PSP Appreciation

PSP-2000 Ice Silver

It’s only after two years that I’ve come to appreciate the value and quality gaming that I get from my Sony PlayStation Portable.

When I first got my ice silver PSP-2000 in December 2007, I wasn’t really that impressed or excited about it.  Ok it was the major buy for that Christmas for me personally, but I was more excited with the plamo and toys I bought then.  I think I just purchased the PSP with the thinking that, “heck, a lot of my friends have it, so I might as well get one”.   But I never really got into heavy play with PSP, and there were times that I didn’t even touch the PSP for a couple of months – it was left safely stored inside my work table in the study.

I’m not really a heavy gamer, especially since my Dad was hospitalized due to his third stroke in 2005, and my interest in console gaming faded to nothing when my trusty PS2 went bonkers on me late that year.  I figured changes in my priorities urged me to turn away from much video gaming, and except for the occasional game on my PCs, I don’t play as often now.  I found myself enjoying to surf the ‘Net more than burning on my console.

Things changed after my Dad was again hospitalized for kidney failure last August 2009, and he was prescribed to have hemodialysis treatments twice a week.  Being the only son it took my familial responsibility of taking him to the treatment center for his sessions, which falls every Mondays and Thursdays, from 6AM to 10AM.  We usually get into the center way before 6AM, so that he can start and finish his treatments early, giving me time to get to work, albeit late.

While the hemodialysis center is quite comfortable for both patients and accompanying family members alike, you can’t help to get bored most of the time.  They have separate cable TVs for each patient, but it’s mostly for the patient’s use.  The place is so cold you’d probably fall asleep huddled under thick jackets and blankets.  While there is a WiFi connection in the clinic, and I have brought my laptop along to surf or do some work, I found this to be extremely boring and I easily fall asleep, plus the fact that I really don’t wanna lug around the laptop to the clinic all the time.  Sure, the staff are very friendly, lively and entertaining – and the young female nurses are not so bad looking themselves – but I’m not the type to bother them all the time with socializing, given they have important work to do monitoring their patients.  Same goes with the family members of other patients – we all have responsibilities to our patients, so I don’t get to converse with them all the time.  So if I managed to stay awake for the four or so hours I wait for Dad’s treatment to finish, there isn’t much to do.

Then I remembered my PSP.

I found that playing with my PSP was the best thing I could do during the treatments to while away the time.  The portability and compactness of the PSP makes it easier to carry around than a heavier laptop, and thanks to its internal WiFi I can’t connect to the ‘Net and surf if I want to.  Having your eyes and fingers moving continuously as you play keeps me more awake than its use while surfing or doing work on the laptop.  Also I can watch movies and anime with it, so I usually download the latest anime episode the night before and load it to the Memory Stick before we leave early in the morning.  Finally I’ve come to appreciate the application called Bookr, which allows me to read PDFs and E-Books with the PSP.  The seven or so hours of power a fully-charged PSP battery can give me enough to survive about three hours of continous gaming while at the clinic, which is more than enough for me, since I do enjoy taking an hour or so nap during the treatment to catch up on sleep.  And if I do need extra power for the battery I have my trusty chargers kept ready in my car’s glove compartment.

Given how I’ve come to value my PSP, I took time over the New Year to upgrade it.  For the first time since I got it I’ve decided to upgrade the custom firmware to version 5.50 GEN-D3, and it’s now upped to firmware version from firmware version 3.90 m-33.  With that I’ve gotten several of the newer games, and right now I’ve been into playing a lot of NBA 2K10, Tekken 6 Resurrection and Final Fantasy Dissidia.

My concern right now is whether to buy a better battery to use as a spare, in the event that my current one gets easier drained thru time.  Also I’m thinking of getting a new EVA (as in extra-vehicular activity) airform pocket for it, since the one I got in the packaged deal for the PSP is already banged and nicked.  To me it’s the second most important accessory for my PSP, besides the thin crystal case, ‘cause it saves my PSP from getting scratches (aside from the paint nicked from the on/off slider and where the strap clings to the strap bar, my PSP is happily pristine).  I’m also thinking of getting another Memory Card, so I can put all my games in one and my anime/movies/E-Books on another.  I’m also concerned to get a new version of Bookr, but I don’t know if there’s already one for custom firmware version 5.50 GEN-D3.

So that’s how I’ve come to consider my PSP my current most useful gadget.  It keeps me company during those hours that I have to do my responsibilities for my Dad, and I pray to God to keep safe and inspired those who created such a helpful – and of course very entertaining – gadget.

My Road To Immortality: Playing ZXOnline.Ph

Recently I discovered a new hobby. I won’t call it a passion yet, since basically I’ve just started exploring this new world. I’ve adventured in universes of fantasy in pen-and-paper role-playing games before, and role-played characters as well in video games, but I never really got into where a lot of us in the Internet generation are living another life in – massively multiplayer online role-playing games, or MMORPG.

Like in a lot of countries in this global village, connected by the magic of the World Wide Web, MMORPG are world inside our real world, where we take on the roles of heroes and villains as we adventure in the fictional realms, slaying monsters, solving mysteries and collecting treasure, as we interact with each other’s avatars and characters. And now, I find myself adventuring in one such world – the world of Zhu Xian, in the MMORPG, ZXOnline.Ph.

ZXOnline.Ph is the Philippine version of China’s most popular MMORPG in 2007. Set in an Oriental based world around the time before the Three Kingdoms Period of China, the game has characters playing alter-egos out on the road to immortality, power, fame and love.
Alto at Level 18 at Limpidity Hall.  He's actually Level 19 now at posting of this blog article.
For myself, I roleplay Alto, a Disciple of the Azure Cloud School. The Azure Cloud are the rangers/magic-users of ZXOnline.Ph, specializing in devastating mid-to-long ranged attacks with sword and magic. Right now I’m beginning my quests as a new member of the Azure Cloud, having just joined them when I qualified at level 15. While my first choice was to be a member of the Ghost King Sect – the tanks or warrior class of ZXOnline.Ph, I grew to appreciate long-ranged magical attacks late in my novice levels (level 12-14), that even after I asked SE and my best friend as to which between a warrior or spellsword should I choose as a class after I reached level 15, I ignored both their choice of warrior. XDDD

Anyway I’m having fun here in ZXOnline.Ph, even though it is still in the Open Beta Testing stage. Hopefully the bugs of the system will be worked out before the commercial release, but I do believe I’ll be romping around Zhu Xian, firing spells from talisman and cutting down monsters with my sword for a while.

Fateful Meeting: Alto and the Snow Princess, Lu Xueqi

And with the rate that I’m enjoying ZXOnline.Ph, maybe even for a very long time. The journey to immortality winds through a very long road indeed.