Playstation Portable ROMs

Console History: Playstation Portable

The Sony PSP was a huge leap forward for handheld gaming devices. It was the first such device on the market to compare favorably to the graphical abilities and memory capacity of the sixth generation of consoles (PS2, Gamecube, original Xbox). The PSP's dual processor and hardware accelerator was capable of running ports that were very close to their original PS2 versions (Manhunt, Grand Theft Auto, Persona 3), while its rival the DS had graphical capabilities that were more on par with the PS1 and Nintendo 64.

The system's 2004-2005 rollout was highly successful despite concerns at the time that it was too expensive for a handheld device. The system would go on to have a lifespan of over a decade, with multiple new versions of it rolled out between 2005 and 2011. The PSP inevitably became too dated for the market and was replaced by the PS Vita, but is still widely owned and played by core gamers as it is very easy to run homebrew software on.

The PSP is oddly regarded as a "failure" in some circles, primarily because the Nintendo DS nearly doubled it in sales in spite of Sony's superior hardware. Sony's handheld enjoyed a longer overall run, however, and its 82 million total units sold worldwide makes it the third best selling handheld system and the eight best selling video game system of all time.

Part of the negativity toward the PSP in some circles may also have to do with the software lineup. The system had a very strong lineup in some genres, but not so much in others. It was arguably strongest in terms of RPGs, particularly Japanese RPGs and strategy hybrids like the Disgaea series, Monster Hunter, Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts. Other genres in which the PSP was strong include racing and driving, fighting, FPS and open-world sandbox games.

The PSP also allowed players to download a wide range of both digital titles and well-emulated PS1 classics from the PlayStation Network. After Sony's PSP and PS3 "master keys" were leaked, it also became a playground for hackers, who were able to use the native PS1 emulation to run games that Sony never officially released for the system. In addition to a wide variety of homebrew software, good emulators for most consoles up to the 16-bit generation were quickly developed, and the system is now perfect for playing anything from the Atari 2600 to the Sega Genesis on the go.

The original series of PSP systems, the PSP-1000 through the PSP-3000, allow games to be played either through a UMD mini-disc or by downloading them to local storage from the PlayStation Network. Each new iteration of this original series used the same base design, but gradually added more RAM and internal storage as well as increased video output options, and the PSP-3000 introduced a built-in microphone. The PSP Go is a more inexpensive and ultra-portable version of the system that excises the UMD drive for those who only want to play games that they download. There is also an "extreme budget" version called the PSP Street that was only released outside of the United States and Japan and lacks WiFi capability and stereo sound.

The PSP is not region-locked in terms of games, but UMD movies are locked in accordance with the DVD region code. At this point, however, it's trivial to "root" any PSP by installing custom firmware and get it to run anything you want.

The PSP continues to be a popular and useful handheld system for retro gamers given how wide-open the architecture is. It's trivial to unlock the system by using simple prefab boot software installed on an SD card, and this opens up a wide range of retro emulation as well as the ability to run any PSP ISO file you care to.