Posts tagged psp
A few years back, the PSP had been launched in Japan and I was drooling at the pictures that adorned nearly every gaming site I went to. I even got to play about on an import model at my local CEX store and was mesmerised for a while.
It was a mix of “must have shiny” and “it’s like the gamegear had been thru the slimfast diet!”.
The only thing that saved me from buying it then was the poor line-up of games and the dearth of support for its media capabilities.
Fast forward to today and, while the game catalogue still hasn’t improved much, the media abilities of the now even trimmer PSP slim are very tempting indeed. Yet, I still held out from buying one.. That is, until I got my hands on a single game…
A friend of mine brought over his Japanese copy of Final Fantasy 7: Crisis Core (why do they get all the cool stuff!?) and I had nothing but “I gotta get me one of them” in my head for weeks.
I finally caved in to the voices in my head and bought one and, well I thought I’d put my experiences with it down somewhere!
The first thing you’ll notice is the total lack of a carry case in the box, and the sudden paranoia of “but, I don’t want my shiny to get dirty!” whenever you think about having to carry it around in your bag. For the price they are charging for this thing (the UK is getting gouged for a scary £130!) you’d have thought they’d be willing to give you a few extras to show they cared
If you didn’t get your PSP Slim with a memory stick then it’s certainly advised that you get one otherwise every game you load will scream about it and you’ll never be able to save any games, also things such as favourites and RSS feeds don’t work unless you get a card.
The type you need is a least a memory stick duo (if you have one of the big arsed original memory sticks you’re shit out of luck, if you have one of the tiny m2′s you will need the adapter that makes it big enough to fit into this thing), make sure you don’t get drawn into paying over the odds for a “gaming class” card cause, frankly you’re pissing extra money up against the wall.
To give you an idea of how much you should be paying, a 1Gb memory stick duo card should be going for about £20 and cheaper on the net, don’t get sucker punched by retail shops.
Once you have a memory card in your PSP, the full functions are available to you and allow you to get down to the whole point of it – enjoying yourself.
Having owned a DS for over a year the biggest problem is with the accept and reject buttons – they’re the opposite way around to the DS so I found myself accepting things I didn’t want and cancelling out of things I wanted to do, frustrating for a while but you soon get your fingers reprogrammed.
The extra memory onboard has improved load times of games and the various apps, but I still notice a rather sizable load time when the PSP has to read from its UMD, which does leave you feeling a bit let down – after all, it’s the whizziest and shiniest portable around, which makes you wish this thing would move a bit quicker when loading your game!
Beyond that, when you do get your game going you certainly notice just how much more grunt under the hood the thing has compared to the DS, even though you’ve prolly grown accustomed to better graphics on your consoles and/or PC you still catch yourself being blow away by just what the small thing can do.. You also begin to wonder how the DS is kicking it’s arse in terms of sales until you remember about the choice of games you have and you quickly remember why, even without homebrew titles the DS seemingly has a better selection of games that are fun to pick up and play (you remember fun right?).
I’ve not had a chance to try out the wireless play, partly because I don’t know anyone else with a PSP and partly because I’ve found its wifi to be quite dodgy at times – randomly telling you that it can’t find your access point, telling you the security settings are wrong and then randomly actually getting onto your wifi network – not very helpful in the slightest but something that I chalk up to the intrinsic problems of wifi, tho I did get it complain to me about my dedicated DS wireless network that the key I’m using isn’t a valid WEP key… I think sony have some problems with their wireless comms modules!
Also, with the power of a wifi enabled device that has a web browser on it, I have to say that I quite often caught myself doing a bit of naughty war walking and it not only scares me but makes me concerned just how many unsecured wireless networks there out in the wild.
This leads me quite neatly onto the web browser functionality (funny that ).
The browser powering the PSP’s access is known as NetFront and is quite lacking in features – it has a basic support for flash but not enough for the likes of youtube, revver, break or your other fav flash video sites.
It has problems with displaying other sites (CSS issues etc) and you can often fall foul of the poor space for caching, which can lead to you having to close the browser and open it back up again.
Many of your fav “web 2.0” (I hate that buzz word) sites won’t work if they’re running stuff like AJAX and ruby-on-rails.
That’s not to say that you can’t browse anything, but be prepared for many things to not work at all or to not be fully supported by your PSP.
The way in which you navigate makes good use of the limited interface, you can either use the D-pad to hop from one link to the other or you can flip to a bigger screen and use the analogue stick to move the mouse pointer around freely, hold down the square button to scroll from left to right and up n down.
The text entry is quite tedious, but with some handy quick choices to reduce the number of buttons you have to mash in order to get down the address you want.
Possibly the single biggest letdown is just how painful it is to browse the net using the very small resolution that the PSP’s screen runs at.
When you take the performance, it shows that the PSP is crying out for some opera muscle to power it rather than the limp NetFront. The interface is as good as it’s gonna get on your PSP tho and the lack of a touch interface (I occasionally found myself tapping the screen if I had been messing about with my DS prior to whipping out the PSP) does quite knock back the experience.
With the browser out of the way, we’re left with the movie, music and photo side of the device.
Starting off with the music abilities, it’s pretty simple and easy to use. I did notice with mine it created an MP3 folder on my memory card but it helpfully doesn’t pull the data from there creating a folder called “MUSIC” in the root of the card did the job.
It picked up the album art and displayed it and there is pretty much nothing else to go wrong, it took my test mp3 and played it without a glitch.
For video you have 2 choices, you can use the UMD slot and buy videos – sadly they can’t be used anywhere else and while they have dropped in price quite a lot (many titles are now £4.99), there are still too many with a price tag of £10 and higher that just will never shift.
Your other choice is to go with the memory card by loading up your memory stick with either mp4 or H.264 encoded videos – just make sure to dump them into a folder called “VIDEO” otherwise you’ll be told that there’s no video on your card, chances are you’ll have to guess that it needs this folder and create it yourself… To a not very savvy member of the public, this could prove to be a difficult task and lead to them only ever using UMD’s for their videos (I wonder if this was the plan all along).
I do think that UMD’s are due to die a horrible death anyway, especially with the news from the 2008 CES event that you can use a PS3 to transfer a copy of a bluray movie to the memory card of your PSP by simply inserting the disc, connecting up your PSP and hitting transfer. This is a master stroke and is certainly putting their machines to good use as well as catching onto the fact that we consumers want to be able to take and use our media when, where and how we like!
If only they had figured this out with DVD’s too!
The photo section is pretty much self explanatory really; if you have any pictures in the DCIM folder it’ll simply display them. This is the part of the PSP that I haven’t really used and seriously doubt I ever will too.. some people might find it useful, most people I reckon won’t bother with it either!
My final point on the PSP Slim is with the charging, you have the choice of using the supplied charger or using USB to charge the device. As anyone who has seen my youtube video can attest, I love the ability to charge devices using their built in USB ports. It reduces clutter and pointless unplugging and plugging in of items into and out of my power strips.
Yet, as ever with sony, it’s never as easy as plugging in the USB port and leaving it to work its magic on the battery. Oh no, sony forces you to first enable the setting for USB charging and then you have to activate USB communications before it actually begins to charge the device, breaking the number one rule – keep it simple stupid!
Why they thought it would be necessary to have the device on (so if it runs completely flat you’re in trouble) and to begin talking to your host device (quite blissfully ignoring the potential to simply use a plug with a USB jack on the end of it) is totally beyond me and just smacks of a half hearted effort at what should be a pretty standard feature.
I never bothered to buy the webcam as I don’t really see much of a use for it (plus it’s a bit of a rip off for what it is too).
I have, of course, not even mentioned the promised features that are to be coming in the future – the addition of Skype (tho you need to buy and use a sony headset in order to communicate) and the launch in Japan of a digital TV tuner, which I can only hope makes an appearance over here in the west (stop keeping all of the cool toys!).
Sadly, even tho the PSP has great media features and a handy browsing feature, it still remains quite ignored compared to my very loved DS and this is purely because I’m struggling to find any games other than the Mega Drive collection that actually gets my attention…
Until the time comes for crisis core to be released in the UK, my poor PSP will no doubt gather yet more dust until it gets to show how bright it can shine.
Well, my pandoras battery finally turned up and I had a 1gb memory stick kicking around.. time to show how easy it is to hack your PSP to run a custom firmware and open up its capabilities.
Blast Processing has a fantastic step by step guide, I used it get my flashing card set up and to find plenty of little apps for use with your newly hacked PSP.
Drop your comments, creations and whatnot into here:
Do you own a PSP?
Ever thought about hacking it so that you can play around with all those homebrew titles and use the flash memory to store your games on rather than the clunky UMD disks?
Do you have no fucking clue where to begin?
Well, blast processing have come up with the best PSP hacking guide that I have ever seen.
Browse on over to their site and have a read and breathe a bit of life into your dusty and attention starved PSP!
Back in november/december time, a friend of mine came over from japan to see us and brought his copy of crisis core with him. Being the FF7 freak that I am, I began drooling and pining for a PSP and a copy of said game.
Christmas Eve came around and I finally caved in and bought myself a PSP, but with practically no games to grab my attention, it has been spurned in favour for my DS. Just waiting for an english version of crisis core to be released.
This Wed I noticed that one of the game stores in Leeds (called PlayTime.. recommend them for you Leeds based people) had an american copy – as it had been released late last month – on their shelves; which lead to £35 flying out of my wallet before I knew what had happened >.< There goes the money I was going to use for a meal out with the GF!
I began sneaking little plays of the game at work and have to admit that the game has its hooks into me already - and pretty damn deep too. The only niggle being the whiney nature of Zack, he was so cool in the Japanese version. Instead we get this irritating kid who, by the sound of it, is yet to begin the path down puberty road.
However, late wed night I began to notice a strange effect happening on the right hand side of my PSP screen - it was almost like a hi-fi equaliser, bouncing up and down the side of the screen in a single column. This slowly developed into a solid block of grey running the height of my poor screen. No amount of pressing down on the chassis changed anything and it has since spread into 3 columns of this grey distortion. Not a happy puppy
As you can see from the blurry picture (come on, this is the net.. nothing is meant to be in focus! well, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it – unless you’re willing to donate a decent digicam my way!).
My guess is that this is to do with the data ribbon connecting the tft panel to the system, but I am hesitant to crack the thing open in order to fix it myself considering Sony’s fickle warranty nature.
So, I called up Sony UK and spelled out my alarming problem. A swift hold break later and I now have an RMA on my hands… This seems like a known problem with the way that they didn’t question anything and offered to swap it straight out.
I’m left wondering how common this is, I haven’t seen anything similar to it on the net. Any of you guys had this problem?
If you do have this problem then I recommend giving sony a quick bell and demand a replacement – just make sure you have the original battery and charger for the swap out.
Update – 11/04/08
The courier sent out by Sony turned up with a brand new PSP and happily swapped over. Problem now theirs.
Have to compliment Sony on how speedy they sorted this out for me, big thumbs up… I can now continue my crisis core addiction!
One juicy bit of info I was given tho is that quite a few PS3′s are being returned to Sony in order to fix various problems. So, any of you guys having issues with your PS3?
On paper, the PSP should be an awesome console.
Capable of rendering amazing graphics for a portable, immense potential as a PMP – that’s Portable Media Player for those wondering what I’m blathering on about – and a form factor that is comparable to Alyson Hannigan in hardware terms, though not quite up to Topanga levels just yet based on a pic I somehow stumbled across recently that kinda stunned me, mid google image search (it was for a boy meets world logo, honest!).
Uh, sorry… where was I? Ah yes, for all of its allure the device never really performed well in terms of sales and has been greatly over shadowed by the ugly, drooling throwback of the handheld litter, so what went wrong?
When I laid hands on a Japanese import oh so many years ago, it immediately seduced me but the line-up of games rather quickly snapped me out of my geek induced stupor and right back to reality. Instead of original content, it was nothing more than port after port of titles I either pissed about with on the previous gen of consoles or avoided like the plague!
For all of its appeal, the total package was hardly anything to get salivating over.
Over the following 2 years, my initial opinion of the PSP was never challenged; largely because whenever I journeyed into the PSP aisle within any game store, it was always full of overpriced, cardboard cut-out game crap – cookie-cutter for you American types. Essentially it would be row upon row of sports and racing titles ported in whole from the PS1 and PS2 interspersed with shite shooter games and uninspired action/adventure titles.
This poor form continued into 2007 when the hardware was given a makeover and the promise of a new FFVII based game broke down many of the barriers in my mind that stopped me from wanting a PSP; this caused me to enter a pining stage for a month that drove my girlfriend up the wall. Yes, she would have no choice but to physically drag me out of some stores!
As Christmas rolled along and fuelled with the festive spirit, I finally caved in and bought myself a PSP. This was greeted with a visible sigh of relief by the girlfriend.
Sadly my torment continued as I was forced to wait 3 fucking months before I could get my hands on an American copy of Crisis Core, European release schedules take the piss!
During this 3 month period, the initial *shiny shiny* phase wore off and I was still yet to find anything that interested me enough to spend time and money on. I looked at UMD movies, but couldn’t bring myself round to spending the same amount of money as a DVD on such a dead end format.
I could have used it with media stored on my memory card, but the codec support was expectedly minimal since it’s a Sony product and in order to get any of my library to play on the device I would have to re-encode it… Not really a great option when you have about 2TB worth of it! Most of my video podcasts were in the ipod friendly m4v format and the physical size of the ipod lends itself more to mobility than the PSP so knock that use off.
While I struggled to find a reason to promote my PSP from “dust collector” status, my DS appeared to be far better at hogging my mobile playtime as I gleefully leapt from title to title on Quasimodo Jr.
But the PSP, by all rights should have taken me by the balls and demanded my playtime.
Why, then, has it failed so far? How come I always end up playing on the “nothing more than a gimmick” console instead? Well, condensing the moaning from this article into a single sentence here is why:
“It’s because there is a complete dearth of original and compelling games, it’s either ports of old games we played years ago or generic crap that you wouldn’t even buy for your current gen console.”
Where is the exploration of the platform? Where’s the good use of the wifi for impromptu multiplay or strange gaming conceptions?? There is nothing to differentiate between the types of games you play on your 360/ps3 compared to your PSP. Maybe this is the market they are trying to tap into and I’m just a bitter old gamer looking for something to pique my obscure interest while having the gadget fond geek inside of me teased and taunted. But judging by sales figures, I’m not the only one.
Contrast this with the fortunes of the DS, where we have a number of titles that make good use of the various abilities of the console (and a lot of utter shite too, but I digress) and actually makes a distinction between your console in your living room and the one in your bag.
It’s enough to get the time weary gamer interested with new concepts such as “blow into the mic to snuff out the lights”, flick the screen to ping something across the map.
It’s new, it’s fun. It’s different.
Now that I think about some of the clever mic based tricks, why haven’t we seen this in any PC games? We have plenty of extra toys plumbed into them already; maybe it’s time to play to the strengths of the PC and begin integrating this stuff into the gameplay too in order to revive its flagging fortunes.
Anyway, my point is that it’s those differences which help massively in monopolising your play time and drive software sales. The way you can break out into games with other DS owners without everyone needing a physical copy of the game was a master stroke. Tell me, how many times have you multiplayed on your PSP? Hell, how many times have you used your wifi for more than grabbing firmware updates?
So, now that I’ve pointed out what I believe to be the major reason behind the staggering difference in take-up rates between the two handhelds, how can Sony turn the good ship PSP around?
How about Sony cast and eye to the nascent homebrew scene? They should take advantage of the rising interest in making our own games and lead the way by opening up the PSP to anyone who wishes to create their own content.
Maybe allow people to take advantage of the PSN and get their creations vetted and uploaded for others to easily get hold of and transferred to their PSP either directly from the PSP or via the PS3 – it’d be another service that Sony could use to fight the monster known as Xbox Live.
It’d be like a return to the bedroom coding spirit of the 80’s/early 90’s, and would help drive hardware sales of PSP’s and maybe even a small fee per independent game. And I mean small, not ridiculously overpriced to the point where a large chunk of us lose interest ala wii virtual console! That way you can feed the money back to the creators and take a small slice for yourself as a distributer.
The PSP is sorely in need of something to get people interested, maybe legitimising and supporting the homebrew scene is the way it can finally stand up to the DS.And while we’re at it, sort out the damn media support… wma was a good start.