In this editorial, I discuss how HENkaku, a Homebrew exploit, brought back the PS Vita into great shape.
Welcome to the first edition of Jstar’s Chronicles, a new weekly editorial involving some opinions and stuff with our admin Jstar269. This is in conjunction to The Weekly Dracus, which is managed by admin Dracus. This will release every Friday, with The Weekly Dracus every Sunday.
Before we hop into this, I will say now that I currently own a PS Vita, and it currently runs the HENkaku exploit. I’ve had this going on my PS Vita for about as long as HENkaku’s been out, and I have great experience on the benefits of this, along with recent developments. I’ll also dive into what homebrew should be considered, and what to watch out for.
What exactly is HENkaku?
HENkaku is a recently-released exploit that runs in your RAM from the web browser with the URL https://henkaku.xyz/ . It released on July 29th, 2016 and requires the system software version 3.60, which is not the current version, meaning you can’t use online services without spoofing the firmware, which is currently not working (it previously was).
What can you do with HENkaku?
This firmware allows you to do the following things that weren’t possible without homebrew:
- Run emulators, including ones for DS (DeSmuME) and mGBA
- Play homebrew games and ports, like Jelly Car, VitaDoom and vitaQuake, or even Sudoku and Flppy Bird
- Convert owned games (from cartridges or digital downloads) into installable files that can run on other PS Vitas [Vitamin]
- These installable files can allow the use of cheat codes, streaming your PS Vita screen, or even turning off underclocking, potentially improving framerates at the slight cost of battery
- Unlock the PSP emulator found in the PS Vita, turning your Vita into a “normal” PSP [Adrenaline]
- This is done with TaiHENkaku, which is kind of like a custom firmware for the PS Vita
- Stream your PC games (with a recent/powerful Nvidia graphics card) onto your PS Vita [Moonlight]
- Natively use IRC [LuaIRC]
- Turn your PS Vita into a general video game controller for your PC
- Turn your PS Vita into a file manager and FTP client/server
- Change around your theme (look and feel of the LiveArea)
All of this, along with a bunch of other functions, can be done with HENkaku. As you can tell, it really unlocks the capabilities that can be found with your PS Vita.
…Can you get in trouble running HENkaku?
Depends on how you use it. Now that PSN spoofing currently doesn’t work, it looks like you aren’t being tracked with whatever you’re using. Once it starts working again, however, you should at the very least be cautious on what you’re doing.
For instance, if you were to install a “game backup” with a game you don’t own, and the file was classified as a digital download, Sony may be able to track that. They may also be able to see if you’re generally running anything that they think you shouldn’t be running. Consider what I said above with how cheat codes can be enabled for your game. Consider how it may be possible to run the cheat codes that you enabled while playing online.
Is it worth it to use HENkaku?
I’d personally say yes, knowing the usual warnings that you’d normally get with doing stuff like this. If you don’t worry about your warranty, and you’re accepting the fact that it could always break your PS Vita (beyond being able to recover anything), it’s pretty much worth it. I enjoy using my PS Vita, but I can tell why people didn’t enjoy it. It was pretty limited and wasn’t getting the support that Sony should be giving it.
With HENkaku (and TaiHENkaku), it is suddenly making the PS Vita look like a pretty good handheld to own. A lot of potential is in this small device, and homebrew may be the only way to really unlock it.
Care to grab some more info about this? You can go to their official website at https://henkaku.xyz/ to get a better understanding of what this is and how to install it. Be aware that you’ll need a FTP client (like FileZilla) to transfer over Homebrew. There is a Homebrew application you can install that’ll allow downloading Homebrew right from the PS Vita.
If you do plan to dive into HENkaku (with the informations seen above), I highly suggest you heed any warning you receive while acquiring HENkaku, and to plan out what you plan to use with HENkaku on your PS Vita. People have broken their PS Vita from HENkaku, either unluckily or they did something wrong while getting it. Anything in Beta should be treated as unfinished and unstable, including alphas and nightly versions of homebrew.