So here's a little update on what has happened since the HENkaku homebrew loader was released on July 29th.
- Don't turn on your PS Vita/PS (Vita) TV before reading this post.
- It's now possible to pirate dev builds of Vita games, but the only one I've been able to find is Adventure Time: The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom.
- Game mods are now possible, and you can install the Japanese voice pack for Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4. Save file editing can be done as well, of course.
- Near-perfect SNES emulation with local co-op support on PS (Vita) TV.
- Reicast Dreamcast emulator coming to Vita.
- DeSmuME DS emulator port has been released and actively worked on, though still in its early stages.
- RPG Maker 2000/2003 player (not editor) called EasyRPG Vita released.
- Custom themes.
The long version:
- Sony released firmware 3.61 yesterday. What this means is that if you still haven't updated to 3.60, and you have any intention of running HENkaku in the future, you now need to download the .pup update file and do an offline install. If you have auto-updates turned on, be sure to unplug your modem/router before turning on your Vita, and turn those off first. You might also wanna log out of PSN just to be safe. There is a homebrew app called the Vita Update Blocker, which allows you to access the PS Store without updating to the latest firmware, but can't imagine Sony being very happy about you accessing their services without the mandatory update. Instead, the safer route would be to download your Vita games to your PS3 and transfer them from there.
- So is it even worth it to install HENkaku when it might not be safe anymore to access the PS Store? Well, piracy isn't quite possible yet, but they're getting there. Currently you can run a dev build of Adventure Time, as well as any other dev builds people might get their hands on. It's also possible to dump your games and mod them. One of the first mods released is a Japanese language pack for Persona 4 Golden, and there's also a trainer app to make editing save files easy.
- Not all the emulators are quite where they need to be, but the best one on the system is undoubtedly the CATSFC-libretro SNES emulator. It runs games at full 60Hz (or 50Hz if you so desire) without the need to turn on frame skipping. No audio crackle or anything. It can even run stuff like Yoshi's Island and Killer Instinct. There are, however, a few games that it'll have issues with. Last I tried Super Mario RPG it didn't make it past the intro, for example (could be fixed in the latest version, haven't tried yet). One of the coolest features is the implementation of local co-op if you run it on a PS (Vita) TV. So yes, you can now co-op Secret of Mana on a PlayStation system if you so desire.
- The developer of the Reicast Dreamcast emulator has announced their intention to port it to the Vita. A port of the DeSmuME DS emulator is also actively being worked on, and builds have already been released. Currently you probably don't wanna play anything other than Phoenix Wright or some other slow-paced adventure game on it.
- You can now run games made with RPG Maker 2000/2003 using a homebrew app called EasyRPG Vita.
- There's a database out there with tons of custom made themes, and there's a theme installer to make things easier for novices. You can also create your own themes, of course.
All in all, I'd say it's worth it to deal with the inconvenience of not being able to access the PS Store or do any online gaming. It might still be possible to do these things, but do so at your own risk.