Wednesday, January 13, 2010

And the best handheld gaming system is....iPod touch?

This is Games N Gadgets week at the Charlotte Observer. Throughout the week, Monday-Sunday, we're going to look at some popular and not-so popular Games N Gadgets. If you have any ideas for things you'd like to see us review, please email


The most popular handheld system is, of course, Nintendo's DS and DSi units. The best handheld system, in my mind -- especially for hardcore gamers -- is the Sony PSP 3000.

The PSP Go has downloadable games only, which forces you to keep your old system to play your library of Universal Media Disc games for the old PSP.

I like the PSP 3000 over the DS options because of better graphics and a more realistic gaming experience. There are more adult-friendly titles available, plus a built-in microphone, WiFi and integrated Skype service. The new anti-glare screen thankfully allows you to play outdoors and still be able to see the action.

But while the DS and PSP are great handheld systems, I've got to crown a surprising entry as serious contenders to the throne: Apple's iPod Touch and iPhone.

Yes, you've got to download games, but the games are relatively cheap. Madden football, for example, is $6.99 instead of $19.99 or $39.99 like you'd sometimes find for traditional handhelds.

You can download multiple free titles for the iPod Touch that aren't bad, including trial versions of games. And while Sony's new download game system is good, it cannot yet match the selection at the App Store.

A lot of people already have iPods and iPhones and don't have to pay for new hardware, and being able to have one device do the job of several gives youngsters (and the young at heart) one less thing to worry about losing.

I hadn't really thought about the iPod and iPhone as serious contenders to the big two until my mother bought my son an iPod Touch for Christmas.

My son has the Sony and Nintendo systems, but enjoyed taking his $25 gift card to the iTunes store and buying multiple games and downloading about 4 gigabytes of free ones.

I thought the newness might wear off and he'd go back to Mario on DSi, but he's always on his iPod Touch, checking the weather, getting sports score updates, listening to music, searching the App Store for free games -- or begging Dad for another gift card.

The full-color screen on the Touch and iPhone presents games at least as well as the other two, though the touchscreen controls take a little while to get used to. But during times when money is tight, buying one device that can do a lot of things well might be better than buying another that is only truly good at one thing.

Also this week


Anonymous said...

Dude, I'm so gladsomeone in the media finally said the iPod Touch is the best. Been telling my friends that for years. I dont' have kids but if I did, this is what I would get them. Get their music, games and everything else in one unit. I don't have to buy all these separate unit.

Anonymous said...

I was seriously considering picking up a PSP, but after I purchased an iPhone and downloaded some games, I was pleasantly surprised by their quality (and their graphical complexity). It'll still be a while before the iPhone/iPod takes the place of portables designed solely for gaming, but I think that transition is looming on the horizon (and will come much sooner than many people think).

Anonymous said...

Keep an eye on the Palm Pre this year. They released their first batch of games last week that utilitze the Pre's GPU (which rivals the iPhone).

Anonymous said...

Watch for the Itab tablet this spring, it should really be something. And with apps writers already familiar, killer apps should not be far behind.

Anonymous said...

I agree the iTablet or whatever it's called is going to be big for gaming and the right size. I also agree with Langston's assessments here. I love the PSP but b/c I already have iPhone, I find myself gaming on that a lot more. I don't always the PSP in the suitcase, but on plane rides my phone is always with me, so I'm playing Madden on the red eye. I just wish I had more battery life.

Anonymous said...

I have the palm pre and my wife has iPhone. Palm games aren't as seamless or as numerous as iPhone. I like the Palm better as a phone, mainly b/c I stay with Sprint and not do ATT Wireless. I cannot disagree with you on this one, though, bad as I want to.

Matt said...

I realized that the iPod Touch was the best all-in-one entertainment gadget on the market about two months ago when I realized how bad my PSP had been. Now I've had my iPod Touch for about a month, and I will never go back to using a PSP for on the go gaming. Thanks Apple! Not to mention that the iPod Touch's screen is big enough to enjoy movies and TV shows on, yet the device is easily small enough to fit in your pocket. It doesn't get any better than that.

Anonymous said...

I love love love my iTouch! I was resistant to getting an iPhone because I didn't want AT&T and do not need a data plan for my phone for thirty extra dollars a month. But then my husband got an iPhone and I was so jealous of his apps that he got me an iTouch for Christmas. Best of all worlds! I keep my cheaper phone plan but get all the other cool features of the iPhone. I do agree with the other poster that I wish it had more battery life.

Dequan said...

I will admit, I was a bit skeptical about considering the ipod touch/ iphone as a quality portable gaming system, but after i found myself owning 100+ apps, 2 albums (72 songs total), and spending only 50-60 dollars, my mind changed rather quickly.

The ipod has many things going for it: 1) it can play ur music while its doing just about anything; 2)It has utilities apps that can help you do business stuff; 3)it has many creative little games at reasonably cheep (or free) prices; 4) Multitouch- makes for very intresting games, and single device real time multiplayer; 5) Internet/wifi/3g/calling-- communication in general; 6) Jailbreaking (eventhough i avoid it completly).

all of that in one single, portable, almost stylish device.

so with all that said, my reason for finally considering the ipod touch/ iphone as liable portable gaming system would have to be multimedia functionality, and extreem portability.

Anonymous said...

Wow, if the ipod is so great why hasn't more than one person posted an actual game title on this site?

Until you start talking like you know something about gaming you'll never convince real gamers to switch from PSP or NDS.

Anonymous said...

Gamers talk now tell me about actual game titles and what you liked better.

First Person Shooters? Racing? Sports?

Did you play online? If so, what games? Does ipod even have multiplayer online games?

Dequan said...

first off, tech is a ginormous section of the gaming community, and just because we arn't nameing specific games doesen't mean this isn't a legit gamer discussion.

second thing, I highly dislike the way some of the anonymous posters were basically just crapping on the ipod touch just b/c they do not want to consider the iPod touch as a gaming system. expand your horizons dudes, it's not everyday a device comes about that features legit games that veri from style to style.

I don't feel the need to convince the people who don't want to be swayed, so I'm not going to reduce my comment to a listing of specific games. if one really wants to kno exactly how much veriety in games there are for the iPod touch, there are many other websites that have players with no scruples that will gladly tell people what they love or hate about apps, and I would recomended you take a little time and look em up.

speaking on behalf of the sensible sector of the gameing community, I will say that I do not appreciate the way one of the commenters took the liberty of assuming that people who play iPod touch games arn't real gamers. excuse me person, it is hard enough for us to justify gameing as a legitimate past time and not some silly addiction, the past thing we need is for arrogant folks like you just assumeing that you can rightfully section off the gaming community how ever you see fit. You sir/madam are greatly mistaken, and your little comment saying that not nameing games won't convince the "real" gamers to switch from psp to nds does nothing to help the communities rep. have you already forgotten the crap that portible gamers face already? have you already forgotten the annoying little traces of doubt that nds gamers face already b/c their moms and 3 year old siblings play the dang thing to ( no offense to you guys)?  I think you have and it would be in your best intrest to re assess your view on the gameing community because I should not have to mention the fact that I had a 360 for 4 years and religoilusly played and enjoyed Halo 3, Cod4, Mass effect, and Gow2 just to get your respect. it is very hard to fill a cup which is already full I see.

Nneways, there's my little rant, and yes I do consider the iPod touch a legit gameing platform. oh yea, and just to clarify, I'm not trying to convert anyone to an iPod touch only playing style, and I am not trying to diss anyone's gaming style at all. I am only concerned about making the case for the iPod touch, as well as challenging the current gamers mindset on how they view their own comunity. that is all. 

darran311 said...

dungeon hunter is a fairly competent rpg have enjoyed exploring and the fighting elements the character development was complex but not too complicated, driver is a very good port of the psone classic,gangstar west coast hustle very well made gta style sandbox game, blades of fury reasonable and playable 3d fighting game, hero of sparta very reminiscent of god of war and its got a sequal thats just a few of the good titles i have on my 32gb touch

Anonymous said...

Show me pictures cause I can't read!!! ty

Anonymous said...

dude final fantasy is on ipod touch so I'd say it's a legit gaming system. It's great all around. I have a psp and a dsi and an ipod touch and I use all of them pretty much egually. My psp is for my harcore games, my dsi is cuz I'm a huge nintendo fan and I love mario kart and everything nintendo. I still play gba sp and have just as much fun as when it was brand new when I was like 12. But the futer in gaming is ipod touch. Sometimes I can't believe the ipod touchs capabilities! As far as technology progressing in the gaming world ipod touch is as advanced as it gets as of now.

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Tremayne Mitchell-Stanton said...
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Tremayne Mitchell-Stanton said...
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