Alright, I’m going to kick off proceedings with candour and say this: Sony’s plucky underdog handheld, the PS Vita is one of my favourite consoles of all-time. Phew, I said it. That’s a hefty weight off of my mind.
For context, I’ve been playing games for almost all my life — knocking on thirty years, now — and I’ve always been very much drawn to the concept of handheld gaming. The thought of squeezing all those amazing, epic adventures and captivating, magical experiences into a device that fits into the the palms of my hands still somewhat blows my mind. The fact that my first proper console was Nintendo’s iconic GameBoy handheld (man, that was the best Christmas present I ever had — thanks Santa) only helped to add fuel to the ardent fire that burns within me for portable gaming.
To say that Sony’s latest handheld has had a rough time on the market is a colossal understatement. Out of the gate, the Japanese giant was dedicated to it, throwing first-party development resources at the machine with fervent glee (more on this later).
However, over time Sony rapidly realized that its miniature console just wasn’t hitting the sales numbers to warrant investment from their valuable internal development teams, particularly in regards to triple-A support. Sadly, roughly three years into the console’s life-cycle, Sony pretty much washed their hands of the device and sent their poor, little orphan console out into the wilderness to fend for itself with a smattering of Sony-funded ports and a swathe of much-appreciated third-party and indie support keeping the handheld alive.
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It’s a somewhat different story in Sony’s Japanese homeland, as the PS Vita, and handhelds in general, are still hitting healthy sales numbers. As a consequence, many of the titles you see on the PS Vita’s upcoming release docket are often Japanese developed games that have been localized and introduced to a western audience. If you like Japanese titles, Sony’s handheld is a veritable gold-mine.
I’m not going to go into detail as to why the PS Vita never quite set the world on fire (that would take up another article entirely), but suffice to say, with the emergence of smart-phones and tablets, the dawn of free-to-play mobile gaming and Sony’s daft decision to exclusively support those damn over-priced proprietary memory cards (why Sony? WHY?) the PS Vita’s journey was always going to be an uphill struggle.
Nevertheless, the PS Vita has found an audience. Sure, it’s a smaller scale community than most other modern consoles (global PS Vita sales sit around the 14 million mark at the time of writing), but it does have its fair share of ardent fans who love the damn thing with all their heart, with me being one of them. It really is a wonderful machine, and personally it’s my go-to console for on-the-go gaming.
And so, without further ado, here’s a handful of reasons as to why I hold Sony’s diminutive handheld in such high regard.