Functions of Handheld Gaming Consoles
Initially, it was built to play video games. However, with the convergence of different technologies today, we see handheld video gaming being propelled into an entirely new direction with the integration of music players, video players, Internet access, cameras and even homebrew applicationshomebrew means to program at home. Hence, homebrew applications include games, utility software and game emulators. However, do note that they may be illegal depending on circumstances.. The more prominent names today being the breakthrough PlayStation Portable (PSP) and Nintendo DS (NDS).
Aside from the functions which a modern handheld ought to possess, the PSP not only comes with stellar visuals but also offers non-gaming functions which allows it to play movies and music. However, it is most loved for its ability to run homebrew applications, which gives it the capability to run Nintendo, Sega, Akira games, etc. on a Sony device! Newer firmwares have even allowed Sony's PSP to make and receive calls via Skype.
Left: PSP , Right: NDS
The NDS has achieved even more remarkable results, becoming an instant killer with the incorporation of a microphone port and two screens, one of which is a touch screen designed to react when pressed with a stylus. What is so clever about the NDS is its innovative approach towards utilizing these functions in their games which is a total divergence from what we would normally expect. Hands up for every one who loves Phoenix Wright or Elite Beat Agents! In October 2008, NDSi was released with two integrated cameras, a music player and an additional memory card slot which allows for downloaded games. Sounds like Nintendo is giving Apple's iPod a serious run for its money.
Check out History for an insight and illustrative presentation on the evolution of handheld gaming devices and how they went from being a Single-Game UnitA device which comes with only one game. to today's NDSi or PSP.
1. Mori Chan on Flickr for the picture. (7th March 2009)
2. Anonymous for listing out the functions of a PSP. (7th March 2009)
3. Unknown Author for writing on the functions of a Nintendo DS. (7th March 2009)