The Colour Dilemma

The colour of a console theoretically shouldn't matter much, but in reality it can. Whether a black Wii is more appealing than the classic white version is open to debate. It's the hand-held consoles where colour choice is more likely to come into play. When there is a choice, I would expect most people to at least give colour some brief consideration.

I am lucky enough to live within easy walking distance of work, and don't travel much. Portable gaming isn't something I have had much need for. That is, until I spent a couple of days sick in bed with my partner's PSP and a copy of Monster Hunter Freedom 2. I was hooked, and had a sudden desire to own a PSP myself.

In local stores at the time, PSPs were available in a small selection of colours. The old standards of white or black, a hideous bright yellow bundled with a Simpsons game, or silver. Silver wasn't practical if I wanted to avoid mixing it up with my partner's console. It wasn't much of a choice, and I spent time online pining rather pathetically for colours never released in Australia.

My dreams did not disappear easily, and I eventually managed to get a PSP specially imported. It took some effort, and a fair amount of waiting time. It meant I couldn't take advantage of any sales or special deals, and didn't receive a warranty worth a damn in this country. It meant I couldn't play UMD movies from this region (not actually such an issue). I had to put up with the functionality of the "X" and "O" buttons being reversed versus a western PSP (and then swapping back to normal whenever I loaded a game).

Red PSP

A matte red PSP.

I didn't care. I coveted the red PSP, and was delighted when I finally acquired one. It's a matte red and, I think, much nicer than the slightly metallic "radiant red" that was eventually released here. The shine makes that one look distinctly pinkish, at least in the photographs I've seen. However much of an eyesore some people might find my red, I was very satisfied. But it was a frivolous decision on my part to value style so highly over practicality.

A few years, and many hundreds of hours of gameplay, later and my pretty red PSP has developed some problems too troublesome for me to fix myself, and too expensive to be worth getting it done professionally.

I've been feeling quite guilty at the thought of buying a new PSP. I dithered over the idea for a while. Then I found out about a one-day-sale thanks to Economical Gamer that would at least allow me to get a cheaper PSP than usual... provided I was happy to get it in lilac. I had to make a decision fast, and decided to go for it.

This is a bit of a turn-around for me in terms of purchasing decisions. The practical decision over personal style and choice. It actually sparkles and looks as though it would be most comfortable running games featuring My Little Ponies or Care Bears.

Lilac PSP

A lilac PSP.

In the end, though, I find I don't hate it. I intend to use it to fight some very large monsters, and prove that sparkly, pastel purple in no way threatens my metaphorical balls.

When I start to think about it, assigning gender to colours is really very strange. Pinks and pastel purples have become strongly associated with little girls. I don't know if that's innate or conditioned, but we seem to be stuck with that for the moment. As a woman, those colours can be just as threatening to me as they are to some men. After all, I have no more desire to be likened to little girls than they probably do. That's the gut reaction I had to come to terms with.

In the end, I'm happiest when I have a choice. People like to complain about colour ranges being a rather cheap marketing technique, compared to something more tangible, but they are bound to appeal to someone. I have yet to meet the person who likes the yellow ones, but surely they must exist.

If I am going to fault Sony on something, it's their habit of creating bundles limited to particular PSP colours (not limited edition versions). My lilac model is commonly packaged with Hannah Montana, because apparently that's the sort of game girls play. To me, that reinforces a stereotype, and is unnecessarily limiting. I don't think the lilac-lovers of the world should be prevented from taking advantage of an Assassin's Creed or LittleBigPlanet bundle. I'm sure Hannah Montana runs just fine on other colours, come to that.