At one time, the successor to the PSP turned out to be a huge failure, after which it was quickly forgotten. And in vain, in fact, PS Vita is an excellent portable device for comfortable retrogaming and not only, since its library has enough interesting games. In this article, I will answer the question of why I bought a PS Vita a few years ago, what you can play on it, and who should pay attention to the latest Sony portable today.
Attention: this material is based on the personal experience of the author and may not take into account any specific cases. The author does not call for piracy, but only describes his own experience.
The official life cycle of the PS Vita really turned out to be too short. Judge for yourself, the console was released at the end of 2011, by the beginning of 2012 it had reached all world markets, and already in 2013, Sony announced the termination of the release of AAA projects.
PS Vita Slim
Despite this, new games continued to come out, sales also did not curtail, and by the end of 2013, as usual, the updated PS Vita Slim appeared. The lack of solid official support from Sony was compensated by the activity of the user community. That is why in the course of the story the possibilities of the modified console will be considered. And the main nuances of different versions of PS Vita will be sorted out at the end.
Initially, I needed a console for nostalgia for my favorite games from the PlayStation 1. The original trilogy of Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bash, Pink Panther: Pinkadelic Pursuit, Tomba 2, Test Drive 6, and a dozen more old hits are not an empty phrase for me.
Modern games are less interesting, but you can spend an hour or two in them. Buying the original PS1 or PS2 with support for games from the first console was not considered, since in order to comfortably play the old console, you need an old TV, and there is nowhere to place it. Also, the option with a gamepad and an emulator for a smartphone was not considered. The gaming device must be separate, convenient, and with its own battery!
Why Vita and not PSP or Switch?
PS Vita has strong competitors, but there is no better Sony for retro
Once again I will formulate the task: we need a handheld with a PS1 emulator. With such introductions, the PSP comes to mind first of all. It officially and without any manipulation supports games from the PlayStation 1, it is inexpensive on the secondary and is presented in abundance. But in my opinion, this is a bad choice in our time.
PSP in comparison with the Vita
Here are the shortcomings of the PSP in comparison with the Vita, I noted for myself.
- Non-touch display with low resolution versus quite modern OLED or IPS.
- Only one and not very convenient analog stick, against two rubberized ones.
- Having to use discs or download games via PC while Vita has Wi-Fi.
- Old-fashioned round plug for charging and miniUSB for PC synchronization.
- PS Vita has a native and full PSP emulator.
So why go looking for a PSP when the PS Vita will have a native PSP emulator? Is that out of feelings of nostalgia, but I have no similarities in relation to both consoles.
Another handheld that clearly competes with the Vita for old game nostalgia is the Nintendo Switch. Certainly a chic little thing with a rich collection of its own and countless emulators. However, any version of the Nintendo Switch is noticeably larger than the Vita and hardly fits in a pocket, and I love to play on the go.
The second point: to run third-party emulators, modification of the console is required, and in most situations, soldering the chip. It costs extra money, and performance largely depends on the skills of the master. When looking for a way to play PS1 games, you don’t want to face such nuances at all. And they ask for much more money for Switch.
Also on AliExpress, there are new-made handhelds with numerous emulators of old consoles, including the PlayStation 1. But in my subjective opinion, the comfort of playing on the original console from Sony will in any case be higher, even if we are talking about a deeply supported instance. What are the best headphones for sensitive ears?
What games to play on PS Vita?
Despite the failure, recognized by Sony itself, the PS Vita was not left without games. Here you can find quite a decent collection of your own original games, official re-releases of old hits, high-quality backward compatibility with old Sony consoles, and a third-party RetroArch emulator. The icing on the cake is some AAA projects ported from Android.
At the start, Sony prepared an excellent launch line of games, something came out for a couple more years. As a result, all the main titles of those years were released on PS Vita, and for the most part, these are high-quality AAA projects. Here I am not an adviser and I will not list the hits. I recommend looking for your favorite series of games, I’m sure there is a version for Vita.
As a racing lover, I liked Need For Speed Most Wanted 2012 – an arcade game with excellent dynamics and open worlds, in which new cars are placed. Found an interesting one, changed it, and started riding! Graphics and physics are good by my standards, the game looks good even today. Also, some old games were re-released for PS Vita, for example, Duke Nukem 3D. The best strategy games for Android
Not without casual games that have already become classics. We are talking about games that were released on smartphones in the 10s. Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja, Plants vs. Trilogy Zombie, and many others are played no worse than on smartphones due to the high-quality touch screen. Yes, they are still available on Android and iOS, but many have changed in the details, they have acquired donations and advertising. While the PS Vita offers the original pristine look. I was also hooked by the fun arcade game Flying Hamster HD.
Native PSP and PS1 emulator
What exactly Sony should be commended for is backward compatibility. PS Vita supports games from PSP and PS1 with high-quality native emulation made by Sony itself. This is no coincidence, the screen of our heroine has exactly the same aspect ratio as the PSP, and the resolution is twice as high. Therefore, PSP games do not deform and look quite good, while PS1 classics can be stretched or run cropped at a 4:3 ratio.
A little later, enthusiasts worked on the built-in emulator and made Adrenaline – in fact, a full-fledged PSP interface inside PS Vita with full functionality. Looks impressive! The performance is excellent and I have not encountered any compatibility issues, all my games work as they should. However, emulation is emulation, compatibility is almost complete, but not one hundred percent.
Other emulators led by RetroArch
If you want to indulge in additional anti-aliasing or advanced filters, you can install the ultimate RetroArch combiner with a ton of built-in emulators. In addition to games from the PlayStation 1, it runs ROMs from the NES, SNES, Sega Mega Drive, Game Boy Advance, and other retro consoles. This is the most flexible platform with a lot of settings, including graphics.
Ports of Android games
The community has contributed not only to the modification of the console but also to the games, porting some cool projects from Android. Among them are GTA San Andreas, GTA Chinatown Wars, Bully: Anniversary Edition, Crazy Taxi, and even Battlefield: Bad Company 2. In the heaviest port of all – GTA SA – performance is not up to par, the number of frames per second jumps from 20 to 30 with rare drawdowns up to 15. However, the fact itself is impressive. If you play a little with the settings and overclock the console (yes, there is such an opportunity too), you can achieve a serious result. The Most durable wireless in-ear headphones with Bluetooth
So which PS Vita should you get?
This section will be useful to those who aim to buy
As noted above, there are two versions of PS Vita: the first in 2011 – Fat (PCH-1000) and the second in 2013 – Slim (PCH-2000). From the point of view of hardware and gaming experience; the consoles are identical, but there are enough differences in the details. First of all, the design and dimensions of the case. The updated Slim is lighter and thinner, the body shape has become more sloping. Due to this, the console takes up less space and, as for my taste, lies better in the hand. The video below is a visual comparison of Fat and Slim consoles.
Another difference is much more significant: the Fat has an OLED screen with rich colors and deep blacks, while the Slim is content with a simple LCD, albeit with good viewing angles. However, I would not consider OLED as an advantage, since matrices on organic crystals tend to burn out – dim, and become stained. In the case of Vita, I found only a couple of cases of such burn-in, but you can’t be sure about a ten-year-old OLED.
The last significant difference is the universal micro USB in the Slim console versus the unique connector in the Fat. Both interfaces are outdated, but you can find micro USB in any home, while a proprietary cable will have to be looked for at flea markets or ordered from AliExpress. There are other minor differences as well. So, for example, Slim has 1 GB of internal memory, although it is of little use, you still cannot do without a memory card. In contrast, some Fat consoles have another useless advantage – a built-in 3G module.
In summary, my choice fell on the Slim console mainly because of the micro USB connector. I really did not want to look for the original wire in the future. Although in general, it all depends on the case, which console in the best condition will fall, that one should be taken. Moreover, now the PS Vita market is clearly overheated and for any model, in more or less good condition they ask from 10 to an insane 20-30 thousand rubles. Single copies are found in 8 thousand. I bought my PS Vita Slim for 6 or 7 thousand in December 2018 and by those standards it is expensive. Windows 11 vs. Windows 10: Major Differences You’ll Want to Know
With official PS Vita support finally ending in 2019, it’s up to the user community to rely on it. I advise you to immediately look for a modified console; which can be recognized by the h-encore, VitaShell, and PKGj labels in the application list. After getting hold of such a console; I strongly recommend not to install official Sony updates; which may still appear despite the end of support. You can take the console with the original firmware, at the time of this writing, all versions are being modified, including the latest 3.74.
As is tradition, PS Vita uses Sony’s own Memory Stick PRO DUO, which is very rare and expensive. Why not microSD? It’s all about the traditional greed of the Japanese corporation.
Again, the community solved the issue with the creation of an SD2VITA to microSD adapter; which is installed in place of the game cartridge. As a result of simple manipulations, you can use any standard memory card up to 512 GB. On consoles with 3G, a microSD card can be installed instead of a communication module, but this mod is less common. I have SD2VITA, but I use a standard 8 GB memory card, this is enough for PS1 games.
Is it worth chasing original cartridges?
In addition to the now outdated online store PlayStation Store; licensed games were distributed on flash cartridges that resemble a regular memory card. In the case of a modified console, where all games are available for download over the Internet directly from the console; the value of the cartridges is mainly in collectibles. For a normal game, you can do without them. Best Gaming Mouse For Small Hands in 2022
For me, PS Vita was and still is the best way to play games from my childhood the PlayStation 1. The convenience of portability and the excellent quality of the console itself decide. Unfortunately, you can’t play with someone together, for this you need the original console or PlayStation Classic and a TV, but more.
PS1 nostalgia aside, today the PS Vita is worth a look for all those who are not fanatical gamers; but want to play quality games from time to time on a portable console. The consoles are strong and even after almost 10 years, they are in no hurry to give up; especially when treated with care. The stock of good projects will definitely last for a long time, especially considering the efforts of the community.