Malik  (12/17/04)

It's been a busy week, once again.  I'm trying to get a week or so off of work later this month, so I've had to let some things slide.  Mostly, I've had to let my Bitchings slide.  It's a sad and unfortunate problem that arises when a full time drone (person who works a job that leads to little room for self-motivated activities) tries to find the freedom to be fully dedicated with his true passion (this site).  So, this week, I have to keep things short again.  I don't like it, and I hope you don't like it.  I'm aiming for a bit more next week, but things will definitely pick up after that.  So, for now, I'm Malik, you're bitchy captain.

Heavy Bias 

After the PSP had been out for only a few days, Gamespot had 6 or more links to positive biased PSP news stories on their news page.  Meanwhile, the DS gathered a tiny amount of responses, counting some of how the system is "failing" (because it didn't get the large lines that the PSP launch drew in). Considering how both of these systems are going to be in direct competition (I know how Nintendo and Sony keep claiming how these two systems are not in direct competition, but I don't think they cleared this with the consumers...just look at the flames from various DS and PSP forums and you'll understand), and how they both use technology that is truly ground breaking for portables, now is not the time for's the time for understanding. 

While I am a DS owner, and have strongly supported the DS, I should explain my position. Primarily, I support the DS for it's ease of use and innovative features (such as the wireless technology and the touch screens). However, I still have some strong reservations about the lack of good titles, which should be corrected in the next year. At the same time, I have no strong feelings for the PSP, since I have not had the (hopefully...) pleasurable experience of trying one out yet. However, I can see the strong line up of potential games, despite the lack of solid launch titles (just like the DS). I can also see that the battery situation is a definite liability for the PSP (with enough battery life that you can watch a single movie on the built-in movie player). However, I fully intend to purchase a PSP at or around the US launch...assuming the game forecast doesn't go awry. Most of all, I see that these two systems both have their strong points and both are direct competition for each other (and competition is a good thing since it will push all involved parties to bring out their best products and line-ups). 

So, my real complaint is how the bias will effect things. For the informed geek, bias means nothing. It all comes down to the geekish pursuit of finding the truth behind games. However, the fanboys and the gullible will easily take this bias as truth, and thus the play-field will face some disruption. This can only have adverse effects on the future of one or both systems (too much hype for the PSP will lead to some disappointment, which makes short term success and long term failure, while too much negative bias for the DS will only lead to a quicker failure, and an eventual N64 situation). In a perfect world, bias would mean nothing since all consumers owe it to the work they put in, which gets their money that goes to their games, to do the proper research into what they intend to buy...but in a perfect world the Virtual Boy would've never been built, Sega would've been more successful with the Dreamcast, and Acclaim would've gone under far quicker. 

With the number of news articles one can find on the success of the PSP (which has not been out long enough to call a success or a failure) and it's amazing features, a similar number should be presented on the DS. However, the DS and the PSP both use a different philosophy on what direction to take innovation. The PSP uses some well established rules of using a typical controller scheme, a typical display setup, and a typical array of gaming choices. Meanwhile the DS is using some innovation in controls with the dual screens, and some definite innovations with the controller scheme by using a touch screen. These, in turn, lead to some more innovative game styles that take advantage of touch screens and multiple displays. This is where the beginning of the bias comes from. 

People tend to fear that which is different...well, not necessarily fear, but they tend to be more skeptical. This skepticism has led the general consensus on the DS to be negative. However, this negativity is based on what the system looks like and not what it plays like. I know. I felt the same way until I tried an in store demo of the DS at the local EB. 

However, with a lower level of skepticism invoking features, the PSP looks far more usable and friendly...I guess you could say it looks more "comfortable". This is best seen with some recent news stories that quoted the DS as being too big to be portable while the PSP would be the ideal size. Strangely, these two handhelds are the same size (almost the exact same size). Or there's the matter of how many reports talk of how the DS game line-up is too limited with puzzle games and the games that will be based on the touch screen idea, while the PSP will have a wider selection of games. This is once again wrong since the DS and PSP have almost identical line-ups in terms of genres (both have puzzle, racing, sports, platformers, RPGs, etc in their future), but the touch screen concept, once again, caused skepticism to outweigh reason and research. 

Deep down, this skepticism is easily removed by actually trying the console in question (I know there's plenty of skepticism about the PSP and it's analogue nub). However, the DS uses the most innovation and thus it faces the bulk of this bias. However, considering the news media has access to both systems, the bias should at least be broken at this level. However, the majority of the media still hasn't seemed to have given the DS an honest trial, and the PSP info still seems based on far too little information. 

All I'm really asking for, in this situation, is for some even presentation of the facts. I, for one, look forward to playing and owning both handhelds. However, the best situation, in this new handheld war, can only arise if both systems are treated evenly and allowed to shine on their own merits. We've all seen the effects of a system going without any solid competition (like the first year of the PS2...also known, to the people who owned a PS2 at this time, as the "dark year"). It's only when competition is strong that a market can truly be beneficial for both the game companies and the game players. 


It's like your parents or teachers or whoever probably told you at some point in your younger years. Don't judge a book by it's cover. Normally that sounds like tacky and cheesy crap, but in this case, it is the best solution. However, this is not just for us or for the's for everyone. 

The media has jumped on the PSP bandwagon without much to gauge the PSP on. Well, now it has the Japanese version with only a week or so of being out (the "or so" are for those outlets that bought a week early PSP from a special Sony auction), but prior to that, the PSP was still being touted as the messiah of portable systems. It would save us from the doom of Nintendo. Because, obviously, Nintendo knows nothing about handhelds...they've only had the Gameboy family running since the late 80's. Obviously they know nothing about putting together a winning handheld. 

These media outlets need to curb their enthusiasm a little. The PSP looks good, but tell us WHY. As for the DS looking like crap to them...tell us WHY. Also, make sure you don't use the same points for the PSP that you use against the DS (like how the DS is too big to be a portable, but the PSP is perfect when they come out to the same size. Also, the love of the media for the versatility of the PSP along with the hate of the DS for it's dedicated nature is nothing short of hilarious...yup, the PSP can play videos...sorta. You either need a video UMD (they don't exist yet, and who knows for sure when they will) or you need to put in a good deal of dedication to making a video file work from a memory stick. Plus, with the UMD being a time bomb (let's see if those UMD movies you eventually may be able to buy can be used in about 5 or so DVDs have been good for longer than that and they will remain so with the current plan of DVD evolution), the fact has been ignored that buying a UMD video for (approximately) the same price as a DVD is only going to be a waste of money in the long run. 

At the same time, those of us who are more likely to follow a review from a game site, magazine, or whatever need to open our eyes to things. A media outlet is only as good as it's reporters and editors, all of which are human. Those of us who make impulse decisions based on what the game site we frequent most says are ultimately making as informed of a decision as if we bought a game based only on the box-art. We need to all just dig a little deeper nd try things out before forming any conclusions. 


Life keeps me busy, so I'm kept from my desire to bitch the world into a better place.  Anyway, if you want to, for some reason, you can write me or put your thoughts to the forums.  Peace.