If you chance on an original PlayStation game called Buzz Lightyear of Star Command while browsing Sony’s PlayStation Store with your PS Vita, just click on by, because it doesn’t work — not yet, anyway.
But it’s a sign that PSOne games are probably incoming for the Vita, even if their unexpected harbinger — a game based on a TV show spinoff from the Toy Story movies — was hardly a prizewinner when it debuted in September 2000.
A member of the popular NeoGAF gaming forums first noticed the game on Sony’s U.K. PS Store, listed for ₤3.99 (US$6.50), then bought and downloaded it while snapping screens of the purchase. It shows up just like any other Vita game inside an app bubble in the system’s launch area, but when tapped, the Vita spits out an error code, and when you try to view the game’s manual, it kicks out a black screen and the words “The file is corrupt.”
“Whoa I came to be snarky,” writes another user, “but when I saw it downloaded and installed AND there’s already a PS1 classic background picture for it when you are on the Live Area Screen. This is…arousing.”
Another NeoGAF user attempted to confirm it wasn’t a mistake, and discovered that while the game prompts the Vita’s PSP emulator to load, it brings up an interface reminiscent of the PSOne, suggesting support’s definitely in the offing. Whether PSOne compatibility will be native or offered through the original PSP’s PSOne emulator (an emulator within an emulator?) is anyone’s guess.
In a more or less official thumbs up on Twitter, Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida, the man responsible for software development, told another Twitter user that PSOne support was definitely underway.
“Our engineers are working hard on it. Pls be patient,” wrote Yoshida.
Much as I appreciate the demand for PSOne games, we’ve had original PlayStation support via the PS2, PSP and PS3 for years. Sony has a much more tantalizing back-catalogue I’d love to see it tap, but could the Vita handle PS2 games in emulation? And there’s the Vita’s lack of secondary trigger buttons or click-down thumbsticks to think about. I wouldn’t bet on it — for all the PS2′s success, Sony’s done little to support or promote the PS2 since it yanked backward compatibility from the PS3 — but we can hope.