News Article

Talking Point: What Are Your Fondest Memories of the PSP?

Posted by Sammy Barker

The whole world in your hands

There’s something poetic about the PlayStation Portable bowing out just as the PlayStation 4 claims its place at the head of the home console space. Back in the hazy days of 2004, a much more lucrative Sony was on top of the world, with the PlayStation 2 blowing away its competitors, and the Japanese giant’s oft-rumoured handheld device garnering publicity based on brand power alone. Fast-forward ten years and times have been tough for the format holder, but while its first foray into the pocketable gaming space never quite unlocked the imagination of the mainstream market like so many anticipated in those early days, the system can still be looked upon with fond memories.

Prior to its announcement at E3 2004, rumours were already rife regarding a portable PlayStation of some kind – especially after the firm released an infamous set of images showing off a prototype handheld device. The platform holder had already experimented in the space with the PSone peripheral PocketStation, of course, but this was less of a contender to the Game Boy’s crown, and more of an imitation of the Dreamcast’s nifty VMU accessories. The company did intend to bring the diminutive device overseas, but this release never occurred, and by the time that the unit was discontinued in 2002, the PlayStation 2 was already established worldwide. It would take a further three years from that point for the West to get their hands on a pocketable PlayStation platform.


Damien McFerran, Editorial Director
The game which had me glued to my PSP the most has to be Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions. I was a massive, massive fan of the 32-bit PlayStation original, and being able to carry the game around with me at all times was – and still is – a massive boon. I sank hours into that title, and thanks to my habit of constantly selling and re-buying PSP consoles, I've owned more than one copy over the years. It's quite simply a wonderful, wonderful game – and back in the early days of the PSP, it was the title that entertained me more than any other.

Sammy Barker, Editor
I remember purchasing a PSP at launch in Europe on 1st September 2005, which just so happened to coincide with my birthday. I later fell out of love with the device, but rekindled my interest many years later. My fondest memory of the format by far is playing Outrun 2006: Coast 2 Coast on it. I believe that I was waiting for a train on an uncharacteristically hot British day. Granted, glare meant that I needed to squint to see my Ferrari tearing through the title’s oversaturated tracks, but I’ll never forget that moment.

Robert Ramsey, Associate Editor
The PSP was a strange console for me. I owned both a PSP 1000 and a PSP Slim, but I think it's safe to say that my Vita has actually had more use – despite its obviously shorter lifespan. However, the games that I did enjoy were the ones that I came back to repeatedly. I remember playing all of the PSone Final Fantasy titles on there, but my fondest memories with the device stem from my time spent with the portable port of Warriors Orochi 2. I did absolutely everything that there was to do in that hack and slasher, and I remember being amazed that I could play a true Warriors game on a handheld console.

Ben Potter, Video Editor
My love affair with the PSP began when it first launched some nine years ago, and while our relationship has been on hiatus for the past number of years, it helped me to kindle my unhealthy obsession with Sony that continues to this very day. Many fantastic titles graced the portable powerhouse over its lifetime, but none stole my attention more than Harvest Moon: Innocent Life. I was a huge fan of the PS2 entry, and was thrilled to learn of a portable version. It’s this game that will forever help me to look back happily on my time with the PSP – even if the memory cards were horrid.


There’s something poetic about the PlayStation Portable bowing out just as the PlayStation 4 claims its place at the head of the home console space

And much like the rest of the firm’s output during Ken Kutaragi’s reign as Sony Computer Entertainment chief, it was ambitious beyond belief. At its unveiling, the firm referred to the platform as the ‘Walkman of the 21st Century’, speaking to its diverse range of multimedia options. Unlike the Nintendo DS, the console’s main competitor at the time, the device wasn’t just about playing games, but also listening to music, watching movies, and browsing photographs. The divisive Universal Media Disc format promised to provide the kind of visuals that had never been seen before, and it was successful to a degree, with launch titles like WipEout Pure, Lumines, and Ridge Racer offering experiences above and beyond the likes available elsewhere.

But while it went on to break numerous sales records at release – setting a longstanding launch record here in the UK – a lot of the early enthusiasm surrounding the system quickly started to subside. The price of the platform was a particular problem in parts of the West, with the forced Value Pack – featuring a cleaning cloth and, in limited quantities, a copy of the Spider-Man 2 movie – retailing for approximately $100 more than the Nintendo DS. Moreover, the software lineup – which started to get overrun by poor quality PS2 ports – meant that the console eventually started to lose some of its lustre. Big releases such as Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories kept the console afloat, while new franchises such as LocoRoco and, a little later, Patapon were also introduced.

But then the PlayStation 3 came. Already struggling to find a market against a ubiquitous Nintendo DS and an increasingly popular iPod, Sony was forced to take its eye off the ball as it attempted to resurrect its ailing – and overengineered – home console against a ferociously competitive Xbox 360. This led to a software drought that almost killed the format’s relevance in Western territories. Heavy hitters such as God of War: Chains of Olympus and Gran Turismo did eventually deploy, but by that point, the format had already lost a lot of its momentum from launch. Complaints regarding the cumbersome UMD delivery mechanism, and the hardware’s general bulkiness – improved with future hardware revisions – were also rife.

Fortunately, a revolution was taking place overseas, with Monster Hunter Freedom 2 and its updated expansion going on to sell over five million copies globally between them. Such was the animal slaying series’ success in its native Japan, that it single-handedly resurrected Sony’s format in the region, and provided a colossal install base for developers to target. Spin-offs such as Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker and Yakuza: Kurohyo arrived as a result, as well as the likes of Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, and new franchises such as God Eater, which were directly inspired by the success of Capcom’s co-operative brand. The frequency of these titles kept the console alive in the East, and while the ship had already sailed overseas, localisations of the biggest games kept existing owners of the handheld happy.


Jamie O’Neill, Retro Editor
My preferred game on PSP was called ‘hunt the retro compilation’, because there were a number of amazing retro collections. I targeted coin-op anthologies, covering everything from Capcom, SNK, Namco, and Midway arcade classics. I remember buzzing from being able to play coin-ops like Rastan Saga, Rainbow Islands Extra, and New Zealand Story on my travels, via an import of Taito Memories Pocket. The Japanese exclusive titles were especially enticing, and my favourite one of all is called the PC Engine Best Collection. The version I bought covered highlights from the Star Soldier series, and since NEC and Hudson Soft’s marvellously miniature retro console was renowned for classic shmups, it felt fantastic to play Star Parodier on my PSP.

Nicola Hayden, News Reporter
Valkyria Chronicles II stole my heart when it came to the PSP. Not possessing a PS3 at the time, it became my first taste of the franchise. While the unique first-person, strategy warfare and characters initially wooed me, it was the multiplayer that swept me off my feet. I’d spend entire evenings playing through the campaign with my husband, and we eventually became an unstoppable force – it was a really exhilarating co-op adventure. We shared tears as well as many sweet victories, and I doubt that another title will replicate that experience.

Joey Thurmond, Reviewer
Oddly enough, the PSP never drew me in with its low catalogue of games, so I never bought one. But when Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep came out, I was fortunate enough to play this masterpiece, because my sister had – for some reason – a purple Hannah Montana PSP. Although some people may have called my manhood into question, the game was more than worth it in the end. It's my favourite Kingdom Hearts title to date, with its wonderful cast of characters, compelling narrative structure, and unique gameplay features. Most importantly of all, though, it showed me the hidden power of the PSP, and what it was truly capable of.

Nathan Michalik, Reviewer
Back in high school, I remember my friend and I helping tons of other people kill their first Kut-ku in Monster Hunter Freedom Unite. It was a game that most of us played, but only myself and a couple of others in my town could say that we mastered it by putting an insane amount of hours into farming monsters so that we could eventually take on Gold Rathian and Silver Rathalos at the same time. It was easily the reason that I bought my PSP, and easily some of my best memories in video games.


As with so many other discontinued consoles from the past, the PSP's legacy will forever live on as a result of the catalogue of quality titles that it played host to over the years

Meanwhile, the platform holder continued to tinker with the system’s hardware. Following a leak during a 2009 episode of defunct web show Qore, the company accidentally unveiled the PSPgo to the world, a compressed console featuring 16GB of built-in memory and a revised form factor. The organisation’s intention was to do away with physical media, but while the unit boasted some pretty nifty features – including the ability to pause gameplay at any point – the absence of big titles from the PlayStation Store sealed its fate prematurely. It was discontinued in North America less than two years after its original release, and is often referred to as an "experiment" by the manufacturer. The cheap and cheerful PSP-E1000 followed it in Europe, offering a more traditional UMD-based experience for €99.99.

Alas, by the time of its arrival, the PlayStation Vita was already announced, and the industry had started its slow and steady transition to tablets and smartphones. As a consequence, the PSP never quite recaptured the enthusiasm of its earlier days. It did, however, go on to assemble a strong lineup, and the appreciation of owners all over the globe. And now, ten years following its original launch, the device is preparing for its victory lap. Sony has said that it will stop replenishing stock in Japan later this month, while deliveries will conclude in Europe by the end of the year. As for North America, well, apparently that territory’s already moved on, meaning that outside of the odd developing region, the device is more or less done. Fortunately, as with so many other discontinued consoles, its legacy will forever live on as a result of the catalogue of quality titles that it played host to.


What are your favourite memories of the PSP? Did you pick up one of the handhelds at launch? What do you think was the console’s best game? Boot up the diminutive device’s web browser in the comments section below.

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User Comments (43)

kingston589

#2

kingston589 said:

I had alot of fun with mega man x maverick hunter. Also battlefront elite squadron is like the best on the handheld

BL_Donth

#3

BL_Donth said:

Never purchased one since I was content with my DS Lite BUT I did play Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker and God of War: Ghost of Sparta on a friend's PSP. I was impressed with how good those games looked and I said to myself, "DS games will never look this pretty".

SecondServing

#4

SecondServing said:

Yo Joey! I'm with you man! Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep is the best Kingdom Hearts to date, and is easily my favorite PSP game! I sunk over 300 hours into that game alone! I beat everything! The board games, the Arena challenges, the secret bosses(Vanitas Lingering Spirit, Unknown) and I got the secret ending.

There are so many other fond memories I have with the PSP, such as LocoRoco, Patapon, Metal Gear Solid, God of War Chains of Olympus, God of War Ghost of Sparta, Daxter, Ratchet and Clank Size Matters, Syphon Filter, Final Fantasy 7 Crisis Core, FInal Fantasy Tactics, Dissidia Final Fantasy, Killzone Liberation, Ape Escape, Persona 3 Portable, Monster Hunter, the list goes on and on!

The Vita is a disgrace to the PSP's legacy!

SecondServing

#5

SecondServing said:

I honestly wish the PS fanbase held the Vita to a higher standard, instead of accepting mediocrity. I'm done ranting now. Sorry!

Punished_Boss

#6

Punished_Boss said:

My PSP was used to play host to a range of GTA titles such as Liberty City/Vice City Stories and then Chinatown Wars. As well as Metal Gear titles such as Metal Gear Acid 1+2 and then MGS Peace Walker, Portable Ops & PO+. Then eventually i got into the Syphon Filter series on PSP and Resistance Retribution. Then when PSN got hacked, i got Pursuit Force, which i really liked and then purchased the sequel. I enjoyed them all and have fond memories. Killzone Liberation was a very enjoyable Killzone experience, that music is splendid and they need Joris De Man back ASAP!

So its a shame that a successor to the PSP with that in mind was never created.

KAPADO

#8

KAPADO said:

Buying the crimson red god of war bundle and doing my YouTube unboxing to the tune of over 2000 views.That's it.

Azikira

#9

Azikira said:

One of my fondest memories was playing "Star Wars The Force Unleashed", seeing as how the PSP somehow had the absolute best version of that game. The whole campaign was there, minus one button-mashy scene, and while the physics and AI weren't as powerful as the console brethren, they were still fun and challenging. Then, there was the amazing multiplayer mode which pits your favorite jedi (or sith) against one another which is reminiscent of Jedi Outcast. Last but definitely not least it had a bunch of "Historic" missions where you played pivotal Star Wars moments.
Sure there are plenty of amazing games on the PSP, but this one specifically, being better then the big brother console versions, was one of my most favorite things about my PSP!
*PS I totally had the White Darth Vader edition PSP! :3

benrawr

#10

benrawr said:

LOCO-FU@#&NG-ROCO! One of, if not the best game series I've ever played. Either a new LocoRoco or Final Fantasy XII on vita and it'll have one more buyer!

The_Gremlin

#11

The_Gremlin said:

I remember getting my psp from Japan before the UK release along with a couple of guys I worked with. We used to spend most of our shift on it and getting very little work done at the time. LocoRocco stands out as probably my favourite game on psp. Also gotta mention Lumines and patapon as favourites too

viciousarcanum

#12

viciousarcanum said:

as much as i would really love to put a metal gear,final fantasy or gta game...when it came to the psp i believe loco roco was the game to truly capture me :P

heck even my sister would play it and she doesn't play games.

ThreadShadow

#13

ThreadShadow said:

I had recently finished the first LoZ for NDS when I bought my PSP. I started up the system and began playing around with the menus, demos, fL0w, etc.. and upon experiencing the beautiful screen, for a millisecond, a thought went through my head. Basically "I can hardly wait to play the Zelda game for this!".
And sitting outside my local Public Library late late at night with my sister using it's free Wi-Fi and downloading new soldiers for MGS Portable Ops.
Ha, good times!

Bliquid

#14

Bliquid said:

The first time i booted my day-one PSP and heard that guitar-like jingle.
That Spiderman 2 trailer that it came with that looked sooooo good on that incredible screen.
The sound of the UMD spinning that thrilled me as well as worried me a little.
My first movie pn the go, FF Advent Children.
The time i was at last able to replay one of my all-time favourites, FF Tactics.
The 300+ hours spent on MHF Unite.
Dissidia.
Peace Walker.
And many more.
Amazing machine.

tonyp1987

#15

tonyp1987 said:

I remember I saved all my money and walked to gamestop which took me like 4hrs to get the psp and grand theft auto liberty city stories lol. I bought over 40 games on umd because I wanted physical copies now 10 years later I gotta rebuy them to play on the vita lol. I love my vita to death(ps1,psp,psn and vita games and two joysticks) best handheld is the vita to me!!!

Gamer83

#17

Gamer83 said:

I'll always appreciate the PSP for finally delivering home console quality games to a handheld. My favorite games... Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror and Logan's Shadow, Resistance Retribution, God of War: Ghost of Sparta, Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters, Burnout Legends, GTA: Liberty City Stories and my favorite PSP game of all-time Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker.

MadchesterManc

#18

MadchesterManc said:

I wanted a PsP back in the day for one thing. Wipeout on the go. Getting the full console experience on your travels with the Wipeout series blew me away back then. I remember Pure having some great DLC too that was all free.

My PsP still sees regular use even today, mainly for playing imports. Valkyria Chronicles 3 (best in the series), K-On, Project Diva, Criminal Girls etc still have me returning for now. Also currently plating through Persona 3 Portable as the female protagonist to get a slightly different view on things. With my nephews also having PsP's I'll sometimes partake in a few Ad-Hoc races on GT, Motorstorm & Wipeout or co-op on EDF portable 2. The PsP still has much life in it yet for myself.

@ShogunRok When I first fired up Warriors Orochi 2 I was amazed at how they managed to get the full Warriors experience on there! Quite like Dynasty Warriors vol.2 myself as well. Plays like an older warriors game, but the way it's structured is perfect for portable play. Still have it on my PsPgo :)

Zombie_Barioth

#22

Zombie_Barioth said:

Those media features certainly came in handy, I used my PSP just as much walking to and from school as I did playing games.

Having portable PS1 games was nice, and one of the main things that made me want a PSP in the first place, besides Monster Hunter of course. Having classics like Legend of Mana and Wild Arms playable anywhere is tough to beat. All the retro collections and modern RPGs like Disgaea and Hexys Force makes it even better, and probably one of my all-time favorite handhelds.

dok5555555

#23

dok5555555 said:

I'm a big Nintendo fan and Game Boy Color was my first system. I never even bought a non Nintendo platform before I got my PSP (Besides my friend's Dreamcast for 20 bucks.) Nevertheless I decided to get a PSP over a DS and I had a lot of fun with it. I bought the PSP 2000 Daxter Bundle and really liked that game.

My favorites were probably Ridge Racer and Syphon Filter (the first online multiplayer I ever played too.) I recently got a 3DS over Vita and I got a chance to play some old DS games. While there are definetly some gems, I think I made the right choice with the PSP and variety of games it had.

Heavyman99

#24

Heavyman99 said:

My fondest memory is never having one, and never playing Birth By Sleep. I've now got a Vita, but no Birth By Sleep. WTF, Square?

Doctor_BK

#25

Doctor_BK said:

I loved my PSP, and had most of the major games with it. But my best moment with the console was when I frantically and excitedly downloaded the God of War: Chains of Olympus demo and played through it about 15 times in a row.

thahammerman333

#26

thahammerman333 said:

Bought my first psp 2008 after I got my very first paycheck. Spent alot of time with God of war: Chains of Olympus and Patapon! I really miss those days!

NeoTechni

#27

NeoTechni said:

The day I got it, and popped in Twisted Metal. Not only was it the first time a console had online multiplayer from day 1, but I was blown away by the CD quality music. Something Nintendo's most advanced/latest games still don't use often.

Then when GTA came out, and I was playing a full console quality game, only more advanced since it had multiplayer

Then when the slim came out, and I used it to play Jeanne d'Arc on my TV

Then Silent Hill, a game so technologically amazing that it was the first game I bought for it's graphics

Then Crisis Core, and I bawled my eyes out for the ending despite knowing how it went a decade in advance.

I've never had experiences like this on DS

muchneededhero

#28

muchneededhero said:

I bought my PSP solely for Daxter. Back in the day, I was a huge fan of the Jak and Daxter trilogy, so that game was huge for me. I did go on to play several other games (Need for Speed, Hustle Kings, and Street Showdown to name a few). Good times, but they will live on. I keep the Vita within arms length.

KALofKRYPTON

#29

KALofKRYPTON said:

Me and an old work mate played through Killzone Liberation Co Op when we were working at a pub in the quiter periods. That was class.

Also, importing a few shmup collections and especially Star Soldier. Tate mode shmup on the go, immense!

Darthreven7

#30

Darthreven7 said:

Crisis core, birth by sleep, final fantasy dissia and valkyria chronicles 3. Many great memories

Jazzer94

#31

Jazzer94 said:

Getting the Dissidia bundle not knowing whether I would even like it and spending over 300hrs of pure epicness maxing out characters etc., then getting MHFU on a whim and playing through with my bro.
Also special mention goes to my first Rathian capture/quest completion, I remember trying what felt like an impossible task of killing it being trapped in a corner with no health or stamina and a blunt weapon throwing a trap down in desperation waiting to die and almost dropping my PSP in excitement when it worked.

get2sammybAdmin

#32

get2sammyb said:

@KALofKRYPTON Still the best Killzone in my humble opinion. Would love to see another one like that for the Vita or as a digital download on the PS Store.

JMC

#33

JMC said:

Playing trough Crisis Core Final Fantasy VII 'til that ending that left me in tears was the most memorable experience on my PSP.
Dissidia was also an amazing experience, as well as MGS: Peace Walker.
Getting to play a lot of PSOne classics on the go for the first was awesome!

ToddlerNaruto

#34

ToddlerNaruto said:

I originally bought my PSP for Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep and Crisis Core: FF7 (both of which I LOVE!), but eventually got other games for it too, mainly Daxter, Jak & Daxter: The Lost Frontier, Ratchet and Clank: Size Matters, Secret Agent Clank, Star Ocean: First Departure, and Star Ocean: Second Evolution.

There's still 14 PSP games left on my wish list, which I guess I'd better hurry up and buy now before Amazon runs out of stock and the prices get jacked up crazy.

blindndeaf

#35

blindndeaf said:

ah not used it for a while but took it with me on holidays and when things got boring or rained out it came loads and loads of hours.and it will still come with me for meny years yet i hope ,just not been able to get a holiday for a year or two

biosphere76

#38

biosphere76 said:

In 2008 - An update bricked my then seven month old PSP.
Called Sony, only to be told that because I bought it of an ebay business seller, which was brand new, sealed with paper work, that they wouldn't fix it, as I didn't buy it from a 'high street chain'
AND then said they will send me a refurbished one if I pay them £77!!!!!

So It was screw you Sony. That week I bought a Pandora battery, debricked it myself, and loaded up some custom firmware - Those were my fond memories of that system.

FullbringIchigo

#40

FullbringIchigo said:

ahh the PSP an underated little system with some great games, just a shame it didn't get more love

still I love it but it does mean my hopes for a Dissidia 3 and FF Type 0 are shot (unles they are going to be coming to the Vita)

belmont

#41

belmont said:

It is strange that PSP has sold 80m units yet it is thought to be somewhat of a failure.

Anyway, before the Vita, PSP was my favourite gaming platform. I have tons of games for it. One of my favourites is Outrun 2006. I still play it. Too bad the license SEGA had with Ferrari expired so a Vita for re-elease is out of the question. I love Crisis Core, for some stupid reason the title is not available in psn. I really enjoyed a lot j-rpg games like the FF4 after years, Legend of Heroes, God Eater. Other personal favourites include Metal Gear PO, Corpse Party, the two Silent Hill games (that are not Vita compatible for some reason).

LigerZeroN

#42

LigerZeroN said:

I remember trying to get one at launch but couldn't. I asked my dad if he could buy one for me and he said maybe, which to me is like he was telling me no. I was sad cause I really wanted it. Then one day he told me to go help him get some groceries out of the trunk, and to my surprise, there was just a brand new PSP sitting in there. Best feeling ever!

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