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How I've Learned To Embrace Digital Downloads

Posted on Friday, April 20 @ 11:00:00 PST by

Last night, I hurriedly stuffed my messenger bag with clean clothes, a toothbrush, my computer, my notebook, and a handful of other necessities. I'm in Bellevue, WA today, but not for what you might think. As the remaining bag space started to dwindle, I realized a sad fact:

I couldn't bring both of my handhelds with me.

I can't remember the last time I left home for more than errands without a Nintendo handheld in my bag. I took my Game Boy on our family boating trips. I took the Game Boy Pocket and Color miles up in the air when I flew to Michigan for family reunions. My Game Boy Advance went to Japan for three months and took me along with it. Even the Nintendo DS and DS Lite escaped my dorm during the holidays, my appetite only satisfied by a new game to play.

Last night, the Nintendo 3DS got left on my desk, along with all its cartridges. Sony's PlayStation Vita made it into my bag, but I left every cartridge I have at home. Within the next 72 hours, I exclusively played downloaded games.

What's most striking about this shake-up is that I'm much more invested in the 3DS StreetPass system. I couldn't care less about Near, so knowing I won't be collecting any Miis or their puzzle pieces had me second guessing my decision.

Still, at the time, it was so easy to make a snap decision and bring the Vita with its digitial, downloaded games. I don't have to worry about any cartridges, and if I want a new game, I can just download it via Wi-Fi. The Vita in my bag is a completely standalone unit. I have no need (or room) for loads of extra pieces in my bag.

Perhaps most shocking is that I've actually become quite fond of the Vita's ability to carry plenty of games I want to play, without any spare cartridges. I can switch from Lumines to Hot Shots to Persona 3 Portable on the fly, as I wish.

I can't trade any of them in, though. I trade in games far too easily. If there's a game I want, I need to start budgeting for it. I used to hate all the games on XBLA I couldn't trade once I was done.

Now I feel like my Vita catalog is stronger for it. Yes, we'll miss a lot in the digital future. Cases, info booklets, box art...all gone—but the convenience is starting to grow on me. I just hope we're given the option to choose retail for as long as possible.
Tags:   PS Vita, 3DS

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