RetroArch appearing on the PS Vita Live Area homepage. Screenshot was taken on a PS TV.
RetroArch appearing on the PS Vita Live Area homepage. Screenshot was taken on a PS TV.

Today we are releasing a beta version of RetroArch 1.3.6+ (latest snapshot, release candidate for 1.3.7) for the PS Vita. Be sure to thank frangarcj for the latter since he went through the trouble of making sure we could make the jump from Rejuvenate to HENKaku in swift order.

Where to get it

You can get the PS Vita/PS TV version here:

Grab the latest archive.

How to install

1. Extract the contents of this 7zip archive to a folder somewhere on your PC. This will extract a bunch of vpk files to your harddrive.
2. On the PS Vita/PS TV, make sure the HENkaku exploit has already been installed. Go to the bubble ‘molecularShell’ and start it. Once inside the filebrowser, press ‘Select’ to start the FTP server. Write down the FTP server address you see here.
3. Go back to your desktop PC, start up an FTP client, and input the IP address and port that was displayed on your PS Vita/PS TV. Transfer the vpk files to some place on either ur0: (internal storage) or ux0: (this being your Memory Card).
4. On the PS Vita/PS TV, press circle to go back. Then once back inside the filebrowser, go to the directory where you extracted the vpk files. Install the cores you want.
5. Exit the ‘molecularShell’ program. You should now be back inside the home screen. From here,
RetroArch bubbles should start appearing in the menu. You can now use RetroArch.

How to install ROMs

1. The same way you installed RetroArch. Start ‘molecularShell’, go through the previous section’s steps 2 and 3 again, but this time transfer roms over instead. Then load them from RetroArch.

NXEngine/Cave Story running on RetroArch Vita.
NXEngine/Cave Story running on RetroArch Vita.

State of the port

What works

* (Core-related) CatSFC / SNES. Works fine. Should run at fullspeed for most games (dip to 42fps on Yoshi’s Island intro screen (SuperFX2 game), seems to be fullspeed otherwise).
* (Core-related) FB Alpha CPS1. Works fine. Fullspeed. Runs all games. Use an older FBA romset.
* (Core-related) FB Alpha CPS2. Works fine. Fullspeed. Runs all the big CPS2 ROMs. Use an older FBA romset.
* (Core-related) FB Alpha Neo Geo. Works fine. Fullspeed. Not all big ROMs will work right now though. KOF 96 could be loaded (about 23/24MB). Might have to play around with heap to be able to get bigger ROMs to load. For now expect same size limitations as the Wii port. Hopefully we can get past this soon.
* (Core-related) FCEUmm. Works fine. Fullspeed.
* (Core-related) Genesis Plus GX. Works fine. Fullspeed.
* (Core-related) Mednafen Neo Geo Pocket Color. Works fine. Framerate at around 52/53fps. There might be a new Neo Geo Pocket Color core coming soon (not Mednafen NGP) which would run at fullspeed with no problems.
* (Core-related) Handy / Lynx. Works fine. Fullspeed.
* (Core-related) Mednafen Wonderswan. Works fine. Fullspeed.
* (Core-related) Mednafen Virtual Boy. Works. Too slow (around 26fps). Corrupted pitch (likely due to 32bit color). Speedups/idle loop optimization hacks MIGHT bring this fullspeed later on.
* (Core-related) NXEngine / Cave Story. Works fine. Fullspeed.

What doesn’t work

* ROMS have to be currently unzipped now (EXCEPT for the FB Alpha ROMs).
* No core switching yet from inside RetroArch. For now, each core is a standalone program.
* Add Content -> Download Content currently doesn’t work. If you do try it, you might have to restart.
* History list doesn’t work yet.
* Save states can be saved, but cannot be loaded yet. We need to figure out why.
* Threading needs to be still implemented.
* (Core-related) 2048 core. ‘Start content’ does not work yet like it should. Wait until we fix this.
* (core-related) Prboom/Doom core. Crashes after loading a Doom WAD. Wait until we fix this.
* (Core-related) Picodrive core. Crashes after loading a ROM. Wait until we fix this.
* (Core-related) QuickNES core. Doesn’t load a ROM. Wait until we fix this.
* (Core-related) Gambatte core. Doesn’t load a ROM. Wait until we fix this.
* (Core-related) SNES9x Next core. Doesn’t load a ROM. Wait until we fix this. Will likely be too slow compared to CatSFC anyway, so not sure if worth it for Vita.
* (Core-related) DOSBox core. Haven’t tried this yet. Likely too slow to be worthwhile.

Future plans

* More cores, fix remaining cores that are broken.
* Try to get Cg runtime working so we can have Cg shaders running.
* Try to get multiple gamepads working on PS TV.
* More.

A sneak peek at 1.3.7 features

Since this is a current nightly snapshot release, Vita users are able to get a sneak peek at some of the features that will be part of RetroArch 1.3.7 for the other platforms.

  • Improved error handling. When loading the wrong ROM into a core, most cores should be able to now gracefully exit instead of just quitting or crashing RetroArch.
  • Much more complete info message system. Press ‘Select’ on any entry and 99% of the time it should show you a handy help message explaining to you what each setting does. The ‘English’ language setting is currently the one that is most complete, for all other languages we need to wait until translators have finished adding all the help messages in their own language.

8 thoughts on “RetroArch 1.3.6+ beta release for PS Vita HENkaku!

  1. The two 1.3.7 updates mentioned here are super appreciated. Should this graceful exit be able to handle cases where the correct ROM has been loaded, but the core crashes anyway? (eg: paraLLel crashing if Vulkan drivers aren’t installed or if the Rewind buffer is enabled, or cores that just… don’t like the chosen ROM for whatever reason)

  2. Will the graceful exit write to a log automatically also? I think hunterk must be driven nuts trying to explain to people how to get an error log. This would help development immensely if users could access error logs more easily.

  3. Thank you so much for not leaving PS3 in the dust! 🙂

  4. Very excited about the Vita release! Please tell me there are plans to bring the n64 & DS core over?

  5. On CatSFC games like Adventures of B&R or Earthworm Jim sometime have sound issue — sound is cracking in some moments of the game. How it can be fixed?

  6. Thanks, and congrats for hard work. Where could I report errors?

  7. Thank you very much!

  8. What is the best emulator for Mortal Kombat arcade?

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