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Is There a Legitimate PS Vita emulator?

Posted by Jamie on June 8, 2018

I was having an interesting conversation the other day about the state of emulation right now. How many are there? Has every games system been emulated? Do they work perfectly or just so-so? And is there a PS Vita emulator yet? I thought it might be a good subject for a TechJunkie post, so here we are.

Emulation builds a sandbox-type environment that enables different hardware to play games. For example, software installed onto a PC simulates a PS3 environment to trick PS3 games they are on Sony hardware. While simple in theory, it can be incredibly difficult to create a working emulator.

As emulators are not official in any capacity and usually depend on volunteer contributors to develop and maintain. That is quite a commitment from those volunteers. Despite that, there are emulators for most games systems available. There are even multiple emulators for some of the more popular consoles.

PS Vita emulator

The PS Vita emulator situation is an unusual one. There is no current PS Vita emulator and there is not likely to be one. As good as it was, the Vita did not sell in anywhere near the numbers to make an emulator viable. It also didn’t have the stable of unmissable games that creates the appetite for an emulator. Without that appetite, developers have better things to do with their time.

So what are some good video game emulators that are available? Here are just a few.

PCSX2

PCSX2 is a PS2 emulator for PC. The PlayStation 2 was amazingly successful and sold in the dozens of millions. There were also hundreds of very good games that were also amazingly popular. The combination of games and popularity means the emulation scene for PS2 is very strong.

According to the guys behind PCSX2, it is compatible with 95% of PS2 games and works credibly well up to 60FPS on a well specified PC. If that isn’t good emulation, I don’t know what is!

RetroArch

RetroArch is like a Kodi media center for emulation. It provides a platform for multiple emulators and games that makes managing them all simple. Usually, you install an emulator for each platform and run games in each individually. RetroArch is a single application that can manage multiple emulators for multiple systems and the games you play on them. Individual emulators are called Cores and once installed, RetroArch has a library of Cores you can download and manage with the system. It makes playing games across systems very simple indeed. You will still need access to the ROMs though.

PPSSPP

PPSSPP is the PlayStation Portable emulator of choice for many fans. It is very well supported and has been around for a long time. It can play PSP games in full HD on PC and works on mobiles too. The full suite of games are playable and it works well.

As the PSP was one of the best-received handhelds ever, there is a real appetite to enjoy some of those games even now. The fact that PPSSPP can work on mobile too is just too good to miss.

ZMZ

ZMZ is an Super Nintendo emulator that works very well. It took over where ZSNES left off and is still updated as far as I can tell. The UI is basic but workable and the games are rendered in all their 32-bit glory. The platform apparently works very well even though I haven’t tried it myself.

No$GBA

No$GBA (No-cash GBA) began as a Gameboy Advanced emulator but quickly graduated to Nintendo DS. It is compatible with multiplayer for the GBA but not on DS. That aside, as a Nintendo DS emulator it is top class. It runs fast, offers stutter-free play and seems very stable. I only spent an hour playing around but I experienced no crashes or issues.

MAME

No list of video game emulators would be complete without mentioning MAME. The Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator simulates arcade games of old within your PC. The UI is very basic and you will need ROMs but many of these are legally obtainable through the Internet Archive. The emulator works well and plays credibly well on just about any PC. If you liked feeding quarters into machines during your formative years, you should check out MAME!

Video game emulation seems in very good health right now. There seems to be a great quality emulator available for almost every video console every produced except the PS Vita and perhaps a couple of others. Those issues aside, if you like retro gaming or would like to get into it, you have lots of options. The emulators listed here are just six of many out there waiting to be played. What are you waiting for?

Got any other suggestions for video game emulators? Know of anyone developing a PS Vita emulator? Tell us about it below if you do!

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