Oh man, that makes my thumbs hurt just looking at it…

And I mean that in the best way possible.

I love my PSP, I really do. And it looks well-loved, too; there’s all sorts of scratches on the screen and worn paint. I bought it to keep myself entertained on the road trip to my first year of college; I’d already been buying games for it, so it was in no way an impulse purchase predicated solely on the fact that I could get it bundled with Dissidia Final Fantasy.

Thing is, I also love having physical copies of my games. Though they might get scratched up, they’re easily replaceable. I can loan a game to a friend for a weekend if they want to see how much they like it before they commit to buying. I also really like the aspect of going to the store and browsing games, chatting with other people in the store, and shooting the breeze with the sales clerks while they deliberately make the checkout process go slow because omg there’s a girl in here and she’s talking to me about video games. I had that experience buying my PSP, and all of my PSP games so far. I had that with almost all of my games. I didn’t have that experience with Flow, and I didn’t have that experience when I downloaded all 3 PSX Final Fantasy titles. I instead had the joy of waiting for three very large game files to download over AC internet. All aboard the failboat, destination failure.

But yet again, I really enjoy the specs the PSP2 is coming out of the gate with. I’m especially pleased with the second joystick, and the fact that it’s not just the same hardware repackaged as a slide-out piece of junk with a smaller screen than its predecessor and with no way of transferring ownership of your previously purchased UMDs to your new device. (The PSPGo, obviously, wasn’t just a trip on the failboat, it was a trip on the Fail Shuttle to the International Space Fail to perform routine fail inspections and to deliver the next year’s supply of fail for the failnauts living there.)

I think the strong points of the PSP2 outweigh my disappointment that my collection of UMDs are ultimately as outdated and obsolete as they looked the first time I laid eyes on them. My biggest hope is that there will be some way of officially transferring ownership of UMD titles to DLC versions, or those slick little memory cards that they showed in the announcement panel. There was no system in place for transferring your game library from the PSP to the Go, which was yet another notch in its fail case. I can’t imagine what system would be feasible, though…only that I want a system, and I want it yesterday. After all, there are several PSP titles coming out this year that I plan on buying, and I don’t like buying the same game twice at full price.

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    • bboessen
    • March 8th, 2011

    I’m intrigued by the “second joystick” comment (mostly out of ignorance): did the previous device not have one? What did it have instead?

    In a larger vein, what will adding the second stick do to players’ enjoyment of the system? Should we expect more complicated input sequences for games like we already have with the PS3 controller? Will players experience the device and its games as more interactive in the way we discussed it in class the other day because of the new hardware? Or will it just seem more complicated?

    • The current iterations of the PSP only have one joystick; there is just empty space where a second joystick would have gone.

      Adding a second joystick will be a godsend for FPS fans; many PSP titles are ports of existing titles and spin-offs from bigger, more well-known series, including FPS series (Call of Duty, Brothers in Arms, SOCOM: Navy Seals, etc.). Many Playstation games make use of both joysticks to control player motion and the camera. A lot of PSP titles worked around having only one joystick by assigning camera motion to the shoulder buttons (or by having a fixed camera), but in a FPS title, the shoulder buttons are triggers, making a free-motion camera extremely difficult to implement on a PSP FPS title (and a fixed camera is basically out of the question). It will also allow many more games to be ported to the PSP2–as it is, the only games that can be ported at the current time are games that only require a maximum of 1 joystick. With the addition of a second joystick (and with the touch-sensitive pads on the back fulfilling the roles of shoulder buttons), the entire library of Playstation titles will be potentially available for portable play.

      The problem of no second joystick shows up in a lot of reviews for current PSP games (especially spin-offs and ports of previous titles), and is often lamented in FPS reviews. Usually the targeting system turns into a weird situation involving targeting with the face buttons because you have to move with the joystick, or implementing an auto-target system, which takes the element of skill out of FPS games (which is arguably why people continue to play them). In some cases, you can still have some camera control via the face buttons having secondary functions which are activated by hitting a shoulder button, but you have to stop controlling the camera if you actually want to use those buttons for their primary purposes.

      Examples:
      http://psp.ign.com/articles/773/773255p1.html – Call of Duty: Roads to Victory review (awkward targeting system)
      http://psp.ign.com/articles/104/1047126p1.html – Assassin’s Creed: Bloodlines review (awkward camera control interfering with gameplay elements such as free-running)

      Some games (mostly RPGs and some action titles) are able to function just fine without a second joystick, but that’s mainly because there is limited need for the shoulder buttons in those types of games anyway. In Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, for example, the shoulder buttons control the camera outside of battle, and in battle, their function switches to allow the player to quickly cycle through their attack and magic options, so they never have to take their thumb off of the joystick. Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep also uses the shoulder buttons for camera motion both in and out of battle, but requires the player to stop moving in order to select different spells to use in combat (resulting in a strategic element to ordering your spell menu for optimal battle flow, but potentially life-threatening if your Cure spells are three or four items down the list).

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