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PlayStation Portable (PSP): is it still worth buying in 2020?

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It has been more than 15 years since the release of the Playstation Portable (PSP) which gave the gaming community a chance to literally take the Playstation console anywhere… well, other than just having it sit at home. 

Released in Japan on the year 2004 (2005 for North America), the handheld video game console was created by Sony Computer Entertainment in a time when portable devices were prevalent.

Part of the 7th generation of portable video game consoles was the Nintendo Dual Screen (DS), and the PSP was certainly able to rival it where other developers have tried to compete with it. But what makes the PSP boom back in the day, and is it worth buying one at present? 

PSP features and specifications

The PSP console features a 4.3-inch Thin Film Transistor LCD screen with a 480 x 272 pixel resolution. It has built-in speakers, but it also comes with a headphone jack. The controls are similar to that of the Playstation controller. But it’s not really surprising, considering it is patterned after that console.

The triangle, square, circle, and X buttons along with the analogue stick (which is used in most of the games than the arrow buttons also found in the PSP). It runs with impressive graphics processing power (during its time) as well as a Wi-Fi connectivity feature. 

There are also different models: PSP 1000, PSP 2000, and PSP 3000. Each generation becoming thinner and lighter which improved the display and added a microphone feature. Take note that I am featuring the classic PSP models  and not the newer ones which followed it namely the PSP Go.  

PSP Games

The PlayStation Portable is the only handheld gaming console known to make use of an optical disc format known as the Universal Media Disc (UMD) as the main storage. This means that games are commonly purchased this way. You would want to visit your local SM mall and head over to the toy section (if not a game shop) just to inquire of the games released and those you are looking for. 

However, UMDs and purchasing from the PlayStation store weren’t the only solutions to have your PSP run games. Soon enough, with its popularity spreading and people carrying the device wherever you turn, downloading became an option. With the memory stick feature also available for the device, the only limit is the storage capacity.

Who could forget the time when you wanted to join your family to go ‘malling’ because you *only* wanted to have your PSP loaded with new games — 3 for Php100? 

Take note that if you do own a PSP today, these downloading stations are no longer common in malls; you could download the games yourself (via laptop/PC and a cable), BUT take extra precaution when torrenting files. And remember that doing so is not recommended unless you have an original copy of the game.

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Here are the some of the most notable PSP games we loved.

  • Monster Hunter Freedom Unite
  • God of War: Chains of Olympus
  • Final Fantasy Dissidia (…and all the other Final Fantasy available for the PSP. C’mon, guys, it’s Final Fantasy!)
  • Tekken 5: Bloodline Rebellion
  • Harvest Moon: Boy and Girl

There are lots of other games this console catered, and those mentioned above are mere samples of what we’ve probably not played for a long time now, but are definitely classics they weren’t limited to just one console per se. 

A modern console with a classic feel

As the name implies, the Playstation Portable is literally the PlayStation console, but made to be enjoyed not just on the TV screen, but on-the-go.

It frees the limit of the original Playstation, introduced in the year 1994, and brings that experience wherever players went. Handheld devices started to bloom as the world progresses in its technological-gaming aspect, yet there is still a hint of the classic/retro gaming where one could choose to play solo or gather in one spot just to link with nearby PSP players.

Memorable games from the original Playstation were also made available for its portable successor so it somehow takes players back to when they could only play such games while sitting in front of the TV screen where the Playstation is plugged.

PSP beyond the games

So, you think owning a PSP back in the day (heck, even in our current year!) takes you a notch above those who still own their Gameboy Advance consoles because of the awesome, major throwback games you can play? That isn’t the only reason why owning a PSP makes you ‘cool’.

Other than a medium for playing video games, the PSP also allows users to listen to music, look at pictures, and watch movies—all in one device. While you may have your handy MP3 player and mobile phone to listen to your tunes on the road, the PSP allows you to bring one device with everything in it.

Got tired of playing games? Listen to music or watch videos you’ve downloaded. Did I mention you could also browse the internet through the built-in browser? Oh, yes, definitely. 

The gaming world of today focuses more on consoles such as the recent Nintendo Switch Lite with better features, modern hardware, and state-of-the-art experience with game titles producing a nostalgic effect (such as Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee and Pikachu), but with such a huge change in overall gameplay, the question remains on whether you should continue that thought of scouring every game shop (or perhaps online stores) for even a second-hand PSP.

Is the PSP worth it in 2020?

That would entirely depend on your purpose for purchasing one. Please take note that the Playstation Portable is no longer supported by Sony (discontinued since the year 2016), but you can still download games, music, pictures, and videos on your own. 

Either you’re a collector of every gaming console that has been manufactured for every generation, or you want to bring back the memories of possessing a PSP (although, you may get the confused stares from today’s generation on how it works), we can all agree that Sony created a game-changer and may even have challenged game and console companies of their future developments.

But if you’re going to ask me, I’d say it’s worth it if you can get one for cheap. A good condition and fully functioning PSP unit would be a good deal for around Php2,000 to Php3,000, but anything over that and it’s not that enticing anymore.

In case you have a capable smartphone, you can even try to relive the PSP experience by using the PPSSPP emulator.

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