Portable Gaming: The Ghost in the Machine


 Dungeon hacking + robot blasting == chocolate + peanut butter.
While playing Aria of Sorrow and FFIV, I found that when the charge light goes on on my Gameboy Micro (the start and select buttons turn red, like two angry, angry eyes) I tend to incorporate it mentally into the game I'm playing.  Like with Aria, I found myself rushing to save because it felt as though the game had suddenly imposed a time limit on me, when what it actually was was the real world telling me the batteries were running low.
 
Portable gaming is pretty new to me, I guess.  I marveled at a very old version of Super Mario Bros. for the Gameboy, I wanted to get the Atari Lynx but never did (probably best I didn't, even though I think Xybots would have made me a happy kid), I actually missed the chance once to buy a Sega Game Gear at a yard sale which still bugs me, but it was only when I bought an adapter for my Gamecube that I actually played any portable games in earnest, and this Micro is my first actual portable game system 
 
( Tiger stuff, Game and Watch, and the like not included. There's a Tiger submarine game that I had that was actually pretty damned fun, a friend's Game-and-Watch that was about producing cement that was cool but too hard past a certain point, and an addictive Tetris knockoff that I gave to a former girlfriend, which was fun but not the best, since it seemed to start in one of four different ways or so).
 
Since I'm new to modern portable gaming, I still am amazed at being able to play a game while I'm hidden under the covers in bed, or in a different room than the TV. I don't make prayers to the battery gods or sacrifice chickens to the thing, but I still feel a bit like a cave dweller who just discovered fire sometimes.  I'm not willing to take the thing outside and actually make it truly portable, though, since I don't want to be thought of as anti-social (at least when I don't want to be), and I'm fricking petrified that the thing is going to slip out of my hands and break (which is a justifiable fear with the Micro, since it's shaped like a bar of soap and doesn't have much of a grip to speak of). 
 
Anyone still marvel at portable gaming at all, or have any similar stories of fears or cool moments with their portable systems?  I'm cool if you're all blasé about it, but I'm interested to know if anyone can sympathize with me, or talk about how it's allowed for unusual opportunities (you see promo pictures of people linked up on a bus, but I've never seen such a thing in real life).
6 Comments
7 Comments
Posted by ahoodedfigure

 Dungeon hacking + robot blasting == chocolate + peanut butter.
While playing Aria of Sorrow and FFIV, I found that when the charge light goes on on my Gameboy Micro (the start and select buttons turn red, like two angry, angry eyes) I tend to incorporate it mentally into the game I'm playing.  Like with Aria, I found myself rushing to save because it felt as though the game had suddenly imposed a time limit on me, when what it actually was was the real world telling me the batteries were running low.
 
Portable gaming is pretty new to me, I guess.  I marveled at a very old version of Super Mario Bros. for the Gameboy, I wanted to get the Atari Lynx but never did (probably best I didn't, even though I think Xybots would have made me a happy kid), I actually missed the chance once to buy a Sega Game Gear at a yard sale which still bugs me, but it was only when I bought an adapter for my Gamecube that I actually played any portable games in earnest, and this Micro is my first actual portable game system 
 
( Tiger stuff, Game and Watch, and the like not included. There's a Tiger submarine game that I had that was actually pretty damned fun, a friend's Game-and-Watch that was about producing cement that was cool but too hard past a certain point, and an addictive Tetris knockoff that I gave to a former girlfriend, which was fun but not the best, since it seemed to start in one of four different ways or so).
 
Since I'm new to modern portable gaming, I still am amazed at being able to play a game while I'm hidden under the covers in bed, or in a different room than the TV. I don't make prayers to the battery gods or sacrifice chickens to the thing, but I still feel a bit like a cave dweller who just discovered fire sometimes.  I'm not willing to take the thing outside and actually make it truly portable, though, since I don't want to be thought of as anti-social (at least when I don't want to be), and I'm fricking petrified that the thing is going to slip out of my hands and break (which is a justifiable fear with the Micro, since it's shaped like a bar of soap and doesn't have much of a grip to speak of). 
 
Anyone still marvel at portable gaming at all, or have any similar stories of fears or cool moments with their portable systems?  I'm cool if you're all blasé about it, but I'm interested to know if anyone can sympathize with me, or talk about how it's allowed for unusual opportunities (you see promo pictures of people linked up on a bus, but I've never seen such a thing in real life).
Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw

I didn't get into portable gaming at all until the DS, as most everything up until that point was impossible for my eyes to decipher.  But when I popped in Final Fantasy Tactics A2, I was immediately blown away.  To an extent, I still am.  I can't believe I'm playing such high quality games (both in terms of gameplay and graphics) on a thing that fits into my pocket.  It's stunning.  And the DS has really become my refuge for all things JRPG, which I love.
Moderator Online
Posted by Pepsiman

If you ever downgrade to an original Game Boy for whatever reason, don't fear about breaking it, because that thing can weather an apocalypse.

Posted by vidiot

Oh god, the sheer mention of the Game Gear gives me memories of my cousin hunting down batteries. I never owned a Game Gear, but I probably played more of the Game Gear than he ever did.  
 
But yeah, my first modern portable game system was the DS, and my first reaction was trying to decipher the fact that I didn't need to buy batteries for it.

Edited by Bigandtasty

Heh, I remember running to save when the lights turned red when playing games like Golden Sun, Tactics Advance, Pokemon, etc. When I had a Game Boy Color, I waited 10 seconds after saving in Pokemon Red and Silver to make sure that I wouldn't screw anything up. When I first had a GBA SP, I made sure to wash my hands before playing it. Needless to say, I don't do anything like that for any game or any system now.
 
My experience is opposite yours somewhat: LOTS of portable gaming from the ages of 9-13 or so, and then generally stopped and switched back to PCs and consoles. Last major game I played on a portable from start to finish was Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga. I can sympathize with you feeling like you're being anti-social if you're playing it often outside the house, because quite a few relatives gave me grief over that.
 
For me, part of the reason behind that switch is that I used to take loads of road trips to relatives' houses, and portables were my best friend in that case. Now if I'm going somewhere, I'm usually the driver, so portables feel like they have almost no place. Sure, they're more convenient when moving around the home and all, but still. The other reason that made me mostly quit portable gaming was the transition to DS, and I wasn't sure if I wanted DS or PSP. Now, I know I would take a DS over a PSP given the choice, but don't really want to shell out the money from it.
 
But hey, maybe life will take me somewhere I don't expect, like becoming a city guy who takes the subway every morning, and the 3DS or PSP2 will become my best friend.
 
Have fun with the Micro, and anything you get beyond that. There's certainly a lot of JRPG/SRPG goodness to be had on portables, at the very least.

Posted by reflekshun

Man, being able to play Final Fantasy VII on the PSP is to me an amazing act. I'm like you in that I tend to play it sitting on a random couch in my house / apartment, or laying in bed, playing outside or on the train happens less often. But the mere fact that I can play amazing games with powerful stories on this tiny thing anywhere in my house, while walking around and with SLEEP functionality (that might be my one biggest favourite addition) blows my mind.  
 
Also, currently travelling around the world away from my console and TV, is AMAZING considering I can continue play totally awesome games on the psp, continue to roll up katamari even though my address is changing often and I'm living out of a suitcase, that is also truly awesome.
 
Being able to go back to all these remakes that are coming out.. Like the Final Fantasy ones among many other RPG remakes, with new cutscenes and updated graphics is just so much fun and impressive to see on a handheld device! 
 
So yeah, I'm totally feeling you on hand held gaming.. And its doing me WONDERS on this travelling experience I'm having right now.. 

Posted by ahoodedfigure

Great responses, everyone :)  
 
I don't think the novelty of having a little gaming device on the nightstand ever left me; I wound up having to take it out of the room once I'd beaten Aria of Sorrow and FF IV just so I wouldn't reflexively reach for the thing when I'd woken up. Gaming in bed!  It's crazy!
 
I wonder how many more recharges my Gameboy Micro has to go.  The times are steadily getting earlier and earlier.