The future of handheld gaming

July 24, 2013
Here is a photo of my reaction when I opened my GameBoy Advance on Christmas morning in the early 2000s.

With mobile gaming on the rise, how much longer will game-dedicated handhelds be relevant?

I have always been a handheld gaming addict. I used to go into a closet late at night and turn the light on just so I could clearly see my GameBoy Color. When I got my GameBoy Advance, I took it everywhere (and no longer had to worry about not being able to see it). Then came the GameBoy Advance SP, which I think think is one of the greatest handhelds in existence. Here was my reaction when I opened it on Christmas morning in the early 2000s.

Today, I own a Nintendo 3DS and I am one of the few who own a PlayStation Vita. I really enjoy handheld gaming consoles. However, I fear that they may not be around for much longer.

Read Cape Gazette's Visitors' Guide to
the Cape Region at »

With powerful phones and tablets available to almost everyone, more and more people are playing games on those devices rather than on handhelds. After all, when you can buy one device that can call, text, surf the web, AND play games, why should you want to go out and spent $150+ for a handheld gaming system?

Personally, I only play mobile games to kill time. When I'm waiting at the doctor's office, I'll pull up Temple Run or Angry Birds. As for hardcore gaming, it just isn't enjoyable.

The Vita's dual analog sticks make it possible to have a console-like experience on the go. Try playing a first-person shooter on a touchscreen phone or tablet. It's not much fun. The 3DS has an amazing library of games, such as Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, Super Mario 3D Land, and many more. These are games that are hard to play on touchscreen-only devices. Also, when playing mobile games, you can be interrupted by any number of things, like a phone call, text message, or an event reminder. All of these things pull you out of the experience.

Don't get me wrong: I support mobile gaming. I think it's great that I can play games on my phone or tablet. Companies like MOGA have created controllers for your mobile devices so you can, essentially, turn them into handheld gaming systems. How can handhelds survive? The answer is simple: Keep making great games.

Games like Temple Run and Jetpack Joyride are great, but those kind of games are no match for the hardcore games I can play on my 3DS and Vita like Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, and more. For me to enjoy a mobile gaming experience, I need buttons.

I hope that developers continue to make great mobile games, but I hope that they don't forget about all of the core gamers who enjoy their handheld systems.

What's your opinion on handheld versus mobile gaming? Comment below and start a conversation.