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Turn your PS-Vita / PSTV into a fantastic emulation machine.


dumpster
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Updated June 2020.  Please note that many of the issues discussed in the replies to this thread are out of date now.   This original post has been updated to be current. 

 

The PS Vita has been hacked wide open, and some of the stuff you can do with it will amaze you.  The most recent mod methods allow any firmware to be modded, and you can still go on PSN to download your purchases.  The process for the mod varies depending on the firmware that's currently on your Vita, but it's simple enough, and the console becomes an indispensable travel companion once you've modded.  Highlights include:

 

  • Retroarch, with emulation of all the staples - Snes, Megadrive, Gameboy Advance, Spectrum (who needs that Vega+ anyway?) and so on. 
  • Incredible PSP emulation with an emulator called Adrenaline. Overclocking, graphical filters, and PSP games look incredible on that screen. All PSP games can be played, not just the ones Sony whitelisted on the PS Store.
  • Incredible PS1 emulation via Adrenaline, with PSX2PSP versions of games being perfect - a PSone in your pocket!
  • Whitelist modification for PSTV - play every Vita game, not just the ones that Sony allow.
  • Use USB storage on the PSTV, no need to buy expensive proprietary memory cards.
  • Use a £2 adaptor to use a micro SD card on the Vita instead of the expensive, hard to find and unreliable Sony cards.
  • Transfer files to and from your console wirelessly with FTP or wired via USB. No faffing with the Sony Content Manager.

 

The process works on any Vita (at the time of writing) , so turn off auto updates or use airplane mode to stop your Vita updating.  Check the firmware version in the consoles settings page.  If you have 3.60 firmware that is the easiest, but all the mods are fairly simple. If your vita prompts you to update, don't do it until you have read the guide.

 

A Vita on firmware 3.60 it is very easy.  You use the web browser on the Vita itself to visit https://henkaku.xyz and the mod is installed by clicking the "install" button.  That's it.  The mod remains in place until you fully power off the console, but you can download a program called Enzo, to make the mod permanent.  That way, you don't need to go back to the Henkaku website every time.

 

If you are on a lower firmware than 3.60 there are methods to update to 3.60 manually in the guide below.

If you are above 3.60 already or accidentally updated past 3.60 there's now a newer mod method called H-Encore which allows any version of the Vita to be modded, so you can follow that process instead.  

 

Once your console is modded, you can access all the files on your console and memory card using a programme called VitaShell, which also allows connection to your computer via FTP or USB.  You can insert your SD/USB into the PC as normal to copy files, or leave them in the console and FTP /USB across.  All your downloads are usually single *.VPK files and you install them by clicking on them in Vitashell and that's it!    There's also a  brilliant Homebrew Browser that makes the process simpler, working like a storefront for Homebrew, which downloads and installs stuff automatically.  There's even a homebrew version of Konami's PT. 

 

 

There's a lot of mod chat in the PS Vita thread, and it would be nice to have this thread for our emulation questions.  This guide...

 

https://vita.hacks.guide/

 

...is regularly updated, and is fantastic, even installing all DRM removal etc as part of the process. 

 

 

The video below is a good explanation of what you can do with the Vita, but his explanation of how to do the mod is out of date now so please use the link above for the mod.

 

 

Please remember we do not discuss piracy on this forum, so if you would like to join in the chat below please do not discuss apps like PKG-J, that installs commercial games over the internet with no DRM. No piracy discussion please. 

 

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I was in two minds over getting rid of my Vita which I was holding on to for this purpose, but the likelihood of cheap memory card adapters and the like was slim, so I sold it. Would love this to replace my old PSP as it does everything the PSP did and a lot more. If the hackers can crack the 3.60 limit and make all firmware hackable that's it, boom.

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1 hour ago, Vimster said:

I was in two minds over getting rid of my Vita which I was holding on to for this purpose, but the likelihood of cheap memory card adapters and the like was slim, so I sold it. Would love this to replace my old PSP as it does everything the PSP did and a lot more. If the hackers can crack the 3.60 limit and make all firmware hackable that's it, boom.

It already is.

There’s also no need to keep going to the website to get it to work, enso can be put onto 3.65 so it loads each time it’s turned on automatically and spoofs the newer firmware.

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I don't do as much mobile gaming these days (unless I'm on long train journeys or something, I guess), and the PC serves as a decent emulation machine at home - however, I have tried Henkaku before and it's very easy to set up and use. Things like SNES, MD and GBA games play well, and FBAlpha opens up a bunch of arcade titles. :) 

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Just a quick note: the linked-to video links to a 3.68 hack from the 1st but in just a week the process had already become much faster. The following video is a week younger than the 1st July vids, is crystal clear and comes with a packaged .exe to do all the tricky stuff for you. I was done in 4 minutes instead of 30.

 

 

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1 hour ago, DC said:

I don't want to fuck with my Vita but I have a Vita tv that I might piss about with...

 

As @dumpster mentioned, the mod's only a temporary install until you fully power off the console (and it only takes moments to set up each time) so you're not risking much at all. :) 

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37 minutes ago, Qazimod said:

 

As @dumpster mentioned, the mod's only a temporary install until you fully power off the console (and it only takes moments to set up each time) so you're not risking much at all. :) 

 

...and I'm not aware of anyone who has bricked their Vita using Enso - it's excellent! The only way I have ever heard of anyone bricking their Vita is a known bug here 

 

 

 

....but then again, why would you ever do that?  It's a very unusual sequence of events to make that happen.

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1 hour ago, davidcotton said:

So what's the going rate for a vita these day's and any particular model to look out for?

 

I would suggest the original model with DAT SCREEEEEEEN. Oled, looks beautiful.  Also every Vita owner has to buy TxK, it's the law.  And that looks glorious on that screen, sorry, DAT SCREEEEEN.

 

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On 04/09/2018 at 10:42, Fry Crayola said:

I've both a PSP and a Vita - is it possible to rip my UMDs using the PSP, then play them on the Vita?

Yes, if you have custom firmware on the Psp, and it's dead easy.

 

Press the SELECT button.

A menu titled VSH menu will appear.

Go to USB device and choose UMD.

Connect to the computer with USB cable.

Open your usual PSP folder in 'My Computer'. You should see a ISO file titled 'UMD9660'

Drag it to your PC then copy it to the Vita in the UX0:pspemu\iso folder (make your you previously installed Adrenaline (the PSP emulator) of course

 

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What sort of processing power increase does the Vita have over a stock PSP? I know you could overclock a PSP to get some emulators running a bit smoother at the expense of battery life. I assume the Vita handles all the old 8 and 16 bit systems easily enough, but what about things like GBA?

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19 hours ago, Vimster said:

What sort of processing power increase does the Vita have over a stock PSP? I know you could overclock a PSP to get some emulators running a bit smoother at the expense of battery life. I assume the Vita handles all the old 8 and 16 bit systems easily enough, but what about things like GBA?

I would love someone to confirm with me about this as I haven't had the time to conclusively try myself.  The PSP mod allows overclocking and the emulation scene is well established.  The Vita also allows overclocking and plugins have recently appeared, and of course the Vita is a more powerful machine to start with so it should be very capable.  However at the moment I find that Retroarch isn't quite as good for SNES emulation as Vita Snes9X, and Gameboy Advance has a little slowdown in comparison to Vita MGba.  However I remember GBA emulation being pretty spot on for the PSP.  Basically, Vita Retroarch is a good one stop shop but the specific individual emulators are better.  But some of these are still beaten by their PSP equivalents, but I assume this is because they have been worked on longer. 

 

However you can create a Vita Live Area bubble for PSP apps, so it's easy to install a GBA emulator for the PSP onto your Vita, using Adrenaline, then create a bubble for the GBA emulator.  That way, you get the benefits of the better emulation with the decent Vita Screen, and you dont have to load Adrenaline first. 

 

It is weird that in some ways the PsP emulators are better than their Vita equivalents, but Vita Homebrew has only recently happened, and it's only a month since you could mod any firmware Vita so I assume that the Vita emulators will soon outclass their PSP equivalents.

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I forget the name of the app but there was a PSP GBA emulator that worked pretty well. The one thing I never tested on PSP was SNES - because everyone mentioned the performance - but it seems fine on Vita.

 

Also, could PSP ever run arcade titles as well as FinalBurn on Vita? Again, I always assumed it would be bad so I never looked...

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I'm gonna give this a go tonight.

 

I did the henkaku thing back when it first emerged, but had to give it up in order to play legit PSN games. I'm glad a new exploit has been found, and hopefully if a new firmware blocks it in future, I can work around that. I've still got lots of Vita games I want to buy, but love using this thing for retro shit as well. :)

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18 hours ago, Sprite Machine said:

I did the henkaku thing back when it first emerged, but had to give it up in order to play legit PSN games. 

 

Ditto!

 

Latest from me: there's a lot of config-fiddling if you want to get everything working. Best following Skullator's instructions as per the video @dumpster posted in the OP.

 

I managed to get NONPDRM and PKGI installed and downloading, but the games wouldn't install. Fiddled with config and now my Henkaku's b0rked! Nothing loads - Vitashell, PFBA, PKGI, nowt. I'm such a dumbass. So now i'm intending to scrub my installs and start again. Thank god it's a quick/simple process.

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While not as straightforward as the previous hack, this is still relatively easy to do. And easier to redo after rebooting, since it doesn't require a network connection anymore.

 

One thing I will add, that video in the first post says to install QCMA on your PC first, but the latest version of h-encore does it for you. So now I think I've got two copies of the same thing installed on my PC, but never mind.

 

I need to investigate the best emulators for various things. My go-to is always Megadrive first. GenesisPlusGXVita only reads zipped ROM files? Weird. RetroArch is fine but I hate the interface and don't understand half the settings.

 

Adrenaline is absolutely insane. It's a PSP inside a Vita! I can finally play Rock Band Unplugged again!

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8 hours ago, Sprite Machine said:

While not as straightforward as the previous hack, this is still relatively easy to do. And easier to redo after rebooting, since it doesn't require a network connection anymore.

 

One thing I will add, that video in the first post says to install QCMA on your PC first, but the latest version of h-encore does it for you. So now I think I've got two copies of the same thing installed on my PC, but never mind.

 

I need to investigate the best emulators for various things. My go-to is always Megadrive first. GenesisPlusGXVita only reads zipped ROM files? Weird. RetroArch is fine but I hate the interface and don't understand half the settings.

 

Adrenaline is absolutely insane. It's a PSP inside a Vita! I can finally play Rock Band Unplugged again!

Plus you can set it to use the right stick for games you'd normally use that for. Really handy.

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On 06/09/2018 at 10:24, Treble said:

PFBA (Final Burn Alpha) seems great. Just grab a full ROMset for it (anywhere from 6GB to 24GB(!) in size) and stick it in the PFBA directory.

Any thoughts why for me PFBA is slow on the stuff I like? Contra is unplayable because it is so slow, yet pacland is perfect. Some games are much more technically advanced and run better than simple stuff.

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1 hour ago, Treble said:

Haven't had chance to check many games yet - just some CPS1 stuff. Which games? I suspect it'll be due to them getting the various emu cores working properly. 

Yeah, it's a completely mixed bag.  Street Fighter Turbo Alpha 2 worked perfectly, Pang 3 worked perfectly.  Contra is terrible.  CPS1 and 2 all seem fine, and yet some very old basic games really struggle.

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Still blown away by the fact a buttery smooth PSP exists within my Vita - I’m mostly using it to revisit PS1 games, which are treated very kindly by the smaller screen.

 

im liking just keeping it nice and pure and treating it as a compilation of PlayStation consoles, to be honest, and not having imperfect GBA emulators and the like muddying the waters. 

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On 09/09/2018 at 09:13, Rob Rule said:

Still blown away by the fact a buttery smooth PSP exists within my Vita - I’m mostly using it to revisit PS1 games, which are treated very kindly by the smaller screen.

 

im liking just keeping it nice and pure and treating it as a compilation of PlayStation consoles, to be honest, and not having imperfect GBA emulators and the like muddying the waters. 

I thought PSP GBA emulation was pretty much perfect. Are there issues?

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Is Master System emulation particularly tricky for any reason? SMSPlusVita (or whatever it's called - the native Vita version) has very sped-up music and slightly squashed aspect ratio (vertically stretched a little), compared to how Fusion handles it on PC.

 

I don't have much experience with MS emulation, so I don't know how it ought to look or sound. Might it be a PAL/NTSC issue?

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