After a dismal showing of Xbox and Dreamcast fandom, the Sony fans are vindicated and the PlayStation 2 reigns over last round’s generation. For more details, see the thread here. As always, here’s a little recap of the rules: Warning: Spoilers inside! Each week, video game history will be put to the test to see which console or handheld is the greatest. There can only be one! Vote for your favourite and follow it through to the end as we try to determine GBATemp's favourite console/handheld! Consoles and handhelds will face off in brackets comprised of their generation. Because there can only be one, in the event of a tie I will cast a tie-breaking vote. Once a winner has been declared for each generation, the console winners and the handheld winners will face off in individual brackets. Once an ultimate console and ultimate handheld have been chosen, they will face off against each other to see who is the greatest! For a concrete example of the brackets, see the image at the bottom of this post. Hey now! We’re getting into a strange era of gaming. It’s going to become a bit harder to gauge the total sales/relative success/etc. of these systems if they’re on the cusp of not being sold anymore. So what does the fourth generation have in store for all of us? We see some really strange attempts at innovation, as well as the first real competitor Nintendo has ever seen in the handheld department. We also start to see the original semblances of digital content in the handheld world. Let’s get to it, shall we? This Week’s Challengers are: GamePark Wiz/Caanoo Some of you may remember my rantings on an earlier Game Park handheld, the GP32; the wonderful little system that started the ‘open handheld’ trend. Did you know that Game Park kept making handhelds? I’m in a bit of a pickle about it though because there were two distinct systems that came out in quick succession this generation, and they are the Game Park Wiz (snicker while you can, kiddos!) in 2009 and the Game Park Caanoo (I assume this is pronounced ‘canoe’, but that might simply be my Canadian accent) in 2010. Both released by Game Park Holdings after they split from the original company. Both systems featured the same style of ‘open handhelding’ seen in the original GP32 (as well as the skipped-over GP2X. I hope there aren't any GP2X fans in the forum) in that the onus was on the coding public to make games for it. Both were Linux-based systems, drawing in former Dreamcast coders and the like. The Wiz featured a touch-screen (just like the GP2X) and it’s only real defining features were its crap-tastic A, B, Y and X buttons, as well as better hardware than the GP2X (as there really isn’t much you can do to distinguish yourself in the open handheld market). The Caanoo had hardware that was, obviously, more powerful than the Wiz’s, but on top of that featured haptic feedback (rumble), which was experimented with on the DS, but was quickly abandoned, so it’s a little odd to see it occurring here. It certainly makes the Caanoo distinct… Both are, of course, fantastic handhelds, and are great at what they do: play emulators. The only problem with them is that they were rather expensive when released (Wiz $180US, Caanoo $150US), making them a tad inaccessible to poor, unemployed coders. Sadly, I have no sales figures, and, due to their open platform nature, there are no best-selling games for them. Dingoo A320 Now if only there was a relatively cheap option in an ‘open handheld’… Oh wait! There is. Keeping in the tradition of open handhelds with batshit crazy names, the Dingoo A320 came out of a small Chinese company that hoped that its cheap little console would be enough to make some money off of. For some reason they decided to name it after a misspelling of the name for a wild Australian dog… Not originally an open console, the Dingoo was released in February of 2009 for ~$80US (almost half the cost of the Caanoo!). The apparent cheapness in price, but no so cheapness in build quality, led it to be an attractive little console for hackers. Before long Linux was running on it and everyone and their sister was porting their favourite emulators and games to the thing. As all things are in China, success does not go ignored, and soon the market was befuddled with poor quality imitators and, more annoyingly, clones. While it’s relatively easy to steer clear of the clones, the Chinese open handheld market seems to have had a bit of a boom, with new consoles being released weekly (an exaggeration, of course). Again, I have no sales figures and best-selling games. Great system though. Nintendo DS/DSi With everyone expecting a new Game Boy-style handheld, no one saw this thing coming. Two screens (one with touch capabilities), a microphone and a GBA slot this thing seemed like an ugly little baby that wasn’t going to go anywhere. After a seemingly rushed launch in order to match the PSPs debut to the market, Nintendo themselves seemed to be unsure of the DS’ future success as they continually insisted that the Game Boy Advance was not being abandoned, but that it would become their ‘third pillar’ alongside the Gamecube and the DS (just in case the DS failed, you see). When the thing started selling like hotcakes (and Nintendo released a redesign or two) third party companies began flocking to the system, bringing with them some of the most interesting properties and licences ever seen on a handheld. Nintendo would eventually drop the GBA port with the release of the DSi model, and would begin to have the semblance of an online store with the system. A slew of fantastic games would be released, thus skyrocketing the DS to the best-selling handheld video game system, shattering the records made by the Game Boy and Game Boy Advance. Nintendo would release 4 models by the end, and would spend a lot of time combating piracy/homebrew in the form of flash carts. When all was said and done, the DS sold over 150 million units. For a while the best-selling game was Nintendogs, but apparently that series has been supplanted by New Super Mario Bros., which has sold ~26 million units. Sony Playstation Portable In 2004 Sony released their first handheld multimedia device to the public under the moniker PlayStation Portable. The PSP line boasts 5 distinct models over its lifespan (including the Europe only E1000 model, not including the Sony Xperia Play) and was Sony’s attempt to beat Nintendo at the own game once again! Sony hoped to have the PSP be a bastion for their overpriced proprietary mediums, as the PSP took Memory Stick Pro Duo cards (later, Memory Stick Micro) as well as the universally disliked Universal Media Disk. Through these mediums, one could watch movies, listen to MP3s and play games, all in one portable device! While there are those who would say that this machine was a failure in design (due to the train-wreck that was the UMD), failure in games (due to the all too common ‘there are no games!’ fallacy) and failure in sales (because the system sold less than half the DS did), this is not the case. The system is widely considered a success (especially in Japan!) and, despite rumours, many articles have been written to remind the public that there are indeed good games for the system. Interest in the system spread rapidly when a method for hacking the PSP was discovered, thus beginning the cat and mouse game between Sony and homebrewers to patch and rehack the PSP respectively. The PSP sold an impressive-for-a-non-Nintendo-handheld 70+ million units worldwide, and its best-selling game was Monster Hunter Freedom 3. Housekeeping!!! So there you have it! One of the most interesting handheld eras so far! As always, don't forget to vote. The next round will start next Tuesday, ~10AM Eastern. Stay classy, GBATemp. Here are the bracket as the currently stand: Who will win? It could be you!* *note: it can't be you. EDIT: Whoops! Forgot the poll! EDIT #2: The Poll is now closed! Join me soon for the results!