Handheld Summer

ohioamishI’m on vacation from my day job.

Usually, being on vacation means a considerable uptick in the time that I spend playing video games. Rather than having just a few hours each week into which I can try to cram the biggest and most impressive AAA titles, I have whole days (indeed, even weeks) at my disposal, which means I can really sink my teeth into all of the big releases that I’ve missed over the last calendar year (and, of course, the years previous).

Or at least, that’s what it would usually mean. This summer, I’m spending most of June at my parents’ farm out in Amish Country, Ohio, and almost all of July on The Road, meaning that by the time I make my way back to all of my consoles at home, I’ll have probably a single weekend before it’s back to the daily grind.

On the one hand, this might be an opportunity for me to dial down the time that I spend gaming–ramp up my pleasure reading, perhaps, or get back to some pieces of fiction I’ve put on the back burner during the craziest months of the teaching year–and to a certain extent, that’s my intent for the summer months I’ll be away.

On the other hand, however, it’s also an excuse to turn my attention to my handheld systems, which usually take a backseat to my console gaming. There have been a number of superb handheld titles released over the last several months, most of which I haven’t gotten around to, because, well–I’m a fan of Fire Emblem and all, but it’s a little difficult for me to give my 3DS any attention when I have an Assassin’s Creed, a Tomb Raider, or a Bioshock at my disposal.

The DS and the PSP are past the end of their life cycle, which means I now have the opportunity to go back and mop up all the best games that I missed while they were in their prime (without having to worry about new titles being released!). The 3DS, on the other hand, just seems to be ramping up–Nintendo sure gave it a lot of love at E3. I have the feeling there are going to be plenty of games for me to mess around with over the next couple of months.

Here’s my Summer Play-List:

Games I Own and Need to Finish:

The World Ends With You

Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth

Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep

Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask

Essential Handheld Games I’ve Somehow Missed:

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker

Radiant Historia

Games I Would Really Like to Pick Up if I Have Time:

Fire Emblem: Awakening

Super Mario 3D Land

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate

Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance

Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why’d You Steal Our Garbage?!!

Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together

Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops

The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky

Valkyria Chronicles II

Mario and Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story

Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia

Games I Have Downloaded on my PSP and Always Want To Replay, Always, Seriously All the Time:

Final Fantasy IX


Wow! There sure are a lot of them, aren’t there? Of course, I won’t be able to get to all of these over the course of the summer–in fact, I’d be surprised if I get through more than two or three over the next month and a half. But I’m going to think of this as sort of a checklist that I can work on through the rest of this year and next–maybe, if I can find time to get to most of these games, I can retire the DS and PSP to my retro game shelves, content that I’ve sucked the marrow out of their delicious libraries.

What all do you have on the docket for the summer? Are there essential handheld titles that ought to be on my list, but aren’t? Is there anything you can say that will prevent me from starting up FFIX again this weekend?




About sinclairvox

Nate Ewert-Krocker has been both a gamer and a writer since he was very small. He believes that gaming, as a medium, deserves to be considered and chronicled with the same level of detail and attention as the rest of our pop culture. He's also an author! You can check out his fiction at www.silentworldpress.com. And, of course, the ol' Google+

2 responses to “Handheld Summer”

  1. Fritz says :

    Believe the Fire Emblem hype! I had never played one before, but I sprang for a 3DS pretty much just to play it, and I have not been disappointed! But I’m a bit of an oddball, so the other system seller for me was the long-awaited release of Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers (:), which is a totally different beast but worth it as well. My only question is, Super Mario 3D Land or New Super Mario Bros 2?

    PS: My 3DS friend code is 5000-2502-8368, if you ever want to add me! (the purpose of this feature yet eludes me, however)

    • sinclairvox says :

      I have been variously told that Fire Emblem: Awakening is either the best in the series or the second-best, behind the first incarnation on the GBA (not having played the new one, I’m inclined to believe the latter).

      All sources point to Super Mario 3D Land over New Super Mario Bros. 2.

      Also, as soon as I bother to figure out how to friend people, you’re getting friended.

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