When you’re walking around with Sony’s bulky new handheld gaming device in your front pocket, you may get the line “Is that a Vita in your pocket or are you happy to see me?” Your answer will be “Yes, that is a Vita in my pocket, but I’m not happy to see you because social norms dictate that we’ll have to talk rather than pretend one another don’t exist so I can play some ‘Uncharted: Golden Abyss’ on this motha.”

The best reason yet to invest in a man-purse, the Vita matches its bulky size with eyeball-’sploding visuals and more capabilities than a Dick Tracy watch. The long, strong and down to put the friction on device needs to be big to support its five-inch, 960 x 544 resolution OLED screen, which not only provides sharp visuals but can peer through your eyes, into the darkness of your soul.

Well, at least it can if it’s plugged into a wall outlet. If you’ve got some apps running and are doing some hardcore gaming, the Vita can peter out after four hours or so. We’re not exactly known for endurance ourselves, so us complaining about that would be tantamount to the pot calling the weed green.

There’s also a pair of weak-sauce, 1.3 megapixel cameras that takes pictures of a similar quality of those shot by your baby sister in the late 1980s. The video recording is crisper, rising to the quality of a drunken webcam sex video, but the cameras aren’t really there to shoot and record stuff. Instead, they’re used by augmented reality games to make creatures pop up in your living room, just like your late-night, delirious energy drink and vodka-fueled hallucinations.

Unlike your mom, we’ve never been into “rear touch,” but the Vita has made us believers. The unit’s back cover doubles as a touch screen, allowing you — in some games, at least — to poke bad guys to death without having to smear Philly cheese steak residue all over the face of the contraption you bought with your rent money. While it’s tougher to pinpoint your touch controls when you can’t quite see what you’re doing, the naughtily-named feature opens up all sorts of possibilities for developers.

The Vita comes in two flavors, a WiFi-only model for $250 and one that supports 3G for $300. While it almost never makes sense in gamedom to opt for the cut-rate version of a game machine, here it’s the smart play. Even if you cough up the $15 to $30 for service from less-than-reliable AT&T, you won’t get much mileage out of it because Sony only lets you play online via WiFi. For once, going with the ghetto model will pay off.

Because the Vita is so darn big, it seams more suited to playing games at home on the crapper than it does on park benches or waiting rooms. Since our busy lives dictate that most of our gaming is done on thrones anyway, that’s no problem to us. A future update promises to make the Vita even more useful at home by allowing it to remotely play just about everything on your PS3, ideally letting you hide in your bedroom getting some important gaming done while American Idol and The Bachelor commandeer the living room.

If the Vita does indeed become our portable man cave, it will be $250 well spent.

Rating: 9/10

PlayStation Vita ($250 for WiFi only, $300 for version with additional 3G service) was created by Sony. Sony provided a unit for review.

Read Phil Villarreal’s blog at becauseitoldyouso.com and follow him on Twitter:@philvillarreal

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