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Sony's PS One powers up

PlayStation One
Sony's PlayStation One can use the same cables and controllers as the regular PlayStation  

(IDG) -- The PlayStation has become the most successful gaming console in history. With over 70 million units sold worldwide, it's hard to imagine that Sony could or would improve the gray box that so many gamers love. But now Sony has done it, and on September 19 the PS One hit the streets of the U.S. for a price of $99. Should you buy one, and what equipment will you need for a smooth "gaming on the go" experience? Read on and find out!

In every way but size, the PS One is a full-bore PlayStation. It can use all of the same cables and controllers that the regular PlayStation uses. Sony is also working on some PS One extras: a cell phone wireless gaming service and an LCD screen for the PS One, but there has been no formal announcement that these are coming to the U.S. Also, keep in mind that the PS One does not have a parallel port like the older PlayStations. Still, this is a small hit against this powerful mini-system.

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The PS One unit itself is tiny and sports a slightly rounded design that is decidedly cooler than the PlayStation's somewhat blocky gray case. You still get all that good PlayStation power packed into the new small case: same processor, memory, sound, and graphics. Here's what else you'll get for your $99.

PS One Specs

  • Product Name: PlayStation SCPH- 100
  • Dimensions: 193 mm (7.6 inches W) X 38 mm (1.5 inches H) X 144 mm (5.7 inches D)
  • Weight: 550g (approx 1.2 lbs.)
  • Interfaces:
    • 2 Controller ports
    • 2 Memory Card slots
    • 1 AV Multicable output
  • Power Supply: AC 100V, 50/60 Hz DC IN 7.5V
  • Accessories included:
    • 1 DualShock analog controller
    • 1 AV Multi cable
    • 1 AC Adapter

Should You Buy One?

The PS One sports a very sexy design, and if you're a PlayStation fan, it might be worth the purchase. PlayStation gamers who don't lug their PlayStation around when they travel probably won't get much out of the PS One, aside from the "cool factor." If you are a gamer on the go however, the PS One offers even more value. Its small size and light weight make it much easier to pack along with a selection of games. Still, there are some extras that you'll need to consider when you bring this powerful midget with you.

PS One Extras

RFU adapter
Many companies make RFU adapters for the PlayStation  

The first thing you should pick up is an RFU adapter. There's no guarantee that the TV you want to hook your slick new PS One to has RCA jacks. Picture the scenario: instead of going to Disney World, your dad has "wisely" decided to lug the family to visit Aunt Tilly in Tallahassee. Seven days of lukewarm iced tea and Aunt Tilly going on about your creepy cousin Eddie's case of head lice. Oh boy!

Luckily, you've packed your PS One to pass the time while dad and Aunt Tilly trade cake recipes in the kitchen. Imagine how disappointed you would be to discover that your Aunt Tilly's 1974 clunker of a Zenith with rabbit ear antennae doesn't have RCA jacks.

Save yourself some headache and follow the Scout's motto, "Be prepared." The PS One uses the same video/audio out port as the regular PlayStation, and Sony, Mad Catz, and Nyko all make RFU adapters that you can use to hook up to older TV technology. They go for less than twenty bucks, and they're good insurance for gaming on the go. Get one, or suffer the possible consequences. While you're at it, you might also want to consider getting an S-Video cable. Not a lot of TVs have S-Video inputs, but the extra sharpness you get from an S-Video connection might make carrying a small cable worthwhile. S-Video cables average about $15.00 in stores.

Gamers who have older GameSharks are out of luck since the PS One doesn't have a parallel port. However, the Gameshark CDX ($49.99 street) uses a memory card slot, so if you're willing to pony up for the latest GameShark, you can cheat 'till your heart is content.

PS One Controllers

The PS One comes with one Dual Shock Analog Controller that matches the main console's platinum white color. This special edition Dual Shock is the same in every way, including size, as the regular Dual Shock gamepads, but don't be complacent with just one controller. You're going to want to add at least another Dual Shock controller to your travel package. Playing by yourself just isn't fun sometimes.

The Dual Shock is a great all-purpose gamepad that can handle driving, action, and sports games with aplomb, and it's relatively small. You might want to pick up a specialized controller, especially if you're a big fan of fighting games or old school arcade games. Fire International Ltd has the Pro Shock Lite, a nice mini arcade stick with Turbo and Slow functions. It also has dual vibration motors for force feedback in games that support it. The Pro Shock Lite is very small compared to a full sized arcade stick, so it will fit into your bag with no problem.

The ASCII Grip is a one-handed controller designed for RPG, puzzle, and strategy games. It features programmable buttons, making it a good choice for complicated RPGs. The Grip is very compact, and if you're a fan of these types of games, it might be worthwhile to pack along.

Carry Case

A case to throw all your PS One paraphernalia into is a good idea as well. Currently, there aren't any PS One specific cases on the market, but that could change soon. The most important thing to remember is to keep the system well protected, and that means padding. The PS One is small and fairly delicate, so when packing it pad it with clothes or other soft items, and make sure it doesn't get rattled around or banged up in transit.

To save space in your gaming bag, you should also ditch the CD jewel cases and buy a 10 or 15 CD wallet. With a CD wallet, your CDs are less likely to get scratched in transit, and you can pack games and manuals in less than a quarter of the space. Case Logic is the best known brand of CD travel cases, though other brands offer similar products.

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Fire International
Case Logic

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