PS Vita Tips & Tricks

The US and Europe launch for the PlayStation Vita starts tomorrow.  In celebration of this historic event I’ve posted some of my tips and tricks I’ve come across while using an import Vita for the last month.

Playstation Plus

Sony recently rolled out their Playstation Plusservice to the PS Vita. This is a great service where you can get 1GB of online storage for your Vita game saves along with access to a rotating list of free Vita games. Once you download a free Vita game it’s yours to keep as long as you maintain an active Playstation Plussubscription. Sign up to Playstation Plustoday!

PSN Panels & Avatars

Panels are a neat new feature exclusive to the PS Vita.  You can set this up via the Settings app,  selecting “PlayStation Network” and then “Account Information”.

PS Vita: How to find the panel option

Account Information

Once you select the “Panel” option you’ll be presented with quite a few different graphical choices.  There are panels for some of Sony’s most classic RPGs like Wild Arms and Rogue Galaxy.  Other panel choices include Hot Shots, Papaton, and nature themes.

PS Vita: Choosing your panel

Panel menu

Those of you who are new to PSN can also choose an Avatar that will represent you while using your PS Vita.  The avatar will be shown through out the Vita interface as well as inside specific games.  There are many categories to choose from.  It does not appear to currently support custom PS3 avatars; only those can be selected via a PS3 at this time.  Your custom PS3 Avatar will carry over to the Vita.

PSP Features

The PS Vita has the ability to play PSP games via software emulation.  SCEA has supplied a list of “officially supported” PSP games. In my experience there are many games not on the official list that do actually work but that is a post for another day.

While playing PSP software on the Vita you’re able to change a few settings including Bilinear Filtering which smooths the game and helps with text display in PSP games.  This is also the menu that will allow you to map the Vita “Right Stick” to be used within a PSP game.  This is very helpful in games that require a button based camera such as shooters. Holding your figure on the Vita front touch screen for a few seconds will bring up the PSP settings menu.

PS Vita: PSP software option menu

PSP settings

PS Vita Quick Settings Menu

When using the PS Vita you’re able to bring up a settings menu that allow you quick access to change the systems brightness, background music or the mute internal/external microphone.  Hold down the PS home button for a few seconds to bring up this menu.

PS Vita: Holding down the PS Home button

Vita quick settings

PS Vita Charging

Charging the Vita is challenging due to how the system receives a charge via USB.  I’ve posted about this previously and Danny Choo has a great mod for those of you looking to perform USB charging on the Vita with any USB charging device.

Trophies

For those of you with a PS3 and a Vita will notice that when viewing trophies on the Vita, you’re able to see both Vita trophies and PS3 trophies separately and together.  However this is not the case when viewing trophies on the PS3.  You currently can not see any trophies or trophy lists for Vita games on a PS3.  Your trophy count does increase however and will increment when using a PSN profile card.

#Vitabook

The LiveArea for every PS Vita game supports an activity log or feed. The feed contains activities that either you or someone on your friends list has completed within the game. These activities aren’t just for unlocking trophies but also things like you can see above; in game accomplishments and other tasks or feats.

PS Vita: Let's get social!

Vitabook

The really neat feature here is that you can comment and “like” each listed activity. It’s basically “Vitabook” in real time. Truly #gamechanger stuff.

Don’t forget to stock up on Playstation Network cardsso you buy all the amazing new Vita games coming out.