So I've been sitting here on a lazy Friday afternoon thinking about video games as I usually do. I've been thinking of purchasing a 3DS in June as a birthday present for myself, but I keep hearing good things about Vita games as well and maybe I should purchase one of those (or buy a functioning PSP, as I broke mine many years ago when I got bored and took it apart, tearing the leads off a ribbon cable in the process).
However, I really can't get myself enthused by any of this. Even when thinking about how great Etrian Odyssey IV, Pokemon X/Y, Persona 4 Golden, or Soul Sacrifice look, the idea of playing them on a handheld system still feels about as exciting as the idea of leaving work early so I can go to a dentist appointment.
Well, as I mentioned, today has been a very "Friday" sort of Friday, and I've found myself with a good deal of time to ruminate on what the cause of this apathy would be. I've come up with a series of arguments against continuing to pursue handheld gaming:
- I live alone, and am in general a very solitary and reclusive individual. "Homebody" is one way to describe me. Others have chosen "hermitic". So the argument for handheld gaming being useful when I don't want to disrupt someone else's use of the TV (or the stationary consoles) does not apply for me.
- I live in the midwest, so my daily commute is very much a manual one - that is to say, there is no method of mass transit available to me where I can just sit and wait until it's my turn to get off the train or bus or what have you (not without severely damaging my efficiency, safety, and/or financial stability to use them).
- If you combine points 1 and 2, you can understand that even when I'm found outside of my home, it's not an opportunity for gaming. This is because the only time I leave my home would be because of a handful of very specific reasons. These reasons include: Going to work; Running errands; De-stressing in a manner that requires complete technological disconnect to be successful. Two reasons do exist that would be good for handheld gaming: travel back to my hometown to visit family or college friends, or when I occasionally travel.
- The previous three points mean, essentially, that besides when I'm out of town (which is a very rare occurrence - so far I'm expecting to be out of town 3 or 4 more times for the entire year of 2013) the only time I would ever be in a situation that I could play a handheld game is when I could also be playing video games on my PC or gaming consoles.
- The frequency with which games I'm interested in are released for handheld systems is way lower than stationary console/PC games. The number of games I'm even debating the merits of purchase for the 3DS during all of 2013 (4) is the same as the number of games I've already pre-ordered for March. This really makes it hard to stomach spending $150 - $200 on a handheld gaming system.
- Even the "10 out of 10" handheld games which have been released have a very hard time standing up against the "8 out of 10" console/PC games. the 9's and 10's in the console/PC gaming market are therefore something I don't even think can happen on a handheld system. At the very least, I've never experienced one.
So with all the information above in mind perhaps you can understand that whenever I play a game on a handheld system there's some small piece of me which is gnawing away at my own enjoyment, whispering, "you realize that you're giving up the opportunity to play some game on your PC/PS3/360/WiiU to instead play what is in all likelihood a worse game on this tiny screen rendering its crappy graphics and emitting tinny lo-fi music while it requires you to fumble with these lilliputian controls". Invariably, I put the game down and rarely ever pick it back up again.
I don't want to give up on an entire branch of gaming, though, guys! I really want to figure out a way that I can enjoy these titles again. Heck, 7 of my top 20 RPG's of this generation were DS titles - I could be missing a ton if I give handhelds up now. Are there any Polynauts out there who are in a similar situation to me, but have found value in handheld gaming? Would you like to share your defense of the platforms with me so I can see what I'm missing?
I'd appreciate your input!