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.
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.