Gaming Wars: Handhelds Vs Smartphones

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What’s in your pocket? Do you play games on a smartphone, or do you prefer a handheld console like the Playstation Vita? These days, if you’ve got a handheld, you’ve probably got a smartphone as well – though the reverse is certainly not true. Here’s a look at the formats from a gaming perspective.

A Bit Of History

The handheld console has a long and noble history. It was Nintendo’s 1989 Game Boy that really caught the public’s imagination, as millions of players discovered the delights of Tetris. The Nintendo DS arrived in the mid-2000’s; its successors, including the 3DS XL continue to battle the PlayStation Vita for market share today.

It wasn’t until the advent of iOS and Android that smartphones really took off. 2008 saw the release of HTC’s first Android phone, a year after Apple’s iPhone launch. Windows followed in 2010.

The smartphone revolution has helped to open up the games world to millions. Many adults who used a Game Boy when they were younger have now rediscovered gaming on a pocket device.


Popular Games

Favourite smartphone games include Tiny Town. It’s a “match 3” game – put three bushes together to make a tree, for example – that’s attractively designed and addictive to play. It works brilliantly on a phone-sized screen.

Temple Run 2 is another beautifully designed game that works well on a phone screen. It’s a simple adventure game; avoid obstacles and collect items to gain rewards. It crams about as much graphical information onto a small screen as you’d want.

Casino games are available for handheld consoles; Payout Poker is a good example. But casinos are far more popular with smartphone users. Real money gaming is a major attraction for players. Note that different laws apply in different territories; players in the USA, for example, would do well to visit a site like for advice on which online casinos to visit.

Some of the most popular handheld games are ported directly from their big brother consoles. FIFA Soccer for the PS Vita is a fine example; it works well as a handheld game, though it won’t sync up with the PlayStation version.


Need For Speed: Most Wanted works extremely well as a handheld game, and allows four players to compete (down from the full version’s eight player option). There’s also an excellent Android/iOS version, so smartphone users shouldn’t feel left out.

The Future

As smartphone games get better and more involving, the handheld console will inevitably suffer to some degree. It’ll no doubt have its fans well into the future, but the cheapness and availability of mobile games is proving extremely popular right now.



(Images courtesy of, itunes, wikipedia)