Friday, January 12, 2007

So who has the worst games?

Much hay is being made over at Digg regarding an article discussing the "Worst 10 PSP games."

Digg comments:

But here's the thing nobody is talking about... the absolute worst portable games are on the DS platform (lists from

1. Elf Bowling 1 & 2 12.3%
2. Sudoku Mania 21.5%
3. Monster Trucks DS 24.4%
4. ATV: Quad Frenzy 25.7%
5. Peter Jackson's King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie 26.0%
6. Dino Master DS 28.8%
7. Ping Pals DS 29.0%
8. Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects 31.1%
9. Crash Boom Bang! 33.0%
10. Superman Returns: The Videogame 33.8%

It's interesting how the worst of the DS library is actually much, much worse than the low end of the PSP library.

1. Reel Fishing: The Great Outdoors 21.0%
2. World Series of Poker 38.8%
3. Dave Mirra BMX Challenge 40.4%
4. Pocket Racers 42.2%
5. The Sims 2: Pets 43.5%
6. Street Supremacy 43.6%
7. Bliss Island 45.6%
8. KAZooK 45.9%
9. Smart Bomb 48.4%
10. Rengoku: The Tower of Purgatory 48.6%

In fact, if one were to combine the two lists and come up with a "Worst 10 Portable Games" you would find that only one PSP game is bad enough to be ranked with the DS titles. The other 9 are all for Nintendo and they can have them.

DS. Elf Bowling 1 & 2 12.3%
PSP. Reel Fishing: The Great Outdoors 21.0%
DS. Sudoku Mania 21.5%
DS. Monster Trucks DS 24.4%
DS. ATV: Quad Frenzy 25.7%
DS. Peter Jackson's King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie 26.0%
DS. Dino Master DS 28.8%
DS. Ping Pals DS 29.0%
DS. Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects 31.1%
DS. Crash Boom Bang! 33.0%

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

"The PSP battery life sucks!" - Intro.

It's taking some time to pull together all the data on this one. There are lots of different ways to play with the PSP while the DS Lite is pretty much just a game machine. It's necessary to compare the different play modes on both machines and that involves a lot of playing, battery draining, recharging and playing again.

So far the data is showing that the PSP battery (mine is also almost 2 years old) lasts about 4 hours and 15 minutes. The DS Lite battery (5 months old) is lasting around 4 hours and 45 minutes to 5 hours.

In the end, the difference is not appearing significant, but I hope to have full data (with charts, and graphs!) posted soon.

"The PSP is too big to carry around!"

I know Americans have a reputation for being out of shape, but it's surely not that arduous to carry around an electronic device.

Here are the basic dimensions of the PSP:

17 cm ( 6.69") long.
7.4 cm (2.9133") wide.
2.3 cm ( 0.91") thick.

It's actually only slightly larger than the DS Lite:

13.3 cm ( 5.24") long. (21.6% smaller than the PSP).
7.39 cm ( 2.9094") wide. (.1% smaller than the PSP).
2.15 cm (0.85") thick. (6.5% smaller than the PSP).

In fact, the PSP is smaller than the original DS which was 5.8in x 3.3in x 1.1in.

If you measure volume the original DS was 21.054 cubic inches, the PSP is 17.736 and the DS Lite is 12.958.

Weight? Original DS was 275g (9.7 ounces), the PSP is 260g (9.17 oz.) and the DS Lite is 215g ( 7.58 oz.)

All in all, yes, the DS Lite is smaller. But to say that it's significantly smaller or that the PSP is too large to carry around is simply nonsense.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

"It takes 5 minutes to start playing a PSP game."

Common sense should tell anyone that this is the cry of a potential ADD patient or that keyboard smashing German kid. Granted, it will take longer to begin playing games from disc based media than it does from a cartridge, but 5 minutes? Seems an excessive claim to me.

Yes, I know, the original statement says "start playing", but the problem is that with some games (particularly role playing games) you must create a character and endure a long story sequence before you actually begin "playing", this is true of all role playing games.

So I've decided to time the actual loading sequence, how long it takes to get to the first screen where a player is able to take control.

So let's test it, shall we? Times will be presented two ways, the first being the "natural" time to get to the main menu where you press "Start" and begin the game and the second being an "accelerated" time, pressing the appropriate button to skip the startup sequence.

Archer Maclean's Mercury - 1:41 - 1:14 (has skippable corporate logo)
Astonishia Story - 2:22 - 0:36 (has skippable opening animated sequence)
Coded Arms - 1:58 - 0:54 (has skippable "attract mode")
Death Jr. - 1:20 - 0:54 (has skippable opening animated sequence)
Kingdom of Paradise - 2:29 - 1:07 (has skippable opening credit sequence)
Legend of Heroes - 3:32 - 0:47 (has skippable opening story sequence)
Legend of Heroes II - 2:12 - 0:54 (has skippable opening story sequence)
Lumines - 0:40 - 0:35 (has skippable corporate logos)
Me and My Katamari - 2:30 - 1:09 (has skippable opening animated sequence, but come on! It's the king of all the cosmos! How can you skip that?)
Metal Gear Solid Digital Graphic Novel - 1:16 - 1:16 (no start menu, story just begins)
Monster Hunter Freedom - 2:46 - 0:52 (has skippable opening animated sequence)
Practical Intelligence Quotient - 1:48 - 1:01 (has skippable opening animated sequence)
Twisted Metal: Head On - 2:39 - 0:58 (has skippable corporate logo & animated sequence)
Untold Legends: Brotherhood of the Blade - 3:09 - 1:03 (has skippable opening story sequence)
Untold Legends: Warrior's Code - 2:45 - 0:54 (has skippable opening animated sequence)
Wipeout Pure - 3:02 - 1:09 (has skippable opening animated sequence)
X-Men Legends II - 3:37 - 1:25 (has skippable corporate logos & animated sequence)
Ys: Ark of the Napathistim - 0:56 - 0:56

When you average out all these times, you find it takes around 2 minutes and 15 seconds to get to the start menu if you just turn on your PSP and let it run through all the corporate logos, startup videos, etc. If you're impatient and keep pressing the X or Start button it will take you around 59 seconds on average.

In other words, no where near the 5 minutes some fanboys claim. Is one minute longer than it takes on a cartridge based platform? Sure. But who can't wait a minute to play a game?

Oh yeah, right:

Saturday, December 30, 2006

"There aren't any good PSP games!"

This is probably the most commonly held mis-conception regarding the PSP. That there aren't any "good" games. currently lists 234 titles available for the PSP, naturally they can't all be bad, right?

I tend to break down game ratings by grade level, 90% and above is an A, 80% and above is a B, etc. Pretty much any game that gets an A or a B is above average and is worth playing. Similarly anything scoring below 70% (D) or 60% (F) is below average and not worth playing.

Pretty simple, right? So look at the scores:

A 1 0.43%
B 36 15.38%
C 78 33.33%
D 78 33.33%
F 41 17.52%


37 games score above average. Sure, gaming is a matter of personal taste, but that doesn't qualify as "no good games" by any stretch of the imagination. But how does this compare to the competition? The Nintendo DS?

A 3 1.35%
B 30 13.51%
C 51 22.97%
D 65 29.28%
F 73 32.88%


The DS has been on the market a little bit longer than the PSP so you'd expect it would have more games. You'd be wrong. It has fewer games and fewer games in the "above average" category. But it's also incredibly "bottom heavy". A whopping 138/222 games simply aren't worth even considering. That's 62%!

Putting it another way... For every title worth playing on the DS Lite there are 4.18 titles that are pretty much garbage. The PSP may have quite a few bad games as well (119/234 or 51%), but that comes out to one good game for every 3.22 bad games.

In short, when comparing the Sony PSP to the Nintendo DS, the PSP has more games, better games and a more favorable ratio of good games to bad games.

Welcome to FanBusters!

When it comes to games there are many, often heated, opinions on all sides of any issue.

My machine is better than your machine, your game sucks because of x, y or z.

This blog is dedicated to puncturing some of the more egregious fanboy statements that bounce around the Internet. Initially there are going to be a lot of PSP related topics for the simple reason that that machine seems to be getting the raw end of the stick in the fanboy press right now.

I'm not an employee of any game manufacturer (hardware or software), I'm not some spurious marketing type nor am I a professional journalist. I am simply a guy who has been gaming for a long time and I hate to see bad information passed around as fact when it's really fanboy fantasy.