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Happy 10th Birthday PlayStation Vita!

Happy 10th Birthday PlayStation Vita!

After an impressive outing from Sony with the release of the PlayStation Portable, the Japanese tech giant expanded on what made its handheld debut so great to create their next portable gaming device: The PlayStation Vita. The Vita was meant to be the next evolution in Sony’s handheld gaming consoles and added so many new, intuitive features and some truly fantastic exclusives. We all know that the Vita didn’t fare very well; with the meteoric rise in mobile gaming, combined with Nintendo’s vice-like grip on the handheld market, the Vita suffered a rather ill fate. Thankfully this article is going to stay away from any negatives to remind everyone what made the PlayStation Vita so special, in a celebration of the console's 10th year. So pop on your party hats, grab a slice of cake, and rejoice as we say happy birthday to the PlayStation Vita!

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Announced at E3 2011, the PlayStation Vita would release later that year with two available versions: The wi-fi model, which was fairly self-explanatory, and the 3G model. It’s hard to imagine in this age — where even public transport has free wi-fi — that a handheld would support the use of mobile data. It's surprising how far technology has come in such a seemingly short space of time. Included are a whole host of impressive features; a 5-inch 16:9 OLED screen, dual analogue sticks (a huge improvement over the PlayStation Portable’s single “nubbin” stick), motion sensors, front and rear touch interactivity, and oh so much more was packed into this pocket-sized device!

The user interface of the main menu, dubbed the “live area”, is a simple icon-filled screen ideal for touchscreen use with a great audio theme playing in the background. It’s from here you can not only access your games, but also check your trophies, browse the internet or PlayStation store, manage content and settings, and connect to a PlayStation 4 console (more on that later). The live area is functional and does exactly what it needs to do with ease, albeit with some now redundant applications; I can’t remember ever using my Vita to check my emails or watch Netflix, for example.

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Arguably the most important aspect of any console is the games available to the players. Not only was the Vita capable of playing physical copies via game cards, it also had its own PlayStation Network store. Packed full of indie titles, and classics from the PlayStation and PlayStation Portable, the Vita had a good amount of games to play; better yet, any of these previously purchased for your PlayStation Portable — or PlayStation 3 for the compatible classic games — could be downloaded for the Vita, with the ability to customise controls, screen size, and a few other things to create the best experience possible depending on the player’s preferences.

But are there any must-play games for the Vita? In my opinion, absolutely! (In fact, go and have a look at this article on some great ones!) From Sony stalwart’s such as Uncharted and Killzone providing some brilliant handheld (yet lengthy) spin-offs, and unique titles that made full use of the Vita’s various features like Tearaway and LittleBigPlanet, to some incredibly difficult-to-find games for the PlayStation available to download. Earlier this year in fact, I finally played through Suikoden I & II for the first time, and what an experience that was. No matter where I was, if I had a spare few minutes I could try and grind a few levels or venture towards the next plot point. I was hooked, perhaps more so than if I sat down to play the console version! JRPGs are a rarity for me nowadays due to time constraints (although I do often daydream about them whilst trying to plan my wedding), so it was a joy to just pick up right where I left off during the journey to and from work, thanks to the ability to put the console into sleep mode, as well as its fairly long battery life.

If nostalgia trips aren’t your thing then the Vita still has your back. Other than the aforementioned Sony franchises, a whole host of titles such as Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection, Minecraft, and Rayman: Origins received fantastic ports to the small console, all of which play just as well as their big-screen counterparts. And let’s not forget the wide array of indie titles! A huge lineup of brilliant games that, whilst not pushing the limits of the hardware, are perfect to play in short bursts; Hotline Miami, Bastion, and Guacamelee! are examples of such. There were hundreds of other similarly small titles with big ambitions available right at your fingertips too.


Sticking with games, how about the option to play your PlayStation 4 on your Vita via remote play? This is a very easy option to set up, requiring your PlayStation 4 to be powered on and connected to the same wi-fi as the Vita. Connect them up via the Remote Play app and you’re good to go, with the Vita acting as a second screen and controller for your home console. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve carried on gaming, hunting for elusive collectibles, whilst tucked up in bed away from my PlayStation 4. It’s a wonderful feature that is very rarely spoken about, and whilst obviously you’re not getting that delicious 4K resolution, if your wi-fi connection is at least half decent, its performance is silky smooth. Playing The Last of Us Part II on a handheld is a surreal experience, but a very enjoyable one!

Had Sony kept on pushing the PlayStation Vita, who knows where it could be right now? A future of connectivity with the PlayStation 5, fascinating new experiences, and so much more, are now just a pipedream for fans. Whilst it is a shame that the console was left abandoned, there is still so much worth praising about the Vita, even during its 10th year. Happy Birthday!

Mike Crewe

Mike Crewe

Staff Writer

Bought a PS5 and won't stop talking about it

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