The PSP Appreciation Project continues…

I have been, at times, an utterly clueless twit.

Wait, stay with me, I’ll only be emo for a little bit and it has a purpose.

Way way way back when I had just discovered anime and was going through the everything-Japanese-is-inherently-more-awesome phase, I was talking to someone when the topic turned to the then-currently-airing Batman: The Animated Series.

In one of those “I’m going to build myself up by putting something else down”, I made an offhand remark that it wasn’t bad, for “limited animation”

I then got a well-deserved smackdown on what “limited animation” really meant, and how the fluid, minimalist style of Batman was anything BUT.

This was one of those moments that sunk in, and it tends to pop up every time I find myself really enjoying something that has similar design philosophies.

And now we come to Exit, which makes the third PSP game I’ve managed to complete… and, like the other two (LocoRoco, Me and My Katamari), it brought that one “Boy, I’m stupid” moment right back to the top for another viewing.

Exit oozes style. It doesn’t come across well in a static screenshot.


Trust me, though, seeing all the little bits of Exit in motion is a beautiful thing.

Also, your character looks really cool. If I had a job where I hauled people out of burning buildings and from flooded subway tunnels, I would die to look as good doing it as the hero (“Mr. ESC”) does in the course of his efforts.

It’s recently come out for Xbox Live Arcade, as well, for all of 800 Microsoft points (10 bucks, damn their deceptive exchange rate) which should open it up to the folks who don’t have a PSP or who haven’t picked it up for their PSP.

It’s almost a shame seeing it as a full console application, though, because Exit is one of the most portable-friendly games out there (each level stands alone and is quick to complete – in fact, the most time you’re allowed to finish a level is 14 minutes, and most are under 10)  and has finally made me understand how to make decent use of the PSP as a mobile gaming system – something I have struggled with in comparison to the DS, and something that had relegated the PSP to second-class status pretty much since the week I bought both.

The secret: Never turn the thing off.

This is not intuitive. Well, not to me, anyway. I get done playing a game, I turn off the system and take the disc out, right? Then, the next time I want to play the same game, I put the disc back in the system, turn it on, wait for it to boot, wait for the UMD to load, wait for the developer and publisher logos, wait for the intro animation to load, hope I can skip the intro animation, load the last game… and by now it’s been 5 minutes. This is not optimal for “hey, I have a few minutes to kill”, which is the real killer app for any portable system.

When playing Exit, I finally learned to embrace the PSP’s sleep mode, something that has always felt just a little bit WRONG on the system and ever so RIGHT on the DS. There’s something about just closing the DS’s lid that makes the act of going into sleep mode not feel like shutting down, whereas the little quick flick of the power switch needed to put the PSP into sleep mode always used to make me cringe with the thought of losing whatever progress I’d made in whatever game I’d been playing.

After going into and out of sleep mode 70 or 80 times over the course of playing through Exit – I’m over that, now. I am now completely one with the concept that it’s all right to do a quick pause, sleep the PSP, and leave the UMD in for the next time I get a few minutes.

Also, I can do a bit more gaming when I’m out, and not feel guilty about it like I would if I booted up the 360 or PS2 for a couple hours of playing something off the backlog while I have classes and tests to study for.

All around Big Win.

Note for pure honesty:  I say I “finished” Exit.  By that I mean I finished the 100 built-in levels.  You can download 110 more. Two problems there.

1) Exit doesn’t really have a “story”, but it does ramp up in difficulty and the environments get more and more interesting as you progress through the game.  110 more levels leaves me with the question: Where do they go from there?  They are going to have hard shoes to fill if they want to keep ramping up the environments, but if they drop back to more mundane environments, it’s the Perfect Dark Zero problem.

2)  I really don’t have the staying power to blow through 110 more levels and I have a bunch more PSP games to appreciate.  🙂

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