Game Boy Advance and Game Boy Advance SP
The Game Boy gaming system from Nintendo comes in two flavors, with the SP version adding rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, a front-lit screen and a new design that features a flip-up panel. Both versions play older Game Boy and Game Boy Color cartridges. The PSP can't play PlayStation or PlayStation 2 games.
The Game Boy Advance has a few accessories designed to integrate the system into Nintendo's product line and add some creative options for game designers. Special cables allow two Game Boys to link together, and a separate cable can create a connection to a Nintendo GameCube. The PSP utilizes a USB 2.0 port for connections to PlayStations, PCs and other devices.
Finnish mobile telecommunications giant Nokia dove headfirst into the portable gaming arena with the N-Gage, a device that specializes in multi-player gaming. The N-Gage allows users to face off against other N-Gage owners via wireless Bluetooth technology or through Nokia's N-Gage Arena network. The N-Gage is more than a gaming system, though. It can also act as an MP3 player, a cell phone or a wireless Web browser.
Although Sony plans to add functions that take advantage of wireless technology, the PSP is not the full-fledged, portable multimedia platform that the N-Gage is. The PSP is a system dedicated to gaming.
Sony's biggest competition is likely to come from Nintendo's newest portable system, the Nintendo DS. Sporting a retail price of $149.99, the DS features two screens, one of which is a touch-sensitive pad like you'd find on a laptop. The screens can also be used for innovative game design, showing different information on each of the screens.
The DS ships with a program for chatting and sharing simple drawings with other users via wireless connections, and many of the DS games have a multiplayer component using WiFi. A separate slot allows the DS to play Game Boy Advance cartridges.
The Nintendo DS is a featherweight when it comes to raw computing power. The PSP is a vastly more powerful gaming machine. The PSP also has that impressive wide screen, which boasts a higher resolution than the screens on the Nintendo DS.
For more information on the PlayStation Portable, other gaming systems and related topics, check out the links on the next page.