Handheld Addict

PS VitaPSPPSPgoWii3DSDS LiteXboxGame Boy Micromp3 playersMobileGadgetsgeneral

Sunday, May 31, 2009

PSP Go! a go

Finally confirmed...... the first details and pics of PSP Go! have been leaked out from Sony.

It's hard to tell what specs it has exactly, as far as I know right now:

  • 16GB built-in memory.

  • memory stick micro compatible.

  • Bluetooth pairing with cellphone.

  • smaller & 42% lighter(?) than PSP-3000.

  • PSP-3000 will still be sold alongside PSP Go!

As I suspected, it doesn't sound like it has a camera, touchscreen, definitely no 2nd analogue nub, and all the rest of the stuff that all the wishful thinkers keep throwing into the rumours about it. It's just a PSP for downloadable content only. Which makes it..... ummm, any PSP that has PS Store access......... but maybe the full specs haven't been announced yet.

EDIT: people have noticed that we can't see a USB port, there's "wireless" written on the side, but does that mean "Wi-Fi" or "Bluetooth"? And I'm wondering where the volume buttons are-- which might lend some credence that it may have a touchscreen.

Is it too late for me to run out & buy that black PSP-3000 Ratchet & Clank bundle from Rogers for $130.00???? Probably....

I hate to be a jerk about it. I certainly was initially skeptical of the PSP-2000 when it was first announced too. I was re-reading my first G.A.P. post about it 2 years back, I was a wet blanket big time. So maybe this new PSP will turn out to be a good thing.

Like I said, this is basically 2009's version of the PSP. I guess we'll see another "hardware refresh" in 2010.....

It seems a bit odd to have the analogue nub inside with the D-pad on the "outside", you know? I would think it'd feel better to have the analogue nub on the outer edge with the D-pad more inner.

While it's nice to have built-in memory, I sure don't like that our current memory stick pro duos won't fit in this new system.

Also looks like the headphone jack is now just a regular headphone jack. Not compatible with the current video out cables or remote for PSP-2000/3000.

Joystiq PSP Go! gallery.

Qore video feature on PSP Go!:


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Wii Motion Plus - new era for Wii?

I just noticed Wii Motion Plus has been listed on Future Shop's website.... available June 10, 2009.

The price is listed at $24.99.... hmmmm, I think that the U.S. MSRP is $20.00, so I suppose that sounds about "right"... but with the rising Canadian dollar-- currently at 0.91¢ U.S.-- we're just about back to par with the U.S. greenback. When our dollar tumbled due to the "economic crisis", games went from $40.00-$50.00 to $60.00+ ... I'm hoping the frustrating trend of Canadian game prices going up will be reversed.... but I know that's mostly wishful thinking.

Oddly enough, it will be 3rd party games (Tiger Woods from EA) that make use of MotionPlus before Nintendo's 1st party game, Wii Sports Resort is released in July(?) Also Wii Sports Resort will come with one MotionPlus dongle. But if you want to do 2 player MotionPlus, you'll need to buy a additional dongle.

What's bad is Future Shop's misinformation spin is going full speed as usual.... if you read their info blurb on MotionPlus, it implies that MotionPlus will improve all Wii games that use motion. Obviously not true-- games have to be specifically created to use MotionPlus, all previous Wii games won't use it at all. So the dongle only has a very small list of compatible games for it (for now)

But MotionPlus is getting some early rave reviews from blog critics; they say that this is what we should've had from the beginning, it really makes a difference, etc. So far the only MotionPlus game I'm really interested in is Wii Sports Resort, that will probably be a day 1 purchase for me because I'm afraid it's gonna sell out.

With all the controversy surrounding new PSP models... the basic argument over adding another analogue nub, giving the PSP 2 analogue nubs.... there's always been a huge concern that by making drastic changes to the console, the PSP audience could be split: those with old controls, and those with new ones. Sony has bent over backwards to keep the audience "united", the PSP-2000 & PSP-3000 have been minimal "hardware refreshes" as they call them.

MotionPlus brings this controversy from the PSP over to the Wii. Will future games split the Wii audience between old controls & new? Should Nintendo just build MotionPlus into their Wii remotes from here on out? Technology changes so quickly sometimes, yet other times it just plateaus, like the current PC trend. Maybe Nintendo was caught in a tech growth spurt when they equipped the Wii remotes with their (inadequate?) motion tech. So far their decision seems to be to make the new tech an add-on, thus putting the choice to Wii owners whether they want to pay extra for the new control. We'll have to see where MotionPlus goes from here.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Boom Blox

I've been playing Boom Blox for awhile now... this game gets good reviews, but it's not a graphics powerhorse or spectacular looking game... it looks more like a online flash game you'd play on your PC or something.

But the gameplay is pretty fun, and the Wii remote makes this a game that could only be as fun as it is on the Wii.

It's a puzzler sort of like Jenga, but with explosives! You use the Wii remote to target areas, and then flick it to throw the bomb & blow up the blocks strategically.

What really hurts this game from being GREAT is... the menu & user interface. Whaa??? How can something as minor as a games MENU affect how good it is?? Well.... it can. It may seem like nitpicking, but when you go to select levels, as soon as you "mouse-over" one of them, this big solid window pops up that COMPLETELY COVERS the rest of the menu. Sure, there's a preview image of the level you're "mouse-overed", but really... did it occur to NO ONE at EA that you could have had that NOT COVER the ENTIRE menu???? At least make the window transparent. Like I said, it seems minor, but it really hampers what should be a dead-simple process of accessing the levels you want to try. This is something the player shouldn't be thinking about at all.

And then there are levels where you have to place bomb blocks at certain areas, to try to make the puzzle fall down. You use the Wii remote as a pointer, click the A button to grab a bomb block, and move it around. Holding the B button while moving the Wii remote will adjust the camera. The major problem is that the DONE button is put in the middle of the bottom of the screen... so that it gets EXACTLY IN THE WAY of your work area. Like exactly. It's so easy to accidentally press DONE when you're simply trying to pick up/move a bomb block.... they couldn't have placed it in a WORSE spot than where they did. They could easily have put it at the top of the screen, where you never need to use to place a bomb. Seriously, EA paid someone to make this interface-- and they couldn't even see how it hobbled the game before shipping it out???

And then there's the Wii remote. At this point I'm convinced that EA has no understanding of the Wii remote at all. I was playing this morning and I held my Wii remote perfectly still, my hand resting on my knee while sitting, and watched the cursor jitter all over the screen.

All these little issues take what's a great idea, and keep it from being a great game. I'm so sick of lazy game devs. How do you screw up a MENU????

There's some enjoyment to be had from Boom Blox but it could have been so much more.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron confirmed

Aww yeah..... Joystiq has posted confirmation that Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron will be coming to PSP & DS "this fall"!

This is such awesome news.... seriously, makes my gaming year.

Joystiq's blog post states:

The press release suggests that the DS and PSP are getting subtly different games, with the DS version promising a "class-based gameplay experience" with different weapons for each class, and the PSP version allowing players to "personalize and build their character with more weapons and items than ever before." The PSP game has 16-player multiplayer with "in-depth stat tracking," and the DS release has "intense 4-player skirmishes" in different multiplayer modes.

Check out the gallery for the PSP & DS versions-- the DS version is obviously not as graphically polished as the PSP of course-- but the most notable thing is that it looks more of a top-down kind of player view, like X-Men: Legends or Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, those types of games. I wonder how that's going to affect gameplay.

Joystiq Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron PSP gallery

Joystiq Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron DS gallery

To be honest, to say that Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron PSP will be a DAY 1 purchase for me is a given. As soon as they announced the game, I'm going, "so where do you want my cash?" But I have to admit, I will probably also buy the DS version too, unless I start hearing a lot of bad things about it. I might wait for reviews on that one.... there's never been a Battlefront game for DS, so this is pretty exciting.

Unlike Renegade Squadron, which was the first NEW Star Wars Battlefront game for the PSP, I feel a lot more reassured that the franchise won't get mucked up. There are no guarantees, but I suspect that they won't stray too far from the formula. The PSP port of Star Wars Battlefront II, which was handled by Savage Entertainment, was pretty weak, even for a port. In some ways it was very faithful to the game, but there are some system-freezing bugs, and the controls just didn't feel tweaked enough for the PSP. I still play it every once in a while, but Renegade Squadron is the definitive Star Wars Battlefront PSP experience.

We still need some hard details: "coming this fall".... when exactly? October? November? I wouldn't be surprised if they scheduled it for September, but then push it back to those months like they did with Renegade Squadron.

Who's developing it? Rebellion? (Hopefully not Savage Entertainment, hehe)

UPDATE: Gamespot has said that Rebellion is doing the PSP version, and n-Space is developing the DS version.

Oh boy. This is hands-down my most anticipated game of the year.


Zune HD coming

This is interesting... the rumoured Zune HD has been confirmed.

Some stats, as posted by Engadget:

  • 3.3-inch, 480 x 272 OLED capacitive touchscreen display

  • built-in HD Radio receiver

  • HD video output (utilizing a new dock -- not on-board)

Supposed to come out this Fall.

I've read that it will have an IE-based web browser, obviously Wi-fi connectivity.
The video out sounds like it uses a "sold seperately" HDMI dock, so I suspect (dread) that it's for HDTV only. I really need a composite video out.

The Zune has always interested me because it plays a bit more video codecs than iPods, WMV and .MP4. I'm not sure if it will play PSP-formatted .MP4.

OLED screen sounds very appealing, they are supposed to be brighter & very vibrant. I've also read that the Zune HD will have an accelerometer ala iPod Touch. It sounds very much like an iPod Touch clone, but it does have a radio, which is nice.

As far as I can tell, there's only 1 tactile button... I sure hope it has tactile, dedicated VOLUME controls.

I'm always looking for a media player that will match the features/versatility of my PSP, in a smaller more compact form.

It does look pretty. Not a lot of info about it right now. Hopefully we'll find out more about it next week at E3.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Die Videogame Industry, Die! Part 5 - "Tradition"

Part 5 of a 10 part series about why I want the video game industry to implode, causing massive layoffs & putting most devs out of business so that the industry can come back much better than it currently is.

Today my nephew was playing Super Mario Galaxy on my Wii, reading through the "Story Book" chapters.... and my sister asks, "Why isn't this part voice-over??"

My response was: "Ummm... because it's Nintendo. They don't do voice-overs."

The entire game has only onscreen text, you can probably count on one hand how many voiced lines there are in the entire 20+ hour game.

I wasn't really a hardcore gamer back when the NES & Super NES were out, but I've realized that a lot of Nintendo games don't have voice work in them. Maybe back in the 80's-90's, it made sense not to include that because of cartridge space?

But as far as I can tell, Nintendo first-party GameCube games don't have much voice work in them either. Especially first-party Mario games. And now, with Wii's full-sized disc-- more than capable of holding lots of voice work-- but the "tradition" continues.

So-called "hardcore gamers" have come to accept that Nintendo just don't do that.... and there are so many conventions like that, where a company like Square Enix will keep outdated & tired gameplay mechanics or production values... or Capcom's Resident Evil series control scheme: Let's face it; you're NEVER going to be able to move & shoot at the same time. They will always use the same control scheme from 15 years ago. All this is done in the name of "TRADITION".

It has always been this way. It will always be this way. AND YOU WILL LOVE IT.

How STUPID is that??? We're talking video games, which can be programmed & improved with each iteration of a series. I know that games sometimes DO improve on previous versions, that's why [HOT GAME] 2 can be better than [HOT GAME] 1... sometimes they'll fix what was wrong in the first game & keep what was good about it, making an improved package.

Nintendo, Square Enix, Capcom, etc.... all those big companies, they make improvements to their games. But paradoxically, they are also fixated on keeping OBVIOUSLY BROKEN aspects of a series just because... hell, I don't even know why! "Tradition" is the only "reason" I can think of...

"It has always been this way. It will always be this way. AND YOU WILL LOVE IT."

We reward their laziness by buying their products by the truckload, which in their mind says, "see we didn't have to fix what was broken 'cause they're buying it anyway!"

Now, maybe... just maybe... that huge audience, that are mistakenly called "casual gamers"... maybe they aren't already brainwashed into accepting that these things aren't "just the way it's always been". So maybe they're TURNED OFF by some of these lazy production shortcuts.... and the industry wonders why titles aren't selling better......

Come on.


Joystiq/Kotaku sucks

What the hell is wrong with Joystiq?!? A lot of the times I try to check out their PSP feed (formerly PSP Fanboy) and it completely freezes Firefox. Something on their page just crashes it.

Kotaku is even worse-- whatever freezes/crashes Firefox on their site, it's there most of the time.

I'm guessing it's some stupid flash ad that's incompetently scripted to suck up all the memory it can or something.

Okay, banner ads make the Web go around-- they're not going away, and sites like Joystiq & Kotaku have done nothing but restructure so that they can have MORE advertising... I don't like it, but I've learned to live with it.

But how about having some STANDARDS with what ads you allow on your site? Like maybe ads that CRASH BLOODY BROWSERS... oh, I dunno..... maybe you could possibly NOT cram those in all over your sites? Sheesh.

I keep thinking some day the video game industry will actually get some "journalism"... but it hasn't happened yet in all the decades it's been around.....

Up yours, Joystiq & Kotaku.


Monday, May 25, 2009

PSP-3000 want

There've been a lot of sales on PSP-3000's the last few weeks in Canada & the U.S.... I came *this close* to buying a PSP-3000 a couple weeks back when Future Shop had the core PSP-3000 on for $149.99. That's only $20.00 off though... and I resisted the temptation & held out until my Television de Portable P2 came in. Glad I did.

Right now Roger Video Rogers Plus has all the PSP bundles, the Star Wars/God of War/Madden/etc. PSP-2000 bundles, *and* the Ratchet & Clank PSP-3000 bundle on sale for $129.99. That seems like a really good deal considering they're bundles, not just core PSPs.

I have to admit, I'm very tempted to get the R&C black PSP-3000 bundle. I already have Ratchet & Clank, but at that price it's worth it for the PSP alone.

But... the same arguments against getting the PSP-3000 still apply for me. I already have 3 PSPs (1 PSP-1001, 2 Star Wars PSP-2001s)... I simply don't need a FOURTH PSP. I should get rid of 1 of my PSP-2000's as it is. And with the Television de Portable, I can finally play games on my non-HD tv using my PSP-2000, but it's probably a bit nicer through the PSP-3000..... still, is that really worth it?

The more pressing concern is that all these sales going on in Canada & the U.S. are shaping up to be fairly clear indicators that a NEW PSP is coming. PSP Go! will probably be announced at E3 in about 1½ week.....

Unlike others with their pie-in-the-sky wishlist thinking that PSP Go! will have touchscreen, slideout, camera, kitchen sink, etc. features added on... I don't think it will have any of that, except built-in memory. And maybe a camera... but I suspect PSP Go! will basically be the "PSP-4000", just a minor upgrade by Sony, for the year 2009.

The main point of PSP Go! seems to be download-only game/media content. I would be VERY surprised if Sony offered a way to transfer UMD games we already own to the PSP Go! without having to re-buy them off the PS Store. Rather, Sony probably sees it as a product for those who don't already own a PSP & only want to buy stuff off the PS Store.

But I don't want to buy content off of the PS Store. If that's about all PSP Go! has to offer, then it just wouldn't be all that useful to me. I do like the idea of a really thin PSP though, and with the lack of a UMD drive, it might be very thin.... if they also made the battery built-in.... So maybe getting a PSP-3000 would be better for me. But then comes the point that I don't need a 4th PSP...... sigh.........


Thursday, May 21, 2009

New Star Wars Battlefront titles????

Ok, I must admit.... Star Wars Battlefront (all of them so far) are my ALL-TIME FAVOURITE GAME(S).

So reading this news from Joystiq that a new one is coming, for both the PSP *and* DS.... *gasp*! Nerdgasm.

This product info was listed at the ESRB site:

Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron
Platform: PSP | Rating: Teen
Content descriptors: Fantasy Violence

Rating summary: "This is an action game in which players experience different battles from the Star Wars universe. Presented in a third-person perspective, the game allows players to engage in space, land, and air battles or build troops and upgrade armies in a strategy-based mode. Players can use laser guns (i.e., blasters), explosives, and lightsabers to destroy enemy robots (i.e., droids) and humans who often cry out in pain when attacked. During one dramatic cutscene sequence, an unarmed man is sliced by a lightsaber, while another character is shot in the back with a blaster."

Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron
Platform: Nintendo DS | Rating: Everyone 10+
Content descriptors: Fantasy Violence

Rating summary: " Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron is an action adventure game in which players experience different battles from the Star Wars universe. From a third-person perspective, players engage in space battles, 'speeder bike' chases, and top-down battling. The ground battle includes constant laserfire combined with hand-to-hand combat using 'lightsabers.' A depleting health bar and various "yelps" indicate damage inflicted upon certain characters."

I'm still hoping that Star Wars Battlefront III will come out, for the Wii as is rumoured.... but man, a new PSP Star Wars Battlefront game.... that just makes my day!

It's actually been a fairly good period for Star Wars game news in general, what with the new Clone Wars game announced. Sure, I'd like to see some all-new Star Wars game ideas, but it's better than nothing.

I wonder who's developing these games, probably Rebellion Studios (who developed Star Wars Battlefront Renegade Squadron) ... while I admit it isn't perfect, I was very pleasantly surprised how well they did carrying the torch held by original Star Wars Battlefront developer Pandemic Studios. But too early to tell right now...

New Star Wars Battlefront... yeah.......... *drool*


ZAGG Memorial Day sale

Wow, this is a pretty good one for those who need an Invisible Shield screen protector for their handheld gadget. 50% off on all Invisible Shields!

Enter code memday09 at checkout. Sale ends May 27, 2009. UPDATE: Sale extended til Friday May, 29 2009!



Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Playing PSP games on TV

The last few days have sorta been a "re-awakening" for my PSP.... it's not like I haven't used it for a long time and just recently started using it-- I've been using my PSP daily for the last several weeks-- but I suppose it's mostly to catch up on taped TV shows, or music... not a lot of gameplay since Resistance: Retribution.

But now that I can play PSP games on my TV through the Television de Portable P2, it's been a great novelty that's a bit of a fresh take on my classic PSP game faves. One of my favourite games is Twisted Metal: Head On, and I think it looks great on a TV screen. I want to go through all my top PSP games.... my PSP is not only my favourite handheld, it's now my fave home console too.... if I could only have 1 console of any kind, it'd be my PSP hands down, since I can play it on my (non-HD) TV and take it with me as well as use its multimedia functions.

One odd thing I've noticed is that I now set my PSP video output to Progressive. But even when I'm using the composite AV cables, it displays just fine with my PSP set to Progressive. I wonder, why do they even have an Interlace setting?

Still, I'm happy I have my other consoles too. Actually, I've been playing a lot of Boom Blox (Wii) lately. Great puzzle game.

I guess we're heading into the "off season" for new game releases? Sure seems like a slow period for games of every console-- or at least Wii, DS & PSP. This is where my "squirreling away"; my stockpiling of games should come in handy.... I have a bunch of games I've bought and haven't even touched.... should tide me over the next few months? Plsu there are games I want that I haven't bought yet, just waiting for good price drops on-- hoping Deadly Creatures (Wii) will drop in price soon.....


Friday, May 15, 2009

Television de Portable P2

3 weeks ago I saw this at Play-Asia.com: It's called Television de Portable P2, and it claims to allow PSP-2000 to play GAMES on a non-progressive TV! It was discounted from like $80.00 to $19.90 U.S. (+$9.00 shipping) At that price, I had to bite!

It took almost 3 weeks to ship to Canada... which is slower than I'm used to with Play-Asia (they usually take 2 weeks). In fact, I was starting to get worried... I was ready to fire off an email to them just to make sure everything was ok, but then I got the package this morning.

Most of the text is in Japanese, which I neither speak nor read. I can understand "PSP-2000" though :)

It seems fairly straightforward; there's a composite video, S-Video, L & R audio plugs. So you can choose to use either composite (yellow) video or S-video cable.

Inside the package is very minimal, 2 pamphlets in Japanese (instructions). the Television de Portable P2 has a wire that splits into PSP video hookup & power adapter... those go to this rectangular dongle that looks about the size of a Zippo lighter. Then the wire leads from that to the tv hookups.

On the rectangular dongle, there's an adapter port that takes your PSP adapter. It needs to be plugged in for the device to work. What's nice is that it has the pass-through cable so you can hook your PSP up to the adapter while you're playing through the P2.

One concern is that the PSP adapter plugged into the Television de Portable P2, that little retangular dongle gets *HOT*, very quickly. There's a nice blue LED that shows when the PSP adapter is plugged in, but you don't want to leave it plugged in when you're not using it.

So as to how it works.... you plug in the composite cables, plug the PSP adapter into the Television de Portable P2, and set your PSP-2000 to "progressive" video, and it works.

The Television de Portable P2 cable is about 9 ft long. Comparing the signal & picture quality to my official Sony AV (composite) cables, which I extend using some RCA extenders I bought from the dollar store (cost about $4.00 for 2 of them... yay for Dollar Stores!)

I'm using a 27" CRT TV.

NOTE: You will see some moray pattern effects on the tv screen, this is mostly due to the camera/CRT TV, not necessarily visable in real life.

This is the official AV cables:

This is the Television de Portable P2. Picture quality is a bit more faded:

I booted up my favourite game, Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron. The colour doesn't seem bad, but the loading screen text is blurry, and very hard to read.

(I don't believe that moray pattern in that picture was visible in real life. Keep in mind that some blurriness is due to my camera.)

As with the regular component gameplay, there's a black border around the image, making the actual image quite small in comparision. On my 27" TV, I have to sit pretty close to it to really play any games on my PSP.

The picture quality isn't terrible, but it isn't sharp enough for small details, like small text. I'm assuming that it isn't much better for PSP-3000's composite TV gameplay, as any mention of it by forum posters usually goes like, "Yah my PSP-3000 plays games on my regular tv KTHX BYE" . I could be wrong, it may be a bit sharper but I suspect the limitations of an interlaced, non-HD TV can only show so much with a PSP game signal. Still, it is a bit disappointing. I really wanted gameplay on my regular TV, and it's the feature I was most envious about PSP-3000.... I *almost* bought a core PSP-3000 yesterday, and now I'm kinda glad I didn't. It's probably best to wait to upgrade my TV to an HD, LCD that can possibly zoom the PSP gameplay image so it isn't so small with the borders.

Still, I think Television de Portable P2 is worth it, if you only have a PSP-2000 and really want to play games on your non-HDTV. As far as I know, there aren't any other options out there, other than buying a PSP-3000. So it's cool.

UPDATE: I just tried the S-video output, and the picture was noticibly improved! The smallest text was still difficult to read, but most of the other text was much clearer.


  • +allows PSP-2000 to play games on a non-HD TV!!!!!

  • +PSP AC adapter pass-through that allows PSP to charge/run on external power while playing Television de Portable P2.


  • -picture quality isn't as good as it should be.

  • -Television de Portable P2 needs to be plugged in to the PSP AC adapter to work, and it gets really hot while it is.

  • -hard to find.

Overall, I'm pretty darn happy right now with it! Gives me that one feature I really wanted with my PSP, the option to play games on my TV.

I got mine from here:


Thanks for reading! Hope you found this review informative.


ESRB - the good & the bad

*NOTE: Portions of the text of this post was originally posted in PlayStation G.A.P. 2007-06-25*

I've been digging through my old G.A.P. blog to find some interesting rants musings that I might've posted.... came across this one from 2 years ago, on the eve of the release of Manhunt 2 & all the "controversy" that caused....

Has the ESRB affected you in any way? If so, has it been negative or positive?

I myself like the general idea of a rating system for games. Not so much for myself, but my 6 year old nephew likes to play games, and I like having a rating system that helps me judge whether a game has content appropriate for him to play. I do a lot of research into games before I buy them, and this is just one tool that helps me.

And I think it's a good idea for parents in general, so even if they don't play games themselves, they have some idea of what a game contains.

But the ESRB has some problems.

Awhile back I bought Fable: The Lost Chapters at Futureshop. I'd played & finished Fable, it came with my Xbox, but I wanted that small bit of extra content so I bought the lost chapters.

When I was at the checkout the sales clerk asked for my I.D.! I was like, "err... what?? Why do you need to see my I.D.?"

Turns out that Fable is an M-rated game. I hadn't noticed that at all, and frankly, it stunned me. I was buying this game for myself, my own personal playing, so ratings don't really matter to me in these cases. I'm an adult. But I would have assumed Fable to be a T-rated game. I've played through it & in my opinion, the content in it is not any stronger than what would be in a PG-13 movie.

This is where the ESRB doesn't work. If I was in charge of Lionhead Studios, I would've challenged that rating, it seems inapproriate.

Personally, I would be comfortable letting a 12 year old & up play Fable.

But the back of the box says:


strong language
sexual themes

  • There is mild "sexual content": you can "have sex" with your wife. What this is, is that you stand near a bed at night with your wife (fully clothed), you compliment him/her over & over, and they might say, "let's go to bed..." the screen goes black, and there's some giggling, and sometimes she might say, "you're naughty!" then it's morning, you're both standing beside the bed (fully clothed). That's it! You don't get in bed, get naked or see/hear any sort of explicit sex.

  • There isn't any blood in the game, you kill monsters & it's all very T-rated, they explode into glowing experience balls that you pick up. Their corpses quickly fade away.

  • There isn't any swearing in the game.

  • You can choose to do good or evil. You can attack people you're supposed to escort & protect; an evil act.

Does this all add up to an M-rating? I don't think so.

I wonder how many other games out there have been given inappropriate ratings?

Obviously all this ratings talk has come up because of the Adult-Only rating given to Manhunt 2 by the ESRB.

Before this, I didn't know that Sony & Nintendo don't allow AO games on their systems. Does Microsoft?

M-rated is for 17+, and AO is for 18+, so the difference between these games is 1 year?? Come on.

Despite the name of the rating, "Adults Only", the AO rating is clearly meant to stop a game from being sold.... to anyone.

The ESRB should just be honest & change the "AO" to something like this:

CB = Cannot Buy

[I even designed the logo for them. Nice of me, eh?]:

Just knock off the hypocrisy already. I doubt that a game like Manhunt 2 is something I'd want to buy, but that should be MY choice whether or not to play it on my PSP, *not* Sony's, in collusion with the ESRB.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

BudgetGadgets PSP battery review

BudgetGadgets.com sent me a couple PSP accessories to review. They're a wholesaler in China, as far as I can tell, similiar to Deal Extreme or sites like that. Free shipping.

I've noticed there's a lot of interest in PSP batteries... the owners of the original PSPs (PSP-1000) are finding the life cycle of their battery may be winding down. And owners of PSP-2000/3000 are looking for alternatives since Sony has taken the Stamina battery off the market... it's hard to find an official PSP battery that isn't super-expensive because of importing. And can knock-offs or fakes be trusted?

Now comes my review of the 2nd item BudgetGadgets sent me : The 2200 mAh Stamina battery for PSP-1000.

As I said in my previous review, it took 2 weeks to ship the items to me in Canada. And shipping is free. The battery is certainly a good price. But is it any good? Read on.

As I mentioned in my review of the PSP controller grip, both items were sent without any packaging.

The first thing I noticed with the 2200 mAh battery is that it's much lighter than my official Sony 1800 mAh battey that came with my PSP-1001 back in 2006. Hmmm.

Sorry for the blurry picture. On the left is the 2200 mAh battery, on the right is my PSP's 1800 mAh battery. I noted the serial number on the 2200 mAh battery: 5105AKC and Googled it. Most of the links led to forum posts where people were saying it was a counterfeit. Oddly enough, my original PSP battery serial number came up with no hits....(but I know it's official since it came with my PSP I bought from Future Shop in 2006)

Anyway, not a good sign. Still, I wanted to determine how this 2200 mAh battery would perform.

From what I can tell it is the exact same size & shape as my original PSP battery.

I popped it into my PSP-1001 to charge it. I immediately checked the battery information in System Settings, and it said 96%! I was surprised it was so full of charge, since most rechargable batteries come with less than 50% charge straight out of the box. So charging took about 30 minutes.

I played Resistance: Retribution, I find that Sony Bends games are heavier on the battery use then other games because they have such high production values. With my normal 1800 mAh battery, I get about 3 hours of game time with Resistance: Retribution. I'm not a battery expert, but if this Stamina battery is really 2200 mAh, I'd expect about 4 hours approximately. I got 1.5 hours of gameplay from it. Yikes. And when it died, it didn't give me any warning; no flashing green power light. I was checking the battery indicator, it never went below 1 bar, even 10 minutes before it died.

I thought, maybe it was because it hadn't had a full charge. So I charged it again, and did another playthrough. Same results, about 1.5 hours of gameplay. What's bad is that as soon as you plug in the AC adapter & check the Battery Information, it says something like 76% when the battery's dead.

I played through a few charges worth, and got the same results. I also made sure to check to see if the battery heated up during charging, and I found no heating issues.

Then I tried out the 2200 mAh "Stamina" battery in my PSP-2001. I get about 3 hours of gameplay with my 1200 mAh PSP-2001 battery. It's a lower charge than my PSP-1001 battery, but the PSP-2000's need less power, so it basically evens out.

The "Stamina" battery gives about 2 hours of gameplay in my PSP-2001.

Some might be wondering if this battery can be used as a Service or "Pandora's" battery to downgrade a PSP's firmware. I don't hack or use homebrew on my PSPs, so I can't be sure, but I've read some reports that this battery can't be "Pandora-ized", so if you're looking for that, you may need to look elsewhere.

Like I said, I'm no battery expert, but from my findings I've come to think that this "Stamina" 2200 mAh battery is actually about 900 mAh. Definitely less than the official PSP battery (PSP-1000 & PSP-2000)

Still, it is an inexpensive battery for those looking for the cheapest alternative. Unfortunately I have to chalk this one up to "you get what you pay for".


+very cheap, especially with free shipping.

+works in both PSP-1000 & PSP-2000 (I don't have a PSP-3000 yet so I couldn't test that model)


-probably fake.

-About half the power of the official battery.

-battery meter inaccurate.

If you're looking for a really cheap battery, then this could be for you. But don't expect it to have the battery life of your official one. On the other hand, other than below average battery life, I haven't had any problems with it, it does work.

If interested, the battery can be ordered here:


Also you can use coupon code: DM5OFF14 to get a 5% discount site-wide.

Thanks for reading! I hope you found this review to be informative.

NOTE: BudgetGadgets.com sent these 2 items speficially for review. But anything posted in my review are 100% my opinions, and do not necessarily reflect those of BudgetGadets.com or anyone other than me. I do not work for, nor am I affiliated in any way with them.


Monday, May 11, 2009

PSP deals at Wal-Mart

Saw a few good deals at Wal-Mart for PSP games tonight.

Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror
Socom: Fireteam Bravo 2

$10.00 each.

Resistance: Retribution - $19.98.

If there is any PSP who's a fan of shooters out there that hasn't picked up Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror, I'd be surprised. It's a must-have if you ask me, especially at that price. When I was talking about Socom: Fireteam Bravo 1, I mentioned that I'd like to have gotten Socom: FTB 2 for that price ($10.00) and lo & behold.. it finally arrives! So I picked that one up.

Y'know, it's an "interesting" time for PSP owners/fans.... on one hand, there can be some pretty amazing deals to be scooped up. When I first bought a PSP in 2006, most PSP games were in the price range of $50.00-$60.00! It was brutal. Not having any prior experience with handheld gaming consoles, I was shocked... I expected home console games to cost that much, but handheld ones?

But as we all know, the PSP has fallen into some hard times the last couple years, despite having some gems come out. I blame Sony for a portion of the problem, they keep undercutting their own gains with moves like releasing the PSP-3000 shortly after the PSP-2000, which killed the momentum that the PSP-2000 started. Now everyone is scared of touching anything PSP-related, retailers & consumers alike... and it feels like we're looking at the decline of the system. Will it soon be replaced by PSP Go!, or a "PSP 2"?

But because of this fear, there's some clearance/liquidation sales out there, and those $50.00 games of 2007 are turning into $10.00 games of 2008/2009. I guess I can be somewhat happy for that at least. Sheesh... I sure didn't mean to bring this topic down, I was originally posting just to inform of a good deal. So yeah, yay for deals.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

New Clone Wars: Republic Heroes game coming

It's funny, 'cause I've been thinking about the Clone Wars Wii game recently. It gets pretty mediocre reviews (so did the Wii version of Force Unleashed, which I really love) and from what I've seen the Clone Wars game doesn't have much meat in it in terms of single player. But I'm a huge Star Wars fan, and it's always been on my must-buy list... I just want to get it at a budget price. So I've been looking out for it, hoping I'd see it drop to at least $20.00.... but I've never seen it less than $50.00, in fact it's gone UP in price to $55.00-$60.00 at a lot of places.... that burns me...

So now developer Krome Studios is doing a second Clone Wars game, Clone Wars: Republic Heroes.... the details on it are sketchy right now, it's scheduled to come out in September 2009..... the trailer looks cool enough. If they make the single-player campaign more robust, and maybe more of a cross between their Clone Wars and Force Unleashed games, it could be very promising. At least the first one should drop in price.....

EDIT: Joystiq's posted some images from the games! There's Wii version and DS version.... uh-oh.... what's missing...... crap-- I hate how the PSP gets left off of all the platform lists.... oh well.

Wii screenshots

DS screenshots

I know I'll be talking about it more as more info is revealed.

EW news story & trailer here.


Thursday, May 7, 2009

PSP in Smallville

I was watching some of tonight's Smallville... I tape it (and Supernatural) on my Neuros Recorder II+ & transfer it to watch on my PSP.... I just happened to catch a bit of it while recording, and I was somewhat shocked to find a cameo by... a PSP!

Apparently Clark used it to track down another super-powered girl.... he finds her, they have an argument, and he whips out a PSP to show that he was using it as a GPS to track an implant in her head. And the irony of Clark using a PSP as a GPS is not lost on me.... come on already Sony.....

I brightened up a couple of shots, screencaps of the MP4 video. They might've done a few things to hide that it's a PSP, but you can see the PSP ring on the back in one of the shots.

Oddly enough, earlier in the ep I'm pretty sure they were using an iPhone/iPod Touch disguised with a silicone cover as another "high-tech device" of some sort... I think it was to make those head implants explode or something. I know that the PSP shows up in lots of movies/TV shows, but I'm just a geek about seeing gadgets onscreen.


Games going back UP in price???

What the.... why are games going back *up* in price?? It's one thing for them to go on sale, then go back to regular price when the sale's finished, but...

Secret Agent Clank was $20.00 at Future Shop for the last couple months. I just checked and it's back at $40.00! Admittedly, Future Shop was the only store that had it at that price, everywhere else (including Wal-Mart which is supposed to have the lowest prices) kept it at the $40.00 range. I thought it dropped in anticipation of it becoming a Greatest Hits title; that's usually the pattern with price drops like God of War: Chains of Olympus, Daxter & Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron, etc... Still, why did the price drop for so long, then go back up??

Another game I noticed is MadWorld (Wii). The price dropped to $40.00 at Wal-Mart, then Best Buy, even EB Games, and finally Future Shop all had it at around $40.00 for the last few weeks. But when I stopped in at Wal-Mart, the price has suddenly gone back to $54.00! And Future Shop has it at the $40.00 range, but it says "Sale Ends: 5/15/2009". So we'll have to see if it also goes back up.

I've been buying games long enough to know that prices fluctuate, and sometimes they do illogical, stupid price changes. But I've come to expect some level of consistency from the major chains. And in general, prices for games go *down*, maybe after a certain timeframe (6 months, 1 year) or if a sequel is released, the first game drops in price. And of course there's the Canadian exchange rate... don't even get me started on that.....

Maybe it's some kind of supply & demand issue? I know that's what EB Games uses to justify their prices changes.

I hate games pricing. On one hand, there's this shell game policy, and while it can be nice to get some good deals, it's so punishing for those who want to buy a new game. On the other hand, there's Nintendo's first-party games policy: PRICE DOESN'T DROP. EVER. EVEEEEEERRRRRRR...... aside from some flukey doorcrasher sales, their games stay at the same MSRP for *years*. Mario Kart DS has dropped maybe $5.00 in price since it game out, years ago??

Drives me nuts.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

PSP battery - why so damn tight????

Ok, I just have to get this off my chest.

The PSP-110 battery, the one that goes in the PSP-1000 model, can be a real sunnovabitch to get out. Sometimes it pops out easy, but sometimes the PSP battery gets stuck..... it's just wedged in there so damn tight.....

I've switched the Budgetgadget's PSP-1000 "Stamina" battery over from my PSP-1001 to test in my PSP-2001, and getting it out of my PSP-1001 was... sheesh, my thumb STILL hurts 30 minutes later.

It seems like a no-brainer, that the battery just pops out. Maybe I'm just a dope. Hey-- I can't discount that possibility. But now I've taken a really close look at how the battery fits into the PSPs, there are 2 tabs at the bottom, but also 1 tab at the top. Hopefully I'll be able to get this battery out of my PSP once I'm done.

So far, my tests with this "Stamina" battery have been disappointing-- it has much less power than even my normal 1800 mAh, even though it puports to be 2200 mAh. I got about 1.5 hours of gameplay out of it on my PSP-1001, while I can get about 3 hours from my regular battery. So I don't expect much better with my PSP-2001. I'll elaborate when I post my review.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

BudgetGadgets PSP controller grip review

BudgetGadgets.com sent me a couple PSP accessories to review. They're a wholesaler in China, as far as I can tell, similiar to Deal Extreme or sites like that. Free shipping.

I got the package 2 weeks after they notified me that they sent it. 2 weeks to Canada... about average delivery time. Neither great nor bad.

Inside the small box was the two items: controller grip for PSP-2000, and Stamina battery for PSP-1000. I know there's a *lot* of interest in PSP batteries right now, and I'm in the process of testing the Stamina battery they sent me. I'll post a review on it soon.

Both items came without any packaging, just packing foam. Odd.......

I've always been curious about PSP controller grips. For people who have big hands, the PSP could be hard to play. I don't have big hands, but I do like console controllers, so the idea that the PSP could feel something like a console controller is appealing to me.

This controller grip is listed as being for PSP-2000, but it will probably fit the PSP-3000 if it's the same size. Can't confirm that though.

So it grips the PSP by snapping onto the top of the sliver band that goes around the PSP:

I noticed that one of the "huggers" had some plastic flashing sticking out. I cut that off with a box cutter-- I certainly don't want my *baby* getting any scratches on it.

The grips of the controller are slightly scalloped to provide extra grip. And as you can see, it slides apart. A nice feature that makes it a little more portable. But it does NOT lock when slid in or out.

There's a space that looks like it's for the extended battery. I don't have the official extended battery covers, mine are 3rd party, and I don't believe they'd fit. The space isn't very deep, it almost looks like it's for the battery without the cover.

With the PSP attached, it looks very DualShock-ish, but it is wider than an average console controller.

The "huggers" hold on to the PSP really well-- I was surprised how securely they do-- but because it's so tight, it's really hard to get the PSP fitted on so that all 4 prongs are snapped over the silver band:

One of the features of this controller grip is that it allows UMD access while the PSP is attached. When the PSP is fully snapped on, yes it's true, but the door can't open up all the way. It does open enough to change UMDs though.

Like I said, the PSP is pretty secure when attached properly:

I should also note that once the PSP is attached, there is full access to the wi-fi/power switches, memory stick door, UMD drive, USB port, and headphones/remote port.

So how is it to play? As I said, it is wider than a regular console controller, since they don't have screens on them. I spent some time playing Resistance: Retribution because some have complained that the game forces you to contort the PSP trying to play it (I've never personally had that problem) and there seems to be a feeling that it would be better played on a DualShock. Personally, I found it to be neither better nor worse. I had a bit of a harder time with sniping, like using the FarEye, because the grips put some distance between the analog nub and up on the D-pad.

Then I played Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron, which because of the faster pacing, I find it does cause my hands to contort while playing. (I use the same controls as Resistance: Retribution; the face buttons to look) Maybe it's because I play the console versions of Star Wars Battlefront, but I found the controller to be really fun to play with this game! I find the D-pad presses like left/right to be much more accurate, maybe because my hand isn't cramped over the PSP possibly causing mis-button presses.

It's basically just a plastic shell, so it's really light. Definitely doesn't add any weight to the PSP. And the way you hold it during play, it takes a lot of hand pressure offof the PSP.

One thing I am concerned about is that because it grips the silver band SO tightly, I'm a bit worried it might've distorted it slightly?

These are my two PSP Slims, the one in the back is the one I used for the controller grip. It seems like there's a very slight bend in the silver band... it might've always been there, but I play my PSP every day so I tend to notice small details about it.... when I compare the area between my 2 PSP Slims, the other PSP doesn't have any sort of gap like that. Could be my imagination.


+grips the PSP really well.

+handles give the PSP more of a console controller feel.

+good for players with large hands who feel the PSP is too small to play comfortably.


-really hard to click the PSP into place because the grips are so tight.

-may pull on the silver band & damage the PSP?

I'd reccomend this controller grip for anyone who feels the PSP-2000 is a bit small, or anyone who wants more grip to their playing. But I'd caution about the little things like plastic flashing sticking out, and the general build quality of the grip.

If interested, the contoller grip can be ordered here:


Also you can use coupon code: DM5OFF14 to get a 5% discount site-wide.

NOTE: BudgetGadgets.com sent these 2 items speficially for review. But anything posted in my review are 100% my opinions, and do not necessarily reflect those of BudgetGadets.com or anyone other than me. I do not work for, nor am I affiliated in any way with them.


Blog Archive