Lost In Cult and Retro Dodo are releasing A Handheld History, a 252-page hardback coffee table book. It’s a book on the history of handhelds and handheld games, as the title suggests.

Jason Bradbury (Lost In Cult, Pen To Pixels), Janet Garcia (Lost In Cult, Pen To Pixels), Jeff Grubb (VentureBeat), Mike Diver (GAMINGbible), and others contribute words and handheld-centric studies. It also has a lot of gorgeous and unique artwork.

The website for A Handheld History says, “Brought to you in cooperation with Retro Dodo — the internet’s foremost retro gaming site – A Handheld History is an explorative trip through devices and games that shaped the legacy of portable systems.” “This book will reconnect you to that long car trip full of Tetriminos, Mewtwos, and discarded AA batteries before speeding ahead to our contemporary days of OLED screens and blockbusters in your backpack, less of a historical account and more of a poignant, introspective adventure across decades of gaming memories.”

If you want to discover more about A Handheld History, go visit Retro Dodo’s and Lost In Cult’s websites, where you may pre-order a Standard Edition or Deluxe Edition of the game. Pre-orders are slated to arrive in August, and if you’re interested in more than just the book, there are print sets, bookplates, and other extras available.

If you’re interested, here’s an exclusive Game Informer excerpt from A Handheld History:

The following is an extract from Mike Diver’s GAMINGbible’s PSP section in A Handheld History.

The PlayStation Portable didn’t have an exciting name, but it was a great example of a product that did exactly what it said on the box – or, in this case, on a gorgeously sleek and glossy black shell. It was initially released in Japan, then in the United States in March 2005 and Europe in September of same year. However, the PlayStation Portable – abbreviated to PSP from the moment it was announced at E3 2003 – didn’t need elaborate branding to create an impression. PlayStation was in its tenth year, and it had already dominated the gaming world with two tremendously successful home systems — all it needed to do now was give fans the chance to grasp the franchises and characters they loved in their hands and take them with them.

But that wasn’t all Sony had in mind. The PSP was dubbed “the Walkman of the Twenty-First Century” in addition to being a game device. In May 2003, the “father of the PlayStation,” Ken Kutaragi – the man who fought for Sony to enter gaming in the mid-1990s with their original PlayStation console – told the assembled press that the PSP would offer “a world where all kinds of entertainment, like games, music, and movies, will be fused together” on stage at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Kutaragi thought that this gadget would and could accomplish much more than its competitors, particularly the Game Boy Advance, which had added an illuminated screen to its clamshell-styled SP variant by early 2003.

While Kutaragi was correct in that the PSP’s capabilities far outstripped Nintendo’s alternatives when it first released, early users of Sony’s portable didn’t hurry to use it for anything other than gaming. Its bespoke Universal Media Disc format – dual-layer physical media capable of holding 1.8GB of data, a huge step up from Sony’s earlier MiniDisc which maxed out at 140MB – could play a wealth of movies and TV shows on a bright and crisp 480×272-pixel screen capable of 16.77 million colors, and wireless functionality connected the PSP to an online store where digital content could be downloaded. However, with the introduction of the first iPhone in 2007, smartphones became the favored platform for consuming media on the go.

In terms of music, Sony was much behind the curve — Apple’s first iPod was introduced in late 2001, and the media had already branded it a 21st-century Walkman. Sure, you could put your favorite artists and songs on the PSP, but the iPod was a better alternative in every aspect.

However, the PSP’s multimedia capabilities were never a big selling factor for its target market. Those who had previously enjoyed PlayStation’s products rushed to get their hands on the new handheld: the PSP almost sold out on its first day in Japan, selling over 171,000 units and causing shortages at major retailers, and it sold over half a million units in the United States in its first two days. The PSP was the fastest-selling new system in the UK at launch, selling 185,000 copies in four days (in contrast, Nintendo’s DS console sold 87,000 units in its first week, in March 2005). The PSP is the most successful non-Nintendo portable system of all time, with estimated cumulative sales of 82 million, significantly ahead of its successor, the PlayStation Vita.

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