Thursday, November 7, 2013

The PocketStation is Back...?

If you know what the PocketStation is, it's likely because you had to look it up at some point in the past, since exposure of it outside of Japan was...rather limited.  Essentially, remember the VMU for the Dreamcast?  Of course you do, because you're a good person and you owned a Dreamcast because the Dreamcast was awesome.  The VMU was the memory unit for the console and had a little screen and buttons because certain games had little mini-games that you could do while you were out and about to earn you rewards in the main game.  A more recent example would be the PokéWalker included in Pokémon Heart Gold and Soul Silver - you transferred a Pokémon to the device before you went about for a walk or what have you and that built up points that you could spend on searching for items or Pokémon that you had a chance to catch right there on the walker, all of which would be transferred back to your DS game.

Anyway, the PocketStation is conceptually the same thing as these, presumably because the PocketStation and VMU were likely fashioned off of one of the other - I'm not sure which since I believe the PocketStation was announced first, but the VMU was released first.  At least, it seems that way.  Regardless, they both serve to fill the exact same purpose for two different devices, and the PocketStation is getting a breath of new life on the Vita.  The app will allow you to play the Mini-Games for the PSOne games that you own, meaning that all those little bits of extra content that were previously out of reach due to emulation are now possible....for the people in Japan.  There's no real indication if this will come out of Japan, and while I would be willing to believe it will, I have no idea why.  It never came out here before, but unless there's translation work needed in the mini-games, everything should be fairly universal.  NA PSOne games were apparently programmed with the functionality since it was assumed that Sony would eventually localize the device, so it would be cool to finally be able to tap into that, if only for the novelty.

I can't help but be a little underwhelmed, however.  It's neat and it's novel and I respect it, but it's something that's just sort of -there-.  It's a known quantity.  When there were teases of a PocketStation-like announcement, I was hoping for something a little grander.  Personally, my hope was for some PS4 games to have space set aside to be able to send a little mini-game to your Vita that you could play on the go if you weren't able to Remote Play your PS4 game.  I understand it sort of flies counter to the things they've established in that the Vita can totally just -play- your PS4 games, but it would be neat if I could, say, transfer some inFamous:  Second Son-inspired mini-game to my Vita, play it, and come back with some experience towards a power, or maybe something a little more esoteric.  Maybe it would've been something that lets you pick an 'element' from your house or nature or what have you (which would fit into a pre-set canned list, of course), bring that back and give Delsin that suite of powers.  Take a picture of a neon light and give him the Photokinesis set, or take a picture of a tree to give him some sort of Ecokinesis.  You see where I'm going with this.

That would have been cool.  Sure, it's basically just the PocketStation concept done with a modern-day set of paint so to speak, but it would've been enjoyable.  It's a throw-away thing, obviously, but the novelty would've been nostalgic enough of the PocketStation without literally just emulating that.  Still, I'll be pleased enough to download it should it come out in North America (for free, as it is in Japan) and enjoy it, but I just will wish that it was something more.  But who knows, maybe it's just something tossed out there to get people familiar with the concept again and maybe someone will do what I wanted and modernize it.  Stranger things have happened lately, you can't deny that much.

basically it all just goes back to me wanting inFamous on my goddamn Vita COME ON

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