How to Hack a PlayStation Vita.

Playing Banjo Kazooie on the machine is definitely possible.

by Daryl Baxter

This week began with the news, courtesy of The Gamer, that the PS3, PSP and PS Vita stores were all closing by August of this year. Many have lamented this news, this writer included, as it now shuts off another path to play games from previous generations of Sony’s PlayStation line.

However, as far back as the PSP, communities have been able to open the devices up to allow unsigned code to be executed, such as emulators, powerful video players, and much more.

The PS Vita is seen as the behemoth of this, with N64 games even running on the device at near-full speed. This, coupled with yesterday’s news, people are already looking in their drawers for their long-abandoned Vita, seeing what they can buy and re-download before the gates close.

Because of this, we thought it would be helpful to show you a taste, an introduction into just how to make the most of the PS Vita, for its final swan-song.

Breaking Open a Vita like John Wayne

First; a note that we don’t support piracy at all here at Stealth Optional, but game preservation is incredibly important here, and that’s reflective of the mood of many players and customers of Sony, frustrated at their lack of support for backwards-compatibility.

It’s their reluctance that only means that this method of hacking Vita and PSP devices, is going to be inevitable for many.

Regardless of the model of PS Vita that you own, OLED or non-OLED with any firmware version, it’s free to be hacked.

The best way is to follow the steps through the Vita Hacks Guide, where it can explicitly show you how to break open your Vita on the specific firmware version. Once followed, here’s a couple of applications that you can use straight after.

What Can Be Installed?

Whilst there’s plenty of apps that can be discovered through a subreddit for example, there’s some that need to be explained in further detail. First of all, the PS Vita can play N64 games, and can play them surprisingly well.

The Daedalusx64 emulator has grown in leaps and bounds in the last few years, where it could only play Super Mario 64. Now, Majora’s Mask on the OLED screen is something to behold, alongside Banjo Kazooie, Blast Corps, and much more at high speed. While the sound can bug out at times, it’s constantly being updated so this shouldn’t be a problem soon.


Another application available is an impressive feat also, where the community have been able to reverse-engineer the engine to the PS2-era Grand Theft Auto games, and have now ported them over to the Vita.


From GTA 3 to San Andreas, and more recently Chinatown Wars, all work as though they were ported by Rockstar Games themselves. It’s simply incredible, and while it’s understandable for why they weren’t ported officially at the time, it’s still great to see.

However, you need to own the original files of the game you want to play on the system, which can be obtained from your own copy.

While the handheld is being put to pastures new officially, the homebrew for it is thriving, with ports, improved emulators, and utilities that make you wonder what a Vita 2 could consist of with recent components.

I haven’t even gone into the other applications that enthusiasts are working on, such as a Dreamcast emulator, or ways of accessing the PS1 games through the Vita UI, rather than using the PSP application.

While legally we can’t go further in how to break open the Vita, this is simply a taste as to what you will be able to do once you’ve exploited your device. You’re in for a very fun time.

Read More: Sony to kill the PS3, PSP & Vita Stores by August.

Daryl Baxter