A handheld game console is a lightweight, portable electronic machine for playing video games. Unlike consoles tied to TVs, the controls, screen and speakers are all part of a single unit. There have been a number of different handhelds over the years. One of the most popular was Nintendo's Game Boy. Two of the current top crop are Nintendo's DS (which stands for "Developers' System," or more commonly, "Dual Screen") and Sony's PlayStation Portable, or PSP.
The PSP is a single-screened console designed with an emphasis on convergence, with video and music playback functions, photo album download capability, UMD optical disk movie playback and, of course, game playing. Through a Wi-Fi wireless connection, the PSP can link with the PS3 for multiplayer gaming interaction. The PSP Slim & Lite was officially released in September 2007 and, as it's name denotes, it is lighter and faster than its predecessor. The PSP Go was revealed on May 30, 2009 and features Bluetooth functionality, a smaller 3.8 inch screen and 16GB of internal flash memory.
The DS, meanwhile, incorporates two screens (one of which is a touch screen), wireless connectivity and a microphone port. The DS features a clamshell design, with the two screens aligned vertically on either side of the hinge. Its lower touch-sensitive screen can be pressed with a stylus or your finger to enhance direct-touch gameplay. The console also features online capabilities via the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection and can connect up to 16 players for multiplayer games. It is backward compatible with all Game Boy Advance games. The DSi features two digital cameras and supports internal and external content storage.
The new 3DS takes everything a step further by offering adjustable three-dimensional gameplay without any need of special glasses, although special 3DS games are required. (Nintendo states that like other 3-D technology, the 3DS should only be used by children over the age of 6.) This unit sports 3-D cameras as well, and allows the gamer to interact with his real-world surroundings. Motion sensors, similar to those in the Wii remote, give players the ability to control some games by simply moving the handheld unit around. Lastly, the 3DS offers a range of social interactions. StreetPass, for example, enables gamers to exchange items and game characters by simply physically passing by one another—even when the unit is in sleep mode.
Since the PSP can interface with the PS3, Sony has created similar parental controls for its handheld console.
1) Game Ratings: Parents can set the game ratings that are allowed for play. PlayStation restricts access by a number system, not by the standard ESRB rating system. Level 1 is roughly equivalent to ESRB's E (everyone) rating, and it goes up through level 11, which will allow any game rating.
2) Video Ratings: Access to movies disks can be restricted as well with a number system ranging from 1 to 8.
The Nintendo DS has no parental controls for its software-based games. The 3DS, however, offers up a few options.
1) Game Ratings: Parents can set the game ratings that are allowed for play.
2) Internet Browsing: Parents can restrict or turn off Internet connections.
3) Limit Interactions: Access to any exchange of data—including images, audio or video—can be restricted between users who are not designated as "friends."