About 6 years ago, Sony quietly released the Playstation TV. Known as the Vita TV overseas, it is basically that: A Playstation Vita in console form. They were first released in 2014 for around $130 for the version with a DualShock 3 controller. but due to Sony’s complete lack of interest in marketing the system, they quickly came down in price at many places, with the controller and game coupon bundle being available for $99 by the beginning of the next year. I bought mine in early 2015 for the sole purpose of playing TxK, Jeff Minter’s latest incarnation of the arcade classic Tempest and sequel to his own Tempest 2,000.. It also came with a coupon for The Lego Movie game, and I also had 3 game coupons from my daughter’s Vita system that I got her a year or two before that she never used, and these yielded me Sly Cooper Thieves In Time, and 2 other games that I absolutely cannot remember,
Due to the handheld Vita system having a touch screen, motion controls, and cameras, any games that relied on those features were not compatible with the PSTV. But still, at least more than 75% of the Vita’s library was compatible, which is still a pretty good chunk. Sony employed a blacklist to prevent users from trying to load any games that weren’t compatible. In most cases, this made sense, but there were quite a few games that were blacklisted that didn’t really take advantage of the extra Vita features that the PSTV lacked.
The early PSTV-hacks centered around altering the blacklist so that some of these games could be played, and I employed these hacks to try out games such as Neodrifter. The PSTV has sat dormant for quite a while. The only game I ever bought for it was TxK, the rest of the games I played on it relied on me keeping my Playstation Plus account paid up and taking advantage of the free games they made available every month. But overall the Vita games never drew me in, and I also found it a hassle to be constantly juggling games around on the 8GB memory card, and buying the larger versions of Sony’s proprietary cards just wasn’t economical. So, I finally let my PS+ account go, and the final nail in making the PSTV even more worthless was the release of Tempest 4,000 for the PC, which was pretty much just TxK with different music and a few other minor tweaks.
Every so often I would take a peek into the world of Vita/PSTV hacking, and while I would see some options here and there, they all sounded too complicated to screw around with in contrast to the extent of my interest. But recently I took another look and was pleased to discover that they finally have it down to a pretty easy and reliable process, so I dived in. I was able to unlock the games I already had on it that relied on my PS+ account, and also found a neat utility for selecting and downloading/installing commercial games. And as I type this, i’m in the process of installing a hack that should allow me to use USB drives as storage, getting around the 8GB limitation of my Sony memory card,
So, that will keep me occupied for a little while. I haven’t really been in too much of a gaming mood lately, so I doubt I spend too much time with the PSTV after the shine wears off. I may look into hacking the Xbox 360 next, since that’s another system where most of the games I have for it rely on me keeping my Xbox Live membership paid up, which is another expense that I can’t continue to justify for as little as I use it.