When Consoles Had Portable Screens

written by Kris Caballero (March 11, 2016)

The time these were released was the time I was approaching my dreaded high school years. One of my former classmates, in our senior year, claimed "high school is basically learning how to socialize." If that claim has some truth to it, then I failed horribly. Socializing required a lot of work for me; Very few understood who I am, as it felt like I grew up with the wrong kind of people (I could dedicate an entire website why my high school days are days I'd love to forget, let alone spill dark secrets about everyone, including one about my US Government teacher and his female student). I didn't like how I was treated, and instead of adapting to such crowd, I often turned the other cheek, went on doing my own thing and built my own planet. While fellow classmates went out to dances, clubs, parties, getting drunk, experimenting drugs and weed, I always stayed home. Whenever I felt too lazy to connect the console to the TV, these screens were the to-go choice. Official and third party portable screens for the PSOne

Third party portable screen for the PSOne in actionGoing through my video game collection, I forgotten I had these. The screen quality isn't as great compared to today, but they held some great value. In my case, though, people were too much and turning to these was an escape. I loved it. In fact, the GameCube and the original XBox had portable screens ready to attach at the back of the console for those who couldn't wait to get to the TV. For this article, I own two different screens for the PSOne: the official and the third-party screens.

Let me get one thing straight: It's called a PSOne and NOT a "PSX." Believe it or not, the PSX was a real console released only in Japan integrated with its own digital video recorder, or "DVR" for short. Let's not confuse ourselves linguistically, so here-on, we'll call it the "PS1."

Having received the original PlayStation for my birthday years ago, I learned about the PSOne (smaller version) and the opportunity for a portable screen. Another was a battery add-on which makes this PSOne console portable! I never got to the battery part but having played on the screen was kind of fun, especially on vacations when school was out. Frankly, I didn't play on these screens for too long because I liked the convenience of a big screen TV. Reason being was the PlayStation was the console where I got high-strung in RPGs outside Pokémon, namely the Final Fantasy series. Still, that doesn't mean we should forget about these. If you're a video game collector, or if you want to bring back that time you used to have these, the screens shouldn't be too hard to find. However, look closely when shopping as some screens may be in bad shape and/or may have dead pixels. Remember, you're reverting back to slightly old technology but chances are good a nice condition one should be available. Oh, and the PS2 also had a portable screen made for the console as well, if you choose to look into that. And now, let's briefly look at these screens for the PSOne:

The first screen is by a third-party company called InterAct, and while no dead pixels are present, it worked well and was vibrant for its time. It lasted for a good while and held up all these years. The volume was loud too.

Third party portable screen for the PSOne

The second screen is the official screen released by Sony themselves. Now this one I never got growing up, as I obtained this screen from a small video game lot for sale. Judging by the pictures, this one I have didn't age well. Either that, or it seemed to be a common problem among the official screens. It really was a bummer because I find the screen quality a little better than InterAct, but the colors were less punchy and less sharp in comparison. The cool thing, however, was the addition of a headphone jack in the back:

Official portable screen for the PSOne in action


Headphone jack

The only console that permanently has a screen attached to it happens to be a SEGA-clone of the popular Dreamcast console, rightfully called the "Treamcast." This clone is very hard to find, as it plays both US and Japanese Dreamcast games, but here's a look-at from Ultimate Console Database for more about it.

Nowadays, portable screens aren't something you may need for your console despite the fact that modern games are in high definition (1080i/p) and play better in large screen TVs. Nevertheless, looking back at the time where social media wasn't the norm, Internet was slowly seeping into average households everywhere, having a portable screen for a video game console sounded like a cool idea. This includes those who aren't people-oriented yet impatient enough not to set it and connect it to a TV. I doubt these may make a comeback, but I find these screens to be a time piece—a flashback to my days where I loathed my days in high school but enjoyed the technological transition socially, from in person to on-Internet communication.

PSOne with portable screen


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