I’m going to cheat on this a bit.
You see, I love games. Narrowing that down to one series? I can’t do it. I’ve been trying for quite some time to figure out a series I could say is “mine.” Metroid? Resident Evil? Zelda? Persona? I couldn’t do it. Even more than that, I didn’t want to. There are way too many series I just really adore out there. That’s when our VP of operations, Telidas, suggested I should focus on my favorite method of playing games.
You see, I’m a handheld gamer. I’ll play a handheld over a console any day of the week. If there is a handheld version of a game, that’s the version I purchase. I will double dip on a handheld version of a console game I already own just to have the handheld experience. It’s just what I do.
Back in my childhood, I started out with an NES. I loved that machine. My only complaint was that it was hooked up in the living room (I wasn’t allowed a TV in my room for quite some time) and I had to wait until my parents weren’t using the TV to play it. Granted, I got a lot of time with the thing, and my dad loved watching me play games (and even got into a few of his own!) but it didn’t feel like the NES was “mine.”
Months passed. I continued to play the NES and loved it. I had amassed a few games, and so had my dad. One day, though, my parents took me to the store. They presented me a choice: a brand new Super Nintendo Entertainment Center (which they knew I wanted oh so badly) or a new Game Boy. My experience with Nintendo’s first handheld was incredibly limited. I’d played Tetris on it, of course, and a few stages of Super Mario Land. I liked it a bit, but man, Super Mario World was a tempting thing indeed. I was told I could choose one game for either system.
Here is where I need to inject my obsession with Kirby’s Adventure on the NES. This was the first game I purchased with my own money. I loved it. I LIVED it. I beat it with 100% completion and then did so again. Kirby’s Adventure is the game that made me love games, and to this day is still in my top ten. The SNES didn’t have anything like that at the time, but the Game Boy had two Kirby games at that point. Kirby’s Dream Land made up my mind. I gave up my chance to get the SNES I’d begged for for months to experience more Kirby.
To this day, I’m glad I did.
As the months passed, I began to see more and more benefits to my spinach-tinted purchase. Sure, my battery budget increased dramatically, but I could play my games ANYWHERE. It was liberating. I could play Donkey Kong Land while my dad watched the weather. I could play Kirby while I went shopping with my mom (and in fact beat Kirby’s Dream Land for the first time while waiting to check out at Goody’s). I could take my Game Boy to my cousin’s house so I’d have something to do while he played his supremely boring Mortal Kombat games. I even convinced him to get one as well. Handheld gaming became my “thing.”
Over the years, the Game Boy and it’s various incarnations treated me very well. I bought a jacket with an inside pocket just so I could play Pokemon Red on my Game Boy Color on the down low at school. When I graduated high school, I used a small portion of my graduation gifts to buy a Game Boy Advance with a copy of Super Dodge Ball Advance (which is a criminally underrated title) just so I wouldn’t have to lug my consoles back and forth to the university. It was then that I purchased Golden Sun and saw just how incredibly convenient it was to play large RPGs on the go. I got out of games for about six years, and it took a PSP and a copy of Persona 3 Portable to really draw me back in full force.
Fast forward to today. I haven’t fully entered the current age of gaming. I don’t have a PS4 or an Xbox One, and I’m honestly ok with this. I still have my PSP, which gets played almost daily. I have a 3DS and a Vita. I also have a Wii U, the main appeal of which is that I don’t have to be constrained to a TV, and I love it. I still play console games on occasion. Last year I finished Mass Effect for the first time, and I knocked out Tokyo Mirage Sessions this year. These were both great experiences. I can’t help but always think, though, how much more fun I’d had if they would’ve been portable. That’s just how I think these days. I’ll always be a portable gamer. It’s the best way to make the experience “mine.”