Why is portable still a dirty word?
If Kingdom Hearts III was finally announced, but coming out for either the 3DS or the Vita, what would fan reaction be like? Probably not overly positive, as people have mostly been clamoring for a "proper" follow up on a current home console. Despite the ever-increasing market for mobile gaming in general and the strides portable consoles have made since the monochrome Gameboy days, gaming on the go is still seen as a less worthy endeavor. If a franchise isn't considered top-tier, it usually lives out its days in the portable market, just look at series like Kirby, Wario, Fire Emblem, Golden Sun & the Mario & Luigi titles. Popular and critically acclaimed, to be sure, but rarely seen outside of a portable screen if ever. They are considered lesser series, they don't get the same kind of push a Zelda or a core Mario title does. Even titles from big console franchises aren't given prime attention most of the time, handed off to some secondary development team, and usually worse off for it (just see the Vita Uncharted for the most recent example of this). Often, even positive reviews for a portable title usually come with the caveat that it's great for a portable game, implying that portable games are held to a lower standard.
But why is this? I mean sure, portable systems will pretty much never be able to match the home experience in terms of presentation, but there's no reason not to expect an epic experience in terms of gameplay. Super Mario 3D Land was a great game, but there's no reason it needed to offer such bite-sized levels. It could have easily been in scope the same size as Mario 64 or even one of the Galaxy titles.
People seem to think consoles and portables are competing, and maybe that's the case and the problem, portable gaming should be a complement to console gaming. Something where you can experience great gaming that isn't diminished in any way at least gameplay-wise from the console experience. The gaming public certainly has some blame here, but just look at the E3 presentations of the two big players in the portable market-Nintendo & Sony: The 3DS was given its own press conference, but it was behind closed doors, very no frills and not very exciting overall. The Vita barely got mentioned during Sony's conference, which seemed to say they had written it off already when it really needed a boost. It's pretty obvious that until the same companies that make these portable systems treat them with at least half the importance they do their home counterparts, portable gaming will remain a dirty word for gamers.
That's all I have for today, I should have another post up tomorrow talking more about Kingdom Hearts 3D & Darksiders II. Until then, here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Elemental Balance