Thursday, Jul. 31, 2008

Play Station Portable

Discussing the relative merits of videogame platforms is a little like arguing about what's better, Catholicism or Judaism. People tend to stick with whatever they started with. So let us make a recommendation here, after which, we will immediately duck for cover. If you're going to take a videogame player on the road, the PSP could be The One. Yes, the Nintendo DS is a more popular platform and has better games for younger kids. And yes, though the PSP has 300 games, ranging from Madden NFL 09 to Madden NFL 06, hardcore sorts fans complain that the breadth and depth of the library (what, no Spore?!) still leaves something to be desired.

And yet, for the intrepid traveler, the PSP is hard to beat. Start with its ability to play movies—you can buy 300 PSPcentric movies titles, from the director's cut of Hellboy to Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and 1200 TV episodes. (The battery lasts for up to 5 hours for games and six for video playback.) You can use it as a telephone — earlier this year, Sony added the WiFi-based Skype service to recent-model PSPs. And if you're still on the fence, look for GPS in the first quarter of 2009. You'll have to buy a peripheral that attaches to the PSP's USB port but the new service will render 24 of the U.S.'s largest cities — plus Toronto! — in 3D, buildings and all. Other international cities will be available for download at the Playstation store. The nav system will do all the things you've come to expect from GPS—giving directions and so on—in car or pedestrian mode. Say amen, brother.

List Price: $169.99

Josh Quittner