PSX on the Vita: An interview with the mysterious Vita Hacker
As our forum member The Z revealed recently some videos from an anonymous hacker showing PSX games running on the PS Vita, I tried to get in contact (through intermediate people) with that hacker for an interview. The hacker first refused, but I’m kind of a tough guy (j/k) and I insisted a bit. He accepted at my second request via an intermediate person, and shared some of his info on the hack with me.
The mysterious hacker (let me call him Tony, I don’t know his real name as we chatted on IRC) recently published a dump of the PSP emulator’s (on the Vita) internals, a breakthrough that was followed by a video showcasing PSX games running on the Playstation Vita (A feature that the console does not have officially, for now).
Despite these two events being some of the most major pieces of news in the young PS Vita scene, Tony is not your typical scene hacker: a 16 year-old enjoying “Parkour” and playing the piano on his free time, he told me in an introductory comment: “None of my friends know that I have skills in programming. I haven’t written any code anymore since the video showing PSX on PSVita. I neither need respectability nor fame. That’s why I initially refused the interview”
As I emphasized the importance of this hack for the scene, Tony was very humble on the subject: “Well, my exploit isn’t something special. Yes, kernel exploits are very rare, but I don’t feel like a hacker, as some people do. What I do is sharing all my work. I hate people who show off with their work [then don't release]“. As I asked if he would release his exploit, he answered: “If you guys want, I’ll release the kernel exploit with all the source code“.
We however discussed the external pressure hackers can get from such exploits. On the one hand, concerned gamers (“Oh no, an ISO loader is the last thing we need“), and on the other hand, hackers themselves (“Sony will patch this exploit“). “GUYS! Where is your real life? Sony will patch this exploit, I know, but do we really care? kernel exploit are here to enjoy the console“, Tony said. When discussing the impact of hackers’ work for Sony’s business, he told me “VHBL is harmless, but of course people wouldn’t buy any PSP games on the PSN anymore with a PSP kernel exploit“.
Tony’s exploit is actually a fully functional CFW running on the PSP emulator of the Vita. “I just wrote my own CFW on it. It’s just a normal CFW, nothing special. It does everything a typical CFW does…plugins, ISO games, increased CPU speed, PSX games, homebrews..etc. [For PSX Games,] I just emulated all POPS modules. It’s not really difficult to get that running. Theoretically I can emulate the whole VSH too ”
As I asked if he was looking deeper into the Vita’s internals, to hack more than the PSP emulator, Tony showed no interest in the Vita itself. “Emulators and PSP games on my PSVita are enough :). I don’t have any Vita game :(. I spare my money for disco, clothes and alcohol =P ”
I asked Tony if he wanted to add something, he replied: “I don’t need to show you guys how cool I am. I just ported the CFW to my PSVita in only 4 hours in the night, when I didn’t have anything else to do. But look at these guys, who are so proud with their skills…please?! I am proud that I play the piano and do Parkour. But these nerds…look at them, they really have no life. You guys may be now angry at me. You guys may hate me, but I don’t care. I care about girls and friends. I care about my family and about school. If you are now angry, do yourself a favor, shut down the pc and go swimming…
I know what I talk about, I used to be a real nerd too, but now, everything has changed ”
If anything, it’s humbling to me that a 16 year-old guy has already achieved bigger hacks than I’ll ever achieve in my life, and has already realized that there’s more to life than being a geek
At the time of this interview I didn’t have access to the hack itself, but got sufficient proof that the person I talked to had the skills to code a CFW for the PSP (and, by extension, for the emulator on the vita). Let’s just hope for the best for the scene in the near future