A while ago, before smartphones skyrocketed in popularity, there were various devices available to cover all the fields a modern smartphone can now handle – you had to use an MP3 player if you wanted to listen to music, a digital camera if you wanted photos and a gaming console such as the Nintendo PSP if you wanted to play games.
Sure, most of these devices are still available today, but for the casual user, there’s no real point into using multiple devices to achieve something that can be done using a single device.
All smartphones can play music, most of them come with a digital camera that’s enough for basic photography, so what about gaming? There are plenty of games available for smartphones, but if you’re really hooked on playing the ones you used to play on your old console, there’s a way to have them running on your Android device in no time.
Meet the PSP
The first PSP console was released at the end of 2004, and it was quite innovative at the time. Despite the hardware specs that are far from impressive compared to today’s standards, the PlayStation Portable was a real breakthrough, completely obliterating any other handheld gaming console available at the time. If you want to get an idea just how popular the PSP became, consider that the line was just discontinued in 2014, 10 years after its initial launch, which is quite a long lifespan in today’s quickly-changing gaming industry.
Games and apps are always designed with a certain platform in mind, and optimized for best performance for that specific platform. The best example to illustrate this is to look at iPhones: the newly released iPhone 6, which in terms of hardware is already outdated compared to the other options out there, still manages to keep up the pace with the rest, exactly because the apps and games are properly optimized to take advantage of the available hardware.
This is exactly the same principle that applies to PSP games – they were optimized for the hardware of the PlayStation Portable, so running these games on any other platform than the one they were initially intended to run on means that an emulator is needed. Emulators are programs that can adapt a code so it can be ran on a different platform than the one it was originally intended for.
While there were several attempts to create a working PSP-emulator in the past, most of them were far from impressive, and required tremendous amounts of processing power to run correctly.
However, there’s a new player in the field – a newly released open-source emulator, PPSSPP, which aims to change everything. As opposed to other emulators, PPSSPP is pretty straightforward to install and use, and doesn’t require any complicated installation and configuration.
Here are the exact steps you need to take in order to have PPSSPP up and running on your Android device:
Step 1: Get the PPSSPP emulator app. You can download and install it directly via the Google Play Store, or directly from the developer’s website.
Step 2: Prepare your games. The emulator uses .ISO or .CSO files, which are basically images of the original UMDs you would normally use with your PSP. You can get the .ISO or .CSO files by downloading them directly from the Internet (a Google search should help), or by converting UMDs. Here is a complete guide to converting UMDs to .ISO. Once you have your games in .ISO or .CSO format, simply copy them to your phone’s SD card.
Step 3: Open the PPSSPP app, go to Games and browse for the location of your games. Select the game you want to run and hit Load.
Step 4: Have fun!
Keep in mind that, since we’re talking about an emulator here, performance is strictly dependent on the hardware specs of your phone, therefor you might expect to experience poor performance on older phones. A phone equipped with a dual-core processor for example might struggle with some more demanding games, but everything should go smooth if you own a more powerful device.
To check out whether your Android phone can run PSP games correctly, you may want to download and run the Cube Test Program available on the PPSSPP official website in the Downloads section. If the program runs correctly, your Android phone should have no problem running PSP games.