PS Vita (In Retrospect)

The PS Vita is an amazing little machine. I distinctly remember playing Escape Plan in a GameStop circa 2012 and being blown away by the screen. Fast forward eight years, and a jail-broken PS Vita might still the best way to portably emulate in 2020

There’s something that the specs can’t capture about the system. It just feels good. I loved my PSP. That little shit traveled the world with me. And while my Vita doesn’t have as many miles on it as my PSP, it’s still seen a big chunk of the globe and been an occasional safety blank over a tumultuous period of my life.  

From a strictly monetary sense, the PSP was probably a windfall compared to the Vita. Having a behemoth of engineering like the Nintendo Switch release during your life cycle is a rough set of cards. But the Vita had already been soundly routed by the 3DS at that point. In fact, it was pretty clear from the moment I opened the box the way this was all going to play out.

Still, nothing but love from me.  

There’s a part of me that wants to buy the molds for Vita carts and try to talk Sony into a letting Ziggurat continue to press new games (3,000 copies of the recent Limited Run Vita edition of Papers, Please sold out in 30 seconds). It seems like a great outlet for under-appreciated PS3 games like BloodRayne Betrayal.

Retro Gaming loves my OCD tendencies

One of the black holes that I’ve been falling into lately is trying to figure out how best to play old game consoles (basically, anything pre HD) on modern televisions. Anyone who’s tried to play a Saturn game on a 4k TV knows how it basically looks like someone dumped a bunch of pixels into a blender and that poured that smoothie onto the screen. From what I’ve heard, buying a late model cathode TV is the most faithful, but that’s a level I haven’t resigned myself to yet.

So I’m testing a bunch of different options to see how they look: 4K TV directly, 4K through a newer system digital download (downloading a PSOne classic on a PS3, for example), an older smaller LCD TV, Nvidia Shield, Computer emulation (PCSX2), little LCD screen attachments (think PSOne screen), and even PSP (older but emulation robust) and PS Vita (better screen, limited selection of titles) respectively.

At the end of the day, I feel there has to be a better way then all of these things. Raspberry Pi emulation seems to be the preferred method for most. But a massive data dump of games is also what I want to avoid. And so as a way to support my ever-sickening video game collecting habit, I try to own the original game (even though I’m well aware the developer doesn’t make any money off of me buying it used). So slowly but surely, I’ll be testing these things out and reporting on them with all the accuracy and unnecessary depth of a grown man putting off doing something more important like cooking or raking leaves or auto maintenance.   

Nostalgia Vortex Starring Shining Wisdom

There’s a cedar closet in my house. Naturally, instead of storing old suits, I’ve converted it into my videogame cabinet. It’s a very slow and satisfying process pulling everything out of the plastic tubs they’ve been sitting in for a decade+ and cataloguing them. I’ve never bonsaied a tree, but I imagine it gives the same sort of OCD pleasure.

Part of the enjoyment is punching games into PriceCharting.com and seeing what has drastically appreciated in value (or, more likely, not appreciated at all). Holistically, the PS2 and PS3 games have faired poorly. The old Atlus games have been a mixed bag (the original Persona is ridiculous given how many formats it exists in, while Nocturne and Digital Devil Saga are laggards). And the Dreamcast and Saturn the notable standouts.

As I’m going through my Saturn collection, I stumbled on this little guy.

Working Designs Ultra Series – RIP

As you can see, this was once owned by a “Premier Video”, a now (obviously) defunct movie rental place in my hometown.  I remember buying a number of games from Premier: Battle Arena Toshinden, Virtua Fighter Kids, Shinging in the Darkness.

Wait. Which store?

And Shining Wisdom

I was surprised when I punched it in to see that it sells for $130 on eBay. It’s not the most valuable game I own, but I also can’t imagine ever toping it’s 40x return.

I haven’t played it yet (I’ve only had it for 20 years), but I always liked the shiny clay FMV scenes on the back (most people are probably glad we left these in the 90’s, but I appreciate how far they are from the uncanny valley).

The pinnacle of graphics for me when I was 12 was measured by how “smooth” they looked

I’m sure it’s a generic 90’s Zelda-clone, but that’s one of the best kind of clones (as long as they don’t take themselves too seriously). I’ve told myself I’ll give it a try once I finish cataloguing the rest of this stuff (in about 5 years).