Emulation is just as popular today as it was a decade ago. Developers can mimic more systems than ever before, including handheld consoles from yesteryear like the PSP. While there have been several projects designed to emulate the PlayStation Portable, PPSSPP is the best. I’m using this PSP emulator for a PC, and after spending time reliving some of my favorite games, I can’t imagine using anything else.
What Is PPSSPP?
It may not exactly roll off the tongue, but PPSSPP is the top PSP emulator around. The name stands for PlayStation Portable Simulator Suitable for Playing Portably and describes the software perfectly.
This emulator has been active since 2012, when Henrik Rydgård, otherwise known as “hrydgard,” launched the project. It’s undergone numerous changes since that time while outlasting many competitors. At this time, it’s the only major “active” PSP emulation project and it is by far the best.
PPSSPP for PC
If you’re familiar with emulators, you know that some are easier to use than others. The operating system and ease of use are two of the biggest draws of PPSSPP and that’s something you’ll be thankful for.
Installing the program only takes a few clicks, and once you set a directory for the games, you’ll want to take a look at the settings. While you can jump straight into a classic, settings allow you to customize the program while digging into the UI and its impressive toolset.
PPSSPP doesn’t have a slew of skins like Kodi, but you can adjust the theme or create your own using their online theme editor. You can also set a background image or alter things like color tint and saturation. It’s a nice touch, and so is the ability to set folders for your virtual memory stick or use cheats.
You can spend hours going through PPSSPP settings. There are dozens of things you can adjust, although I highly recommend heading to graphics and controls before loading up a ROM to play.
PPSSPP Graphics and Controls
Most emulators have an option that lets you fine-tune the graphics to match your device. With PPSSPP, you can turn on frame skipping, set the number of frames, and use texture scaling. Texture filtering is automatically turned on, but you can set up an FPS counter on the overlay or even enable a mode for “Cardboard” VR.
Speed hacks are an option, but they can cause rendering issues in games, just like lowering resolution for effects to reduce artifacts. The PC version of PPSSPP also allows you to use the program in different layouts with phone, tablet, or resizable. As for the controls, how to use this section depends on whether you plan to use a controller.
The PlayStation Portable’s unique design is harder to replicate on a PC for obvious reasons. You can map buttons and calibrate an analog stick with the app, and if you have a compatible gamepad, you’re good to go. I use a PlayStation 4 controller with PPSSPP on my PC, and when I use the app on my smartphone.
If you’re the type of gamer who loves to play with settings, you’ll be thrilled with PPSSPP. I don’t tweak too much when I’m using the program, although there are plenty of times I’ve made adjustments to the control scheme or graphics for specific titles.
While PPSSPP has a streamlined layout with plenty of depth, game selection is where it really shines. One of the biggest issues with emulators of any kind is compatibility. Thankfully, that’s not a problem with this PSP emulator for a PC and another reason it’s a beloved program.
Well over 500 PSP games were released in North America before Sony pulled the plug on their portable console. If there was a game you loved, there’s a 90% chance PPSSPP can emulate it. Games like Ape Academy, Spiderman 3, Metal Gear Acid, and Madden play just like the originals.
You can play college seasons through NCAA Football 10 while you wait for EA Sports College Football, but it plays plenty of oddballs and imports as well. From Rezel Cross, Corpse Party, and Rockman Dash 2 to 300: March to Glory, the emulator can play almost anything you throw its way.
In my experience, there have only been a handful of titles I had problems with. Compatibility is excellent across the board. If you experience glitches, you can generally make adjustments to clear up the issue, and the community is extremely helpful. You can also access some interesting homebrew games through the emulator.
Going back and playing one of your PSP favorites on a PC is a blast, but gaming has changed considerably since that handheld was released. Skins, online gameplay, loot crates, and achievements are all popular options today. Two of those features are available with the PPSSPP emulator.
RetroAchievements is a site every retro gamer should be familiar with and a great way to prove your skill in modern times. It’s compatible with specific games and emulators, including PPSSPP. It’s a major perk if you dig achievements and another reason I’m using this PSP emulator for a PC.
Enjoy online gameplay? That was hit or miss with the original PSP, depending on the title and a variety of other factors. Well, it’s possible through PPSSPP’s networking settings menu. It can be challenging to set up, but this guide from the developers can walk you through the process. The Save data manager is incredibly handy, and you can even access developer tools.
This isn’t an area I’ve toyed with, but it’s nice to have on hand nonetheless. The same is true for remote disk streaming and a few other exotic options found in the Settings menu. There’s no shortage of features, and nothing is lurking behind a paywall.
The PlayStation Portable was a handheld I owned more than once, and still surprisingly popular today. That’s partly due to our love of mobile devices along with the PSP’s hackable nature. While I’ve tried a half-dozen or more PSP emulators over the years, I always come back to PPSSPP.
PPSSPP is the best PSP emulator for a PC, and it’s not even close. It’s a program I’ve had on my machine for ages, and it’s incredibly easy to use once you get the hang of things. You don’t need a beastly PC to emulate a PSP either, so it will work from a potato PC. Upscaling is also excellent, so old games look better than before in most cases.
I’m using this PSP emulator for a PC, but you can get PPSSPP on other platforms. The popular emulator is available for Android and iOS, Windows PCs, and Macs. It’s free to download, but if you appreciate the efforts, you can donate to the project by purchasing PPSSPP Gold.
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