Fun gets serious

2005 Review GamingThe story After years of the same old PlayStation/Game Boy dominance, the videogame market exploded in 2005. As well as new consoles

2005 Review Gaming

The story After years of the same old PlayStation/Game Boy dominance, the videogame market exploded in 2005. As well as new consoles from Sony and Microsoft, we saw new contenders from Nokia, Tapwave and Gizmondo.

The highs The Xbox 360 was the talk of the festive period, but in truth too few have been shipped to have a real impact – it’s really just a preview of the home console wars to come in 2006. The big battle in 2005 was for gamers’ pockets, with the arrival – outside of Japan – of Sony’s fantastic PSP. With its stunning screen and sci-fi good looks, the PSP is now delivering PS2-quality gaming – plus incredible video – to millions of gamers worldwide. For gadget lovers, it’s as essential as an iPod; hardcore gamers, however, swear by Nintendo’s touch-screen DS. We’ll take both, and a matchbox-sized Game Boy Micro for good measure.

The lows N-Gage was launched just two years ago, but after the arrival of the so-superior-it-hurts PSP, Nokia decided to suspend development of its gaming phone hardware. It wasn’t the only casualty - Tapwave’s lovely Palm-powered Zodiac gaming device also bit the dust. The other dark horse in the portable gaminig race is the Gizmondo, which failed to set the world alight when it was launched in the UK in summer, and fared even worse in the US this autumn thanks to a lack of decent software and the accidental pre-announcement of its widescreen successor.

Console of the year The Xbox 360 is incredibly powerful and packed full of multimedia delights, but the lack of innovative software – not to mention the painful hadware shortage – pretty much rules it out of this contest. Which leaves the Sony PSP as the must-have console of the year.

Previous 2005 reviews:

The mobile is taking over

Media Centers take centre stage

Smarter than your average palmtop

Make way for the new-fi

MP3 takes over

The best digicams of 2005

MP4 video players

Home cinema