PlayStation Vita |OT| vita means life

I’ve recently returned to the PS Vita and, as usual, it’s a good time. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the system doesn’t have a dedicated thread here on RGB, so… Here we go!

Sony released a dual-stick handheld on December 17, 2011 as a successor to the PlayStation Portable, which was pretty popular. The PSP put up more of a fight than Nintendo had ever experienced in the handheld space. Yes, the DS caught fire and ended up leaving its rival in the dust, but Sony fancied another bite at the cherry. It made sense at the time… The Vita, like its predecessor, would have more power than Nintendo’s offering, this time, the 3DS. It would have a higher resolution screen and a host of multimedia capabilities. Let’s get the specs out of the way:

CPU Quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore
Memory 512 MB RAM, 128 MB VRAM
Storage 1 GB flash memory (PCH-2000 model only)
Removable storage Proprietary PS Vita memory card (4, 8, 16, 32 or 64 GB)
Display 5-inch (16:9) OLED (PCH-1000)/LCD (PCH-2000) multi-touch capacitive touchscreen, approximately 17 million colors, 960 × 544 qHD at 220 ppi
Graphics Quad-core PowerVR SGX543MP4+
Sound Stereo speakers, microphone, 3.5 mm headphone jack, Bluetooth

The Vita has a touchscreen, rear touchpad, motion sensing tech, front and back cameras (0.3MP), Wi-Fi and some models even have 3G… What could possibly go wrong? In a nutshell, a lot. Few cared about those multimedia capabilities because smartphones were ubiquitous, unlike during the previous generation. The proprietary memory cards were expensive and unreliable. More important, though, is the simple fact that Sony bailed on this thing. Riding high on the back of the original PlayStation and PS2, it was not. Rather, the company was reeling from a slugfest with Microsoft in the home console space. In the end, the PS3 just about managed to save face. The truth is, when the going got tough for the Vita, Sony just didn’t have the stomach for the fight — the PS4 was the priority.

But that’s all ancient history. I’m still playing the Vita today. The device is unparalleled in its look and feel. I like the lighter model:

I’m sure there’s a decent DAC in there because the Vita can produce a nice sound, given the chance. Tearaway is undoubtedly the most interesting exclusive. I’m a fan of Virtua Tennis 4 and Dead or Alive 5, which look great and play phenomenally well. It’s also my favoured way of playing the Metal Gear series — MGS2 is a game that made a big impact on me, so I return to it every so often.

In any case, for many, the Vita was, for a brief moment in time, the way to play indie games. I’m sure you have one such game that you remember playing on this system. For me, that game is Runner2. I had played Bit.Trip Saga on 3DS and enjoyed it. I remember that I was living in Hong Kong at the time, with a friend in a tiny studio, and there was a small monitor knocking about. We decided we needed some kind of gaming vibe to liven up the space. We couldn’t afford a big console but, frankly, that would have been overkill. So we went across to Kowloon and discovered the Golden Computer Arcade. Man, there were all kinds of stuff in that place, legit, not so legit, and everything in between. Among endless rows of overflowing cabinets, we stumbled upon a small white box called PS Vita TV. It was just the ticket! We took turns playing Runner2 until we beat it — it’s a simple, yet well executed game. Today, listening to the music and looking at the trophies bring it all back…

Anyway, that’s enough from me. I’d just like to note a useful RGB thread about the Vita, filled with digital recommendations:

The Vita is dead, long live the Vita!


A beautiful system I’ve always been very interested in but never owned. I was a die hard PSP fan and was excited for the Vita until I found out it wouldn’t be backwards compatible due to UMDs vs carts and would also be using yet another new proprietary memory format, those two factors immediately turned me off from getting one at the time. Maybe someday as a nice retro pick up.

I still use my modded 3G Vita with PSVSD to play my actual cartridges as well as be able to hold a bunch of my digital PSP and PSX games on a micro SD card. The homebrew scene is still pretty active and there have even been a couple or recent android ports of games like the Dead Space mobile port, The World Ends With You: Solo Remix port, and Professor Layton: Curious Village HD. There’s a lot of cool stuff for people to check out.

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I dug up and charged my vita last week as well. Currently started a play through of persona 4 golden.


my Vita’s battery is really bad, but it’s such a beautiful piece of kit. I can’t wait to properly dig into the library

I was on a bit of a Vita kick last year as I wanted to catch up on the games I had missed, particularly those which released early on in the system’s lifespan. I feel the launch window games provided a glimpse of what publishers had planned for Vita but ultimately abandoned when hardware sales didn’t meet expectations - similar to how 3DS’s launch window games from third parties are quite different to what followed in terms of investment.

One of my favouries is a game called @field from Sonic Powered. It’s essentially a crazy expanded version of mini golf with these winding, twisting obstacle courses filled with traps. Give the ball a good whack and then use the Vita’s gyro to control it thereafter. Great stuff and built specifically for the Vita, but we’d see less of that as time went by.

Good to see a lot of love for the Slim revision of the Vita, it too is one of my favourite hardware designs! The chassis is unapologetically plastic unlike the original’s faux glass and chrome appearance. I currently have the white/yellow model and black/blue. Wish I had photos to share!

Vita, like 3DS, marked a transition point for the industry as bespoke handheld gaming began to fall from favour as publishers shifted towards making mobile games. Luckily a few publishers stuck it out, giving us gems like Shinobido 2, Oreshika 2, Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F, Atelier, Ys VIII, Sorcery Saga, Danganronpa, Trails of Cold Steel, Labyrinth of Refrain, Unit13 and so on. But it’s clear that Sony shifted focus away from attractive bespoke games built primarily for the device into wooing publishers into making cross platform titles that also were released on vita.

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