The first console I ever owned was a clunky, yellow Game Boy. I loved that giant blob of plastic; it kept me occupied on long, boring car rides and at my family’s cottage. After all, why would you look out the window or go outside when you could play Super Mario Land?
I spent my childhood summers glued to my Game Boy, and sometimes I regret it. I could have done better things with my time. But then I wouldn’t have developed the passion I have for video games today.
As you can probably tell from my previous posts, I’m a very nostalgic person. I have great difficulty when it comes to getting rid of items that mean something to me. Two years ago, I sold my entire retro collection, giving a wistful farewell to icons like the Nintendo 64, Colecovision, Nintendo Entertainment System, and Sega Genesis.
I kept my original Game Boy. I just couldn’t part with it. Even though it’s totally scratched up, we've had far too many awesome memories together.
Lately, however, I’m on the fence when it comes to portable game systems. I’ve written about this before, but I have even more to say. I feel that in the eyes of many gamers, myself included, dedicated handhelds are becoming pointless.
This brings me to my current dilemma. When I thought about buying the Nintendo 3DS, I had to think a little more than usual. Did I really need one? My smartphone does everything; it plays games, lets me stay in touch with family and friends, browses the Internet, and taps into social media. Most importantly, it’s always there sitting snugly in my pocket.
With the advent and increased popularity of smartphones and apps, do handheld gaming platforms have a place in the market anymore?
Don’t get me wrong, I totally understand that most phone-based games don’t offer the same experience that full-fledged releases for portable consoles do, but I’m getting the feeling that the 3DS and PlayStation Vita will be the last gaming-focused handhelds.
The recent 3DS price drop is a testament to this theory. These days, you just can’t sell an on-the-go gaming machine for $250. Consumers expect their shiny, new gizmos to do more than play the latest Pokémon offering. Nintendo’s initiative convinced me to purchase a 3DS, so the strategy worked on at least one person.
It will be very interesting to see how the Vita fares. With social-media features and 3G connectivity, Sony is trying to make it more than just another PSP.
One thing is for sure, the market has changed. Nintendo needs to adapt. The company convinced me to purchase their latest dual-screen device, but will they be able to convince others? Only time will tell.