Happy 2nd North American Birthday PS Vita!

Happy 2nd North American Birthday PS Vita!

The First Edition Bundle of the PlayStation Vita launched in North America on February 15th, 2012. On that fateful day, handheld gaming was changed for the better, forever!

I still remember when the successor to the PSP was unveiled at a press event as the NGP, which stood for the generic place-holder moniker, Next-Generation Portable.  I remember just going bonkers over this thing.  I immediately contacted my wife and showed her the PlayStation Blog write-up, excitedly gushing over 5" OLED Displays and Dual-Analog Sticks.  Being the hardcore gamer that she is, and by hardcore gamer I mean not at all, she proceeded to tell me, "That's great, baby!  I don't know what the hell you are talking about."  After fighting a battle I had no hope of winning in attempting to explain the tech behind this thing, I threw in the white flag and told her the important thing to realize is that this is on my birthday list, nothing more...nothing less!

"Trophies. On. The. Go."

I was a big fan of the PSP (PATA-PATA-PATA-PON!), it's sleek design, beautiful LCD screen, and connection to the PlayStation brand and heritage (entries in the God of War, Grand Theft Auto, Resistance, Syphon Filter, Ratchet and Clank, etc. series) won me over.  But this new thing, this NGP, this thing was the true realization of my handheld gaming dream.  This super expensive OLED display that was popping up on various high end TVs was going to be on a portable system.  No more struggling to run modern 3D games with a single analog stick, the NGP had two.  Trophies on the go?  TROPHIES ON THE GO?!  It was as if the heavens had parted and I had a direct link to the man upstairs.  Multi-capacitve touch screens, rear touch pads, bluetooth, promises of PS3 caliber gameplay on the go... this was everything I ever wanted in a portable, and quite honestly, more.

Trophies.  On.  The.  Go.

Of course, the NGP would eventually give way to the PSP successor's true name, the PlayStation Vita.  I remember there being quite the uproar over the name choice.  "Vita?  What kind of dumb name is that?"  "Living la Vita loca, har har har."  As with many naming choices, time proved to be the ultimate judge of nomenclature.  Remember the outcry over Nintendo's choice of the name Wii?  Warning, random immature quote incoming: "Hey guys, wanna play with my Wii?  You wanna waggle my Wii remote?"  The Wii is a household name now, and two years later, nobody bats an eyelash at the Vita name.  I can remember being hesitant towards the Vita name myself, at first.  I thought PSP rolled off the tongue quite nicely, and thought PSP2 was the next logical step.  While the PSP sold like gangbusters outside of the good old U.S. of A., it's foothold here in the states was relegated to niche status.  By adopting a new brand for the Playstation Vita, Sony hoped to leverage the equity of the PlayStation name, while simultaneously creating a new portable brand to attract a new audience.  I guess that hasn't worked out exaclty as planned...yet.  Vita came from the Italian for "life," the thought behind it being that this PlayStation Vita would be an integral part of your everyday routine, at least from a technological perspective. Connecting to PSN, playing games, browsing the web, checking e-mail, collecting trophies, etc, the PlayStation Vita was your lifeline to your beating PlayStation heart.  Today, I totally dig the Vita name.  It's ingrained in my gaming vocabulary, and I can't imagine calling it anything else.

"I immediately contacted my wife and showed her the PlayStation Blog write-up, excitedly gushing over 5" OLED Displays and Dual-Analog Sticks."

The PlayStation Vita launched in Japan on December 17th, 2011, before hitting North American Shores on February 15th, 2012, with one of the strongest launch line-ups a console or handheld had ever seen.  Heavy hitters like Uncharted: Golden Abyss, WipeOut 2048, Rayman Origins and Super Stardust Delta, were joined by smaller, quirky titles like Escape Plan, Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack, and Lumines Electronic Symphony.  Throw in fighters like Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and BlazBlue: Continuum Shift EXTEND, and prospective Vita owners had enough games and content to keep them busy for months.

I couldn't pick up a Vita at launch, but my wife listened (thanks honey!) to my pleas and picked one up for my birthday a few months later in August.  She bought it off Amazon as a part of a special package that included a 3G/Wi-fi model, along with a free memory card and copy of Mortal Kombat (which is an amazing Vita port by the way!).  I hit the ground running earning my first portable trophy in Welcome Park (remember that?), and I haven't looked back since.

Just as the PS3 has changed and evolved drastically over the years, so too has the Vita in it's short few years on the market.  It's a wonderful companion to your PS3, whether as a controller or through Remote Play/Cross-Play.  The interface has been tweaked and improved.  As a side note: I'm actually quite the fan of the bubble layout!  It's easy to navigate and basically works like any phone OS.  And now we have the true realization of Remote Play in the Vita's connection with the PS4.  Silky smooth gameplay away from your TV is available if you so choose!  If Sony has shown anything over the years, it's that they have a penchant for iterating and improving their devices.  Who knows what fun stuff they have in store for the future!

Who's excited for PlayStation Now?

"The PlayStation Vita launched in Japan on December 17th, 2011, before hitting North American Shores on February 15th, 2012, with one of the strongest launch line-ups a console or handheld had ever seen."

Contrary to what some may think or be lead to believe, the Vita library is actually ridiculously strong.  In these first two years on the market, this little handheld-that-could has amassed quite a collection of high quality software; games like Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack.  One of the first games I obtained 100% of the trophies in, this game was an ultra fun and quirky side-scrolling platformer.  I remember a cluster of severe storms passing through my area some time back, causing me to lose power for several days.  Luckily, I had a fully charged Vita and a copy of Tales from Space to satisfy my gaming fix while the television was unavailable.  Speaking of Drinkbox Studios (the purveyors of the fine Tales from Space series), they really struck the proverbial goldmine and fully realized their development potential with the release of Guacamelee!  This wonderful entry in the "Metroid-Vania" genre deftly combines Mexican folklore, quirky humor, beautiful graphics, and a satisfying combat system into one delectable gaming sandwich.  Then there's my current obsession: Stealth Inc: A Clone in the Dark.  I started playing Stealth Inc when it was initially released and really liked what I played.  The puzzle platforming/stealth mechanics the game is based around are really fun and unique.  For whatever reason, I was unable to fully commit to the game at that time and have only come back to it recently.  Now I'm a full blown Stealth Inc addict, obsessed with S ranks and helix locations.  I love this game!  If you want to know more about some of our favorite games on the Vita, click here.

But that's enough about me, what sticks out to you guys over the course of the Vita's first two years?  What are your fondest Vita memories?  Favorite games/gaming moments?  Sound off in the comments and take a walk down memory lane with us!

And if you have yet to join the growing ranks of Vita owners around the world, what are you waiting for?!  

From all of us here at Short Pause, we want to wish our favorite handheld gaming device a Happy 2nd Birthday!  Here's to another awesome year!  Cheers!

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