Travel Gaming

The Nintendo Switch is out, and while it’s great to show off your snazzy new platform on the plane, it still doesn’t have the catalogue (or battery life) for extended gaming on the go.

Playing in short bursts is what travel gaming is all about: for killing time on the bus to the airport, when you need an excuse to not talk to your Uber driver, and especially when you’re trying not to hear someone being violently ill behind you on the plane…

I feel I have to carry several systems with me, even if I don’t play them all, as I know I’ll invariably want to play whichever I don’t bring along with me.

new Nintendo 3DS XL

Animal Crossing: New Leaf – Welcome amiibo on new Nintendo 3DS XL

While we may never actually use its 3D functionality, the new Nintendo 3DS units actually prove it can work thanks to its sharper screen and vastly improved eye tracking. The standard unit allows for fancy faceplates, but the XL model’s where it’s at for me as it scales DS games up a treat.

The Virtual Console brings some SNES gems alongside the usual Game Boy, Game Boy Color, NES, and Game Gear games. If you’ve still got your Ambassador Certificate the Game Boy Advance titles work a treat too. There’re even some top titles to be had via DSi, including cheapo Game & Watch titles for all you retro game fans out there.

As someone who prefers digital gaming, the new 3DS XL is a dream. With no limit on the microSDXC card size, I can carry every 3DS game I’ve ever bought with me at all times, with a DS game in the card slot for good luck.

My top titles while travelling:

  • Animal Crossing: New Leaf – Welcome amiibo (the relaxed life sim that never ends for perfectionists)
  • Theathrythm: Final Fantasy – Curtain Call (the deepest rhythm game with ace DLC)
  • Retro Game Challenge (a celebration of ‘80s gaming nostalgia)
  • Super Mario 64 DS (one of my all time favourites boasting loads of unlockables)
  • N+ (2D platforming perfected)

PlayStation Vita

TxK on PlayStation Vita

Only held back by its proprietary memory card in my eyes, the Vita’s spangly screen and lovely analogue sticks make it feel very close to a home console experience, with a huge back catalogue of PSone, PSP, and Vita titles.

There’s still some life in the old girl yet, even if that does tend to be in the form of Western indies and Japanese oddities that have also made their way to PS3 and PS4.

My top titles while travelling:

  • The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth (a dark 2D Zelda-esque action roguelike)
  • Burnout Legends (a mishmash of the best bits from the arcade racer series)
  • Hotline Miami (top-down 2D ultraviolence with a banging soundtrack)
  • Spelunky (fiendishly moreish action-platforming roguelike)
  • TxK (Jeff Minter’s mind-meltingly kaleidoscopic tunnel shooter)

Game Boy Micro

dotstream on Game Boy Micro

The diddiest Nintendo handheld out there boasts a ridiculously sharp screen, and to this day feels like the spiritual sequel to the SNES.

My top titles while travelling:

  • WarioWare: Twisted! (the minigame feast gyroscopes exist for)
  • Kuru Kuru Kururin (cutesy puzzle racing at its finest)
  • Advance Wars (the art of war has never been more light and breezy)
  • dotstream (the lesser-known minimalist 1D racer)
  • Doom II (id’s brutal shooter, straight outta Hell and smaller than ever)

iPad / iPhone

Beat Hazard Ultra on iPad

Having an iOS device since the App Store first launched way back when has meant I’ve built quite the collection of games over the years. There are all manner of ports that have made their way over from PC, console, and handheld formats, but that’s not to say it hasn’t seen its share of exclusives too.

My top titles while travelling:

  • Taiko no Tatsujin + (where J-pop syncs with Japanese drums)
  • Beat Hazard Ultra (imagine if your favourite music generated a psychedelic shmup)
  • Super Hexagon (music and moreish pain have never been so closely tied together)
  • ESPGaluda II (CAVE’s top bullet hell shmup with a unique scoring system)
  • Movie Cat (movie trivia + cats = yes)

Which games never leave your side when you’re out and about? Let us know in the comments below!


Leave a Reply