A look at what Sony, Nintendo and Sega consoles the PSVita and PSTV can emulate and the emulators to use for the best experience!
If you’ve ever browsed through a PSVita forum or subreddit, then it’s almost certain that you’ve come across someone asking about the emulation capabilities of the console. In this article, we’ll be taking a look at the Sony/Nintendo/Sega consoles that hacked PSVita and PSTV devices can emulate and the best emulators to use!
As the PSVita is a Sony console, it is only proper to talking about emulation of Sony consoles, which is something that the PSVita can do natively! The current situation about these consoles is the following:
- PlayStation Portable (PSP) emulation works perfectly and the best emulator (or ePSP solution in this case) to be used is TheFlow’s Adrenaline which effectively turns your PSVita into an enhanced PSP with the whole XMB experience, right analogue stick support and even native resolution (960×544) in the GTA games
- PSP emulation works as well as it does because the PSVita has the PSP’s GPU and CPU baked into its own hardware
- A bounty to get native resolution PSP games on the PSVita by combining the Vita’s GPU and the built-in PSP CPU is currently going on and has already raised $580. A developer with the nickname ‘robots’ is currently working on and you can found out more about it by following this link.
- PlayStation 1 emulation also works perfectly with TheFlow’s Adrenaline
- It makes use of ePSP’s POPS functionality and games must be in PBP format
- Forget about PlayStation 2 emulation as the PSVita is nowhere near powerful enough to ever push out playable framerates in any PS2 games! (PS3 emulation is also out of the question in case you were thinking about that)
Nintendo consoles are plenty and the PSVita can do an excellent job at emulating some of the most popular.
To play your favourite Super Mario Bros and Kirby titles, you’ll have to consult the following about the current situation in regards to emulating Nintendo’s consoles:
- NES emulation works just fine and can be easily done through the FCEUmm core in RetroArch
- The NES can be emulated with decent results on Series 40 J2ME phones so it’s no surprise the Vita can do it well 🙂
- SNES emulation works pretty well although some games, especially ones that use SuperFX like Starfox, will struggle a bit and drop into the ~50FPS range. The best emulator is probably “Snes9x 2005” RetroArch core although I’ve personally had pretty good results with CATSFC-libretro-vita which I like a tad more since it’s a standalone application
- GameBoy, GameBoy Colour and GameBoy Advance emulation works pretty well for the most part and can be done with mGBA or RetroArch’s VBA Next core, both of which work pretty well.
- While it’s not the best way to emulate GBA games on the PSVita, I personally like using Uo gPSP Kai via Adrenaline to get the Advanced AA screen filter in GBA games which makes games like “The Legend Of Zelda: The Minish Cap” look much much better
- It might be worthwhile to use LOLIcon to overclock your PSVita to 494/500MHz when emulating GBA games since it’s been proven that it makes some games run @ 60FPS rather than 50-something FPS
Nintendo 64 emulation is very limited and only a few games can attain playable speed on the PSVita. To play some Super Mario 64 or Mario Kart 64 on your PSVita, you can use z2442’s modified version of DaedalusX64 which has some performance improvements and better overall emulation than the original DeadalusX64.
- For now, it’s unlikely we’ll ever get a native Nintendo 64 emulator since there are no hardware-accelerated emulators for the PSVita. However, this bounty may change things as it aims to get hardware accelerated RetroArch and RetroArch cores on the console. Frangar is currently working on it and doing some progress.
- As for Nintendo DS emulation, there’s a bit of hope that some less-demanding games may be someday be playable if its GPU accelerated renderer gets ported to the Vita and an ARM32 dynarec is created.
- You can try emulating the DS with DeSmuME-Vita but don’t expect playable framerates.
- Forget about emulating other Nintendo consoles such as the GameCube, Wii or 3DS since the Vita obviously doesn’t have the power to emulate these in any capacity
Sega consoles are also a pretty common target for emulation since there are numerous great titles like the Sonic games, Altered Beast for the Gensis and a multitude of Shinobi titles. Currently, the emulation situation is the following:
- Master System & Game Gear emulation works pretty well and can be done with Genesis Plus GX RetroArch core
- Mega Drive (Genesis) emulation also works well so you can enjoy the BLAST PROCESSING in its full glory. Like the above, the Genesis Plus GX RetroArch core is probably your best best.
- However, I also enjoy using PicoDrive 1.5.1b (PSP emulator for Genesis/Sega CD/Master System) via Adrenaline as it works well and also lets you use Adrenaline’s screen filters. There’s an updated version of the PicoDrive, which also supports 32X emulation, which you can read about here and download from here.
- Sega Saturn emulation will get you nowhere as there’s a Proof of Concept version of Yabause but that doesn’t really do anything other than output a slow slideshow
- There’s been no word on Dreamcast emulation but Reicast is able to run on pretty low-specced Android tablets (ARM based) with decent results so perhaps a GPU accelerated renderer in the future might allow for basic Dreamcast emulation but you probably shouldn’t expect playable speeds.
To find out more information about what the PSVita can and cannot emulate, you should check out this GBATemp Thread on RetroArch since it does a good job at describing the performance of each and every RetroArch core available for the console. The PSVita can also emulate some computers like the Amiga series with UAE4ALL2 and 68k Macs through Basilisk II.
You can get RetroArch from this link.