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.