The Sony PSP has always held a special place in my heart. From the very first time I saw Need for Speed running on that glorious 4.3 inch LCD I was in love.
But that was 2005. That was 13 years ago. How does the PSP hold up today?
The answer is: surprisingly well.
For whatever reason, Sony choose not to lock down the last remaining security holes when the PSP reached the end of its life. This makes installing custom firmware wonderfully easy. And why would you want to do that? Because it opens up the true power of what the PSP can do.
Custom firmware (or CFW) allows you to run code not signed by Sony. It also allows you to play backups of PSP games. This means you can load up your memory stick with half a dozen PSP games (that you legally own of course) and get more from a battery that isn’t trying to run a physical drive.
Custom Firmware = Emulators
Here lies the reason the PSP is your ultimate retro machine. Emulators.
The original Atari Lynx, circa 1989. Remind you of something?
Inside the PSP you can store your entire childhood. From the original Nintendo Entertainment System and Sega Megadrive to Nintendo Gameboy Advance and even the Atari Lynx.
28 years later and Scrapyard Dog is still an incredible platform game that nowhere near enough people got to play. Its still crazy hard too!
Custom Firmware = More PSP Games
Lets be honest for a moment. Cartridges were fine in their day, but now they’re just a giant PITA. With 16 and 32Gb memory cards available so cheaply, why carry one game safely in your system (and maybe a few more not so safely, loose) when you can bring a dozen games with you all safe and sound inside your memory card?
Old Systems = Cheap Games
One of the biggest advantages of collecting older consoles is how cheaply you can score games. $5 on eBay? Easy. $10 at Cash Converters. Heaps to be found! Which means you can play some great games you might have missed out of first time round. For the past week I’ve been playing half a dozen oldies, all of which cost me less that the price of a single new release title.
Army of Two: The 40th Day is a great example. The mobile version of a lackluster console release, Army of Two only scored an average of 49% on MetaCritic. But with a solid enough story line, this combination of side scroller and twin-stick shooter is a fun way to spend a weekend. And it cost me a whole $3.
So dig out that PSP, or grab one cheap on eBay if you never owned one. Do a quick Google search on PSP custom firmware, gather those ROMs and start reliving your childhood.
Everywhere you go.