Best handhelds and games for vacation

I’m taking a trip to New York next week and I’m unsure of which handheld console and games to take. I’ll be spending at least 24 hours in airports and planes, and plenty of other time waiting around. I also have my iPad and phone, but those are different.

The Steamdeck is too bulky, so I’m considering older handhelds. Current options include the 3DS, Analogue Pocket, or maybe something else. What do you recommend?

Which games are lengthy, hard to get stuck in, but cope with interruptions?

Is there anything you know you want to play?

As for best handheld: of the ones you mentioned, they all fit. You have all the sleep-capable consoles and then the Pocket for everything released before. But I really like the feeling of clapping a DS shut, personally.

Picross! I've got a whole folder on my 3DS for those games.

Picross! For some reason it's the ideal travel game for me because it requires pretty minimal focus. If I ever get stuck I can just do a new puzzle and come back to it later with fresh eyes.

But if you're spending 24 hours consecutive in the airport, the Dragon Quests are great ways to a long amount of time and can be done in smaller bite sizes if you're shuffling around. If you're looking for something a little more action packed, maybe Rune Factory 4 - it's got action combat and farming so you can tailor your own experience.

I like the PSP, personally. I like playing arcadey sports games like NHL 07 while traveling or any of the many RPGs the thing has that I haven‘t played. Sleep mode, nice screen, comfy form factor, has Cool Factor that the Vita doesn’t imo. Love that dang PSP.

Back in the day when I traveled at all (which wasn‘t very much, but still), I brought a 3DS. When traveling, the auto-sleep is a key function so I’d recommend something that has that feature. I generally had an Etrian Odyssey I wanted to play on the plane and being able to close it at a moment's notice is pretty great.

If you can find one, consider one of the myriad Linux/Android retro game player thingies. I have a Miyoo Mini (currently sold out but there are other competing ones from AYN, etc.) and it's fun to have something so tiny in your pocket that can save states, rewind, etc.

picross!!! ha ha. I was playing picross after lunch just 3 hours ago. the problem with the dang 3DS is the battery life is crap.

Still, 3DS and PSP are my top contenders, especially if you've got like... an RPG you've been meaning to get into or something like that. planes are a great place to start something you'd otherwise maybe be intimidated by.

I always travel with my 3DS. The battery life isn't amazing, but if you combine it with a decent sized battery pack you can charge it several times over. I have a fairly chunky Anker one and I have never worried about running out of charge even when traveling on long bus and train journeys over several days.

If you jailbreak it (which is quite easy these days), you can load a bunch of different games on it.

3DS, stocked with Aero Porter, Picross and some RPGs. Here's why: Playing Aero Porter in an actual airport is one of the best things you can do. But also, international air travel can lead to weird mental states and varying degrees of being able to focus and pay attention. Sometimes you just want to zone out, other times you feel the need to really dig in and engage with something. I find that the 3DS library has stuff that nicely accommodates everything along that spectrum.

Enjoy my fair city! But yeah, I would definitely go the 3DS loaded with a bunch of different games. My last long trip was pre Covid family funeral business, and having the ability to go from Might Switch Force to Boxboy! as my mood dictated will waiting it out was a blessing. Not sure it still works, but my super hack was to use the 3DS browser to play Youtube while I scolled Twitter on my phone.


@“Tradegood”#p107258 Rune Factory 4 -

I've also been playing this and it's a good time.

The 3DS is most likely what I‘ll opt for, as it’s handy to be able to close the clamshell when my attention is needed. USB cable charging is a pretty easy option with power banks too.

I have the New 3DS. Maybe it's time to jailbreak it. o_o
Picross is a good suggestion, although it has to compete with my iPad Pro with Nonograms Katana and Apple Pencil.

I remember trying to play Etrian Odyssey and becoming overwhelmed by the complexity of class systems. Perhaps Rune Factory 4 is a good suggestion, as I've never played one of those. Good to know it has plenty of action though, perhaps that works for soft brain travelling attention.

Some obvious contenders:

  • - Aero Porter! I bought it just before the eshop closed.
  • - Fantasy Life, I never did complete it. Maybe it's time to start afresh.
  • - Mario + Luigi Superstar Saga - never played any of these. Should I instead play the GBA version?
  • @antillese I picked up an Anbernic handheld thing a few years ago, but I never felt fully satisfied with whatever emulation setup I installed. Also it seems like turning the device off and on is a pain. I always hold the power for six seconds to kill it, which is apparently ‘bad’ but life is too short to poke through menus.

    @“docky”#p107339 If you‘re going to play a Mario + Luigi game, just go for Bowser’s Inside Story. The pinnacle of the series, and one of the best localization jobs I've ever seen. Fantastic game.

    @“whatsarobot”#p107344 looking into Bowser’s Inside Story now. It sounds like it uses blowing into the microphone, which doesn’t work at all on planes. I need to check other games for this too.

    I am going on vacation tomorrow and I had to decide which handheld to bring: PSP, Vita, DSi XL, 3DS, GBC, GBA, or an emulator handheld.

    I'm going with DSi XL. I wanna play Dragon Quest IV....feels like a good option for long plane rides and nighttime winding down from big walking around days.

    @“sabertoothalex”#p116783 I have fond memories of playing through DQV on DSi a few years ago. Really cosy! Clamshell gaming really is the most compatible with life, and I hope we see it return.

    I’m really glad I took my 3DS on my trip in March. It was the perfect option, along with a slimline USB charger cable.

    I‘d love to know everyone’s favorite PSP titles. I haven't been able to find a thread or PSP episode.

    I haven't played a PSP in probably 15 years. I think my favorite games were Locoroco, Lumines 2, Crush, and Marvel Ultimate Alliance. Oh, the PSP was my intro to Final Fantasy w/ FF1.

    Oh, I have to add, Exodus has me hooked on Picross for the 3DS. I planned on burning through the 3DS catalogue after the Insert Credit 3DS episode, but all my 3DS gaming time has been spent in the various Picross E games.

    @“bwood”#p119932 there is a PSP thread here!