from the PSP with out adapter. But I wouldn't bother unless you have the text messaging thumbs of a teenager!!

                        Well the DS uses a means not much different hehe. The letter input is through a virtual type writer, yah yippee fricking hurray hehe.
                        Life is change. Built models for decades.
                        Not sure anyone here actually knows the real me.
                        I didn't for a long time either.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Wolster View Post
                          Me too! I have just got a ***** N95. It has a 5MP camera, perfect for on the spot snaps!! It has an MP3 and video player (to replace PSP son has pinched since his broke). It has GPS which actually works!!! It can access the internet so I can look at ACG at the mall whilst waiting for the missus outside a womens clothes shop. I believe it can even make phone calls!!



                          OOPS, looks like a certain well known Finnish mobile phone manufacturer is a bad word!!!
                          That word is censored because of the number of spammers we get!

                          Dr. S.
                          Imagine a ball of iron, the size of the sun. And once a year a tiny sparrow brushes its surface with the tip of its wing. And when that ball of iron, the size of the sun, is worn away to nothing, your punishment will barely have begun.

                          www.sinisterincorporated.co.uk

                          www.tabletown.co.uk

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            An update.

                            I've been playing Puzzle Quest on my wife's DS for the last couple days, and it's been pretty addictive and enjoyable--especially considering that I usually don't like puzzle games and don't often get into RPGs, and this is some of both.

                            Today I bought Age of Empires for the DS, and I just finished the third tutorial mission (and lost, I'm embarrassed to say). Looks promising, but my eyes are having a hard time adjusting to those squishy little icons on the tiny screen. It'd be easier to play, and more to my liking, if it were a simple 2D map instead of an "isometric" view or whatever they call it. I also hope there's a way to get around quicker on the strategic map, because just scrolling won't cut it if the map gets much bigger than the tiny scenarios I've played so far.

                            We'll see if my interest holds and I buy myself one of these devices, or if the enthusiasm wears off soon.
                            --Patrick Carroll


                            "Do all you have agreed to do, and do not encroach on other persons or their property." (Richard Maybury)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Advance Wars: Dual Strike

                              I was surprised to see that Advance Wars: DS has been discontinued after only a couple years. When I went looking for it the other day, it was nowhere to be found; and new copies are going online for three times the original selling price.

                              A little side note in a Wikipedia article hints that another version (Advance Wars 2) is due out around the end of this year. Maybe that's the reason. Paving way for the new, and all that.

                              It's bad enough that I'm getting older and slowing down. It's too much that computer-related stuff becomes obsolete so fast. Guess there's no hope of my keeping up, so I'll have to just grab what I can and hold on to it while it lasts.
                              --Patrick Carroll


                              "Do all you have agreed to do, and do not encroach on other persons or their property." (Richard Maybury)

                              Comment

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