Economy of Effort

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Nes Emulation On Psp

I’ve been playing Baseball Stars. On my PSP.

And frankly, that’s just cool.

Thanks to some dedicated PSP hackers, owners of PSP with 1.50 firmware or older can execute unsigned code that has been copied to a memory stick. Emulator developers jumped all over that and have released their emulators for the PSP.

So far, I have tried NES, Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, and Super NES emulation (I’ll be giving the Sega stuff a shot too soon, once I get my 1GB memory stick in the mail - and if some older consoles get emulators released for the PSP, I’ll load them up too). Super NES and GBA emulation isn’t there yet - both ran too slow to play. NES emulation, however, is great. The emulator I’m using is called NesterJ (as far as I know, the only one available on the PSP). I’ve had great success with many games (Baseball Stars, Zelda, SMB2, Tecmo Bowl, Ring King, Mike Tyson’s Punch Out, etc). Some games do not yet work correctly - sadly, NES Play Action Football is one of these, as is SMB3 and Dr. Mario. A few games refuse to load at all, but I’m not 100% certain if they are good ROM dumps or not.

Game Boy / Game Boy Color emulation appears flawless. Nothing that I tried had any sort of failure or glitch whatsoever, although I did not exactly run the gamut of testing. I did spend some good time with Tetris and Final Fantasy Adventure, both running great and colorized (and FAR more pleasing to look at on a PSP screen than on their original hardware!)

I also played with some non-emulation PSP homebrew software - specifically, a work-in-progress version of a Bejeweled port. It isn’t much more than a half-working game right now, but when it’s finished, it will be a nice little game to have stored on the PSP. And it can’t be long before someone ports a Rogue-like game like Nethack to the system, right? I’m waiting patiently. :)

All of this has made the PSP, a treasure of a toy already in and of itself, even more valuable to me. It’s one thing to emulate old games while chained to your PC. It’s quite another to do so on a light portable handheld system with a knockout of a screen. I don’t care to sit at my laptop and play Baseball Stars, but I’ll do so on a plane or on a long car ride.

(I’d be remiss to fail to mention that Sony is throwing up roadblocks to PSP homebrew software in the form of new firmware updates, which serve little purpose other than to close the holes that the “exploits” use to execute the unsigned software. But make no mistake, any firmware Sony releases is going to be cracked - it just takes time, and avoidance of the newer firmwares until then).