I actually wanted to write this a few weeks ago when these games arrived, but there was something a little important that I forgot a the time – that my Playstation 3, in all its Japanese-launch-hardware-backwards-compatibility glory – doesn’t work with the PocketStation! Well… that’s not entirely true; if you use one of those official memory card adaptors and connect a PocketStation to the PS3 it will recognise it and you can even copy saves to and from the PocketStation via the PS3: but as the PS3 doesn’t allow saving directly onto external memory cards when you’re playing a game there’s no way of downloading special PocketStation games onto the device. This makes the Dokodemo Issho series nothing more than colourful coasters when played with a PS3, but then again it’s a pretty specific issue so I can’t begrudge Sony’s no-longer-latest console for not working with it too much.
The good news is that the Japanese PSOne that arrived at my door today works perfectly with Dokodemo Issho and Cardcaptor Sakura, so I can play games on tiny LCD devices like Tamagotchi’s still a thing and the rest of the world hasn’t moved on and left me behind!
Oh and while it is a sore point for staunch Sega supporters like myself, there’s no real getting away from the fact that the PocketStation is everything the VMU should have been for Sega’s Dreamcast – lots of compatible games with some built entirely around use of the device and a battery that lasts longer than a depressed mayfly. A lot of that’s down to Sony being an unstoppable juggernaut of a company at the time, but even so it’s a shame to see Sega be so brave and forward-thinking with so many aspects of their final machine only to see an interesting little device that was designed to accompany every Dreamcast produced (seeing as the system had no internal space to save and the 4X memory cards never saw widespread release) fail to reach even a flicker of its full potential.
Another point in the great PocketStation/VMU war – there appears to be a mere six months between the retail release of the VMU (30th July 1998, which makes it pre-Dreamcast) and the PocketStation’s launch (23rd January 1999). Then there’s just three months between that initial VMU and the PocketStation going on display at the 1998 Tokyo Game Show. My point being that while it’s tempting to claim Sony “ripped off” Sega’s CR2032-eater it seems like a phenomenally short period of time for Sony to R&D, manufacture, market, etc. a similar item based entirely on the “threat” a Sega-based Tamagotchi clone with Godzilla branding.
But in any case, there’s portable minigame thrills and spills in my future, which means there’ll probably be something about it popping up on here too. If there’s a particular game you’re curious about or anything you want to know just ask away!