It finally happened. After almost three years of excessive abuse and fairly steady play, my PSP-1000 has reached the point of no return. It still runs, but not well, and at this point I don’t think I’ll ever get it to read Memory Sticks.
Rather than try to fix the damn thing, I decided to replace it whole hog with a brand new 3000. Normally I’d be the first to smack myself for such a sudden lack of fiscal prudence, but when I have 20 games for a console, with more coming, I tend to lose the urge to shop around (at least at a certain price point).
Anyway, I’m enjoying the new 3000 quite a bit. I can see the screen problems that gamers have reported whenever it plays a 2d game, but I haven’t played enough of them to determine whether this will be a true detriment. On the other hand, the unit is incredibly light, and thinner than I imagined. I feel like I can actually fit it in my pocket, or securely grip it in a single hand.
Which gets to the point of my post: even though the changes to the PSP don’t look as drastic as the differences between, say, the DS Phat and the DS Lite, they’re just as beneficial to the user experience. While the PSP has always been aesthetically pleasing, the 1000 model has quite a few subtle flaws. The first is that it is actually quite thick and heavy, something you don’t realize until you start using other portable devices, such as the DS Lite or a smartphone. I went from considering the 1000 to be light and slim to fat and weighty before I even played a 2000 or 3000 to compare it to. Time marches on I guess.
The other problem is that, while the body of the handheld feels sturdy, the exterior does not. The cover for the memory stick, the power button, and the UMD eject switch all have too much give to them, and it only gets worse the more they’re used. Even the face buttons feel less secure than on the 3000. People used to love joking about how flimsy the PSP looked when it was first revealed, and while some of these remarks were hyperbole, I imagine that the rest were due to the fact that the parts of the console that are meant to move around felt as if they were on the verge of breaking.
It is only now that I grasp the mental gymnastics I pulled in order to convince myself that the 1000 was as durable and portable as I told myself it was. I used it as an MP3 player for the better portion of 2008, even though it weighed down my coat, and fit so poorly in any of its pockets that it constantly felt as if it was on the verge of spilling out onto the concrete. Whenever I took it out to change a track, or simply walked around the house with it, I had to grip it just right, for fear of accidentally ejecting the UMD. The only time I felt like it was safe was when I laid it flat on a hard surface.
And yet I played the shit out of that PSP. Which is why, so far, the 3000 has been heavenly. Accessing the Memory Stick, the UMD, and the battery requires just that much more force on my part, which makes it feel like they won’t open unless I want them to. The glossy finish on the backside feels the same as the surface on the front (as opposed to the rough plastic that made the 1000 slowly feel more and more like a Playskool product). I can stick it in pockets, or hold it in any position, and it doesn’t feel like I’m somehow abusing it.
Put it this way -The PSP 3000 looks and acts like a modern, post-iPod device. The 1000, on the other hand, feels as sturdy and portable as a Walkman cassette player.
I’m thankful for the wonderful hours of gaming my old PSP provided, but I’m also glad to no longer have to babysit it.