Editorial: Gaming on the Go: PSP or DS?

These days, I do the majority of my gaming on the go. Whether I am sitting around waiting for my next class to start or wasting time while my Grandfather watches the news, my handheld systems are a constant companion. Enter the DS and PSP. I have always been torn between the two systems. What if something should happen and I was forced to give up one or the other? Which system would I choose? 

Thea's on-the-go essentials.


On the one hand, the PSP seems to have more memorable titles: Final Fantasy I & II, Final Fantasy Tactics, Disgaea, Crisis Core, Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth and so on. These titles alone are what finally convinced me to invest in the system and so far I have not been disappointed. However, the downside to many of the games I have encountered on the PSP is that it takes a lot of time to accomplish anything. These are not titles that I can play for five minutes and feel I have completed something. These are titles that make me want to curl up in a comfortable chair when I have hours of time to devote to characters, pretty graphics, and complicated storylines.

This is where the DS comes into play. More often than not, if I feel the need to play a game for a few minutes I reach for my DS. The DS has a variety of games that do not require hours of my time, such as Pokemon, Tetris, Meteos, Super Princess Peach, and the Castlevania titles. At the same time, if I want to engross myself within an RPG I can pick up Final Fantasy III or IV. At a glance, it seems the DS has the upper hand. However, the titles on the DS have disappointed me more than once. The only stylus-based game I have enjoyed is Meteos, the rest just feel gimmicky, as if the stylus features were tacked on at the last minute to boost sales (Look this game has stylus features!). In addition to this, I was disappointed by the 3D rendering of Final Fantasy IV and found that I would much prefer to play the GBA version. Yet, I would still be hard-pressed to part with my DS, especially with the upcoming Valkyrie Profile release!

In the end, I fear I have not been able to decide which system I like better. The only thing the two seem to have in common is that they are both handheld devices that I can slide in my purse on the way out the door. So, readers, what do you think? DS or PSP?


  1. An agreeable and balanced look at the two systems, I think. It is true that the PSP can be suspended, but the ‘feel’ of the games seems more directed to somewhat longer play.

    Well done! This is an excellent editorial.

  2. I approve of this editorial. I have to say I have always wanted to like the PSP more but always found myself using the DS more often.

  3. I unfortunately have never played the PSP at length, so I can’t compare, but I adore my DS.
    It is absolutely true, however, about the large potential for disappointment on the system!

  4. All of the above devices belong to Lusipurr. It’s true.


  5. Good post Thea! I think the only way to go on the subject is to own both devices. You are very correct when you say that the touch screen features of the DS normally disappoint (aside from the wonderful Trauma Center, of course). Actually, I was all ready this past week to sell my PSP because I needed money, and I thought I wouldn’t miss it (having not played the system in months), but, as I was going through my library of games, I couldn’t pull myself to sell it. So, I held on, and lo and behold, what happens? They announce Rock Band, Little Big Planet, Assassins Creed, MotorStorm Arctic Ridge, and (best of all) a port of Persona yesterday! 4 out of 5 of those titles are ones I am planning on purchasing (I just don’t need Rock Band for my PSP, I’m sorry). So, I am very glad I decided to pull my craigslist ad.

    In fact, this may be one place where the PSP beats out the DS- upcoming releases. What is coming out for the DS that’s noteworthy aside from Pokemon Platinum (there may be some big ones, I could just be unaware, so feel free to correct me). When I look at the upcoming releases I see 317 animal related games, and the exciting “My English Coach”. These just don’t thrill me like the thought of playing Persona and LBP on the go.

    As of right now, I will, like you, be holding on to both handheld systems. Again, nice work Thea!


  6. It’s hard to say which system is “better” in the traditional sense. The two systems have very different functions, and very different offerings. I agree with Branden, though, that the PSP looks to be coming into its own this year. Took way too damned long, mind you, but here we are. Of course, Sony’s being helped by Nintendo’s continued move away from gaming and into self-improvement software.

    For pick up and play games on the PSP, Megaman Powered Up and Megaman: Maverick Hunter X are good. Most PS1 content on the PSN works great for this purpose too. However, it seems that only in the last year or so have PSP developers realized that home games are best on home consoles.

    But yeah, keep the two systems.

  7. I have and enjoy both systems. IMO the PSP kind of feels like the portable system to own if you’d rather be playing consloe games while the DS is great for people who really want portable gaming and everything that entails it has fun and innovative games that are lightly lighter and less time consuming than the PSP’s. I really can’t choose.

  8. Branden, at the moment the largest upcoming release for DS (other than the PKMN juggernaut) is Suikoden Tierkreis, which is due out next month. After that, there are the persistent rumours of a Final Fantasy V DS or Final Fantasy VI DS, but these are ethereal at least for the present.

    On the other hand, the PSP has a very solid, concrete list of upcoming releases. Nintendo has yet to announce their slate of future releases for DS, but I do not think it will begin to compare with the PSP’s recent announcements of Rock Band, Persona, and LittleBigPlanet.

    That said, Disgaea2 Portable will probably be released on DS eventually, much as Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness was. Still, this is no more than a bone being thrown to DS users.

    I love my DS, but I use it primarily for casual gaming and Pokemon. I wish there was something of more substance–and I wish they would stop implementing GOD-AWFUL 3D graphics (viz. Final Fantasy III/IV DS) when the system is capable of beautiful 2D graphics. I don’t think as many people are being swayed by the “it’s got 3D!” line as are being turned off by the “these 3D graphics are ugly, slow shite” reality.

    But I’ll save that complaint for another day.

  9. Wow! It’s great to hear from everyone. :)

    As I’m not all that up on the gaming world, I was not aware of all the upcoming releases for the PSP. This makes me very excited! And as for the DS, I’m looking forward to Pokemon and Valkyrie Profile, for sure.

    I think both systems are great systems to own, if only because they are so vastly different. The DS is great if you’re looking for light and playful, the PSP if you’re looking for something more involved.

  10. I always thought the DS touch screen was kind of gimmicky. Granted it was implemented well on a few occasions, the features are never what drew me to any games. The PSP although superior in hardware, seems to be lacking a lot of support from developers, although I’m looking forward to a few games, like FFXIII Agito, and Persona PSP. All in all I wish there were more original titles for both systems as opposed to ports and spin-offs.