Thursday, November 13, 2014

My new toy from Japan

I'm still planning to write something of a trip report from my latest sojourn to my favorite island nation in the Pacific - I've just been a little preoccupied lately, mostly with work but a little bit with this:

A couple of the kids in my wife's family had PS Vitas when we were in Japan, and after seeing them playing, I couldn't resist. I am just a 40 year old kid, after all. (And I've been a gamer all my life.)

I hold weird allegiances when it comes to games, and I never even considered buying a PS Vita before. I've always owned Nintendo handhelds (up to the DS), and it pissed me off to an irrational degree when Sony announced the original PSP. The PS Vita I just wrote off as soon as it was released. But seeing people actually playing games on the system in Japan, along with the huge displays they have for Vita games and accessories at places like Bic Camera and Yodobashi (in contrast to the tiny little single shelf GameStop might devote to the system here), I just had to have one.

I picked up Powerful Pro Kun Baseball 2014 and Puyo Puyo Tetris while I was there - two franchises I know well. Puyo Puyo is usually sold as "Puyo Pop" here, and Powerful Pro Kun Baseball is the big-headed but surprisingly realistic baseball franchise that had one US domestic release on PS2, but is a long-running series in Japan.

I've since picked up Hot Shots Golf and have Persona 4 Golden on order - one nice thing about the Vita in the US is that the games are ridiculously cheap. And I'm far enough behind that I can buy all the older games that are even more heavily discounted.

But this is a fantastic system. It's well on its way to being my favorite portable system ever, already. I'm neither ready nor willing to trade physical controls for a phone's touch-screen, and the Vita's dual analog stick controls are the best ever in a handheld. Ditto for the screen, ditto for the graphics, which are easily at PS3 level quality in a freakin' handheld system.

Oh, btw, with the yen now at 115 to the dollar, it didn't make sense not to buy a system in Japan. And they have it in funky colors! (Mine's a new "Slim" model, though it's in a clear case in the photo above that makes it look chunkier than it is.) We just have boring black over here. No wonder the system's not doing well in the US.

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About This Blog

This is increasingly not a blog about Alphabet City, New York. I used to live in the East Village and work on Avenue B, but I no longer do. Why don't I change the name if I'm writing about Japan and video games and guitars? Because New Yorkers are well-rounded people with varied interests, and mine have gone increasingly off the rails over the years. And I don't feel like changing the name. I do still write about New York City sometimes.


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