So, My PS5-Fanatic Friend Tried My Vita, And This Happened

Gaming is a wonderful thing. It’s an interactive artform, and we can interact with it in many ways. Some people prefer playing on PC, others on their phone. Some people like consoles, and yet others (like me) prefer handhelds. During the weekend, a friend who is a PS4 and PS5 fanatic came over to my house. He’d never played a dedicated handheld before. So I handed him my Vita, booted up Killzone: Mercenary, and watched what happened. It was pretty darn interesting.

“A Handheld? No, Never”

You may ask yourself “what do you mean, he’s never played on a handheld?” And I hear you. But here’s the thing: he’s younger. Late 20s. So when he started gaming, consoles were everywhere, particularly in his native Brazil. And if he wanted to play on the go, by the time he was a teen, smartphones were more than capable of providing casual entertainment.

After all, that is what “killed the handheld market”, according to Sony. That is, of course, until the Switch sold enough units to outnumber chickens, and Valve put out the Deck.

But anyway, I thought it was interesting that I was finally observing first-hand somebody who honestly had never experienced a dedicated handheld gaming device. Enter the Vita.

Vita, and Killzone: Mercenary

Pedro is, as I said, a PS4 and PS5 fan. Though he plays single-player games like the Horizon series, I felt Killzone: Mercenary was the perfect fit for a quick Vita experience.

After all, he was familiar with the franchise, he plays Call of Duty: Warzone, and KZ: M is a fantastic showcase of the Vita’s capabilities.

There’s no point in giving him a niche RPG to try out: he’ll never get far enough, quick enough, for the Vita to make an impression. Also, you can play an RPG on a touch screen. But nothing beats playing a first-person shooter with real hardware controls.

“Wow, People Must Have Been Amazed at This When it Launched!”

I set up a new game of Killzone and handed Pedro the Vita. He was a bit confused at first by the on-screen prompts to use the touchscreen for some actions, but he quickly got to grips with it. We chatted a bit during the intro and tutorial scenes. And then, he started playing for real.

He got to the point where they jump out of the building, and he said out loud: “Wow, people must have been amazed at this when it launched!”. Killzone: Mercenary really a console experience on the go, and the game looks incredible, even 10 years later. Yes, Pedro, we were amazed 10 years ago. The funny thing is, my friend, the game is still amazing you in 2023.

“Take It, Or I’ll Become Addicted and Will Want to Buy One”

After about 40 minutes of not hearing a peep out of Pedro while the rest of us were getting ready to go out for dinner, I feel a tap on my shoulder. It’s Pedro, handing me back my Vita. “Take it, or I’ll become addicted and will want to buy one”, he said.

This is the same guy who told me a mere hour ago that he enjoys console gaming because he loves playing on a big screen. And here he was, giving me back my 10-year-old handheld because he was afraid he’d like to so much, he’d want one. It really did put a smile on my face.

The Vita is Dead. Long Live the Vita

It was really fun to see Pedro go from doubter to believer in the space of a single sitting with the Vita. But beyond the teasing possibilities this brings to our friendship, it further proves some interesting points.

First, that the Vita was killed by Sony, and not by a lack of potential. People love the experience when they get a chance to try it out.

Second, that a dedicated handheld device still has a place in the market. This was more definite proof to me than Switch and Steam Deck sales, combined. Here’s a hardcore console gamer telling me he loved this little thing as much as I did.

And third, that the Vita may be 10 years old. It may have been left for dead by its maker. But that doesn’t take away what made it great in the first place: it’s the perfect size, it has an amazing library, and if you give it a chance, it’ll wow you, too.

Facebook Comments

About Marcos Codas 384 Articles
Lover of portable gaming and horror cinema. Indie filmmaker and game developer. Multimedia producer. Born in Paraguay, raised in Canada. Huge fan of "The Blair Witch Project", and "Sonic 3D Blast". Deputy head at Vita Player and its parent organization, Infinite Frontiers. Like what I do? Donate a coffee: