With the release of the Nintendo GameBoy in 1989, the evolution of gaming systems split into two different branches. The main branch, which consists of larger systems with lots of horsepower and are hooked up to a television, continued on its merry way to eventually bring us the Sony PlayStation, Microsoft Xbox, and Nintendo Wii. But the portable GameBoy brought about a whole new line of gaming systems, the focus of which was portability. No longer did someone have to be tethered to the TV in his or her living room in order to save the princess. Games could be brought along in a backpack and played on the bus ride home from school or in the waiting room at the doctor’s office.
Two of the more modern portable gaming systems to come along are the Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP) and the Nintendo DS (although the DS Lite is Nintendo’s latest version of this system). These systems have advanced the field even further when it comes to portable gaming, but there are several differences between the two.
For starters, the overall design of the two systems differs greatly. The PSP is styled in the candybar design, which is to say, it is a rectangle that is designed to be held with both hands on each side. It has a 4.3-inch screen that takes up most of the top of the device, with directional buttons on the left side and other buttons which do various things on the right side.
On the other hand, the Nintendo DS is a bit more compact than the PSP. At 1.4 inches less wide, it uses its “flip” design to be a bit more portable than its competition. It also has two screens, one on the main part of the system, and one on the lid that flips up. However, each screen is only 3 inches wide, so the game play is a bit different on this system. One benefit to this design though, is that the lid protects the screen when the DS is being carried around.
Another difference is that the Nintendo DS comes with a touchscreen as its main, lower screen. It also comes with a stylus for use with this screen. The system still has traditional button-style controls on each side of the lower screen. And these controls evoke the classic ones on the original Nintendo paddle. Just the sight of them makes me want to hit Up-Up-Down-Down-Left-Right-Left-Right-B-A-Start. The PSP’s screen is not a touchscreen, so if you’re into that, the DS is probably more your speed.
Each system does have a web browser, however on the DS it must be purchased separately. This browser is a version of the Opera browser, and it has two modes – it can display the web page on the main screen with a magnified version of the page on the other screen, or it can display the page on both screens as one continuous page. The PSP’s browser is free as part of a software update, and is a version of the NetFront browser, by Access Co, Ltd.
This only scratches the surface of the differences between these two systems, as they differ greatly. The playing experience, accessories, and overall look and feel of the two devices are so different; it’s very tough to compare them. I believe that it’s basically a matter of personal preference as to which one’s the better system.