Nintendo vs. Sony Week: DS vs. PSP

May 16, 2007

(Note: Throughout the week, Flava and Flinch will be battling it out controller-to-controller, cartridge to CD as they determine which gaming company is best in the land: Nintendo or Sony)

Day Two of Nintendo vs. Sony saw Flava take a strategic retreat while Flinch, confident in his obvious victory, decided not to run up the score and instead explored the faults of the PS2. As a result, for the second consecutive day we set an all-time record for hits here at F versus F. Granted, we’ve only been around a month, but we are proud regardless. On to Day Three!(Note: Flinch had a server crisis at work and was out of commission yesterday. So Day Three has stretched into Day Four. Thanks for sticking with us)

I love me some PS2, so when I heard that Sony was making a portable version of the Playstation I was kinda juiced. All that GTA goodness to go? Hell yeah.So a friend of mine got it, and I asked him about it. “What’s it like?” I said. “It’s just like a portable Playstation”. Awesome!So I got a chance to play it, and he was right. It was………….exactly like a portable Playstation. Same kind of games, same buttons, same look. Only portable.Now, if you are a video game-crazed kid, this might be pretty cool. But I’m (sort of) an adult. I don’t need a 20 minute diversion while my mom drives me to school. I want a cool game system that I have the option to take with me if I go on a long road trip (which is rare).So why would I play the exact same games that I can play on my PS2 with worse graphics, a smaller screen and tiny buttons?Oh yeah, I forgot. I can watch movies on it, too. But how do I fit my DVDs in there? What’s that? I gotta buy a disk that can be played only by my PSP at full price? Uh, no thanks. I’ll stick to my video iPod, thanks.

This is the problem with the PSP. It can do lots of cool stuff, but everything that’s cool about it is replicated by other, better machines (and those machines do it better). The gameplay and games can be experienced on the PS2. The portable movies thing can be done by a video iPod. And the portable games deal is done better by the Nintendo DS.

All the bases are covered by the DS. The graphics look really cool, it is obviously portable, and you can WiFi play with other DS owners. Sweet. But that’s just the start.

The DS has two screens, which is all kinds of handy. Pulling up maps in adventure games without stopping gameplay, activating extra items in Mario Bros., or just simply getting to see more of the action. It is an innovation that isn’t replicated by any other company’s game system, portable or no.But the coolest part of the screen is the fact that it is a touch screen. Cooking Mama is a brilliant game that is done entirely by touch. In fact, the game would be impossible without it. Are there any games on the PSP that would be impossible if the PSP never existed?

Plus, the DS gave us New Super Mario Bros., which is an absolute joy to play.

But don’t ask me. Ask the consumers. The DS has sold 40 million copies so far, while the PSP has shipped only 24 million units so far (they understandably won’t release the actual numbers sold).

So Flinch, since there is nothing new about the PSP, what void in my life does the PSP fulfill?

Flinchbot Says: There’s nothing new? Well try this on for size.

You want to play portable games, so you grab your DS.

Video iPodYou want to watch movies on the go, so you grab your video iPod.

Video iPodYou want to listen to music on the go, so you grab your (video) iPod.

Cell Phone (Closed, Small)You want to browse the web on the go, so you grab your cell phone.

Palm TreoYou want to check in on RSS feeds on the go, so you grab your (much nicer) cell phone.

T-Mobile DashYou want to watch live TV on the go, so you grab your…uh…PDA (or really, really nice cell phone.)

Meanwhile, I just grab my PSP.PSP

You are grabbing your PDA/Phone comboT-Mobile Dash, your video iPodVideo iPod, and your DS.

Of course that’s a slightly unfair comparison, because my cell phone Cell Phone (Closed, Small)goes everywhere I go, so really you only need to grab your DS and your video iPodVideo iPod. You also better have a kick ass cell phone if you want to match me for on-the-go entertainment. I also recommend you pick up a pair of Dockers Mobile Pants to hold all of this stuff.But hey, if you only want to play a cooking game on a touch screen with your fellow 6 year olds, then go get your DS and head on down the road.What I have not compared so far are like features. Both have 802.11b Wi-Fi, both allow for network play. I’m guessing the DS also has the features where if you don’t have a game I can beam it over to you and then play you head to head?You also ragged on the UMD disc that is on the PSP, saying how you wouldn’t buy one to watch movies. I have yet to buy a UMD movie as well, though I’ve tried and failed to get a few low-ball bids through on eBay. However, I have ripped DVD’s to my 1GB memory chip and watched full movies that way.Good luck doing that with your DS.

And the DS has outsold the PSP, by far. It is a cheaper device. It is also great for stressed parents to give to their kids to get them to shut up for a few hours. What with thrilling games like Cooking Mama I’m surprised I didn’t run out and buy one so I to could “follow real recipes or experiment with your own combinations to create a culinary masterpiece with your stylus. Let’s get cooking, mama!”

And much like our PS1 vs. NES discussion, it also boils down to games and the ability of Sony to get games for kids and adults alike, while Nintendo is great for kids. I’m not a kid. I don’t want no damn Mario anywhere near my gaming console. I want realistic sports games. I want to be able to maul some dude with ultrarealistic blood and guts spewing from ultraviolent activities (Grand Theft Auto, anyone?). I also want to play silly little time-wasters like Lumines (think Tetris).

With the DS, I would have a full world in front of me silly little time-wasters. Plus, I wouldn’t be able to surf the web, listen to music, or watch movies all in one. And that all-in-one makes the PSP the only choice for anyone over 6 years of age.

FlavaDave Says: The DS can surf the web.  Like you said, everybody already has a cell phone, so that’s comming no matter what.  And I take my video iPod with me all the time anyway.

And if you don’t want anything to do with Mario, I don’t know what to tell you.