C’mon, Sony. Why? Why do you hate the PS Vita so much? What did it ever do to you, aside from not selling as well as the Nintendo DS?
Sony’s announcement that PS Plus is getting a revamp came with the news that finally, PlayStation players would be able to dive back into the extensive PS1, PS2, and PSP catalogue. PS3 games have been available without the need for a DualShock 3 for a number of years thanks to PS Now, which, as of June 2022, will be no more as it’s being rolled into PS Plus and its new three-tier model. Four tiers, actually, if you count the territories that aren’t eligible for PS Plus Premium – they’ll get PS Plus Deluxe instead.
Granted, we’ve had some compatibility with PS2 games on PS4 with a very small selection of emulated ports. But PS1? PSP? That’s been the dream for a long time, and while many will have made do with dodgy emulators on their phones (PPSSPP is actually amazing) the time for Sony to embrace its history has finally come. But, like my family tree, there’s a cigarette burn over a certain member of the family. On my tree, it’s me. On Sony’s, it’s the PS Vita. The beautiful, sleek, underloved and underappreciated PS Vita. How dare they.
To be fair, as I understand it, emulating the PS Vita is not an easy task – though it has in a way been accomplished on Nintendo Switch.
Historically, emulation starts with the homebrew community, and then the platform holders themselves will pinch the tech and charge us, consumers, a premium for it. As of today, PS Vita emulation hasn’t gotten to a point where Sony could repackage it and sell it to us. But still, it hurts, you know?
As an early adopter of the handheld – I paid the full £250 on release – I’ve always held the PS Vita close. It was my favourite console for a long time and I’ve taken a PS Vita on many important life journeys. In fact, my very first video game review almost a decade ago was for LittleBigPlanet Vita. It was the first post on this now-ancient website.
2012 saw me and the lady move to France for six months and then Austria for another six months. I didn’t have a home console, but I had my Vita. It was all I needed. When we moved to Germany in 2014, we sold our bulky possessions, including my trusty PS3, and once again, I only had my PS Vita, at least until I got my hands on a PS4.
In 2019, I went to E3 and Las Vegas, and you can bet your nips I took my Vita with me. I didn’t trust the Switch to not snap apart in my luggage. But Vita? She was strong. She’d been through more than enough flights, train journeys, and even the occasional night out on the town. Don’t ask.
The fond memories attached to that mighty little thing are innumerable, but I know that the day will come when her light fades and I won’t be able to turn her on anymore. She’ll dry up. Juiceless. Old. The scratch marks of age etched onto her once fresh face. She’ll power down one last time, and then it’ll be over. I’ll be alone. Overdramatic? A bit too sexual? Just a touch…
But my point still stands – what of its history? I know the PS Vita was considered a failure by Sony, and the PS Vita TV (or PSTV) an even bigger failure, but my goodness it had some bloody good games, didn’t it?
Again, I’ll be fair and acknowledge that a fair few of the best games got home console ports, like Assassin’s Creed Liberation, Wipeout 2048, and Gravity Rush. But what about those that didn’t? Will my son have to grow up in a world where Nathan Drake’s only portable adventure is lost to time? Will I have to draw out Frobisher Says on a flip pad for my future grandkids? Will I whisper “Unit 13” to the nurse who holds my elderly hand as I let go slip off to the great unknown? Am I being overdramatic? Do I need help?
Yes, and yes, but I don’t care. History is important, and if Mark Cerny can’t sit down for an evening and come up with some clever solution to letting me play my PS Vita games on my PS5, I’ll… well, what can I do? Have a whinge on the internet, apparently… Maybe I’ll do what Andy did in Shawshank Redemption and send a letter every week. Then, once we get the ability to stream PS Vita games, I’ll up it to two letters a week in the hope of downloadable versions.
I’ve spent a good deal of time extracting the urine, so to speak, in this article, but there is a valid point: what about the preservation of these games? It might seem like a small and inconsequential thing – especially in these times we’re living in – but history isn’t just about what people did. It doesn’t have to be relegated to who conquered who in which war. It should also include as much life as possible, including the entertainment we consume, even if some of it is utter crap – and the PS Vita had its fair share of crap.
It’s still part of our history. If Joss Whedon’s Justice League disappeared tomorrow, wiped from the history books… OK, that wouldn’t be a bad thing, but I’d still want it around so I could show my grandkids how bad some movies could be. That goes for games, too. I’m already doing it with my five-year-old boy, though unintentionally. I recently showed him the GOAT Spyro 3: Year of the Dragon running on the PS Vita, and the little brat had the nerve to say “these graphics are bad”.
Yeah, that may be the case now, you massive drain on my resources, but it’s what I had growing up, and I’ll be damned if I don’t get to emulate my parents, even if Sony can’t figure out how to emulate the PS Vita on a PS5.