posted by on 31st May 2007, at 9:52pm

I thought I’d go and look at something I really like, Portable Gaming. I own a PSP and a DS (Lite, ever since I broke my DS Phat) and I enjoy using them both.
I got my DS (Phat) the day it came out in Europe (March 11, 2005) and my PSP on the 25th of December 2005. I replaced my bust up DS Phat (top screen broke off)
in October 2006. And then it broke again and got it replaced (twice).

I’m going to take the DS and PSP head to head to see who is best. 😀

Round 1:Gaming

I’ve had a Game Boy since the Game Boy Pocket up until the Advance SP. Some games were immense to play and some were just bollucks to use. On the DS I don’t have to stick to platform games or 2D Shooters (Except Doom) with the aid of the touch screen. Playing the games on the DS is alot of fun. Here’s 3 (of 10) games I have.

Mario Kart DS:
I spent around an hour playing this (offline) when I first got it. I have the original Mario Kart 64 on my Wii (if that counts) and Mario Kart DS adds even more to what it is already a great game. There are all the classic maps, new maps and new characters to play as. I think the touchscreen doesn’t really add to the game as it serves as a map (Which gives me an idea for a 2D Homebrew).

Brain Training:

I got this when my DS was Broken, it was frustrating to play at first until I got a replacement. I would play on it for ages and then my sister would ask if she could try it. It litterally trains your brain. I got 17 seconds or something (Beat my Sister (h) )
from 25 seconds in around a week of trying it.The suduko to me doesn’t really do anything for me but still adds something to do if your bored.

Super Mario 64 DS:

This can be quite fun with the new mini-games and a couple more stars but keeps the original SM64 intact in that tiny DS case. The MultiPlayer battles can be quite boring and could have more if it wasn’t just Download and Play.

The PSP was something really cool I heard in 2004 from some magazine I had. It looked brilliant and I wanted one (greedy me). In 2005 I got one after a delay or two. I’ve had a PS1 and a PS2 which I used alot. The PSP brings back some of the stuff which I really liked on the PS(X). Earlier this year I replaced my Sony Firmware and got 3.03 OE-C which I’ll talk about later.
Here are the games:


Grand Theft Auto was a game I’ve never been allowed to have (damn the press :o) except all of my friends had it and would talk
about it. I secretly got the game and I have spent ages on it trying to complete the main story which includes some random
he/it/she with a cocaine addiciton. I haven’t tried the multiplayer on it but the sandbox-style game on a portable device
is incredibly fun. There are many addons for the hacked firmwares including a Save-Game hack for Liberity City Stories (2.00 Disk).

Coded Arms:

Second game I ever got for my PSP which was a great FPS. Boasting interesting multiplayer and many levels to fight through
coded arms is a great choice for those looking for a PS2 type FPS to take with them on the go. It can get a bit repetitive
but lasts for ages on a long car journey when the Big Bosses come in.

Star Wars Battlefront 2:

First game I got for the PSP. I loved playing JKA on the PC and when BattleFront 1 came out. I was so pleased about it, but couldn’t
run it. Then a year later BF2 comes out and I have a PSP to play it. Multiplayer is awesome especially on Hoth (which Shane has no clue
about) when you get to fight your friend in the AT-ST. There is not story but you do go from planet to planet in a Galactic Conquest.

The PSP now supports playing games (you can buy) from the PS3. These are the old PS1 classics I haven’t the money to get a PS3 so I haven’t bought any. But I have converted my own to use with the OE-A firmwares.

Round 2:Looks

The Original DS looked ok to me but not as sexy looking as the DS Lite. I think I saw the DS lite in ‘Edge’ magazine 2 years ago. It looked like Nintendo went ‘Apple’ with the White/Black Plasticy stuff. I think it worked because last October when I replaced
mine, she said it looked really cool.

The PSP looked nice but like anything that looks nice it get’s rather dirty easily. In the PSP (Value Pack?) there comes one of those lint-free cloth for cleaning it. A year later the White PSP comes out (Is this becoming a trend?) then a Pink one. The white one
is like the DS Lite, except it’s on a psp.

Overall I’d say that the DS Lite is the better of the two for the stylish looks (especially to go with a Wii) but the PSP definately looks like a ‘modabble’ console if you like voiding your warrenty (h).

Round 3:Usability?

The psp when first reviewed by ‘whatever’ said it could play movies, music, look at your photos, browse the internet and of course play high quality games. It does do that, and it goes a little bit further with homebrew, which I’ll cover. Using the PSP for more
than just games really adds to it and it’s price tag (compared to the ds). The web browser is built in (and free) with an RSS reader for your podcasts, if you are rich enough to own a location free it caters for it (Wii on PSP? Google it) and it’s handy if your on a bus or something and you need your music with your. The supplied PSP headphones are dead quite though, like I care for my ears.

The DS follows Nintendo’s original tradition. Games, The main use of the DS is to play games and perhaps communicate with pictochat. It doesn’t have all of these fancy things built into it unless you count the Pictochat. Some games are just fun, some are puzzling (not hard puzzling, good puzzling) and some are just plain creative. It’s amazing what you can do with a stylus and a touch screen plus 12 other buttons to push. It doesn’t have the same take as PSP games but it still is a massive piece of entertainment.

Round 4:Price

The psp when it first hit the market (here) was 200-ish euro. It went out of stock quickly but many people had one. There are 3 packs which to me just bunk up the price but you can get a bargin out of it somewhere. It was quick for stores like Game to bundle games with the psp bunking up the price making it hard to find the single psp without a bundle. But that died down (I think).

The DS was somewhere between 100euro to 130euro. I think. Which makes it an excellent price for what you get. The main DS box isn’t bundled but when first released it came with a Metroid Prime Demo (which I still use <3). Considering that It was like 10euro to preorder the ds it wasn’t all that bad. Still I think a little bit more could be added if it was to be a real bargin.

So, the DS to me was an excellent price and with the PSP dropping it’s price it’s becoming closer and closer to a better deal.

Round 5:Homebrew, homebrew and beer? Well no.

I’ll start with the psp, because I can. In 2005 on Japanese ‘Original’ 1.0 fimwares it was discovered you could run unsigned code on your psp which means you can play games people have made (homebrew). Then it was patched in 1.50, it was cracked by using 2 memory sticks which allowed the header of an authentic game to load which loaded the header and then you swapped the memory stick with the homebrew on it. The KXploit makes two folders ‘game’ and ‘game%’ which reduces the need for the memory sticks. Of course Sony patches it in the next firmware 2.00, until the guys at the homebrew scene discovered an exploit which comes from libtiff and libpng. GTA:LCS was also a homebrew icon (so to speak) for exploits could be ran from a hacked save game. Of course running a game from these exploits wasn’t truely awesome until we began to use these downgraders which bring us back to 1.50 (1.00 wasn’t an update it was standard). Downgrading can break your psp by messing with the flash0 (the psp’s internal memory). But it was worth it for the games and applications (not to mention playing your own legal backups, and I condem the illegal use of pirated games, since I can’t download them :/). So a developer called Dark-Alex makes a hacked version of the 2.71 firmware which allows you to get past the problem of not being able to play discs with the 2.71 update on it and play your 1.50 games too. He rolls out another and another and another. His earliest concept of the ‘Recovery’  Mode is in his 1.50 Custom Edition (Proof of Concept). The recovery can save you from a ‘bricked’ psp if something goes wrong while messing with flash0. It has saved me and many people from an expensive paperweight. 3.40 OE-A is the latest Open Editon from DarkAlex but I think 3.03 OE-C is the  best because you can skin your psp and use many plugins. Let me review some PSP homebrew:

This game was originally for the computer, but it is the greatest porting example for the PSP. The game pits you against an alien ship thing and basically you have to shoot it down with your laser beam. There are several modes, and it can get extremely hard at the last level where it fires hundreds of rounds at you in like 2 minutes.

Not much of a game, but it is an emulator for the N64. It doesn’t run all games but it does a heck of a job playing them. It can produce stable framerates and can give you horrible ones too.

IR Shell

An excellent shell for the PSP which allows you to preform tasks like sending files via adhoc, making directories, copying/pasting files, deleting files, managing your (OE-C) Plugins and you can even stream games via USB/Wifi to save space on your memory stick.

Theres plenty more but I think my main 3 are those (unless you count doom, which speaks for itself). Following a porting tutorial I read while teaching myself to make homebrew I tried to port Aleph One (if you are familiar) with no success since I need the libraries which a precompiled toolchain/sdk does not work 😀

I’ll go onto the DS now, because I’m not doing the gameboy. The DS homebrew isn’t all that big in many respects. It can have many awesome utilities (like IRC or DSLinux) and some good ports. There are several ways of running DS homebrew, but it all requires a device (whichever) to load the games off a memory stick. FlashMe which is rather like DarkAlex’s firmware. You can get a PassMe card, which loads games from the GBA Slot again or a NoPass (Look at Datel) which needs no GBA Storage
or better yet WifiMe so you don’t need to buy a PassMe card. Now DS homebrew as I said wasn’t that big, to me. I borrowed a friends GBA Slot loader thing once to give
homebrew a try 😀 Here are some of the homebrew ‘titles’ available:

Tales of Dagur
An interesting RPG for the DS which I first heard about from the DCEMU forums. It can be fun but it lacks some things I would see as the ‘perfect’ rpg 😀

Snezzi DS

Say SNES, now say it a bit drunker (shlurred?) Sn-e-szzzz. This is what it does, it emulates the snes which is a great idea for the DS since it has the exact same contrller
layout as the original snes, with an added touch screen. If you like playing Super Metroid or Super Mario RPG then this is a great one for you.

That’s all of the DS homebrew I’ve tried (since I don’t have a reader or a GBA slot thing). And it was ok to what i’ve seen on the PSP 😉

Round 6:Multiplayer!
Something I’ve enjoyed since I first got Counter Strike (2 years ago?) was multiplayer. Shooting someone from your own chair and stuff was great fun. I then went on to
try Xbox Connect (I’m not paying for live) with counter strike and UT:Championship which was also great fun. On the DS I have Mario Kart DS, Nintendo’s first Wifi game.
Although it can drain the battery it is awesome fun to be racing all of these people from time to time, then you can send the game to your friend via download and play and
cream them with your superior choice in veichles. If there was a *universal* Wifi connect thing (like Xbox Live) a Leaderboard would be pretty interesting, even marketplace
point-type things would be awesome. Now let’s flick over to the PSP. The only game I really play is Battlefront 2 for multiplayer, because alot of people have it and use it.
It’s fun to blow people up or even try a co-op but it’s not as fun as the DS.
I think the DS is my winner for multiplayer but the PSP could have something coming up (Worms:OW2).

Round 7:My Overall Result
I enjoy using the PSP and the DS but I think I prefer the PSP for messing with and homebrew, because it’s simple. I spend alot of time using homebrew (Since the 3.03 Exploit
<3) so I found more use of my psp than ever. I still enjoy using my DS alot and with new titles being released all of the time (Maybe Learn *Whatever* instead of Learn English)
I think I’ll still keep on playing it. The PSP wins for me but it would’ve lost if I hadn’t discussed homebrew since it can get pretty boring with only 4 games. So if your looking
for something a DS would be great but if your willing to take that extra step and try homebrew go for the PSP 😉


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