My best friend’s birthday was Saturday. She’s a huge gamer, much like myself, and has an absolutely fantastic console and handheld collection. But, as wonderful as it is, it does have a few gaps. Which meant my other best friend and I had to chip in to make her gaming life a little more complete with a PSP and copies of Jeanne d’Arc , Crisis Core , Patapon , and a few other games. She has a reputation to uphold as a pillar of the gaming community, dangnabbit!
As the bargain hunter of the group, it fell to me to procure the used PSP and games. As part of the necessary preparations, this meant actually testing the system to be sure it worked, playing UMDs and reading to the memory card. In so doing, a remembered something very important.
I realized how much I loved the PSP.
I knew I appreciated the handheld. I received mine as a college graduation gift, and promptly embraced it and its JRPG-heavy library. But years with the 3DS and Vita clouded my 31 year old mind and made me forget just how important this particular system was to me. The 3DS is my clear favorite now, taking up constant residency in my purse.
It wasn’t always that way. With my reliance on my 3DS, I’ve tended to mostly revisit DS games over the past few years. That hadn’t happened with the Vita. It wasn’t like I could just pop a UMD in, and all of my downloadable PSP games are on their own Vita memory card, which for some reason I rarely remember to pop into my system. (I’m probably too enraptured with the Vita games.)
But, as I put in Crisis Core as the “test game” to be sure the used PSP worked, it all came back to me. I marvelled at the beginning of a game I’d already beaten years before, and rediscovered how much I liked the battle system. I popped in the Patapon UMD and delighted to remember that, despite everything else, I remembered “Pata Pata Pata Pon” and “Pon Pon Pata Pon.” For a moment, I contemplated tearing into the new copy of Jeanne d’Arc I had found at the thrift store, before coming to my senses and realizing I had this game. I had all of this. It was all just waiting in a tidy case beside my desk for me to remember it was there.
You can guess what transpired. My friend’s birthday came and went, and she was quite pleased with her new baby, and I’ve spent time every day for the last few days rediscovering my love for all my PSP games. I even went so far as to rebuy digital copies of some of my favorite Atlus games, what with them having been on sale for $5 each.
Which makes it ironic that, right as I was showing my handheld some love again, that Sony announced its finally discontinuing the PSP in Japan. In a way, it’s almost fitting. Because now, my return to the handheld isn’t just about rediscovering how much I loved it, but about honoring it as its lifespan finally draws to a close.