Console Wish List

I guess continuing with the trend of things I wish I had time to spend on more than my job, the next wish list is for consoles to play around with. I think we’re really fortunate to have a misunderstood generation of consoles prior to the PS4 and Nintendo Switch. It means that we have some really compelling hardware that is effectively now an open platform.


The Ps-Vita is a great little system that I think ultimately suffered from some odd decisions on the part of Sony. I think they were really focused on trying to get into the casual game market that was taking off on phones, and that seems to have influenced a lot of design decisions around the user interface and the touch screen.

I think the idea must have been a hit in the board room, but the simple fact of the matter is that is people can already play casual games on their phones, why would they go out of their way to spend extra money on a dedicated gaming device with analog input. The answer is they won’t, and the extra features added to try to appeal to people who weren’t going to buy the device anyways, were passed on to people who wanted a simple gaming device.

And that led to the spiral of no one is buying the device, so no one wants to develop for the device because no-one is buying the device death spiral. But this isn’t a post mortem, why would I want a Ps-vita at the end of 2019 when Sony is no longer supporting it? And the answer is because Sony is no longer supporting it.

Stupid gimmicks like the touch screen and especially the back touch surface aside, now that the platform is dead and everyone is trading in their Ps-Vita’s, it means there are a ton of used Vitas being sold for cheap. And the fact that Sony is no longer supporting the device means that they won’t be releasing firmware to prevent custom firmware from being installed on the device.

So what specifically would I want to do with the device? It seems like it would be the best way to enjoy Playstation one and Play Station Portable games by grabbing a large format SD card and dumping a large library on there, with the advantage of having the Playstation controller button layout. Also a piece of homebrew that I’m hoping exists is to be able to use the Ps-Vita as a bluetooth controller. Nintendo was nice enough to make their controllers work with the direct input bluetooth standard but not Sony and their bluetooth controllers rarely ever work with anything, much less appear in discover mode.

One last pipe dream for the Vita is there is an SDK available. So it might be fun to try at least trying to get some hello world examples running on the system. And then see if something like SDL would work from there. If the Raspberry Pi had a killer handheld dev kit to work with, then I wouldn’t think about the Vita too much. But I do have the Odroid-Go. So I should probably get that put together and port brickout before i think too much about more hardware.

Vita Tv

The Vita Tv is next on the list but surprisingly for different reasons than the handheld Vita. One thing that I love about Nintendo’s philosophy is that games not specs makes a console. And I think the Gamecube and Wii are really good examples of this. Both of these consoles have pretty low specs but amazing games like Pikmin, Mario Sunshine and Wind Waker.

So I think the Vita TV comes surprisingly close to this philosophy by accident if by anything at all. Having a thin client 5w client with a bluetooth controller that can run post ps2 level handheld games seems like something I would really like. I think the above mentioned commitment to mobile gaming on the back touch pad, and UI ended up being a real detriment to the system, as something that came of as a more dedicated game device might have done better. I might have to see if there is some custom firmware option to change the user interface as the default UI option with the ios-like bubbles just looks stupid.

Wii or WiiU

The last two consoles on my random things I’d like to mess around wish list are the Wii and/or the WiiU. I haven’t seen enough of the WiiU to really know a lot about it. And the WiiU touch screen controller seems to add a lot to the price without really adding functionality that I really want.

I think for a wish list I’d like the option to emulate DS games with the controller and be able to play Gameube games with a Switch bluetooth controller. In general I want a Wii to throw a SD card into it and use it as a Gamecube and Wii library. But if the WiiU has the option to play Gamecube, Wii, DS and WiiU games, then I think I might go for that. Plus it has native HDMI out and better specs, along with games like Breath of the Wild.

So depending on if I can find a WiiU at a decent price, then it seems like it wuld be a fun system to buy and tinker around with to see what can be done with it. But in terms of priority I’d like to pick up a Vita and Vita TV before grabbing a WiiU.

AMD Product Names make no sense

More than anything this post will demonstrate my ignorance to anyone with a passing familiarity with consumer hardware, but my current grievance with AMD is that their GPU names don’t make any sense. One thing that AMD has done in the last two years in make a comeback in the CPU department, and I think a large reason for that is they’ve done a great job of simplification and branding. One thing that Intel did really well was their product naming, they had their Atom, Pentium/Celeron, Core and Xeon lines. You knew, and could get an idea from the names that atom was for low end, low power, Celeron was low end, Pentium slightly better, core professional and then Xeon was for servers. With AMD, I can’t even remember what most of the names where. “Pheanom”, or “Opertron”? And I don’t even know which level these were intended for. I think with their APU lines, they cleaned a lot of this up with their “A6”, “A8” naming.

One thing Ryzen did is it made it really easy to understand which models do what. You have the Ryzen R3, R5, and R7, and then you have the series so Ryzen 1000, 2000, 3000 for each generation. It makes it easy to know what you want and what model you’re looking for when buying a CPU. It’s still rumored, but AMD’s navi line of GPU’s could be coming out in a few months, and I hope their marketing department does the same thing they did for Ryzen to their GPU line. Because as bad as AMD’s CPUs were in terms of naming, their GPU’s are pretty bad or potentially even worse.

What do I mean by that? The Radeon VII. What the fuck kind of name is that? It’s named “VII” because it’s based on the 7nm process. Well is the “Nano R9” named that because it’s on the 9nm process? You have the RX series, which you have the 570, 580 and 590. Except the 590 is just an over clocked 580. And all of these cards are pretty much overclocked versions of the previous 4xx series. And then you have these other random cards like, “Vega”, “R9” and the “VII” in there. And what the hell came before the RX400 series? Oh right, the Radeon 5000 series (i think). None of this makes any freaking sense. One thing I hope AMD does is find a consistent naming convention for their GPU’s and stick with it.