Ups and Downs of Portables

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scotland
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Ups and Downs of Portables

Postby scotland » July 10th, 2016, 3:17 pm

I really enjoy my portables, often (but not by any means exclusively) Nintendo portables. They allow me to play lying face up on a couch or a bed, in lieu of reading when others are going to sleep, in a car (not driving), on a lunch break, etc. Portable games like Pokemon have become real phenomenons, and others like Advance Wars have given me many hours of fun.

However, being portable means being subjected to stress. Unlike a simple controller that can be dropped, a portable has the entire gaming system inside its shell. Unless you want a big rubber case on them, a drop is possibly fatal to the screen or the internal components. Even a rubber case is no guarantee, and even a dead pixel is supremely annoying. Grrrrr.

Now portables today compete with mobile devices like phones, which are oddly far more expensive, but we replace our very multifunctional and used constantly phones about every two years, plus the entire library is digital and transfers to the next phone. A tablet is similar, but it may last longer (having no 2 year plan), but we expect and accept a few years lifespan. However, I expect my Nintendo Gameboy SP or DS Lite to last and last and last, not just for years but even taking the occasional stress. They don't last, of course. One drop and its game over. One dead pixel, and its annoying unless you go to sometimes a lot of bother to try to replace the screen. Its all the eggs in one basket with a portable device.

As we ponder Nintendo's future - from Pokemon Go on mobile devices, to a possible fusion portable/console in the NX, this sticks in my mind. If I pay $250 for a Nintendo portable/console, that's far cheaper than a phone but I also expect it to still be working 10, 15, 20 years from now. That may not be fair, but that's part of the deal. If the Nintendo NX is part portable, better make it able to withstand drops, possibly with some sort of rubberized Otter box stock. Design it to be easy to repair, with standard screws, simple board swaps, easy connectors, easily damaged things like screens easy to swap out without massive disassembly...bring it back to the days of local repairs, and not just for the life of the portable but as long as replacement parts exist.

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scotland
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Re: Ups and Downs of Portables

Postby scotland » August 12th, 2016, 9:46 am

Small screens:

The upside is a small screen means the unit can be compact and light. However, reading text can be hard, and visual puzzles (think "I Spy") are needle in a haystack issues. I am not sure on eye strain - if your eyes don't have to dart very far to the left and right, maybe that's good, but having to peer into a tiny screen for details is not.

Skins:

For a couple of dollars, you can put a skin on your portable. Want your 3DS to look like Boba Fett or Bayonetta, you can do that.

twilighthotel
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Re: Ups and Downs of Portables

Postby twilighthotel » September 2nd, 2016, 11:05 am

Dropping or spilling something on a portable may be a kiss of death, yes, but the same thing can happen to a laptop PC or full-sized gaming console.

For me, the only real downside of a portable is that the games are generally perceived as being inferior to their console counterparts. Stuff on a PS3/PS4, 360/XB1 or Wii U are seen as major releases and original portable games or ports of console games to that portable are looked upon as lesser by the media and many gamers.

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scotland
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Re: Ups and Downs of Portables

Postby scotland » September 2nd, 2016, 1:18 pm

Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size do you? One does not know the quality of a steak by its sizzle.

Sure, portables have limitations. Battery powered, small case, heat to be disapated, shocks and scratches and the hazards of taking gaming on the road. Yet they are only relative restrictions. A modern portable is a pretty capable device. The restrictions can help give a game focus, reduced the size of the team which can have benefits, reduced costs allow more risks, etc.

Its like tv compared to movies. On the face, movies should beat tv hands down....but right now compare this summers movies to last years television. Yes. in the history of gaming most of the 'must play' games are console or PC games but I think the tech in portables today can make them a terrific platform.

eneuman96
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Re: Ups and Downs of Portables

Postby eneuman96 » September 2nd, 2016, 2:07 pm

I really appreciate being able to play games on the go. A lot of people rag on the PlayStation Vita for not having a lot of first-party exclusives, but I like how it's the only way to play a bunch of quality indie games wherever you go.

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Atariboy
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Re: Ups and Downs of Portables

Postby Atariboy » September 3rd, 2016, 9:17 am

For me, the screens often aren't very small at all.

In fact the larger handheld screens like the Wii U gamepad when playing a game via off-screen play or my 3DS XL fill more of my vision when held normally by me than my HDTV does from where I normally sit to play games.

It will vary from person to person since it's dependent on so many factors, but the diminutive screens of handhelds are often very competitive in size when you realize it's much closer to your eyes than your tv screen is.

People all too often forget about distance when they write off handhelds due to their small screens.

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scotland
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Re: Ups and Downs of Portables

Postby scotland » September 3rd, 2016, 12:14 pm

Good point Leo. I do forget about distance.

I also was not considering the WiiU as a portable, since its a console with an off tv capable controller. The games are console games, and all the tech is AC powered full throated console tech. Its like the old Gamecube lcd screen did not make the Gamecube a portable...but I am willing to listen to the counter that the WiiU should be considered a portable.

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Atariboy
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Re: Ups and Downs of Portables

Postby Atariboy » September 3rd, 2016, 12:37 pm

I'm not arguing for that distinction since you're tethered to the base console. It's very much a console, not a handheld.

It just happens to be an example of a large screen for a game system that when held in my hands as it's being used to play videogames, helps illustrate my point that small screens don't necessarily mean that your vision isn't just as filled up as with a larger television screen. I should've just stuck with the 3DS XL though for my illustration, given the subject at hand.

But while Wii U is very much a console even though it has a limited ability to double as a sort of handheld in your home, its screen dimensions also mirror some recent rumors for the NX screen size in recent days. And while not 100% confirmed, the NX is widely viewed to be a true portable that can also be docked at home for tv play.

Tron
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Re: Ups and Downs of Portables

Postby Tron » September 4th, 2016, 8:32 pm

twilighthotel wrote:Dropping or spilling something on a portable may be a kiss of death, yes, but the same thing can happen to a laptop PC or full-sized gaming console.

For me, the only real downside of a portable is that the games are generally perceived as being inferior to their console counterparts. Stuff on a PS3/PS4, 360/XB1 or Wii U are seen as major releases and original portable games or ports of console games to that portable are looked upon as lesser by the media and many gamers.


i was so happy to find out MLB Powerpros was on the DS just to find out it didn't even have a season mode. It sucks when handhelds get lousy options or key things are removed. It often feels like the handheld game is just tacked on, rather than trying to make it awesome.

bluenote
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Re: Ups and Downs of Portables

Postby bluenote » September 7th, 2016, 3:39 pm

Atariboy wrote:I'm not arguing for that distinction since you're tethered to the base console. It's very much a console, not a handheld.

It just happens to be an example of a large screen for a game system that when held in my hands as it's being used to play videogames, helps illustrate my point that small screens don't necessarily mean that your vision isn't just as filled up as with a larger television screen. I should've just stuck with the 3DS XL though for my illustration, given the subject at hand.

But while Wii U is very much a console even though it has a limited ability to double as a sort of handheld in your home, its screen dimensions also mirror some recent rumors for the NX screen size in recent days. And while not 100% confirmed, the NX is widely viewed to be a true portable that can also be docked at home for tv play.


I see what you're getting at but I do disagree. (and this coming from someone who prefers portable gaming!). I sit about 8 feet from my modest 42" tv. I will play Super Mario 3d World as an example. Play it on your Gamepad, on your couch, then switch to the TV view. The image is much larger on the TV. Look at Mario. He will be larger on tv then the gamepad.

Yes, your field of vision is taken up by the gamepad, but the image is still smaller. At least in my opinion.


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