Gadling's resident pilot explains what life in the cockpit is like
Posts with tag PocketGamer

Rebellion on PSP development: "it just happened"

Rebellion Studios, the team behind the PSP versions of Dead to Rights: Reckoning, James Bond: From Russia with Love, Miami Vice, GUN Showdown, and Free Running, has been nominated for a Develop award for being the best handheld developer. Their prolific catalog of games certainly deserves some recognition (even if many of these titles aren't of the utmost quality).

Speaking with Pocket Gamer, CEO Jason Kingsley explains the somewhat serendipidous relationship the team has had with PSP: "It's weird because we're down for this Develop award for being best handheld studio, but we're not a handheld developer. We're a developer who's happened to made a lot of PSP games, which is something we didn't really plan on doing. It's just happened [sic]," Kingsley explained. "We've done something like a dozen titles, and people keep coming to us with more. We're having to turn a lot of it down" (And certainly, they want to be focused primarily on their upcoming project, Star Wars Battlefront, a PSP exclusive.)

It appears that the team is comfortable with the immense power that PSP has to offer, which is the main reason why they've focused on the platform. "DS has been difficult because our engine is floating point and DS is a fixed point platform."

Pocket Gamer responds to UK price cut - wants 'Big Idea'

Owen Bennallack over at has posted a response to the PSP price cut that occurred in the UK last week. In it he debates whether the cut will have a positive affect on sales and what Sony needs to do in order to get people more excited about the PSP.

Bennallack puts the current sales figures for the PSP down to people buying into the potential. That it has sold on the virtue of its hardware, not its software library. The PS3 is very similar in that respect, though the PSP is much further along in its lifespan in comparison. Almost two and a half years further, to be precise. While some excellent games exist for the system, Bennallack argues that there are no iconic titles available. He has a point. A lot of the great games are sequels or ports. Games like Loco Roco and Crush have the potential to make the PSP a must-have gadget, as does some decent PSP to PS3 game connectivity. Acting as a rear view mirror for Ridge Racer doesn't count.

What we need most, Bennallack argues, is some sort of focus for our favourite handheld. At the moment it feels as if Sony have introduced as many innovations into the PSP as they could, without letting them communicate. As a result the console feels a bit like a jack-of-all-trades. He goes on to say that if Sony were to show us the 'Big Idea', then it would help increase sales and interest in Sony's tiniest member of the PLAYSTATION family. Exactly what the 'Big Idea' would be, I'm not sure. It could involve some sort of cross-utilisation of all of the PSP's features. Or it could just be an explanation from Sony of what the PSP will have available to it in terms of games, features and inter-connectivity. Either way it'd do a good job of making those of us who own one feel a little more secure in our PSP purchases. It could even inspire a few new people to do the same.

Whoops! Metal Gear Solid forgets rating; no longer on sale

Months after the US and Japanese release, Europeans were supposed to enjoy Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops today. To make up for the excruciating delay, the PAL version will feature new content not available in the other releases, such as new characters, maps and missions. However, it appears Europeans will have to wait a little bit longer, as the game has been delayed yet again. Why? According to Pocket Gamer, it appears that the box art artist forgot to include the BBFC (the UK equivalent of the ESRB) rating for the game.

Without a rating on the box UMD, the game will not be sold at retailers. Whoops! This is a strange mishap, to say the least. It looks like European gamers will have to wait just a little bit longer as Konami fixes this mistake--but you guys are used to waiting, right?

PSP at the top of handheld evolution

We know that the PSP is powerful. But how powerful is it compared to handhelds before it? A lot more, as seen by Pocket Gamer's recent analysis of handheld systems. PSP's 333MHz of processing power knocks makes the rest of the chart seem miniscule in comparison.

Pocket Gamer's feature is certainly an eye-opener. Of particular note is a fascinating diagram of screen sizes, overlaying each other. The PSP's wide screen LCD far exceeds the size of its nearest competitor, the Nomad. Even with such impressive statistics, the system remains one of the lightest handhelds created, and doesn't stand out as disproportionately larger than the others. This is a must-read feature for any PSP fan.

What would the PlayStation Phone have?

It's the rumor that won't go away, and for good reason. Pocket Gamer explores the legend of the PlayStation Phone, and why it's so believable. The primary reason is history: Synergy with other Sony properties is a common practice for the phone maker. For example, the Walkman music phone, the Cybershot camera phone, and the Bravia TV phone. Certainly, a PlayStation phone would fit perfectly in this family.

Pocket Gamer suggests that the PS Phone should resemble the sliding Sony w850i (pictured). When open, the phone will have the necessary keys for making phone calls. However, when closed, the device would resemble a PSP, and feature Sony's distinctive button layout.

The phone would also need impressive 3D capabilities. Nvidia, the graphics provider of PS3, has proven it can provide top-of-the-line graphics on phones, and we'd expect no less on the PS Phone. Connectivity with PSP and PS3 would be vital, and as such Bluetooth and wi-fi support would be necessary. Add music and video capabilities, and a camera, and this dream phone will have it all--and the pricetag to boot. (It would be in the astronomical range of Apple's iPhone.)

Pocket Gamer gives three reasons to be cheerful

Gamasutra masterfully pointed out that PSP is not a failure. Sure, Sony has gone through a lot of missteps, but 25 million sold (which equals the number of Xbox systems sold) is not a figure to scoff at. Seemingly in response to Gamasutra's informative feature, Pocket Gamer is giving three reasons why PSP owners should be cheerful.
  • Improved services: Remote Play, free T-Mobile Hotspots, and the upcoming "beats" point to Sony truly fleshing out PSP's capabilities.
  • PSP games are getting even better: The best development studios are making PS2-quality games without any load times. God of War is just the beginning of Sony's revamped focus on the platform, and PSP gamers are going to have a lot to celebrate for. Oh, and let's not forget Final Fantasy.
  • PSP is getting cheaper: Not only has the system gone down in price, its games and accessories are getting cheaper as well. UMD games never go above the $40 mark, and Memory Sticks are getting cheaper too.
Feel free to add your own reasons to get excited about PSP. Certainly, this can be the "year of the PSP" if Sony keeps the good news coming.

Pocket Gamer finds 23 places to get free content

The PSP can do it all: view photos, listen to music, display videos, play games and browse the web. With so much functionality, it can become quite daunting to find enough content to satiate a true PSP fan. Pocket Gamer's going to give it a swing, though, linking to 23 places that'll give your PSP something to play with. Sites include video services like Atom Films, webcomics like NYC2123 (pictured), and a few notable (and legal) homebrew applications.

Of course, if that isn't enough, we at PSP Fanboy also provide downloadable demos, PSP Fanboy Theatre and Saturday Background Explosion. With so much to do on the PSP, it's no wonder I never get any work done.

Rumor mill roundup

While regular readers of PSP Fanboy are already in the know, there are still a ton of "rumors" spreading around the web, and Pocket Gamer has gone through all of them, commenting on the likelihood of each. In the "yes" category, we have upcoming features like Skype support and enhanced PS3 connectivity. Also in the "yes" category is an upcoming God of War for PSP.

Other tidbits which are likely include nVidia's work on a PSP2 and a partnership with Yahoo. Less likely is a hard drive revised PSP. And in the "no" category? A PSP phone ... and the death of the PSP. Like the article states, "there is no reason to see the PSP as anything but Sony's successful entry into the handheld world. With some 25 million sold, Sony will definitely not throw the investment away without at least trying its luck in round two."

Rumor: Sony attends meeting on new N-Gage

People like to say the PSP is a failure. That would be incorrect. Calling the first N-Gage a failure, on the other hand, is quite apt. We reported back in November that Nokia was interested in making a comeback into the games arena with yet another N-Gage. In the era of the iPhone, a $600 convergence machine that can make calls and play games doesn't seem so outrageous. Does Nokia have what it takes to pull it off?

If Pocket Gamer is to be believed, it appears many top-name publishers are interested in Nokia's latest device. Supposedly, Nokia held a "top secret" two-day event, which was attended by big-name publishers, such as Sega, Square Enix, Capcom, THQ, EA, Tecmo, Namco, Vivendi ... and Sony. What? If this "top secret" meeting didn't seem fishy enough, Sony's presence makes it even more obvious that Pocket Gamer's reporting is downright inaccurate. Why would Sony want to work on a platform that directly competes against the PSP? (Of course, history buffs will remember that Sony did go on to make at least one game for a Nintendo platform.)

If by some chance this mysterious Nokia meeting did happen, and Sony happened to be there, we'd like to think they're simply trying to get ideas for the rumored PSP phone. The validity of Pocket Gamer's claim will be tested next week, during a new conference that will supposedly happen in Madrid.

[Via Joystiq]

Creating the surreal world of Crush

Cynics complain that the PSP has no innovative games. However, do their complaints have validity in the face of the upcoming PSP-exclusive Crush? This recently revealed title combines 2D and 3D gameplay through the innovative "crush" mechanic, and Paul Mottram spoke to Pocket Gamer about the challenges in creating the game. Mottram notes that the game was built with the PSP specifically in mind: the PSP was the only system to offer the horsepower and portability needed for this quick-thinking game.

The unique art style of the game takes its inspiration from a variety of sources. Mottram explains, "Our lead artist, Jon Taylor, worked closely with Sega's creative department to come up with a unique style. Influences ranged from Tim Burton, Terry Gilliam, Mike Mignola, Giorgio de Chirico, Max Ernst (or any of the surrealists), and Escher. We wanted to have a darker side to the game which carries through into the art style and even music. The main character, Danny, isn't a superhero; he's a sarcastic miserable everyday guy who just wants to get some sleep."

Read the full interview at Pocket Gamer.

Download the trailer:
PSP Fanboy Theatre: Volume 4

Hilarious list of the worst PSP games so far

As with any system's library of games, the PSP has its share of real stinkers. Pocket Gamer managed to relive the pain and construct a hilarious list of the ten worst games on the PSP. How many of these gems do you own?
  • Street Riders
  • Talkman - "It's as if the Walkman debuted as a fridge-sized ghettoblaster that randomly played tunes you didn't want to hear."
  • The Sims 2: Pets
  • Gangs of London
  • Peter Jackson's King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie
  • Taito Legends: Power Up
  • Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects
  • Astonishia Story
  • Dave Mirra BMX Challenge
  • KaZook - "Crap name, crap game. KAZooK is, allegedly, a party game. We can't really imagine any party that KAZooK would enliven, save a gathering of the Communist Party of China, and only because it might provoke fisticuffs about the People's Republic sliding into Western decadence. Because if KAZooK is fun, comrades, then joylessly burning books in slate grey jumpsuits would be the ultimate high. Avoid at all costs."

2007: the best year yet for PSP?

The media is so eager to predict Sony's doom in the upcoming year. While both the PSP and PS3 deserve some of the criticism they've been dealt, many ignore the fact that these two systems have a ton of potential, especially when linked together. Pocket Gamer has broken out of the usual mold and declared 2007 a year where PSP can truly shine, and have its best year yet. Some of the reasons?
  • A redesign? It's been rumored quite often. Will 2007 see a DS Lite-like revolution?
  • Price drop. The system has been at $200 US since its launch (if you consider the initial Value Pack to add $50 of bundled value).
  • Downloadable video content: partnerships with Amazon and other service providers may make the PSP a valuable media player.
  • Even better technology: we've seen progressively better graphics each year, and that's on a system running at 222MHz. The PSP is capable of 50% more horsepower: that can launch a whole new era of games.
There are even more reasons listed by Pocket Gamer, but to me it's clear: with an already excellent lineup of games coming down the pipeline, one should feel pretty excited about PSP's future.

Make your nub bigger

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[Via Pocket Gamer. Parody of hilariously named "male enhancement" website.]

Most wanted feature in next PSP? Not a touch screen.

Pocket Gamer recently polled its readers, asking what feature it would most want in the next-generation PSP. The most requested feature? Dual analog sticks. The older demographic of the PSP has made it a hotbed for more mature games, like first person shooters. However, the single analog nub simply doesn't do the genre justice. The addition of a second analog stick would help ease player's ability to navigate through the PSP's already-detailed 3D worlds. Although touch-screen support didn't win, it came in mightily close, in second place. Of course, if Sony did put a touch screen in the next system, people would accuse them of copying a crucial control feature from another company. Not that they've ever done that before...

25 hottest games before Christmas

Pocket Gamer UK recently compiled a list of 25 noteworthy games coming to our beloved handheld by year's end (for British gamers, at least). If anyone says the PSP doesn't have games coming up for it, prove them wrong by showing them this incredible list. Which ones do you plan on picking up?

Ridge Racer 2
Power Stone Collection
SOCOM US Navy Seals Fireteam Bravo 2
Every Extend Extra
Pilot Academy
Metal Slug Anthology
Killzone: Liberation
Need for Speed Carbon
Gun Showdown
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories
Madden NFL 07
Capcom Classics Collection Reloaded
Justice League Heroes
WWE Smackdown! vs. RAW 2007
Metal of Honor Heroes
Pro Evolution Soccer 6
Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception
Lumines II
SEGA Mega Drive Collection
Tony Hawk's Project 8
Football Manager Handheld 2007
Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy
TOCA Race Driver 3 Challenge

Whew... that's quite a list. I know I'll personally be picking up at least five of these titles. Also, is it just me, or are game titles just getting way too long these days?

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