Mini golf Gold
Monkey Island 1
Monkey Island 2
Moorhuhn Kart 2
Moorhuhn X XXL
Mortal Kombat 2
Mortal Kombat 4
Need for speed
Need for speed 3:Hot Pursuit
Need for speed: Hot Pursuit 2
Need for speed: Motor city online
Need for speed 5: Porsche 2000
Sony's PSP Wows, but Only if You Stick to the Games
By Rob Pegoraro
Sunday, March 20, 2005; Page F07
Sony has often won big by thinking small. Portable gizmos such as the Walkman, the Discman and the Handicam helped make this company the consumer electronics power it is today. But until now, it hasn't tried to run that play with its most successful product of the past decade, the PlayStation line of video-game machines.
That changes Thursday, when Sony introduces the PlayStation Portable -- PSP for short. This $250 device is Sony's answer to Nintendo's Game Boy and DS handhelds. It also represents yet another try by Sony to get into the portable-media market Apple's iPod owns.
Rob Pegoraro says the $250 Sony PlayStation Portable is a 'peerless' gaming machine, 'combining sharp graphics, deep game play and easy online connectivity.' (Julia Ewan - The Washington Post)
• With a New Toy, Plenty of Titles to Play: Two-dozen game titles will be available for the Sony PSP when it hits store shelves this week. Here's a look.
• Seeking a More Intuitive Search Tool (The Washington Post, Mar 27, 2005)
• BitTorrent May Prove Too Good to Quash (The Washington Post, Mar 13, 2005)
• Headaches for Photo Filers (The Washington Post, Mar 6, 2005)
• Fast Forward Archive
• Undoing a Disk Partition and E-mailing Photos (The Washington Post, Mar 27, 2005)
• Complete Help File Archive
___Personal Tech E-letter___
Washington Post personal technology columnist Rob Pegoraro answers reader e-mail and expands on themes he touches on in his weekly newspaper column. The e-mail version of this weekly feature includes links to the latest gadget and software reviews.
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The PSP does only one of those jobs well, and you can probably guess which one. As a portable game machine, it's a peerless piece of work, combining sharp graphics, deep game play and easy online connectivity. As a multimedia gadget, however, it's a dud.
The PSP's sleek appearance backs up its gaming orientation. This booklet-sized device -- 6 5/8 inches by 2 7/8 inches by 15/16 inches, weighing 11 ounces with headphones and remote control -- carries a similar layout of buttons to that of a PlayStation 2 controller, plus a sharp, wide-format color display. At about 4 1/4 inches wide, with a 480-by-272 resolution, it's larger than other game players' displays and almost as sharp as those on handheld organizers.
The sum of these parts looks just different enough from other portable widgets -- and cool enough in its own right -- to draw reactions from passerby that range from intrigued to awestruck.
The PSP's breakthrough feature, however, can't be seen from outside. Its WiFi receiver allows PSPs to link up for peer-to-peer wireless gaming or, if within range of a separate WiFi access point, competition across the Internet. That second option is absent from the PSP's chief competitor, Nintendo's $150 DS. (Web access would have been a pleasant bonus but there is no browser available on the PSP.)
Setting up a PSP for Internet game play is harder than necessary, thanks to Sony's awkward interface for entering the lengthy alphanumeric encryption key most WiFi access points require.
Otherwise, though, multiplayer mayhem on the PSP is laughably simple. Select "multiplayer" from a game's menu, choose between local or Internet-wide contests (in a fit of jargon, the PSP calls them "ad hoc" and "infrastructure"), then wait for opponents to show up.
In The Post's newsroom, two PSPs joined the same game in seconds and maintained the connection up to about 110 feet away. Two Internet-hosted games were almost as quick to set up and showed no signs of lag, the slow response time that can gum up online games.
You can also play PSP titles solo, of course, but it's just more fun to compete against other people. You don't get the same sublime sense of satisfaction when the car you incinerate with a hail of missiles is driven by the computer instead of your co-worker.
Screen Shot: http://www.gamespot.com/pc/sports/fifas … index.html
System Requirements: Intel Pentium 2.8 GHz, 512MB RAM, 128mb Graphics Card
Just extract the archives and burn/mount with your favorite software.
Install, when asked for serial enter: X8MM-RWM9-FIFA-KFLT-FIFA
Copy our crack from DVD to game dir overwriting the old then play.
Part-01 Part-02 Part-03 Part-04 Part-05 Part-06
Part-07 Part-08 Part-09 Part-10 Part-11
เครดิต: ท่าน tana_sana เวปเพื่อนบ้าน
Sony PlayStation Portable/PSP hands-on review
We got our dirty mitts on a PlayStation Portable! Read on for a nice long review with plenty of pics:
Ever since the Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP) was
announced at E3 in May 2004, we have been eagerly
anticipating the hottest console launch (sorry Nintendo DS) this year, even if it is only for the Japanese market
right now. We were fortunate enough to get a unit to test a mere five days after the Japanese release date and have
been playing with it all weekend. The Sony PSP features a large 4.3-inch 16:9 widescreen LCD TFT screen with a
480x272 resolution, button layout similar to the PlayStation with a digital control pad, an analog stick, circle,
square, triangle, x, and 2 shoulder buttons, USB 2.0 connectivity (via mini-USB), a Memory Stick Duo media slot, and
802.11b WiFi support. It uses Sony's proprietary Universal Media Disc, which stores up to 1.8GB in a format
reminiscent of MiniDiscs. The Japanese launch release date was December 12th and the first shipment of PSPs quickly
We got the Standard edition PSP, which comes with the PSP itself, a battery, an AC adapter, and a manual, along
with Ridge Racers and Minna No Golf Portable. (The Value Pack adds a 32MB Memory Stick Duo, a soft carrying case, and
headphones with an in-line remote.) The box does not come with a sticker seal of any sort, which we weren't quite
used to considering anything and everything comes with some sort of factory seal here in the US.
When we shook the product box, we could hear some rattling around. We weren't too thrilled about that, since the
unit did come a long ways from Japan. Luckily, when we opened the package, the PSP fits snugly into the surrounding
cardboard, the rattling we heard was mostly likely the power adapter cables. We noticed a lack of any type of demo
disc included with the unit. Some PSP Value Packs apparently do come with a UMD Demo Disc, but we've also heard
from a few people that got Value Packs without any demo discs inside as well.
The Unit Itself
When you first lay your hands on the PSP, you immediately notice the screen. The 4.3-inch display dominates the
device, it looks like it takes up two-thirds of the real estate on the front fascia. In other words, massive. The
unit feels expensive, and exudes sexiness, much like Apple's iPods (and you know how big of a fan we are of iPods).
The unit feels perfectly balanced when held with both hands. It does not feel like a $200 console (Japan MSRP for
console only) at all. We're sure Sony is losing a few hundred bucks off each unit sold as the PSP easily feels like
it's worth $400 of gadgetry (when compared to portable video and audio players and the DS). We feel Sony could have
gotten away with a $300 sticker price, but in an effort to destroy Nintendo's firm grasp of the handheld gaming
market, they've set the price just $50 more than the Nintendo DS (which was released in both Japan and US markets
just last month). It feels like an extreme bargain for two bills. The screen is immersive, drawing you in when
playing videos or games and so big that you may not need your glasses to play. The black color fits well and matches
the Playstation 2's color. The dimples across the top row of the screen reminded us of carbon fiber, currently the
rage in import tuner cars.
When you pay for a new console, you expect it to be perfect. Alas, ours was not. We noticed two lit pixels
(always-on pixels), one in the middle of the screen, about one-fourth of the way down, and one near the very right
edge of the screen. So out of 130,560 pixels on the LCD screen, we got two defective ones. It's actually not too
noticeable unless you look for it and we didn't notice until we played with the PSP in pitch black darkness. We could
make a big fuss, but we'll just deal with it, and hope that Sony will be as honorable as Nintendo when fixing units
with dead pixels for their customers.
Another complaint of the PSP so far has been the
ejecting UMD problem in which the user in the
video appears to flex the PSP quite a bit to get it to eject spontaneously. We're happy to report that we didn't
have such problems with any self-ejecting discs and that our PSP is built rather solidly, though we didn't dare to
twist the unit as hard as we could. We initially had some light squeaking noises when we pressed right on the
directional pad, but after a weekend of use, the annoying sound has disappeared.
The PSP, with battery, Memory Stick Pro Duo, and UMD inserted, weighs 10.3 ounces, making it fine to put in a
jacket pocket (with case or cover of course), but not exactly friendly in a pants pocket with its long form factor.
We've heard of some Japanese folks wearing the PSP like a necklace (there is a strap handle at the bottom left
section of the PSP), but as cool as that may make them look, we didn't think our necks could take the strain.
Unfortunately, with the fine glossy screen comes the problem of fingerprints and smudges. While we didn't use latex
gloves while handling the unit, we were very careful to try and handle it with the utmost of care. That said, there
were smudges around the control buttons within seconds. It's pretty much unavoidable to smudge the smooth front
cover, so we recommend a very soft cloth to wipe off smudges and smears, but make sure the cloth doesn't scratch up
the LCD. The back of the unit is textured plastic and does not smudge. Within an hour of playing some games on the
PSP and constantly wiping off smudges, there were some light scratches on the screen. We're hoping that Sony will
sell replacement PSP faceplates at a reasonable price.
The front of the PSP unit has the directional pad on the left side, and the analog thumb stick (looks like speaker
mesh) below that. The analog thumb stick is quite a burden to use since it's so far down, as there is no thumb
support from the unit when you use it. It was fine to play Ridge Racers with it, but after 15 minutes, we felt as if
we were getting thumbitis with a sore thumb joint. To the right of the LCD is the standard circle, square, triangle,
and x buttons any Playstation junkie has become accustomed to. The left and right trigger buttons are at the top of
the unit and are clear, looking a bit like jewelry. All buttons on our review unit were easy to press and click fast
The bottom edge of the PSP is raised ever so slightly, with buttons for Home, lowering and raising the volume,
brightness, sound settings for various music genres, and Select and Start buttons. While Home, Select, and Start are
quite easy to press since the size of the buttons are a good size, the volume and brightness and music buttons take
quite a bit of effort to depress as the buttons are half the size of the other ones and further away if you use your
thumbs to depress. Since you may use the volume buttons quite a bit, it's a bit of a pain and there seems to be
enough room on the left bottom side to put in larger buttons for volume. But at least the volume buttons are not
essential for quick pressing during gaming. For brightness, there are three settings, from Dim to Bright to Brightest
(our wording), we found Bright to be the adequate enough. Since there's still not much sun in Seattle this time of
year, we were unable to test the PSP in direct sunlight.
The left side of the unit has the WiFi switch, a quick flip up and the WiFi mode is set to on.
At the top edge is an infrared transmitter, a mini-USB connector and the Eject button for loading UMDs. Sony is
planning an infrared remote controller for the PSP, and it looks like any future PSP add-ons will be plugged in up
top, as there's two locking holes on each side of the mini-USB port.
The combined power and hold switch is on the lower right side, you can push the switch down for hold, and pushing
the slider up turns it on. The button always returns to the middle after pushing it up, which we found a bit
annoying. A simple On/Off/Hold switch would have been easier to handle. When you power it on, the PSP returns you to
where you left off (like returning from a hibernation state in Windows XP, but without any delays at all). When you
toggle hold during a game, the PSP buttons become disabled, and the game just continues. Hold is probably most useful
when playing a video or a music album and you don't want any accidental button presses to interfere.
The bottom right is where the AC adapter plug goes in, which we find is quite an odd placement for it. When gaming
with the power line plugged in, your right hand will feel the cord and plug. While it doesn't interfere per se, it
would have been much neater if the power port was placed on the top edge of the unit. Not a huge knock, just a slight
inconvenience. The left side is where the headphones plug in. When used, the headphone plug doesn't interfere with
our movement as much as the AC adapter one because the headphones plug is on the bottom half of the PSP. Also at the
bottom edge a sticker in a recessed area, with the product number and serial number in the middle. We don't we see it
lasting after a few months of hardcore use nor do we see the point of this sticker, as there is actually an etched
serial number in the battery compartment.
In USB Mode, if you have a Memory Stick Duo or Pro Duo inserted, you can connect a mini-USB cable to
the top of the PSP, and it acts like a USB drive, allowing you to access any folders or content on the Memory Stick.
Windows XP immediately recognized the device as a Removable Disk after we plugged in the cable. File transfers both
ways were incredibly fast thanks to the USB 2.0 support.
Universal Media Discs
The Sony PSP uses a proprietary 1.8GB Universal Media Disc (UMD) format, in part an effort to thwart
piracy and so they can control what gets released for their system. They are much like MiniDiscs (the actual disc
just slightly smaller), but with one serious drawback, a gaping hole in the back of the plastic case (no doubt for
the PSP to read in data). While we know some of you are very meticulous and careful when handling your disc-based
media, we also know quite a few people that have scratched up DVDs and games. We just don't get why Sony didn't put a
metal faceplate over the hole like they do for MiniDiscs.
UMD games are packaged in a plastic section which the UMD fits snugly into. But there is no small plastic case for
UMDs (ala Gameboy carts) and one can not reasonably be expected to carry around the full game box when transporting
extra games with the system. We're sure third party UMD plastic cases will be out soon enough, but for now, you'll
have to resort to carrying the whole game box, as we don't recommend just putting a UMD in your pocket to carry
The UMD drive makes a whirring noise at times when loading games or levels (but not while actually playing). It's
not too obnoxious and sort of sounds like a hard drive spinning up, but you do hear it. After living with solid state
handheld games (cartridges), we had to get used to load times again. The original Playstation 1 had horrid load times
for some games, but it did improve over time as programmers got to know the system. We hope the same will be true for
the PSP as it took 19 seconds after selecting UMD to get to the Namco logo on Ridge Racers. During the game, it took
10 seconds to load the course after selecting all the options. For Minna No Golf, it took 25 seconds to get to the
intro screen and 16 seconds to start playing from the menu. It's tolerable but an aspect that could use
Targeting the Adult Market
While kids will surely be begging their parents for the PSP (my 4 year-old nephew asked his father for one
immediately after seeing it), Sony is targeting a more mature audience. We don't see younger kids handling the UMDs
with the open area well and we can just picture screen scratches within a day after little Jimmy has their hands on
one. As a friend pointed out, this system is perfect for the Japanese audience, a country where they are known for
cleanliness, neatness, and taking care of their electronics well. That, sadly, can not be said for the American
audience (in general), we are just more rough with our gear. It will be interesting to see if Sony changes the PSP at
all for the American audience and we're thinking the USA warranty should be at least a year. This may be one of
those times where you will actually want to purchase the extended warranty program.
At first bootup we were greeted with the option to choose between Japanese and English. Next you can give your PSP
a nickname (for network play) via cellphone type text entry (press 2 three times for the letter C, etc). Seeing how
the PSP has plenty of room for a keyboard layout on the screen, we would have much preferred that. The Japanese are
used to the phone keypad text entry system, so I'm sure it's not a big deal to them, but for the US release, we hope
they change it. Another annoying interface aspect was when we entered our IP address for the PSP. We had to scroll up
and down through 256 numbers (0 to 255), rather than manually entering numerals. It's not very fun to scroll for 16
sets of numbers.
After setting it to English the menus are pretty self-explanatory, the main options are Settings, Photo, Music,
Video, and Game. Some of the options may not be available if you don't have a Memory Stick Pro Duo
As was the case with the Japanese versions of the PlayStation 1 and 2, the button you choose to select with is the
Circle button not the X button (like in the US versions). The X button thus becomes the back or cancel option. When
you're used to using X to select everything, there will be times you forget and accidentally hit the wrong button.
The manual is in Japanese, not that we needed it at all for anything. Other than those two things, the PSP itself is
very English-speaker friendly.
The PSP is powered by a 100-240V (5A) universal power adapter, which means you can use it anywhere in
the world practically. There have been reports of a weak two hours of battery life when playing complex 3D games. We
fully charged up our PSP battery and popped in Ridge Racers for non-stop gaming. We set the brightness to the middle
level and set the volume to 15 button presses from 0 (the max volume is 30). That level of brightness and volume is
adequate for the average gamer during gameplay. With no breaks in between, we played non-stop for 3 hours and 35
minutes. We also tried another Ridge Racers test, playing one game, then letting the system run through the replay in
an infinite loop. That test also resulted in a similar playtime of 3 hours and 31 minutes.
While not superb, 3.5 hours is acceptable and you can always buy a spare battery (~$45) if you need it.
Cheaper third party batteries will show up sooner or later as well. We had really hoped the PSP could be charged via
mini-USB, but unfortunately Sony did not include that support. But to be fair, our mini-USB cable was not able to
charge our Motorola RAZR V3 cellphone either, though
the phone is supposedly capable of doing so. So it may be that we have a bunk USB cable. If anyone has gotten their
PSP to charge via USB, let us know. We'd also like to see a cigarette lighter power adapter for long road trips.
After 3.5 hours of nonstop gaming, the unit is just barely warm to the touch. I ejected the UMD and the disc felt
just the tiniest bit warm too. So hopefully that's a sign of no overheating problems (which plagued the
first-generation Sony Playstations, anyone remember turning it upside down to alleviate the problem?).
Memory Stick Duo
The Sony is hoping that the PSP will help make the Memory Stick Pro Duo a viable memory card format,
especially since the PSP does not take any of the older Memory Stick formats like the Memory Stick Pro. It only takes
the tiny Duo flash memory card, which is about 85% of the size of a Secure Digital (SD) card. We believe the highest
current available size is 512MB, retailing for $130 at stores (or about $85 shipped on eBay), and we have not seen
the 1GB version in stock anywhere. You will need a Memory Stick to save your games or if you want to play MP3s or
videos on it. The Ridge Racers save game takes up about 700K and Minna No Golf Portable needs about 769K.
After formatting your Memory Stick Duo or Pro Duo in the PSP, you get a PSP directory, and GAME, MUSIC, PHOTO,
SAVEDATA folders within that. The game folder will eventually house downloadable games or demos from the Internet,
music is for your MP3s, photo for your JPGs, and save data for your saved games. Video files need to go in a
different folder which we will get into later this week.
For photo viewing, GIF, BMP, and PNG files aren't supported by the PSP, but standard JPG ones are. When you have a
full-sized 4 or 5 megapixel JPG file, the PSP takes a bit of time for it to load, about 3 seconds for a 1.8MB JPG
file. It automatically crops the photo (most photos are in the 4:3 format), leaving white space on the sides of the
picture when it is displayed (see above).
For photos that you have cropped or Photoshopped to the PSP's native 480x272 resolution (say hi to my
Yorkshire terrier, Yoda), the picture loads immediately and looks sharp with
excellent detail. You can get file information (filename and file date), do a slideshow, or zoom in to certain parts
of the picture. The photo gallery works much like Windows Explorer, showing a thumbnail of the picture, the filename,
and date. You can also create folders within the \PSP\Photo directory in Windows Explorer to organize your photos. In
the Photo section, when you press the Triangle button, you can delete folders or pictures, or get more information
about a picture, including its full resolution and which camera took the shot by accessing the EXIF information
within the JPG file itself.
The biggest knock on Sony in the past has been their insistence of using the ATRAC format, forcing you
to convert your beloved MP3s to their proprietary format before their players could play it. They have finally
listened to their users and done away with ATRAC only with native MP3 support in the PSP. Just drop files into your
PSP/Music folder and your PSP can play them directly. The speakers are at the bottom of the unit, and the two little
holes on the bottom produce good sound. We played a variety of MP3s just fine, including some variable bit rate ones,
but we're sorry to report that we didn't have any ATRAC files to test out.
Videos look amazing on the widescreen. The picture is sharp and detailed, and colors are vibrant. While it's fine
to hold the PSP in your hands when playing games or watching short clips, it gets a bit tiresome if you're watching
something an hour or more in length (rest assured that Sony will be putting out a stand for the PSP).
Setting up the 802.11b WiFi is easy. Just name your connection (Home, Work, etc), put in the SSID access point
name, a WEP key if any, and then setup IP and DNS addresses (or choose automatic if using DHCP). There's a network
test when you are done, telling you your current signal strength and whether your Internet connection succeeded or
not. Taking a page from Microsoft, you can also update the PSP OS via a Network Update. Our tech geekiness led us to
try to update the system (it's less than a week old) before even playing games. Our system already had the latest
version, as there were no updates from Sony.
The PSP in Public
Not that we expected anyone to, but no one noticed when we whipped out the PSP to wait in line at the post
office (for a lousy 30 minutes!) to mail a package. But we were surprised when we started playing while standing in
line at Best Buy (to get a Sandisk 512MB Memory Stick Pro Duo for a whopping $130) and got no attention, either
(though we were only in line for about 10 minutes). The checkout droids didn't say anything either.
But when we took the PSP to the mall for a little tour (just outside a game shop), it was a different story.
Within a few minutes a bunch of kids who looked to be aged 10 to 12 were asking questions about it, mainly where we
got ours from and how much. (Kids these days must be on a different allowance scale than when we were kids, because
when we said it would be just $200 come March or so, they were all over it and said they were sure that they'd get
one.) Within 10 minutes we had gathered a small crowd of ten, all drooling over the gorgeous screen. With the
Nintendo DS anyone looking over your shoulder may have a hard time to see what's going on, while the PSP is also a
watch-while-I-play kind of system, and the people that were looking over our shoulders at the mall didn't have any
problem seeing what was going on. We didn't stay too long, fearing a mob scene as people started calling their
PlayStation Portable vs. the Nintendo DS
We love the Nintendo DS, but it is bulky and feels and looks like a child's toy from the 1980s compared to the
PSP, which is definitely one well-designed, slick little handheld. The DS weighs exactly 10 ounces with the thumb
strap, battery, and DS game inserted (10.4 ounces if you add in a GBA cart), just slightly less than the PSP's 10.3
ounces. But two 3-inch screens does not beat one 4.3-inch one, at least not in this case.
The DS has a touchscreen on the lower LCD, which makes for more interactivity than the PSP, and the PSP would make
for a great PDA if it had touchscreen functionality. While Nintendo is planning to
add music and video to the DS for $50, the PSP has both
features already, and video just won't be the same on a 3-inch DS screen, especially when compared to the PSP's
4.3-inch one. When we consider that the primary purpose of the PSP is to play games, the graphics of the PSP just
blow away the Nintendo offering. The two powerful 32-bit MIPS R4000 CPUs overwhelms the Nintendo DS ARM7 and ARM9
processors. One direct comparison would be Ridge Racer DS vs Ridge Racers for the PSP, both created by Namco. The DS
version has some chunky pixelated graphics (see above picture courtesy of
GameSpot) and the lower touchscreen looks rather useless in terms of
gameplay usage. The PSP's Ridge Racers is Playstation 2-like, with smoother graphics and more detail in the cars. The
one redeeming factor of Ridge Racer DS is that only one copy of the game is needed for up to 6-player wireless
PlayStation Portable vs. Creative's Zen Portable Media Center
The Creative Zen Portable Media Center (PMC) is a portable media player with a 3.8-inch 4:3 screen and
a 20GB hard drive, but beyond the hard drive (and perhaps 7 hour video battery life and TV output), it does not
compare too favorably with the PSP. Since we do not yet have the Sony Image Converter software, it is easier to
transcode video files to the PMC. But the PMC is a lot thicker and uses the 4:3 screen format, which in the current
age of HDTV is going the way of the dodo bird. Interestingly enough the Sony PSP AC adapter can actually charge the
PMC as well since the plug fits and both units use the same voltage power. Watching standard 4:3 size videos is okay
on the PMC, but when you go to 16:9 format shows or movies, you definitely notice the annoying black bars on the PMC.
In direct video comparisons, the PMC picture looks washed out (as you can tell in the pictures) and much grainier.
I'm not sure why the 4:3 video on the PSP wasn't bigger, but it's still more clear and detailed. In the 16:9 Shark
Tale trailer, I have no idea why the PMC didn't set the video to 16:9 format, as the original source was widescreen,
but again, the PSP handily wins that comparo as well.
The PMC has only one speaker (at the bottom right corner of the screen) for mono sound, whereas the PSP has two
little speakers for stereo sound. The PMC has slightly better sound (even with only one speaker) and has a higher
maximum volume, but when using a pair of Shure E3C earbuds to listen to some MP3s, we found audio fidelity to be
great in both devices, with no noticeable quality difference.
PlayStation Portable vs. Apple's iPod photo
Apple's iPod photo handily beats the PSP in terms of
the MP3 interface, ease of use, playlist creation, and storage space. We didn't have an standard iPod or
iPod photo to do direct comparisons with, but we did do
a listening test with an iPod mini. Again using Shure E3C earbuds, we found no discernable difference in audio
quality between the PSP and the iPod mini, as both were equally superb with a variable bit rate MP3. When viewing
JPGs, the 2-inch iPod Photo screen size just doesn't bode well for viewing pictures, plus you need to use iTunes to
convert any JPGs into a format the iPod Photo can read. The PSP can directly read any JPG file (and fits the JPG onto
the screen) and the pictures look gorgeous on the 4.3-inch screen, but the only downside of the PSP is that you can
not listen to an MP3 file while browsing photos and it doesn't output the picture to a TV.
Is the PSP an iPod (or iPod Photo) killer? No, but could it be an iPod video killer (when and if that finally
comes out)? Perhaps, but only if Memory Stick prices go down in price and storage sizes go way up. Or if Sony opens
up the UMD format (we can hope, can't we?) and lets people write to their own 1.8GB UMD discs. We're not sure what
Apple has in store in terms of a video iPod player, but obviously they'd have to make the screen at least somewhat
comparable to the one on the PSP and loads better than the iPod Photo's 2-inch screen.
Ridge Racers is definitely a hit, and we've yet to hear anyone buy the PSP without buying RR too. Just like the
original Ridge Racer was a success when the Sony PlayStation came out, Ridge Racers is a system seller. The intro CG
looks amazing, and when you play the game, you get a sense of speed, which you need in a racing title. There were no
graphic pop-ups, but you can notice jagged edges (jaggies) if you look close enough, namely the edge of the course
(the bottom of the side walls) as you are driving. It may be a little distracting to some, but we aren't that
critical to count it as a major flaw. The game itself has some intentional motion blur (we hope intentional at least)
when you see the computer controlled cars turning in corners, their brake lights will blur a bit on the screen. There
is some Japanese language in Ridge Racers, but overall, there's plenty of English and one can navigate through it
reasonably well without knowledge of Japanese. We had to tear the PSP unit away from our test group of gamers to even
try our other game.
Minna No Golf Portable (Everybody's Golf, or Hot Shots Golf in the US) is a good golf title. The graphics are
solid, but it is golf, and we didn't experience anything spectacular from this one. We do find it weird that our
character runs at hyperspeed immediately after striking the ball, and waits at the spot for the next swing, even as
the ball is rolling to that point. You can put topspin or underspin on the ball, and you can also hook and slice the
ball around trees. It uses the familiar old three click method for the golf swing, click once to start your swing,
once to set the power, and once for accuracy. It's the same method that's been used since Links for PC has been
around. The menus are heavily in Japanese, and while we were able to start a game by pressing the Circle button a few
times, we had no idea what we chose. There may be guides or FAQs at GameFAQs
by the time you read this.
The Sony PSP is a great handheld gaming console, one that could prove to be as revolutionary as the
original Nintendo Gameboy was, not only because it's basically a handheld PlayStation 2 with powerful graphics, but
because of all the other value-added features it comes with, namely the photo viewer, the audio player, and video
player. The most amazing thing, hands-down about the PSP is the large 4.3-inch widescreen LCD, which is simply
amazing to see in person, and at two hundred bucks retail, it's definitely a good value. There is no handheld gaming
competitor that comes close to it right now in terms of gaming power, and if weren't for the low storage capacity and
high price of the Memory Stick Pro Duo, it might even hold its own as a portable audio and video player. The photo
viewer is superb and sharp and the sound quality of the audio player is at least on par with the iPod mini. The
videos when played back from Memory Sticks are superb, there's no doubt that movies on UMD will look just as great on
Now maybe the time to put in your pre-orders for the February or March 2005 US PSP launch, that is if you can
resist importing a system (around $500+ right now, check our PSP price watch). We really hope Sony holds to their
word of no region coding on PSP games (we don't mind so much if UMD movies are region encoded), because we'd rather
not have to rip apart our PSP to install a region-free modchip (which will surely come if there is region coding for
games). You will pay a bit of a premium for a PSP now, unless you know someone in Japan that can get you one. The
question of worth is of course dependant on what your income level is and how much you value having the latest
Dead or lit pixels will continue to be an issue for any PSP buyer (as it is for any sort of LCD screen) and it's
the only main gripe of our system. We're more forgiving than most for the slow load times, as it is the first
generation of software, so this should get better over time. The battery life isn't amazing, so another battery is a
necessity if you plan on playing the PSP more than four hours a day away from an AC outlet, and we do wish that
it could be charged via USB. Other issues: it'd be nice if Sony made text input in the menus a little easier, and we
would have loved to have found an Internet browser within the OS, seeing how easy the WiFi was to setup and get
working. Greater Memory Stick Pro Duo storage sizes at more affordable rates should come as the system matures, as
the PSP would an amazing powerhouse with a cheap 4GB of storage.
A special thanks goes out to Siu-Wai Ho of Kicks Hobby in Seattle, WA
for providing the Sony Playstation Portable unit to us a mere 5 days after it's Japanese release. Thanks!
Dan Wu's personal reviews and commentaries can be read on his personal site,