For those not fortunate to own one, it’s easy to dismiss the PS Vita as being a console that has no games. Looking on the shelves in any game store and you’ll see a mere handful of titles and usually it’s the same select few copies of FIFA and first-person shooters thrown in for good measure with little else to attract gamers. As Vita owners we know better and are well aware of the incredible catalogue of games at our disposal, standing at well over 1,000 titles and growing daily. Covering the wonderful variety of native PlayStation Vita titles, PSP, PS One Classics, Minis and not forgetting PlayStation Mobile, there’s something for everyone… or is there?
It’s no secret that the PS Vita has become home to countless indie developers and fans of retro gaming with enthusiasts looking to the console to relive their youth playing classic games that they remembered from the arcades. Official updates or clones of the classics – Space Invaders, Pac Man, Pong, Breakout – they’re all available on the Vita along with many classic arcade compilations from arcade and home console giants such as Sega and Capcom. But anyone who is old enough to remember the arcades that these classic games used to inhabit back in the 80s and early 90s will tell you that these arcades themselves have changed dramatically.
But what about contemporary arcades? Gone are the old arcade favourites replaced with coin dozer machines, slot machines are abundant everywhere and even classic pinball tables are becoming rarer every day. Thanks to The Pinball Arcade many of the tables we have come to love are making their way to the Vita but other games aren’t so lucky. We may get plenty of games that have taken their inspiration from the arcades but we seldom see anything that resembles modern arcades. The closest we have seen to-date to a coin dozer on the Vita are two games released for PlayStation Mobile by Sony Computer Entertainment but these are only available in Japan and the only slot machine to date is by way of the High Roller table for The Pinball Arcade recreating a typical casino in table form…
And that’s the direction where mature gaming seems to be heading, at least on a physical level. Without the arcades that we loved being around apart from in specialised locations or at arranged events and the arcades that do exist only offering slots and gimmick-laden machines, it’s no wonder why more players have moved onto casinos since their reputation and image has become more relaxed in recent years. It’s just not physical casinos but online gaming has reached phenomenal levels as well with online sites such as MansionCasino.com proving to be incredibly popular offering all the excitement of the real thing that the Vita still hasn’t managed to deliver in any capacity since it’s launch two years ago.
It’s surprising that we’ve seen very little released for the Vita considering the popularity of casino gaming. Online and television based poker and other casino games have built up a strong following yet all we have seen to-date is the RTS combat game Super Tank Poker, Sony’s Everybody’s Arcade (which features Blackjack and Poker), and Card Shark from the Minis range – a dismal offering when looking at the Vita’s current range of games. None of the poker games released for the PSP have been made available for the Vita, and surprisingly neither has Hard Rock Casino.
It’s a bizarre state of affairs for what could be a profitable game genre that – to date – is untapped on Sony’s portable flagship device and for now that just leaves us gamers with no alternative but to look elsewhere for our gaming fix.