Emulators are awesome and we have worked with some cool emulators before. We can play Pokemon on a phone, and that is fantastic. There is nothing that is not awesome about having access to the massive backlog of classic games for Gameboy, NES, and SNES. You’ll notice that most of those are old systems, though, because new ones are a pain to emulate.
PPSSPP is a great example of why you don’t see anything newer than the Game Boy Advance emulated. It tries to emulate the Sony PlayStation Portable and ends up… well, we’ll show you about how well PPSSPP succeeds at its goal of reproducing the PSP on Android.
The PSP Lives Again
We at TechNorms are fond of the PlayStation Portable. We owned one as a kid, and it provided a great deal of entertainment. While the library wasn’t quite as good as that of the Nintendo DS, there were a lot of great games for PSP. Rachet & Clank, Grand Theft Auto, Lumines, Patapon, and God of War each turned in fun titles for Sony’s handheld.
There’s nothing quite like rocking out to “Shinin” while frantically trying to play Lumines. So when we found a genuine PSP emulator for Android, we were excited.
PPSSPP works like any other emulator. If you’d like to play any of the aforementioned games, you’ll have to supply them yourself through good old-fashined piracy. It’s worth noting that absolutely nothing in this process is legal in any way.
PSP games vary in size, but should fit onto an SD card without much issue. As long as you don’t try to carry around the entire Metal Gear Solid series with you, space shouldn’t be an issue.
Finding PSP games is easy. The .iso files can be found without much issue on Google. We got a copy of Lumines up and running on PPSSPP withing fifteen minutes.
The emulator itself isn’t bad. There’s no deep menu of options like other similar apps. Options for haptic feedback, custom screen controls, bluetooth gamepad support, and everything else like that is missing. Conversely, the on-screen buttons enlarge when pushed. That’s a neat feature we’d like to see in more emulators.
Once the game got running (see below), it was cool to see a PSP game running on Android. We can’t wait until this emulator finishes development.
Single-Core Processors Need Not Apply
As neat as PPSSPP is, you probably should not download it. Yet. The emulator is still in the early stages of development and has trouble running. We had to max out our phone’s processor (performance governor on a 1.2 GHz dual-core chip) in order to get PPSSPP to run at all. The framerate barely qualifies as such. It feels more like a slideshow than a film.
That’s the problem with emulating high-end systems like the PSP. It takes a lot of power to do it successfully. Low-end consoles like the NES and SNES can be emulated easily because they are several orders of magnitude simpler than a smartphone. PSPs can’t be because they aren’t.
PPSSPP has severely limited compatibility as well. It only works with a few games, and even those run at a crawl.
The app also did something weird to our Epic 4G Touch running CM10 nightlies. After installing it, every app opened in landscape mode. We couldn’t fix this, even after rebooting and uninstalling the app.
PPSSPP is a good idea that needs another year in development. The slow emulation speed leaves games unplayable. The weird landscape glitch forced us to revert to a Nandroid backup.
Download this app at your own risk. It’s not ready. Instead, go to the developer’s website and help him/her out. We’d love to have a working PSP emulator, and PPSSPP is our best bet. We can’t wait to see what it’s like when everything is done.