Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Vita Hill Social Club: San Francisco's PS Vita speakeasy

6:45 PM on 12.05.2011 // Niero Desu

You have to hand it to Sony: They know how to put on a classy community event.

The company took over a small retail corner in San Francisco's fashionable Marina district and quietly dubbed it as "Vita Hill". No giant PSP logos, no handsome stubbled men eating Subway sandwiches.  If you're not paying attention it looks like any other shop on the block.  Then again, there was the giant line around the corner that's a little tough to miss.  Unsuspecting shoppers were rubbernecking at every possible angle to take a peek inside and try to understand what the fuss was about.  

Sony's marketing team gave a sober answer to the question: "This time it's about the games."


Like a speakeasy bar, you're given a vague menu of what's in store (pictured in the gallery below).  You can choose the kinds of experiences you'd like to partake in and your escort will guide you to appropriate booths.  Drinks and food were provided, and to gamify it all the more there are also puzzles tied to artwork and real lock-boxes in the room that you can challenge to win prizes.

I went in search for the killer app that would sell the console and, quite frankly, there wasn't a Brain Age kind of experience that was knocking people back.  That sort of thing only happens once in a blue moon -- even the 3DS launch suffered that kind of stunted absence. Still, the augmented reality games and sharp graphics held the crowd well after the contests.  That's a pretty damn good sign of entertainment at work, right?  One couple even drove all the way from St. Louis to be amongst the first to get their hands on the system and they were pretty damn happy.

Recognize those tattoos?  They're from ex-Dtoid Video Guru Rey Gutierrez who now heads up vids at Sony.

The star of the evening was easily Gravity, but even simple games where you pop numbered balloons with your fingers seemed inexplicably fun.  Your inner mom will appreciate the nifty touch controls in Uncharted, which are totally optional. The night was briefly ruined when, in a random raffle, Hamza won the PS Vita. Naturally, being the gentleman that he is, he gave it back and some other random goon got to take it home.  I can take this kid anywhere after all.

This painting was on the wall. I think its a secret room on the Starship Enterprise.

I walked away from the event feeling optimistic about the system, which is now just a few weeks away from launch. The PS Vita felt a tad heavier since I last held one at E3 (likely a better battery), but is still lighter than it looks.  The dual-analog sticks felt just right, and overall the build quality of the hardware was up to par with Sony's consumer products.  It's slick, but looks like it could withstand a clumsy beating.  

What isn't certain is the market for dedicated handheld gaming systems beyond this generation. Most of us already have supercomputers in our pockets and a game library that costs less than a fancy dinner.  Given the price of the system, its software, and its accessories ... I don't know how that will fare long-term since Apple and Android are so quickly changing the game. The PS Vita is a slick, overpowered thing of beauty with a promising library -- but bang-per-buck the value proposition will be steep to those with ramen wallets.


Photo Gallery: (29 images)
Click to zoom - browse by swipe, or use arrow keys

Niero Desu, Blogsmith
 Follow Blog + disclosure destructoid Tips
I host Destructoid for a living. Here's a photo of me at work:  more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

Status updates from C-bloggers

RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
We were discussing Ben Carson, pyramids, corpses, SoFlo, and Nekro's fetishes in the Discord chat if anyone wants to know what it's like down there.
lewness avatarlewness
Nintendo just sent me an email to say "Congrats on your new Wii U!". It wasn't new it got fucking FRIED and now all my stuff's gone after repairs - I was in Chapter 9! Chapter 9! 70+ hours on XCX! And that's just one game! I was- *walks off ranting*
JPF720 avatarJPF720
Bravo Undertale, bravo.
SpielerDad avatarSpielerDad
The most depressing Valentine's Day song ever, courtesy of Ole Blue Eyes.
PappaBear avatarPappaBear
I love my Elgato HD60
PappaBear avatarPappaBear
I'm doing a Jackbox Party games stream this afternoon/evening at 6PM EST. Would love to have the DToid community come join in!
TheKodu avatarTheKodu
It's Alcohol day. I've had Alcohol. Here have a page to hire Anita Sarkeesian for public appearances or speeches only $10K a time
EdgyDude avatarEdgyDude
Irony: over 9000!. The same UN with staff distributing child porn, Saudi Arabia heading its Human Rights Council and troops accused of rape wants to school Japan on their treatment of women in videogames. You can't can't make up this stuff.
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django
So I got my game recorder. That's good! But I ordered the wrong one. That's bad. So just gotta send back to Amazon and order it. Could've sworn on the website it said the HD60 Elgato let you record old games too.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
It just occured to me that given the 99% probablility of there being an update pack to XCOM 2-ala Enemy Within-waiting for a while may be a better option, so that when I do get the game I get it in its optimal form-and on sale, to bring it below 90 total
Dr Mel avatarDr Mel
My mustache froze while walking home from work. Fun!
Sir Shenanigans avatarSir Shenanigans
I've discovered Fangamer... This stuff's amazing!
Jed Whitaker avatarJed Whitaker
No comment.
Parismio avatarParismio
Omg i love the internet
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
Iron Paladin avatarIron Paladin
Jed Whitaker avatarJed Whitaker
I can't wait to mute Niero. #NoRules #ThePurge
Joe Parlock avatarJoe Parlock
I spent all last night playing Day of Defeat: Source. If only Valve gave it even half the attention it did to TF2 or CS:S...
BaronVonSnakPak avatarBaronVonSnakPak
Nearing Platinum status.
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -