Gamer for Life

Video Games over the years

When I was going through the garage in December to bring the Christmas boxes in the house, I came across our old Atari 2600, so I brought it in and sat it on our dining room table. I brought it in because I wanted to see if it actually worked, and naturally, I couldn’t find the power plug, so that’s a no. So I dusted it off so I could take a picture so I could tell you this story.

I was born in 1970, and the Atari 2600 came out in the late 70’s. My step father bought one, but kept it attached to the living room TV and wouldn’t let anyone play with it, so it sat there doing nothing. We would go to our cousins who had an Atari 5200, which in my opinion was way superior. Eventually in 1983 my step father put it in my bedroom, which was a walk in closet. Being “in the closet” took on a whole new literal meaning.

That was a decision I bet my parents would regret because I became unhealthily addicted to Pac-Man. Every level was the same exact level, the grid never changed. Here is how the game looked and sounded.

Moving right along…

We moved away from our apartment in 1984 to my aunts house in Simi Valley, and my beloved Atari was put in storage and I never saw it again. My cousins would eventually get a Nintendo Entertainment System, and they were 3 kids who all fought over it, and I wasn’t about to get into that fight because it was THEIR system, not mine. I decided that I didn’t really want to have anything more to do with video games until we were stable, so I didn’t want to play. They invited me to play Popeye, and I tried it once, but I didn’t care to invest my energy because I never knew if/when we would move away and I would have it taken away from me.

We did move away and into trailer parks where I played video games at their consoles in game rooms with quarters. I also had a little digital game that could fit into my pocket called Epoch Man that I enjoyed. I also had a Pac-Man watch with a joystick, so as far as I was concerned, I was set.

When I was 22 years old I got a Sega Game Gear with my 2nd boyfriend. We both bought them and we each had our own games. When he eventually broke up with me and I had to leave my apartment because I lost my job and didn’t even have money for food, I sold it at a pawn shop for a measly $20 for the entire package, including a case, several games and a TV tuner. That’s why I don’t have a picture.

When I was 24 years old I got a Nintendo Game Boy, which I still have with 1 game. We were always too broke for food and cigarettes for me, so every time we needed money, one game had to make a sacrifice, which is probably why I hoard games now lol. The Game Boy in its case along with a external battery that clips on to your belt as well as a cleaner disk is pictured above.

Some time in the early 2000’s, I had a website from a hosting company that gave me the option of selling web hosting to people. People would pay me the full price, and I would make a small profit every month. One of the hosting customers asked me if he could pay me for his hosting by selling me his Nintendo 64, and I said yes because I had always wanted one of those. I had a couple of games, but I did eventually sell it several years ago on eBay because I needed the money. It was fun playing it though.

I had played computer video games on my Apple //e in 1990-1992 when I had to sell that system. The one game I really had was King’s Quest 4 The Perils of Rosella. When I bought my computer in 1997, I found several Sierra game collections and bought them. I also played The Sims in 2000 and then in 2002 I started playing EverQuest and I played that for 6 years until 2008, which brings me to the PlayStation years.

In 2007 I bought a PlayStation Portable, aka PSP. I bought and still have 32 physical game UMD’s, and I don’t even know how many game downloads. I played that game so much that the power button barely turns it on anymore, and when it does turn on, the stick doesn’t work because when I try to go right, my character says “F you! I’m going left.”

In 2015 my partner bought me a PlayStation 4 for Christmas. I had asked for a PlayStation 3 because I thought it would be less expensive, but he insisted that if he was going to buy me a game system, he was going to buy brand new, not used, and it might as well be the most current system. Hey, I’m OK with pre-owned at Game Stop. Then I broke my leg in December 2016 and couldn’t play with my PS4  because I couldn’t sit straight up, so he took me to Game Stop in my wheelchair to buy me a PS Vita, which they had to order for me to be delivered to our house via UPS. I haven’t played with the PS Vita as much as I played with my PSP, but I do still play with it when I am not in my bedroom, which is where I play with my PS4 daily.

So that’s about it. That is my video game history. I have always been a gamer since I was a kid, and I will always be a gamer until the day I die.

By the way, the Atari 2600 you see in the picture above is NOT the same one from my childhood. My partner had that when we met.

Also note that I have also played video games on my smart phones over the years as well as my Nook HD+.

Review – Sony PSP

I’m fairly certain there are folks at Nintendo feeling some serious self-loathing right about now. You see, back in the mid-90′s Nintendo contracted Sony to develop a CD-ROM drive for the Super Nintendo. As the project progressed, a number of factors (one of them being the spectacular failure of the Sega CD and its’ followup the 32X) led Nintendo to can the project. Sony was left holding the bag, with a CD-based gaming system but no one to sell it to.

Making proverbial lemonade from lemons, Sony turned around and produced what is perhaps the most successful game console in history, the Sony Playstation. The result? For the first time in history, Nintendo took second place in the video game console market, while fellow rival Sega got out of the console business altogether.

One segment of the gaming market Nintendo still has a stranglehold on, however, is the handheld sector. Beginning with the original Gameboy, the name Nintendo has been a veritable synonym for handheld gaming. This dominant streak has held sway through several subsequent iterations of the Gameboy. Some have claimed Nintendo’s dual screen DS handheld system to be a revolutionary step forward in portable gaming. Others have decried it as gimmicky. Whichever side you fall on, there’s no doubt Nintendo execs are fingering their collars as Sony prepares to rain on their parade with their new Playstation Portable – aka the PSP.

Comparing the two systems, I’d say there’s a real chance Nintendo may finally have a serious challenger to the portable gaming throne. Most assuredly, Nintendo will claim that they are pursuing a different demographic than Sony (read ‘kids’), and to their credit the pre-teen crowd will probably favor the DS over the PSP. But for anyone over the age of 12, the PSP is definitely a serious contender for your pocket change.

Okay, so enough Nintendo-bashing. Review the damn thing already.

The first impression one gets from the PSP (once you’ve ravenously clawed your way through the packaging) is just how sleek the system is. From a purely aesthetic standpoint, the PSP is one seriously sexy piece of cutting-edge tech. The system’s faceplate is fashioned of one glassy piece, interrupted only by the protrusion of the various buttons. The backside is just as nice, with the UMD disc door featuring a prominent PSP logo inside a silver metal ring set flush against the backplate. The two shoulder buttons are clear plastic, and the perimeter edge is accented in silver giving the whole thing a very streamlined look.

Of course, looks are one thing, but how does it actually play? I’m happy to report that the PSP delivers very well in this regard. For a portable system, weight is an important factor, as it is by nature handheld. The PSP is fairly lightweight, especially considering all the hi-tech goodness crammed into it’s slim chassis. In fact, it weighs just about the same as the Nintendo DS, if you need the comparison. You could easily play this thing for hours straight without feeling weighed down.

One thing that takes a little getting used to is the somewhat cramped form-factor. While the PSP’s controls may be perfect for Japanese gamers, most Westerners will find that having a go with the PSP will involve a short learning curve while hunting for a comfortable grip. Really, though, it’s no worse than any handheld system before it, and there’s no denying that Sony designed the PSP with ergonomics in mind. The back of the PSP has a very subtle curvature on each side, creating a natural shallow channel for placing one’s fingertips…it’s a small detail, but it counts.

Sony smartly modeled the PSP’s controls on the PS2′s Dualshock controllers, minus two of the front triggers and the right control stick. Replacing the left stick is an analog ‘nub’, which works much better than it sounds. Rather than tilt on an axis, the nub moves gently in a horizontal direction, giving you the same control as a stick but without the height a stick would require. It’s actually a small bit of genius, and works great in action.

As you’ve probably heard, the PSP’s main selling point is its’ 4.3-inch hi-def screen. While 4.3 inches doesn’t sound like much on paper, the PSP’s screen really must be seen to be appreciated. Both games and feature films look absolutely fantastic, and since the screen is formatted to a 16:9 ratio both applications can be appreciated in full widescreen, high-definition glory. Watching Spiderman 2 (which was included in the first million units sold in the US) is a remarkable experience; when I first booted it up, I laughed at the game store manager and proclaimed ‘It looks better than my television!’. And sure enough, it does. The screen is bright and crisp, and you may find yourself picking details out of the image that you might not have noticed the first time around.

Of course, movies are one thing, but the PSP is primarily a game platform. You wouldn’t think so, but games benefit from the PSP’s hi-def screen more so than films. Watching something like Wipeout Pure in motion is amazing; not only is the image in razor-sharp hi-definition, it’s also widescreen, allowing a larger view of the playfield than ever before. Again, you’d think a 4.3-inch screen wouldn’t capable of very much, but it just isn’t so. Without a doubt, the PSP’s screen is one of the greatest single innovations the handheld gaming world has ever seen.

Powering the PSP is a single 333mhz processor, which may not sound too impressive up front, but visually, the PSP stacks up favorably with it’s bigger sibling, the PS2. All the flourishes you’ve come to expect from the full-size gaming platforms, sharp textures, lens flares, hi-poly models, can be found on a device roughly the size of a scientific calculator. Pick up Ridge Racer, perhaps the most visually impressive title in the PSP’s launch lineup, and you won’t miss the PS2 iterations one bit. Ditto for the aforementioned Wipeout Pure, which actually manages to overtake the PS2′s Wipeout Fusion by a fair mile…and not merely by virtue of it’s portability. It’s actually a better game…if that doesn’t say anything to you about the power of the PSP, nothing will.

The PSP also lends itself to other applications, such as viewing photos, watching videos, and playing music. Though these are definitely secondary uses for the PSP, they are no less good selling points, as the PSP handles them well enough to be a serious consideration for anyone looking for a secondary media display device. In each instance, simply connecting the PSP to your PC with a 5-pin USB cord will let you drag files from your hard drive onto the PSP’s Memory Stick. Pictures and music are fairly straightforward, while video is less so, requiring you to convert it to .mp4 format and set up a separate folder on the Memory Stick.

Picture viewing is a breeze. The PSP interface is set up in a horizontal hierarchy displaying each function; you simply navigate left or right to choose the application and then vertically to choose the source. Selecting ‘Pictures’ and then ‘Memory Stick’ will let you browse whatever images you have stored on your Memory Stick. Since the PSP uses standard Memory Stick Duo format chips, if you have a digital camera that uses MS Duo sticks, you can simply slap the stick from your digican into the PSP and browse to your heart’s content. The PSP allows you to zoom in or out and pan the photos in any direction using the nub.

Music is just as easy…you just drag your ATRAC (ech!) or .mp3 (yay!) music files onto the Memory Stick, and then navigate to them the same way you did the photos. One thing the PSP is not, however, is an iPod…you have to set up folders for each group of tunes you want, though you can assign tracks to song groups and play them back at will. That said, the PSP’s music playback functionality is great. The PSP comes with a decent set of ear buds and a remote extension allowing you to control the PSP’s music functions without having to dig the unit out of your pocket. More importantly, it sounds great. If you know how to edit .wmu playlists, you can even assign thumbnail images to the tracks which will appear when you play back the tune on your PSP.

Videos are the biggest pain in the arse, mainly because you have to do the most fiddling. Luckily, homebrew PSP programmers have already jumped to action, and there are already a number of freeware apps available online which will let you drag ‘n drop video onto your PSP with little or no trouble.

The biggest drawback to all this media fun is the fact that the PSP ships with a measly 32mb Memory Stick. By the time you start messing around with music and video files, you’ll be sorely aching for a big ‘ole 1GB Memory Stick.

So okay, I’m sure you’re wondering whether or not any of the horror stories you’ve heard about the PSP are true. One of the bigger points of contention that’s hounded the PSP is the dreaded ‘dead pixels’ issue. Reports have circulated widely that a number of PSP units have been plagued by ‘dead pixels’, pixels which are either permanently light or dark, depending on how they’re stuck. My unit does indeed have a handful of these dreaded dead pixels, but seriously…I think you’d have to be a real anal-retentive type for it to be considered truly bothersome. I’m certain that a handful of PSP’s have some serious issues, and Sony has agreed to repair or replace these units at no cost. However, seeing the problem first-hand, I can honestly say that it doesn’t seem to be that big an issue. In fact, over the last week or so, some of the ‘dead pixels’ seem to have disappeared, leaving only two barely noticeable spots. The other standout problem with the PSP’s screen is that it is a veritable magnet for smudges and fingerprints. Sony thoughtfully includes a microfiber cleaning cloth with the unit, and believe me, you’ll get a lot of use out of it. If this really bothers you, be aware that for less than $5 you can buy a number of PSP ‘skins’ which protect the screen from smudges or (gasp!) scratches.

The second biggest concern about the PSP has been the battery life. So far, in my experience, the power supply is adequate for what the PSP is…a portable gaming system. With average use, you should expect to get between 4-5 hours of use between recharges. I generally use the PSP to while away lunch breaks or spare moments in the evening when I’ve got nothing better to do, and I have yet to encounter a situation when I’ve been left with a fully discharged PSP. If you really expect to put some time into the PSP, you will probably want to get into the habit of carrying around the included 5v power supply or invest in a secondary power source (Pelican currently sells a ‘power brick’ which will recharge your PSP twice on a single charge for a mere $10). Other reports, from UMD’s ejecting from the unit when its’ twisted, to poorly fabricated ‘square’ buttons, have really been overblown. I’m sure you can find faults with the system, but overall, it’s very well manufactured and should withstand years of use provided you take care of it.

A minor issue of mine lies with the UMD movie lineup. While I’m all for enjoying fan-favorite fare like Hellboy and Kill Bill, I wonder if film studios will truly embrace the format. Will we ever be able to enjoy Citizen Kane or the works of Jean Cocteau on the PSP? I think not. Considering the highly proprietary nature of the UMD format, I can’t imagine the studios taking a risk on less bankable material for consideration for UMD release. I suppose those of us who enjoy the occasional foreign or classic film will have to resort to storing flicks on the Memory Stick. Oh well…least common denominator, I suppose…

Film snobbery aside, the PSP is truly a remarkable piece of engineering. When the PSP’s specs were first unveiled a mere two years ago, it was widely believed that Sony’s handheld system was vaporware in the making, and that the final product couldn’t possibly deliver. Amazingly, they have. Nearly every point on Sony’s ambitious list is intact. With numerous hardware and software improvements on the way (digital camera attachments, installed web browser and chat clients, PSP MMORPG’s), Sony has crafted the first true challenger to the handheld gaming throne…and suddenly it feels like 1995 all over again.

Alex Mayo is a graphic designer of Irish/Filipino descent who grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was raised on comic books, punk rock, and grade-B kung fu movies, which explains his complete and utter inability to deal with real life in a rational manner. He is reasonably well-educated (if Art school counts), reasonably well-read (if graphic novels and the ‘Letters to Hustler…’ columns count), and reasonably well-fed (if Sliders from White Castle count).

Alex currently supports himself as a freelance graphic designer and as the helmsman in charge of http://destroy-all-monsters.com a popular Asian-American Pop Culture webzine.

Author: Alex Mayo
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
Provided by: Guest blogger

Hannah Montana PSP?

hannahpspI guess Sony has realized that there is a market for their PlayStation Portable for girls so they are coming out with a Hannah Montana PSP that is Lilac colored.

The Sony PSP Hannah Montana Lilac Bundle sells for $199.99 as most PSP bundles do and it comes with:

Limited Edition Hannah Montana Entertainment Pack Bundle includes limited edition “Lilac” PSP®-3000 system, Hannah Montana: Rock Out The Show UMD® game, Hannah Montana UMD® video, 2GB Memory Stick® Pro Duo, and PSP® vinyl stickers! Design and star in the show in the new Hannah Montana: Rock Out The Show video game. Travel to seven amazing locations around the world and customize your concerts. Design each performance including stage sets, song lists, and performers. Create a custom show in each city you visit and rock the stage for your fans!

This ships on 8/4/09 so to all the girls who ordered this your time is coming soon so just be patient a little longer.  You are lucky because you are getting the PSP 3 with 2GB of memory stick and stickers.  Not that I needed stickers but I am a little bitter that I only have 1GB memory stick heh.  I also have the PSP 2.  I’m happy with it though.

Although there is something that I didn’t notice as being listed and that’s the charger and battery.  I’m sure it comes with it because you can’t have a PSP without those but they just didn’t list them at the GameStop website.

PlayStation Store

Wow I just read on the PlayStation Blog that the PlayStation Portable is going to get a firmware upgrade to 5.0 which will allow you to go to the PlayStation Store using the PSP to buy and download games, demos, wallpaper, themes etc.  All you have to do is sign in to your account and they keep your credit card info so you just buy something and you don’t need to worry about entering your credit card info.  Which is actually dangerous unless you have a very good password with at least 20 digits with random letters, numbers and symbols.

Ok so I just went to the PlayStation Store website and it says that the website is going to be down until late October cause they are totally redesigning the website so you can download to your PSP or PS3.  How will they make any money if their website isn’t operational for 2 weeks?  LOL.

Wow I just read the full blog and they are also adding a full keyboard for texting instead of like a phone.  That’s pretty cool and I can’t wait for that.  It will make texting on the PSP much easier I think.  They are also adding a sleep timer that can be used for playing music on the PSP.  I am not quite sure what that means, maybe if you set it for 1 hour then in 1 hour the PSP goes into sleep mode so you don’t waste your battery.  Like if you must have music on when you go to bed.  I actually like that idea because I do like to hear music when I go to sleep but don’t want it to run all night.

Fidgit

Sci Fi channel has come out with a new website for gamers.  They seem to cover every platform, genre and every thing related to gaming.

http://www.fidgit.com

I try to look at everything for the PSP.  I just want to read everything I can about new updates and the future of the PlayStation Portable such as new features like when they added Skype and Internet radio.  This website doesn’t seem to have anything after July 2008 and right now it’s near the end of September.  I don’t really see this being a major source of news for me for the PSP right now but it is nice to have another source of news for the game system I love.

Skype for PSP

About a month or so ago Sony added Skype to their Sony PlayStation Portable but you have to buy the headset with the microphone and the remote control. Of course not long after that they created the combination for sale. Before you could only buy the headphones with mic by itself and then you’d have to additionally buy the regular headphones (minus the mic) with the remote control. You need the remote control for it to work.

I have started thinking about how maybe it is a good thing because if you have a cell phone and have unlimited calls that’s fine but I don’t. I have a pre-paid cell phone and so my calls cost .40 cents per minute. It’s especially frustrating when I am roaming. I think I should be able to call out for free on a cell phone like everyone else. Of course with Skype it is only free if you call other Skype users, otherwise you can buy time which is like 500 or 600 minutes for $10 which isn’t bad or you can pay $2.95 a month for unlimited calls (which is about 10,000 calls per month, they added that in there).

But you have to be in a wi-fi hotspot to be able to take advantage of that. I don’t know what T-Mobile has for you to use though. I was given a 6 month free wi-fi hotspot thing with the purchase of the PSP which I have not used yet because I don’t take it with me everywhere I go. I’m thinking that maybe the $10 phone card is a good idea cause I probably wouldn’t use it all the time and that 5 or 600 minutes wouldn’t expire after a month, you keep the minutes until you’ve used them up.

As soon as I get the money I’m going to think about getting the headset with mic from Game Stop and then setting an account up for me. I think it’s a good deal. And I want to see what T-Mobile does for PSP users per month.

eBuddy

I was looking at an article on “AIM Today” today (it’s called AIM Today and I read it today lol) about PSP (PlayStation Portable) and it was called PSPotential and it was like a list of 12 things you can do with a PSP.

One of the things was this thing called eBuddy which is a website and you basically can use either your cell phone or psp or whatever device you have, sign up with them and you can add all your IM programs to it like AOL, Yahoo, MSN, Gtalk and MySpace.

So since I’ve added all those things (I didn’t have Gtalk – from google – so I signed up for it lol) all I do is sign in with 1 name that I created for eBuddy and it signs me into all 5 IM services. And what’s cool is I can chat in an IM with someone or several people with my PSP. This makes it nice when I’m sitting in the living room and wanna chat with people.