When you think of gaming handhelds, what comes to mind?? Perhaps the Gameboy Color or Gameboy Advance from your childhood, home to classic games like Pokemon Red Version and Blue Version or The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap . You may be thinking of the Nintendo DS, the successor to the Gameboy, which gained its popularity in the 2000s thanks to an incredible lineup of video games with huge hits like Mario Kart DS and Animal Crossing: Wild World to highly acclaimed niche titles like The world ends with you Or Radiant Historia . Perhaps your gaming history goes back even further to the 1979 Microvision console or Nintendo’s Game& Watch- Series of dedicated handhelds. Or maybe you’re new to video games, and when you think of a handheld system, your mind immediately jumps to Nintendo’s 3DS handheld or their brand new convertible system, the Nintendo Switch.
The handheld gaming market has long been dominated by Nintendo, but forgetting Sony’s own handheld systems would be a big mistake. Although both the Playstation Portable (or PSP) and the PS Vita weren’t considered huge successes compared to Nintendo’s dominance of the handheld market, both consoles have their own selection of highly acclaimed games that every gamer shouldn’t miss out on . While the Vita is still sold today – despite Sony’s lack of first-party support – the PSP has long since been retired, and as a result the emulation market for the device has grown stronger and stronger each year. Thanks to emulation, it’s easier than ever to play some classic PSP games on the go right on your Android device. The market for PSP emulators isn’t as strong as it is for emulators like the Gameboy Advance or even the Nintendo DS, but there’s a great selection on the Google Play Store that can load your PSP games right onto your device On-the-Go games. Let’s take a look at the best emulator for games on the go and how you can download your favorite games to your phone to play in your house or on the way to work. Learn how to play PSP games on your Android device here.
Which emulators to use (and which to avoid)
One of the big advantages of Android as your mobile platform of choice over iOS is the ability to download games and apps not allowed in the Apple App Store for iOS. Case in point: emulators, which you can find in large numbers in the Play Store for just about every video game console from the 2000s and earlier. In a general sense, an emulator is a piece of hardware or software that allows a computer system to behave like another computer system. While there are all kinds of emulators for computer systems – MS-DOS emulators, Apple II emulators, even Windows 95 emulators that can run directly in your browser or Apple Watch – the most popular emulator variety right now is emulators Allows you to play your old video games on platforms they weren’t originally intended for. For example, you can use emulation to play The Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past On your Windows 10 computer or Spyro the Dragon to play on your MacBook Pro. While there have been some workarounds to running emulators on closed platforms like iOS, Android is really the only mobile platform on the market today with an active emulation market.
There are dozens of emulators in the Play Store, ranging from NES and SNES emulation to Gameboy Color and Gameboy Advance emulators. We’ve already discussed how to play Nintendo DS games with an emulator on Android, something you can check out here. Overall, the emulation of Android depends on the performance of your smartphone or tablet. Even in 2017, make sure you have enough hardware to handle the intensity of emulation. Although you may look at older games and assume they don’t require much power, thanks to emulation and the fact that your device has to run software that wasn’t originally designed for it, you may be surprised at how emulative your emulation can be device. While modern technology can run older NES and SNES games without much of a problem, Playstation 2 emulation is still tied to more powerful desktop computers thanks to the required emulation of the software (there is an early PS2 emulator in Android development) is not listed in the Play Store and can run almost no game smoothly.
The PSP happens to be a console that is somewhere in the middle. It’s not the hardest game console to play – not in the long run – but it’s not the easiest to emulate either, especially if you’re talking about playing these games on lower-end hardware. Emulating more graphically intense games, such as God of War: Chains of Olympus, Can often cause massive slowdowns or crashes, making it difficult to fully play the game on your smartphone or tablet. That said, there are a good amount of lower-end PSP games available, including Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions, Persona 3 Portable and Valkyria Chronicles 3, which are known to work well on emulators (although as long as you use powerful enough hardware to get the job done).
When it comes to choosing a PSP emulator, the in-app selection is pretty limited. Searching for a PSP emulator on the Play Store returns dozens of results, but most of these apps are of questionable quality at best and even dangerous to install on your phone at worst. Google has done a very good job at removing dangerous content from its online app store. Still, dangerous content can be found in the Play Store or third-party app stores if you are not careful. You should avoid this kind of content as much as possible when looking through the Play Store. For most users, we really only have one major recommendation: PPSSPP, the gold standard in PSP emulation. PPSSPP has been on the emulation scene for years and was first released in 2012. It was the first PSP emulator on the Play Store and one of the faster emulators you can download for Windows or macOS the PSP on your mobile device.
PPSSPP is available in two different flavors: original and gold. The normal, original version of PPSSPP is a free download that lets you play your PSP games with full graphics settings, no restrictions and no ads. In the meantime, the PPSSPP Gold edition gives you a new icon and helps the PPSSPP developer continue working on the app. As far as we can tell (and this seems to be supported by the developer), there is no difference between the standard and gold editions of the app. So if you do not have money to use the paid version of PPSSPP, you can continue to use the emulator as you see fit. As with all emulators, PPSSPP does not include games for your device. If you want to use a game for your phone or tablet on PPSSPP, purchase the UMD (Universal Media Disk) of the game you want to emulate and place the game files on your PC to use them in .iso files convert the emulator. We will talk more about copyright and the legal consequences of counterfeiting and piracy at the end of this article.
If PPSSPP isn’t your thing, there aren’t many other apps for Android for the Playstation Portable. We’ll discuss some other options at the end of this list, but taking into account PPSSPP’s free price, we recommend you use this trusted emulator before choosing a no-name emulator in the Play Store. Also, be careful to avoid emulators in the Play Store that have very few reviews at high scores, apps that look like PPSSPP, and emulators with poor or broken English in the description. For example, PSSP Gold has an almost identical name and logo to PPSSPP’s Gold app, but the photo descriptions show a Nintendo Switch, and the app reviews are all new and don’t describe the app in any meaningful way. "PSP Emulator pro [sic] 2018" Contains a red PSP in its icon, a sparse description and only three reviews with an average rating of 3, 3. Another example, Pro PSP Emulator 2018, uses screenshots of PPSSPP in its description to promote the game. Needless to stay, you should stay away from almost any emulator in the Play Store that is not PPSSPP.
Here’s how to set up PPSSPP on your phone
We will use the Gold version of PPSSPP for this review. At only 4, 49 Euros, it’s a bargain for the support and features offered by the paid version of the app, and is by far our recommended choice for emulating the PSP. If you know how PPSSPP runs on your device or if it can play the dumped version of your PSP UMD collection, it’s a good idea to try the free version before jumping into the paid version. As always, we support devs who get paid for their hard work, especially for apps that are available for free without in-app purchases or ads, but you choose the version you can support with your wallet.
Settings to change
When diving into PPSSPP for the first time, you should first allow the app to access your device’s memory by selecting the on-screen prompt. PPSSPP cannot work without this permission; the app cannot load or read any game on your device without you first giving the app permission to read data from your internal memory or SD card. If your device has a microSD card slot, we recommend that you use a microSD card to store your games on your device. Take into account the storage capacity they can fully accommodate. Most games are around a gigabyte in size, so your phone or tablet can fill up with games pretty quickly.
The best part about PPSSPP is the number of settings in the menus that can be customized and changed as you see fit. We’ll talk about boosting the graphics or performance on your device below, but now let’s look at how to customize your device using the settings on your Android smartphone or tablet. As with any emulator, the first thing you should do is change the options for your controls that can improve the use of virtual screen controls. Go to your settings menu (accessed from the main display) and tap the Controls option on the left side of the screen. Here you will find a variety of options, both for the controller and for touch controls. You can map your controls to a physical controller using a Bluetooth-enabled controller, which we will discuss in more detail below. Let’s focus first on changing the virtual keys on the screen.
Select "Edit touch control layout" under "On-Screen Touch Control" In the settings menu to open the customization menu. Here you can change all the options related to how your device looks when playing games. By default, the app is set to move the buttons as you move your fingers around the display, and you can move them wherever you feel comfortable on your device. The Resize option lets you specify how big or how small you want each control to be. Visibility lets you enable or disable all options on your controller, including certain hotkeys that you can bind to commands. You can also reset the controls to the default layout and configuration. When you exit this menu, you can also edit the opacity of your buttons (accessible by editing the "Button Opacity" option), which is set to 65 percent by default) and set an auto-hide option for your buttons (set to 20 seconds by default). . Finally, you can completely disable the on-screen buttons if you’re using a controller and want a full-screen view of the video you’re watching.
Other notable settings: Audio options let you control global volume, audio latency options, and even use a Bluetooth-enabled buffer to slow down audio to reduce the delay when playing audio over Bluetooth. The Networking menu allows you to participate in online games over local WLAN (LAN), although we didn’t test this for the review. Tools allow you to export your saved data. This is a great advantage if you are trying to transfer your data from your phone or tablet to your computer or new device. Finally, the system options allow you to change the interface language, control screen rotation, change your background UI, and even control your device’s PSP model number. Overall, PPSSPP is one of the most customizable emulators on the market, but you should be careful about changing settings you don’t know about.
To legally play your PSP games on your smartphone or tablet using emulation, you must drop the files from your collection of UMDs to access the .iso file on the hard disk. distributing or downloading .iso files from the internet is illegal and considered piracy. For this reason (among others), we do not condone the distribution of pirated content. Instead, you must have access to a PSP (or a friend’s PSP) and you must install custom firmware on your device to hack your PSP. PPSSPP doesn’t provide a link to these instructions, and neither do we, but you can use Google to search for how to install this custom firmware on your device. Once you’ve finished installing the new firmware on your PSP, you can extract the game data from your hard drive. Using emulators, even for the games you own, is still a gray area when it comes to their legality, but as long as you use games you personally own, no one can prove or show that you lost the game UMD cartridge.
With the custom firmware installed on your device, insert the desired UMD into your PSP. If you’re looking for game suggestions to buy on eBay or Amazon, you’ll find more information later in this guide. Connect your PSP to your PC using the USB cable connected to your gaming handheld, and press the select button on your PSP. Thanks to the custom firmware installed on your device, you can synchronize your PSP as a UMD with USB device and then allow USB connection between your PSP and your PC. This will open File Explorer (Windows) or Finder (macOS) on your computer, with the open folder containing a virtual ISO file. To copy the game to your PC, drag the .drag-and-drop iso file from your hard drive to your computer’s hard drive. Once the file transfer is complete, you can eject your PSP from your computer and connect your smartphone or tablet to your PC. Transfer .iso file to your device’s memory and you can start playing immediately. You can find the games directly in your memory by using the emulator’s built-in file browser, and you can launch the last games from the last menu. PPSSPP automatically creates an icon with art for your game that you downloaded from the internet. This can be changed in your settings.
Save and load game files
When playing games with PPSSPP, you have two different ways to save your game during pauses and load back into the game. Thanks to the powerful emulation, you can use save state to save your location in a video game, wherever you are. Here is the difference between the two storage options:
- Default saves use the save options that are included in the game you are playing. That means you save and load games exactly as you would expect if you were playing the standard experience. For example, some games use save points to save their games, while other games save and exit the menu to stop playback. Basically, using default save states means that you play the game exactly as the developer intended, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
- save state is an emulator-only option that allows you to take a "freeze frame" From the place you are in the game and can return to at any time. For example, you could create a save state right before a big boss, only to die at the beginning of the fight. You could take the long way through the game back to the boss, or you could just use your saved state to return to the beginning of the fight. Some players see "save states as a cheat, an option without "really trying" through the game, but of course it’s up to you if you want to use it.
If you’re wondering what you should use between the two platforms, the truth is, we suggest both of them. Save states are certainly faster than typical saves and loads, but can also be a bit unstable from time to time. Also, it’s much easier to write about a save state than it is to write about a save state in the game, so it’s a good idea to have a balance between the two. If something goes wrong with your game file and corrupts your data, you can use the save state to return your game to where it was in the emulator. Using a combination of storage status and default storage is the way to go and provides a good balance between security, ease of use and challenge. Since you control the number of save states you execute, you can set the difficulty level where you want it to be. Tap the back icon on your tablet or smartphone to access the storage status screen. This will load the memory status and load memory status menu shown above.
Getting the best out of PPSSPP
Just because you can load a game into your emulator doesn’t mean you’ve learned to do it. As with anything, make sure you’re getting the most out of your new gaming app – especially when you’re on the go with PPSSPP. If you want to know how to improve the look of your games, the performance of your emulator, which games to play on the PSP or which controllers to use, you’ve come to the right place.
Improve graphics, resolution and performance
As with most emulators, PPSSPP lets you use the power of your more modern device to make the graphics on your device look better than usual. Upscaling and optimizing graphics and resolution on your device is nothing new for emulators, but you should also remember that when playing PSP games on a mobile device, you want to boost and maximize your performance by doing some of the settings in your menu. You can find a full guide here, but here is the basic layout to get the most out of your emulator:
- Play at 1x or 2x resolution only: you can scale your resolution up to 5x the PSP’s original resolution, but if you’re trying to get the best performance from your device, leave it at 1x or 2x the normal resolution. By default, PPSSPP is set to double resolution. You can also change the display resolution in your device, which is a hardware slider. However, the rendering slider is the main utility you can focus on.
- Retain Upscaling: Upscaling improves the look of the graphics in your games by increasing the number of polygons, but it also makes it harder to run your games at full resolution. Keep this setting for best performance (it’s disabled by default) or bump it up to higher numbers to get better graphics and look of your games, assuming your device can handle it.
- Turn off the frame and set it to an odd number (1, 3 and 5 work best): skipping frames can give a significant performance boost on mobile devices as it gives your device a cleaner performance.
- Finally, make sure you enable Fast Memory under System Preferences if it is not already enabled. Although it defines "unstable" says, you should not have too many problems with the device. Oh, and you should also enable multithread; although it’s experimental, it will help you speed up your overall performance to make sure the app uses all the cores of your processor. If you crash on a particular game, simply disable it.
You can find many more detailed tips at the link above, though these four tips are the most important to both boost your performance and ensure your graphics are running at the best possible performance on your device.
Which games should I play?
If you’re new to the PSP, you may be looking for game suggestions to play on your mobile device. You can still buy new PSP games that are used on both Amazon and eBay. This way you can easily download games to your computer to use the .iso file to use with your emulator. If you are looking for games that you should transfer to the system to rip to your tablet or phone, here are some general ideas. This is by no means a comprehensive list or overview of these games, but the PSP library was large enough that it might be difficult to know where to start – especially since not every game runs perfectly on the PSP. We can’t guarantee that any of these games will load in your emulator (though you can check the PPSSPP forums here for playable games to make sure they work), but PPSSPP emulation is pretty solid for the most part.
- Persona 3 Portable: There’s a chance you’ve never heard of Persona, or if you have, it only came with the new, high-profile version of Persona 5. This was the beginning of the modern era of Persona series, games that combine the fun of high school simulation with a turn-based role-playing game similar to Pokemon, but with demons, monsters, and all sorts of nightmarish fuel. The story and gameplay of the Persona series are all top notch, and P3P represents the best version of Persona 3. Remember, this game is a hard M for Mature. Definitely not for kids, despite the high school setting.
- Final Fantasy Tactics: The Lion War: You can buy a port of this game from the Play Store, but if you already have the UMD lying around and want to play it on your device, it’s pretty easy to grab and use PPSSPP to play on the go. Final Fantasy Tactics has been praised for its storyline and tactical combat, and the War of the Lions version adds some extra features in the form of fully animated cutscenes that look great, especially when scaled up with PPSSPP.
- Patapon: a strategy game mixed with a rhythm game. Patapon was universally praised upon its release on the PSP, both for its unique combat and for its art style, which looks absolutely stunning, especially when played on an emulator. If you’re not a fan of rhythm games, you may want to skip this, but for everyone else, it’s a real treat.
- The Legend of Heroes: Traces of Heaven: We’re not going to lie, we haven’t played this one yet. But we read Kotaku, one of the most popular gaming websites on the internet, and their JRPG expert Jason Schreier loves to talk about the game. It’s not too resource intensive of a game, so you shouldn’t have any problems playing the game on your PSP emulator, but you should know that it’s pretty long. Look forward to playing this game for up to a hundred hours before you can complete it.
- Locoroco: In many ways, Locoroco and its sequels feel like mobile games that came before the smartphone revolution. In fact, if the PSP had a touchscreen at its release in 2005, you can be damn sure Locoroco would have used the feature. Unlike Patapon, Locoroco is a platform game where you control your blobs by moving and rotating the environment with your shoulder buttons. It’s a blast to play through, and if you’re looking for a jump’n’run, be sure to check this one out.
There are other games, including Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, God of War: Chains of Olympus (and the other PSP God of War games, Ghosts of Sparta), and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, that we would recommend for PSP users; unfortunately, these games usually have problems with a smooth and stable frame rate, even on modern devices, and you’d better watch out for games that can run well on your phone. Look for games with sprites instead of games with expansive environments and 3D models, and you’ll find that your experience playing the game is greatly improved.
PPSSPP has the advantage of fully supporting Bluetooth controllers designed for smartphones. While you can play with virtual buttons on the display, most games wouldn’t argue that a physical controller just feels better, especially in games originally designed for the PSP. The developer recommends MOGA controllers on their website, mainly because MOGA controllers are some of the best Android compatible gaming controllers on the market today. However, there are several controllers you can use to make your gaming experience even more enjoyable. Here’s a quick list of some controllers you can pop on to make gaming on the go even better:
- GameSir G3s: With the best combination of price, performance, features, and build quality, the G3s is one of our favorite gaming controllers on the market today. It’s designed like a PS3 controller, but with the face buttons of an Xbox controller, which makes it ideal to hold in your hand to replicate that classic Playstation feel. For $29, 99, the GameSir G3s has a battery life of 19 hours, connects via Bluetooth 4.0 and has an optional phone clip that attaches to the controller case. It’s perfect for outdoor gaming when you might not have a stand or a place to prop your phone, and although it feels heavy in your hand, it’s a full-size controller.
- PowerA MOGA Pro: A full-size controller with a fully embedded clip in the center of the product, the MOGA Pro comes with a strong recommendation from PPSSPP, and it’s easy to see why. PowerA’s MOGA controllers are well built, durable, and can even charge your mobile device on the fly – a must if you’re using an emulator on your phone. The controller is shaped like an Xbox 360 controller and for some people that means gaming perfection.
- SteelSeries Stratus XL: This controller does not have a phone clip to connect to your device, but its premium look and feel makes it one of our most popular additions and a great controller for gaming on your emulator. SteelSeries is an established PC gaming brand, and this controller will work with both your Android device and your Windows computer, making it suitable for all types of gaming even outside of your PSP emulation. It’s pretty expensive at a $59, 99 MSRP, but you can occasionally get it in the low $40s if you’re waiting for a sale.
- Moto Mod Gamepad: At $79, it’s incredibly expensive and only works if you have a proper Motorola phone that supports mods (read: the Moto Z and Z2 line), but if you can afford to drop the cash Hardware, the gamepad will bring your PSP experience to the top of the line. There’s no Bluetooth syncing, no tangled wires, and thanks to the hole in the back of the gamepad, you can still use the camera on your device. This device turns your Moto Z smartphone into a Switch-style device, and it’s pretty darn good.
All of these choices will make your gaming experience a little more present and a little more realistic. Of course, you don’t need a physical controller to play your PSP games, as the on-screen controls work just fine, but for many users, a physical controller is a must when it comes to playing games on the go.
Other PSP emulator options
If for some reason you’re looking at PPSSPP and can’t stand how it plays your games, you have a few other options to choose from. We told users in our guide to stay away from most PSP emulator apps on Google Play because of the risk of using them. However, this doesn’t mean that PPSSPP doesn’t have a single competitor on Google Play Business. If you need or want an alternative to PPSSPP, you’re stuck with options, but there is an app we can recommend to Android users who have managed to get the following: AwePSP. AwePSP is a free, ad-supported emulator for Android that is the main PPSSPP competition on Google Play. The app has its fans; with more than a million downloads on Android, it is the second most popular Android PSP emulator in the Play Store. It has its fair share of pros compared to cons: it’s updated more frequently than PPSSPP, which can lead to a more stable application in the long run. Unfortunately, the app also appears to be a close copy of PPSSPP, enough to make critics question whether or not the app is actually a direct clone in the comments of the app entry. When it comes to AwePSP performance, your mileage may vary. Overall, we think all users should stick with PPSSPP thanks to the developer and the free entry price.
The PSP wasn’t the biggest handheld success on the market when it was released in 2005, but it had a huge selection of must-play games that have kept the audience for the PSP more than a decade into its existence. Sony’s first crack at a portable Playstation device had its flaws, including its use of fragile and slow UMDs, and its reliance on Memory Stick Duos (a failed alternative to microSD and SD cards developed by Sony and used mostly for cameras, among other gadgets in the 2000s) was a major disappointment that Sony, unfortunately, didn’t learn with the release of the Vita a few years later. If you are interested in diving into the wide and wild world of PSP games, there is no better way than with PPSSPP on your Android device. PPSSPP is one of our favorite emulators in the store, with a wide market of support and an easy way to load your games into the device. While you still have to buy UMDs online to be stupid, it’s a great way to take your collection of games on the go in a modern, sleek package. PPSSPP makes mobile gaming what we’ve seen from console makers, and even though the games are five to ten years old, it’s still a great way to play on the go.