Portable Gaming


Nintendo DS Lite Discontinued. End of GBA Support

Read this item in GamePro.

Nintendo Axes Game Boy Advance Support

What surprised me is that the DS Lite was a supported product up until now. It released in the U.S. in June 11, 2006.

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Tower Madness HD: Interesting But Not my Cup of Tea

Tower Madness HD for the iPad is a free tower defense type game. The object is to place weapons in the path of the invading aliens to protect the sheep (sheep?). My problem with it is too difficult at the very first level. It seems to want to force you to make an in-app purchase (using real money) to buy better weapons.

Addictive games tend to be easy in the beginning to let your learn the rules and draw you in. Addictive games also provide enough interactivity to keep you interested and engaged. Tower Madness HD simply runs on automatic pilot for wave after wave after wave of invading aliens after you place the weapons on the playing field. I’m surprised it made it so high up the iTunes iPad free apps list (it is currently #4). I’m uninstalling it from my iPad. Next!

iPhone
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Video Farewell to the Sony PSP Universal Media Disk (UMD)

The Sony PSP UMD is apparently being abandoned with the release of the next generation PSP expected in June. Here’s my not-very-fond video farewell to an oddball storage format. Sony seems to specialize in odd storage formats, btw. Remember:

- Beta tape (actually excellent quality but overtaken by VHS)
- Mini-disc
- Memory Stick

And, perhaps Blu-Ray discs may join this group soon.

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Sony PlayStation Portable 4.01 Firmware Update

I noticed Sony released the 4.01 firmware upgrade for the Sony Playstation Portable (PSP). Since I rarely use the PSP, the batteries were completely drained and I had to let it charge up before starting the upgrade process. Sony doesn’t let you flash the system unless the battery is over 50% charged (wise decision). It took a bunch of tries to connect to the upgrade server using the PSP’s WiFi net connection. I first thought it might be a problem with WPA2. But, browsing worked reliably. So, it must be some other issue. The main purpose of this minor point release upgrade seems to be video playback issues. You can find more information about the update at…

Sony PSP 4.01 Update

When I bought the PSP I thought it would be a mobile web browser tool. But, web browsing on it is a bit clunky and typing is an exercise in frustration. So, that idea didn’t work out. My iPod touch has become my “wander around the home web browser”.

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Disney Testing Nindendo DS as Park Tour Guides

ds fanboy and other Nintendo DS and Disney focused blogs are reporting about Disney testing the idea of providing guides to their theme parks on the Nintendo DS.

Taking a Closer Look at the Disney DS Guide

Before you pooh-pooh (pun intended) the idea, consider this. I recall hearing or reading somewhere that the Nintendo DS Lite sold something like 4 million units this past December alone. It is probably safe to say that the DS was the largest selling handheld WiFi-enabled device in 2007 far surpassing the iPhone and Windows Mobile devices (probably combined). Having spent several weeks inside of several Disney theme parks with my child at various stages life, I would welcome an electronic guide if it provided more information than the crumpled maps I pulled out of my pocket and if it were faster than running through the fine print on those paper guides.

What I would really prefer, though, is a downloadable electronic guide for a smartphone with a GPS if the guide took advantage of the GPS’ capabilities. This would be especially helpful for first time visitors to a theme park.

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Sony Playstation Portable 3.80 Firmware Upgrade

The Sony PSP 3.80 firmware upgrade is available. The update includes the option to listen to Internet Radio. Sony provides what looks like two 3rd party options for this. RSS feeds can be imported using OPML now (good to finally see this given how difficult it is to “type” on the PSP). They also added the ability to see photos in RSS feeds. My WiFi settings remained as-is (unbroken) after this update (unlike after the 3.73 update).

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Sony Playstation Portable 3.73 Firmware Update vs. WiFi Settings

I read somewhere that the Sony PSP 3.80 upgrade might be out soon. So, I fired up my PSP for the first time in a long time and checked for system upgrades. 3.80 is not out but 3.73 was available. So, downloaded it over a WiFi connection and upgraded the PSP’s firmware. After rebooting, I fired up the PSP’s WiFi again and was unable to connect to my access point?

It turns out that the 3.73 upgrade changed something about the way the PSP WiFi settings worked. I ended up creating a new profile (very easy to do) and was back online. I wish Sony had put some kind of warning about this in the informational text they provide during the upgrade process.

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Nintendo DS Browser Model Issue

The Nintendo DS Browser (Amazon affiliate link) became available in the US earlier this month (although it had been available in Japan and Europe months before). Reading through the comments on Amazon, I learned that while the item is simply listed as the Nintendo DS Browser, it is actually specifically for the second generation DS Lite model. The Opera browser itself is on a standard small DS cartridge while a memory expansion card is provided in non-standard sized GBA card that only fits in the DS Lite model. So, if you have the first generation Nintendo DS, make sure you get a version specifically for that model.

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A Use for Those Old 802.11b WiFi Access Points

If you are like me, you probably have your old (and slow) 802.11b Access Point lying around somewhere.

If you have a Nintendo DS or Sony PSP portable gaming console, you might want to dust off the old 802.11b WAP and put it to use. Neither the DS nor the PSP support WPA encryption. So, you probably can’t use it with the 802.11g WAP you use for your notebook. They do, however, support WEP. So, you can dust off your WAP, put it on a different LAN segment (something like IPcop might do the trick) and use it exclusively for portable gaming net access.

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Sony Playstation Portable (PSP) 3.01 Firmware Upgrade

Sony released the Sony PSP 3.01 Firmware upgrade just days after the 3.0 release. The stated reason was to address a security vulnerability. I’ll guess this translates to the 3.0 was cracked by PSP enthusiasts who like to run their own apps on the PSP.

Many of the new 3.0.x features tied into the recently release Sony Playstation 3 game console. It also adds the ability to access online (via WiFi) manuals for both the PSP and PS3.  Support for a Sony USB camera is also in this upgrade. But, the camera is not available in the US as far as I can tell.

The most surprising thing about the upgrade to me is how long the download took over its 802.11b WiFi connection. I didn’t time it with a stopwatch, but I believe it took well over an hour over a relatively fast broadband connection.

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Nintendo DS MP3 Player

Gizmodo reports on the sighting of a Nintendo DS MP3 player option that will be in available in Europe soon.

The Mysterious Nintendo DS MP3 Player

MP3 audio files are stored on a SD card (up to 2GB). Using Apple’s estimate of 1,000 songs on their 4GB iPod nano, the Nintendo DS option could store up to 500 songs when using a 2GB SD card.

There also an earlier reference to a Nintendo DS Opera Web Browser cartridge.

Nintendo DS Browser Review

This links to a YouTube video review of the Opera Browser cartridge available in Japan.

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