I’ve been trying to de-clutter the man cave recently. It’s only a small box room and to be honest, I’ve been shocked at just how much I’ve been able to cram into there – a main desk for consoles in active use, ten bookcases, a chest of drawers, two arcade machines and loads of boxed consoles, LEGO sets etc all stacked on top of it all. The room is home to all my modern and retro game collections including the PS Vita collection, books, comics, toys, a hifi and my vinyl collection… it’s a bit cramped!
So it’s lead me to needing to have something of a purge lately. 90% of my Pop figures have gone, loads of unwanted items I’ve had from Mystery Boxes have been sold off, as have hundreds of comics, replaced with space-saving graphic novels. But during this, it’s allowed me to tidy up everything including all my Vita games. However, looking at the boxed collection of 300+ titles taking up an entire bookshelf all of their own, it got me thinking about my PS Vita Collection and how I need to manage it going forward…
The rapid development of my PS Vita collection
I’ve had my Vita for over a decade now and have built up a huge collection of games. 300+ physical fill the shelves as I’ve already said, but these are accompanied by a dozen memory cards bringing the set to well over a thousand. These are packed with a near-complete set of PlayStation Mobile games, almost a hundred from the Minis range, PSP and PSOne titles and wrapping things up with native Vita titles. Cross Buy and PlayStation Plus have made a huge contribution to this, but I dread to think how much it’s all cost over the last decade.
It comes with complications though. From day one the Vita was limited to displaying 100 “bubbles” on its home screeen for games etc. While this was later increased to 500 including folders, this limit still had problems for those with large physical collections. The issue arises because every physical game leaves a bubble on the home screen once a cartridge is inserted, regardless of whether any data is installed on the memory card. Got 100 physical games? That’s potentially 100 bubbles gone before you install a single game. For those with large physical game collections, or small files like Minis, PlayStation Mobile or indies from the likes of Ratalaika you’ll soon run into trouble.
A Worrying Future
Where Vita owners are going to see problems in the near future is when Sony Interactive Entertainment eventually decides to shut the Vita servers down. We won’t have the luxury of playing, deleting and redownloading games as we need them to save space or bubbles on our memory cards. And that’s the dilemma that hit me while sorting out my PS Vita collection…
For the better part of a decade, the PS Vita was my only “modern” console. I wasn’t really interested in the PS4, never found any Microsoft systems appealing so went from the PS3 to the Vita and stopped there. It was only a couple of years ago when I got my Switch Lite, and that was because of a few specific games (and because my wife won one in a raffle a few months earlier) so we could play together. I finally ended up with a PS5 last year when my daughter got me one for Father’s Day, bringing PS4 and PS5 gaming into the house, and thanks to Cross Buy and PS+ giving me an instant collection of 400+ games for it.
But having both of these in addition to the Vita has got me thinking more about what I own, play and more importantly how I play them all. Storage is still proving to be an issue, but that’s now a problem across all three systems. I’ve already upgraded the Switch to a 512Gb memory card and the PS5 now has almost 5Tb of storage thanks to a second internal drive and an external drive for my PS4 games. So now with the Vita as well, I’m re-evaluating what I play and what system is best for each game.
Too Many Games?
With the better part of 2,000 games in the collection spread across all three platforms it’s time for a reality check. With all the storage in the world, I’m not going to be able to have everything installed all the time, nor will I have the time to play the whole collection. When it comes to games on the PS4/PS5, the main issue is the sheer size of games on it. For the big AAA titles, some are absolutely absurd with many heading towards if not larger than 100Gb in size. The reality is that I’m having to be selective about what I install and spending more time on a limited number of games.
In the past I kept as many games installed as I could and just kept swapping and changing what I played regularly to keep things fresh but I just can’t have this luxury anymore. For many games now I need to consider the option of playing the larger games through to completion and then deleting them to make space for others. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg…
Which Console Is Best?
When it comes to games I own across more than one system (and believe me, there are quite a few), then choosing the one I’m most likely to play it on is the best option. I’ve got a lot of limited edition physical games for the Vita, but most of these are smaller indie games which I also have on the Switch or PS4/Ps5. To play the Vita versions will take up valuable bubble space and the games themselves will be identical so it makes little sense to use the Vita for these. Instead, the Vita is best suited for exclusives like Killzone Mercenary or games where it has the better ports such as TxK (which is vastly superior to Tempest 4000 on the PS4 and Switch).
The Switch however, has some fantastic first party exclusives and again plenty of great smaller indie games but unlike the PS Vita it’s not the most comfortable for extended periods of play. It’s certainly got more than its fare share of RPGs and other titles offering deep engaging gameplay, at my age I do struggle holding the Switch Lite for any lengthy period of time. I guess that’s why – with a collection of around 150 games for it since I bought it – I’ve still only played around a third of them.
Cross Buy – The Best Of Both Worlds
The PS5 has – of late – been my “go to” system for most of my gaming needs. It’s not just the native PS5 games that I’ve been enjoying, but I’ve also been spending a lot of time on PS4 games, catching up on a host of titles I missed over the last decade. While I’ve never been a huge fan of “remastered” titles, I’ve picked up some of my old favourites or games I had been planning on adding to my PS Vita collection so I can pick them up and play them more easily on the big screen without the need for the PSTV (which is currently set up for video capture).
But the big thing for me is having access to a vast amount of my existing PS Vita collection thanks to Cross Buy. It’s given me the chance to re-connect with games I haven’t played for a long time, or those I bought years ago and barely touched first time around. Countless indie games from the likes of Ratalaika, Eastasiasoft and many more are getting a second chance and if I’m honest I’m enjoying this side of the console more than anything else.
In a way it’s quite strange that here I am in 2024 using one of the most powerful games consoles ever designed to play small indie titles that I’ve been more used to running on the Vita. But truthfully as a gamer I think I’m having the best time of my life. And it’s making my Vita gaming experience all the better for it as I can dedicate that to the true classics available for the system. And you can’t say fairer than that.