I don’t know if there’s much of a discussion to be had about this, really, but I miss what I perceive as the console to handheld cycle that we got from the 90s through the mid-2000s. In essence, it felt like last generation’s console became this generation’s handheld. Usually it could do more colors, had a better sound chip, more ram (or less ram in one case), or something to differentiate it, but had that “dna” of the prior gen baked into it.
So in my estimation you had:
Famicom->GBC. Similar soundchip, similar structure and colors (though a few more as I recall) etc.
SMS->Game Gear. Pretty straightforward one with some back conversions even. Loads more colors for Game Gear though.
SNES->GBA. Similar ways of dealing with transparencies, sound chip, etc, though obviously everything was more advanced.
N64->DS. Way more texture memory, but these had similar vibes for sure.
PS2->PSP. Even Japanese devs I’d interview would make this comparison.
Gamecube/Wii->3DS. At this point we’re getting into convergence territory but powerwise they weren’t dissimilar.
PS3->Vita. Though unfortunately with less RAM, sony totally tanked the Vita.
After that the handheld era kind of died out. But for a while we had that back-and-forth rhythm of console hardware innovations getting cheaper and smaller, and putting that into a handheld. This left a good place for the developers who had a hard time transitioning to new generations to show their stuff. And in a way it felt like as devs got really good at maximizing the handheld platform, they would sometimes graduate to the next gen as a result, taking things from the small screen to the big one. Is there some DNA going from the 3DS to the Switch? I kind of think so.
In general now I think folks are more accepting of a wider range of visual experiences now that PCs and consoles have kind of reached something of a plateau and near parity between them. And handhelds are basically extinct - there’s smartphones, and there’s the switch, which is both console and handheld. Visual fidelity becomes more of an artistic choice now. But that back and forth was pretty neat to see for quire a while there. I would’ve loved to see that Saturn or Dreamcast handheld! Or the console evolution of the Wonderswan.
Well, it’s a different era now, but I have a nice time thinking about this stuff.