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Things I have Learned as a Gaming Parent

October 28, 2010 131 comments

In no particular order:

#1. Spare time used to be game time. As a parent, spare time no longer exists. Game time and sleep time are now used interchangeably.

#2. When deciding on a game, game ratings were never even considered pre-parenting. Now mature rated games actually mean something. That meaning is – This is a (cannot be played around the kids) game.

#3. “Kiddie” games are no longer off limits nor are “casual” games.

#4. The PSP becomes less of a portable gaming system and more of a portable “shut the kid up” tool. (Ok I only let her watch Cars or Incredibles on it from time to time but only as a treat. I don’t actually use it to “shut the kid up” even though it tends to do just that. It just sounded funnier).

#5. Controllers should never be left on a surface that is lower than a couch/coffee table + 3 ft lest you want to play with greasy food covered controllers. This is also true when you have friends over who have potato chip hands. In that situation you need the controllers behind lock and key.

#6. “Fake” game controllers are never good enough. The only acceptable controller to a child is the one that is currently in use.

#7. Video game cosplay has a coolness factor of x10 on your own child. Not to mention an equal x10 cuteness factor on that mini you.

#8. Spontaneous on sale/clearanced gaming purchases have been replaced by on sale/clearanced kids toys or clothing.

#9. The cost of daycare for 2 children is roughly equal to buying a PlayStation 3 console (or a 360) plus a game – every single week (give or take depending on what daycare of course). Ouchies.

#10. Expendable cash actually existed before the advent of my children. Nowadays I’m happy when I can afford to buy a $3.17 Jr. Bacon cheeseburger meal from Wendy’s.

So… Anything you have learned as a gaming parent?

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PSP Go – A Great yet Ultimately Failed Project

September 21, 2010 2 comments

I’ve now had my PSP Go for a little over 3 months and I felt the need to share my thoughts.

First off, I love my PSP Go. I only have 3 games for it and a handful of demos but what I can say is that they all look great. it still amazes me the graphical capabilities on such a small machine. By small I mean it fits into my pocket. It even fits in my jeans pocket WITH the soft cover. That’s impressive. Even though it’s so tiny, it still feels solid and not cheap.

Being able to load up a game directly from the systems is awesome. There is something to be said about being able to carry your library of games without literally carrying your library of games. If I had to carry all of my games around via UMD’s I’d probably not do it. I’d have a single game in the drive at all times while I’m out and about only to switch out when I was at home. I’d have to plan ahead and I really don’t want to bother.

It comes with 16 GB of internal storage. It seems that the memory size of PSP games vary anywhere from 50MB to 1.2GB. That’s a pretty large margin and the 3 games I have on my PSP Go take up roughly 3GB already. If this is any indication of the average size of a PSP game for download, you should burn through that 16GB rather quickly. Well I guess it’s a good thing that you can expand that memory with a memory stick micro. I believe the current maximum is an additional 16 GB effectively doubling the storage.

Movies look great on the Go. I often let the lil girl watch Cars on it. She loves the thing. Entertainment anywhere I say.

Bluetooth is a great feature. I’ve sent photos and music to and from my phone. The bluetooth also allows my PS3 controllers to connect to the PSP Go. A handy feature that I have not yet used but a handy feature no less.

Remote play has been a great feature for me. Syncing up the PSP Go to my PS3 was simple and has been very handy in the proper situations. I have a large catalog of photos residing on my PS3 and being able to access them at any time has been quite useful. If I’m visiting family I can show them pics of the kids from my PSP. It’s great! I can also remote play some games but I haven’t done enough of that to really comment. All I know is that for the one game I played remotely, it did not seem responsive enough. I haven’t done it again.

Now overall this is a very high quality system that has some great features. I am very glad to have it. Even so I’ll tell you what I think the problems are with this system and why it’s just not doing well in the market. I’m sure everyone will agree with my first point.

The price point is unreasonable. $250 for a portable system when you can purchase a PS3 for $300. That’s only a $50 difference. It makes even less sense when you can get a standard PSP 3000 for about $170 which does almost the exact same thing as a PSP Go does plus it plays UMD’s.

Next big problem would be that the price of the download versions of UMD’s are typically equal to (if not more expensive than) their UMD counterparts. I don’t care how they argue it, a downloaded version of a game should be discounted. Publishers don’t have to go through the expense of creating a disc or packaging. Heck they don’t have to even worry about shipping costs. This savings should be passed on to the consumer.

Another problem with the download only concept is that not all UMD games are actually available for download. Prime example would be Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. Now if you are trying to push a download only gaming device, all the games should be available for it. I’m just sayin.

The biggest hurdle of the PSP Go to be successful is the total lack of support from Sony. They started off so gung ho about it last year but now you only hear about it in hushed tones. Hell even the PSP 3000 has more support than the PSP Go. They still make UMD’s and they come out with different PSP 3000 bundles monthly it seems. It’s very obvious at this stage that the PSP Go was a testing ground for the PSP2. Yes I know, the PSP2 hasn’t been announced yet but there are rumors aplenty and that’s all that’s needed for a large sum of people to just wait it out. At a price point of $250, I’d say they are right to do so. Actually, the fact that they aren’t bothering to support the PSP Go is further proof that they are working on a PSP2.

My opinion still stands that the PSP Go is an awesome system. A failed yet awesome system. It’s only failure is that Papa Sony just has no pride in his child. He loves the older brothers so much more and the PSP Go is treated as the red headed stepchild of the family.

Way to go Sony. Way to go.