Emulators for the Sony PSP: An Overview of the Best


At this fabulous site, I have posted reviews on

Emulators for Palm PDAs: An Overview of the Best

Emulators for Pocket PCs: An Overview of the Best
. In keeping up with the best of traditions, here is the third in the series.

N.B. All graphics on this article are personally taken by yours truly (using a digital camera) from actual programs running on my PSP.

Ever since the PSP was released to an highly anticipated audience, our Japanese hackers had a field day in creating all kinds of homebrewed programs right from day 1. However, the dozen or so games were a huge disappointment and so were the applications and utilities. Many were no more than a first shot demo. Amongst the best of this lot are Arkanoid, Streets of Rage, Chess and a text reader, CN reader. I have converted the entire New Testament into CN reader compatible text – if you like to carry your Bible with you, download the text of the New Testament at my church site, www.ppcoc.org/nt.zip.

However, on the emulation scene, things are hot and furious! Like my writeup on

Emulators for the Gamepark 32
, this is the way to go instead of reinventing the wheel. All the programs refered to in this article may be freely downloaded at these two great PSP sites:


My most favorite PSP emulator is RIN, the GBC emulator that is even better than the original handheld because of the larger, brighter and higher resolution screen. Like all the emulators refered to (except for Doom), they are the works of Japanese hackers; this one by Mr. Mirakichi.

This is a full fledged emulator, practically perfect in every way. What a great time I had playing Marioland – the first game I had on my first Gameboy, as well as my favorite puzzle game, Tetris Attack. The classics by Konami, Namco and Nintendo are real treasures; so are the Game and Watch series. I highly recommend the Hoyle series of Card and Casino games. Even the newer 2mb games run flawlessly although I had a little graphic glitch with Caeser’s Palace II. Great stuff – enough reason to go out and get a PSP.

The 2 snapshots above show the colorized Gameboy Tetris Attack and one running a 1mb game, Pacman.

Second on my ranking is the SNES emulator by Mr Bifuteki. It is running pretty good with sound and all. Uo has taken his source code and added overclocking in case you are playing a game that needs the speed. The latest version has a ‘fit to PSP screen’ option that adds immensely to the enjoyment of the game.

I brought an SNES console to run the Bust-A-Move game which took the arcade world by storm since its release. Now I can enjoy this game, plus a host of favorites like Pinball Dreams, Cameltry, Super Mario World/Kart, Nichibu Classics and Wolf3D. I ranked this second because most SNES games are more substantial than most consoles, including Gameboy.

Above are snapshots of the SNES9X emulator running the arcade hit, Bust-A-Move and the fabulous Pinball Dreams.<

Third on my list is the PCEP emulator by Mr. Kamisama. The NEC PCE, aka Turbo Grafx 16 in the USA is one of the best handhelds every made. It was expensive when it was first released, but it still holds it own today with the likes of Gameboy Advance. Software writers have to modify their games especially to run in this device – some of which are good, but most (eg Lode Runner) lost its pristine touch. It does not have as many Roms as most consoles/hand helds, but what is available are all excellent.

The Sega Genesis MegaDrive emulator would not be fourth on my list had it not been for Mr. Sougen who released a late but really excellent software. It is already running at full speed with great sound on its first release. Really great for a quick ‘Sonic’ blast. In my opinion, Genesis, Sega’s answer to Nintendo’s SNES is again (like the SMS/GG saga), a case of too little, too late. Games are normally not as plentiful or as good as the SNES, although they are many Sega die-hards around.

Clocking in fifth is the SMS/GG emulator by Mr. Yoshihiro. It has nice wallpaper and backgrounds, runs great with sound but has a little glitch with the fonts after you scrolled the first page of the Roms selection option. No doubt this will be taken care of in future upgrades. What I would like to see is the ‘fit to PSP screen’ option as the original screen is a tad too small for my visual comfort.

The games for the SMS (Sega Master System) and GG (Game Gear) system are rather small, easy to load and fast to play. Some good games like Puzzle Booble, Rampage and Bomberman are amongst their offering. It is a pity that while SMS and GG are capable devices, they lack the ‘extra something’ to make them a hit, particularly the GG which has such a heavy drain on batteries.

The NES was the phoenix that rises from the ashes when Atari and all other pretenders to the console market went bust. It survived due to the high standards that it sets for their games. Today, it is still great to play the likes of Battle City, Galaxian and Donkey Kong on the emulator.

There are not one or two but four different NES (Nintendo Etertainment System) emulators for the PSP. The latecomer, NESterj by Mr Ruka is the runaway favorite, with full speed and better performance all round. Other NES emulators for the PSP are InfoNES, FamiContest and just NES.

Doom has just been released by Lantus a few days ago, at this time of writing. He is the first non-Japanese to come up with an emulator of sorts. Already, it is running very speedily with sound, using all the buttons (so the map is easily accessible), triggers and joystick to boot. Doom2 has also been released at this time. Dukem has just followed Doom2 – see snapshots below. I personally like Dukem more than Doom, although both are super.

Last but not least are the MAME (Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator) emulators for the PSP. This is still in its early stages, and Mr. Ingosama is first off the gates with the one that supports the most Roms at this time. It is great running the likes of Galaxian, Mr. Do and Alpha Fighter with sound and all. You can keep up with the WIP by subscribing to threads of MAME compatible list at
www.dcemu.co.uk and

Thhhhhaaatttt’s nnnooottt all folks… as there are several more emulators for the PSP that I have not yet mentioned. You may want to have a look at these if they are your cup of tea.

For Neogeo fans, there are the Neogeo CD and Neogeo Pocket emulators. Couldn’t get either to work, and since I do not have much interest in these (since I never had the physical devices), I’ll sit these out. But if someone gets an emulator for the good old original Neogeo running, I’ll be very interested to play Trash Rally, League Bowling, Alpha II, Nam 1975, Ghost Pilots… (just reading some of those massive 55 mb cartridges that are on my shelf).

Then there is this newer handheld, the WonderSwan emulators – not one but three for the PSP. Never owned one before, so I’ll let this pass.

And there’s even an MSX emulator. The MSX system is a little bit of Arcade and a little bit of really basic stuff. NES has most if not all of MSX’s offerings in better resolution, so this is not really a big draw.

The PSP community is growing every day. Now that a hack has been found to run homebrew stuff on firmware 1.5, a lot more users will be entering the arena. All I can say is I am glad to be an early adopter and can’t wait to see what is coming out tomorrow.

Play it now.

Posted in: Articles, Gaming Gear
{ 27 comments… add one }
  • Julie June 24, 2005, 10:51 pm

    Post your comments here on the Emulators for the Sony PSP: An Overview of the Best article.


    Just click the POST REPLY button on this page.

  • MitchellO June 26, 2005, 12:55 am

    What PSP system version do you have? Do you have the japanese or US PSP?

    I am trying to get them to run on my Japanese v1.5 (set to english). I know that the 1.5 brought some new security, but didn’t find that out until THREE DAYS after I did the update 😡 😡

    I don’t have a second memory stick to do the swaploit with.

  • MitchellO June 26, 2005, 3:28 am

    Never mind. Found a hack that fixes the problem.


    Has some emulators that work fine on my v1.5 Jap PSP. Doom, GBC, Blackjack! Heaps of stuff.

  • henrykong June 27, 2005, 3:40 am

    you may want to check out my psp thread at spug
    – over 200 posts; 4500 views
    http://www.spug.net/showthread.php?t=70775 :blink:

  • MitchellO June 28, 2005, 11:03 pm

    Anybody know of any good flight sims, that have decent graphics, and that have an emulator for the PSP? I haven’t been able to find one.

    My PSP is sooooo much better than it was, with all these games to play! I just bought Coded Arms off ebay too!

  • MitchellO June 29, 2005, 4:33 am

    Some pics of the very good Gameboy Colour Emulator RIN v1.25.

  • vaxick July 5, 2005, 5:28 am

    From the review “In my opinion, Genesis, Sega’s answer to Nintendo’s SNES is again (like the SMS/GG saga), a case of too little, too late.”

    Not trying to sound rude, bu huh? :unsure: What are you talking about? How is the Genesis the answer to the SNES? The Sega Genesis came out in 1988 and the SNES didn’t see the day of light until 1990. :dry:

  • vaxick July 5, 2005, 5:38 am

    MitchellO wrote:

    Never mind. Found a hack that fixes the problem.


    Has some emulators that work fine on my v1.5 Jap PSP. Doom, GBC, Blackjack! Heaps of stuff.

    Last I heard, they are still working on trying to crack the 1.5’s 🙁

    I hate the fact that I own a US version 1.5 PSP and still gotta wait before we can use all this great software.

  • MitchellO July 5, 2005, 5:41 am

    I don’t know what you’ve heard, but 1.5 was cracked weeks ago. I have been running emus for about 2 weeks.

    I am using this pack: http://files.pspupdates.com/cgi-bin/cfiles.cgi?0,0,0,0,38,636

    Its called KXSploit Homebrew Pack V3.0 (PSP V1.5). It has a heap of emus packed together, ready to be put on a MS Duo and run on a v1.5 PSP.

  • henrykong July 5, 2005, 12:44 pm

    vaxick wrote:

    From the review “In my opinion, Genesis, Sega’s answer to Nintendo’s SNES is again (like the SMS/GG saga), a case of too little, too late.”

    Not trying to sound rude, bu huh? :unsure: What are you talking about? How is the Genesis the answer to the SNES? The Sega Genesis came out in 1988 and the SNES didn’t see the day of light until 1990. :dry:

    thanks for the headsup, vaxick
    what i meant was like the game gear,
    sega’s genesis doesnt measure up to the competition

    sorry for the awkward way i presented it
    and of course it is just my personal opinion 😀

    also, this is is a good time for me to say that i got
    the neogeocd emulator running
    and though it has not been updated for a while
    and runs without sound,
    my fav league bowling is very playable

  • MitchellO July 5, 2005, 1:13 pm

    My favs are Doom, Space invaders on the exellent RIN GBC emu, and the Telnet client is pretty neat too over WiFi. Type a message into telnet on your pc, and it comes up on the PSP. Too cool!!

    I just got Coded Arms too, and its great!!!

  • henrykong July 8, 2005, 7:39 am

    >>>>>>> PSP: The portable NEOGEO CD device <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

    Photo taken from my psp running ghost pilots with the neogeocd emulator

    Mr YoyoFR has released the second NeoGeo CD emulator for the PSP
    – one that runs full screen, full speed and with sound and music
    not every game is up to speed
    but it is pretty amazing

    get it from

    — what you need —
    first, you will need to go to google to get the bios
    then when you zip the files from your cd, look for the iso file
    use winrar or isobuster to extract the files from the iso file
    you can place it under any folder xxx.zip
    and even zip up these files to save space

    most of the other files are not necessary
    and adds up space


  • MitchellO July 8, 2005, 8:33 am

    I’ve been playing with the uo_Snes9x emulator and its excellent.


    Yes, I know the filenames have MAME not snes. Silly me!!

    This one works really well, with sound too. You have to make sure you select 333Mhz (as you can see in red in on of the pictures), otherwise it will be a bit slow, and the framerate (which you can display) will drop.

    I also found something on my Coded Arms UMD (well, I saw it the first time I put it in :P). It has the update to firmware v1.5. This is good new to people who want to play games like that, but using the Network Update would take you to the latest 1.52, which has not been cracked for homebrew. It is an option on the menu. I had v1.5, so I didn’t have to do it, but good for those who want games that need v1.5+.


    I am sooooo glad I got 512Mb MS Duo instead of 256Mb. If I had, I wouldn’t have had enough room for these goodies + a movie!!!

  • MitchellO July 8, 2005, 8:37 am

    Here is my settings for framerate, screen size and cpu speed:


    Hey Julie/Judie, any chance of getting pics enabled on this forum, so we can post thumbnails to pictures, instead of boring links?

  • Julie July 8, 2005, 12:34 pm


    Images are allowed in all forums. You just need to use the Advanced editor instead of the quick reply. You should see a manage attachments button in the Additional Options box below the editor. The images that you upload will not show up when you do a preview. They will after you post the message. Here’s an example…

  • MitchellO July 8, 2005, 12:49 pm

    Ah, I see. I use a picture hosting website for all my pics, is there a way to get the ones I have on their to show as thumbs on here?

  • Julie July 8, 2005, 3:15 pm

    Hmmmmmm, the vbcode img tag feature doesn’t seem to be working. I’ll have to look into it when I get more time.

  • MitchellO July 9, 2005, 5:40 am

    Thanks julie. Imageshack is so handy because you can easily upload a heap of images and automatically generate the code to paste into the message box.

  • henrykong July 15, 2005, 2:13 am

    >>>>>>>>>>> NOW THERE IS A DOZEN <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

    hands on summary on psp emulators – my personal preference

    3/10 Gameboy Advance VBA for PSP – still slow but somewhat playable, even very large roms – so still quite fun as gba roms are pretty good – some sound but needs a rom selector/file manager

    4/10 Neo Geo Pocket – NGPSP – currently you need to config frameskip to 4 to be even playable – without sound, but can configure screen size and overclock – somewhat simple fun

    4.5/10 Wonderswan – Cygne /Oswan PSP/Pswan. of the 3 psp emulators, cygne is the most capable, able to run larger roms with full screen, but without sound

    5/10 Amiga PSP UAE – quite amazing with sound and playable speed – i had a ball with Galaga Deluxe; Impact has to be slowed down – however, it is impossible to play some games until number or fn input are added. Lots of good, hi-res and wonderful games

    6/10 GameGear/SMS PSP – good emulator with sound and good speed – would be better if it could run in full screen

    7/10 MAME (Arcade) – Mame 0.71/PSPMame 0.96/XMame PSP – xmame has been overtaken by mame 0.71 -which is great for games like cutie Q and Gee Bee that requires really slow speed to be payable. -pspmame 0.96 (namco) plays the most games mame emulators has sound, full screen and are playable but needs more keys assigned and more roms playable

    8/10 Genesis (Megadrive) – Dgen PSP – Generator/PSP – Megadrive for PSP -PSP Genesis – my favorite of the lot is Dgen as it has sound -and can be tweaked to overclock at 333 mhz – none has full screen feature yet. pity

    8.5/10 Nes – InfoNes/Famicontest/Nes for PSP/Nesterj PSP – my favorite is Nesterj which is practically perfect- in every way. full speed with sound and full screen. some good basic retro games

    9/10 Snes – Snes9x PSP/Snes9x Optimised/UO Snes9x PSP – uo has done wonders with the snex9x – it is now running with full screen, speed and sound

    9.5/10 PC Engine – Hue for PSP/PCEP/XPCE for PSP – my choice is PCEP which runs in full screen and speed – with sound. yet to encounter any rom that will not run – better games than snes

    10/10 Gameboy/Gameboy Colour Rin/Rin Unnoficial – full fledge emulator; better than the original -awesome with great sounds, full screen and speed

    20/10 Neo Geo CD – NEOGEO CD/NeoCDPSP – neogeo cd does a good job but is quickly overtaken by the awesome neocdpsp which has taken the psp emulator world by storm – the first version is running the likes of rally chase, art of fighting, pulstar, world heroes etc full screen with sound and full speed. incredible!

  • MitchellO July 15, 2005, 2:46 am

    The uoSnes9x is definately a great emulator. I have been using it for a about 1.5 weeks and its great. I especially love how you can save your place in the game.

    The RIN gameboy colour emu is really good too.

  • henrykong July 15, 2005, 7:17 am

    MitchellO wrote:

    The uoSnes9x is definately a great emulator. I have been using it for a about 1.5 weeks and its great. I especially love how you can save your place in the game.

    The RIN gameboy colour emu is really good too.


    seeing that you are such a retro fan
    have you tried the new neogeocd emulator
    it’s like have a umd game on your memory stick! 😀

  • MitchellO July 15, 2005, 7:20 am

    I have tried one of them, but I couldn’t get it to load. Where did you get the CD ROMs from, which NeoCD emu did you use, and howd you load the rom? Thanks

  • dodonpachi July 17, 2005, 5:27 pm

    This was an e-mail to Henry Kong. I can’t find his @ but luckly I’ve found this thread. I hope he will read it.

    Hi, I’m Eduardo from Spain

    First of all 2 warnings. 1- My english is rather poor, so excuse me if you don’t understand something. And 2- I’m not an MSX zealot. I’m an MSX lover. But I own every “big” console (and some clones) since the 8bit era. I simply LOVE videogames and the world that surround them.

    I sadly disagree with you in one of your statements in “Emulators for the Sony PSP: An Overview of the Best” article. Almost at the bottom you said:

    “And there’s even an MSX emulator. The MSX system is a little bit of Arcade and a little bit of really basic stuff. NES has most if not all of MSX’s offerings in better resolution, so this is not really a big draw.”

    Hmmm. There were 4 generations of MSX. But just 2 of them will be considered in this e-mail because they are the 2 tahat share games with NES. That are MSX and MSX2.

    MSX2 is a clearly superior machine than NES so we can center the focus in a “basic” MSX (first generation) machine and a NES.

    MSX run at 3.58 MHz, NES at 1.79MHz (NTSC)
    MSX had 8 KB of main memory (minimum, normally 32KB), NES had 2 KB
    MSX had a Graphic DSP at 6.5 MHz (not sure of this freq), NES had one at 5.37 (NTSC)
    MSX had a General Instruments AY-3-8910 (PSG) chip sound *, NES none

    * Some MSX cartridges had their own (still better) sound chip.

    Both had the advantage of streaming the data from a cart (although non-japanese games were distributed on tape in the case of MSX)

    I know you didn’t enter to discuss that creepy technical info but I’m trying you to notice that MSX (first generation) was sooooo much powerful than NES. That’s the reason why it requires more resources to emulate an MSX system than a NES (the sound was the main problem until recently)

    But you did an statement indeed: “NES has most if not all of MSX’s offerings in better resolution”

    And that is true but the diference is not that big. (we have to remember that PSP, for example , just display 272 pixels vertically)

    MSX had a res of 256 x 192 , NES had 256×240 pixels but just 256×224 in a NTSC TV
    MSX had 16 colours, NES had 25

    So Our beloved MSX is not that far away in terms of resolution and far, far better in terms of CPU (+mem) and sound. This fact derived in “cleaner” look games in MSX.

    The games that shared both platforms were for example: Gradius or Salamander (Life Force)

    But lifespan of a console is longer than a computer one. So, NES keep the same specs as the MSX quickly evolved in the known MSX2.

    CPU: 3.58 MHz
    RAM: 64KB (min, commonly 128KB outside japan)
    Graphic chip: Yamaha V9938 at 21MHz (128KB VRAM)
    Sound chip: General Instruments AY-3-8910 (PSG)

    The resolutions were: 512 x 212 (16 colours out of 512) and 256 x 212 (256 colours)
    Notice that 256 colours means (you can see a picture reasonabily)

    What is important to compare MSX2 with NES ????
    Because the most revered and famous games… were MSX2 only games. For example: Vampire Killer (Castlevania) and… METAL GEAR.

    There are also countless of games that NES couldn’t have handled and that exist in MSX2 form only.
    And the most important thing: The real SOLID SNAKE (METAL GEAR 2) was a MSX2 only game. The ugly NES version is a completely diferent game. Hideo Kojima WAS NOT involved in its production.

    So, it’s not indeed true that you have almost all the MSX games with a NES. The fact is that you have almost all KONAMI games from NES with a MSX and hundreds more.

    I peacefully (I warned I’m not a zealot) advice you to try comparing graphics in “Vampire Killer” (NES) and “Castlevania” (NES) or “Metal Gear” for both. Then try to play SOLID SNAKE.

    …. No comparission possible, even without entering in the “sound” matter ^_^

    NES was Mario, was real fun, was KONAMI games, was … ¡Final Fantasy! and a lot more. The precursor of my alltime favourite SNES. The first true videogame console everybody wanted to have.

    But, please, don’t discourage the use of MSX emus because, IMHO, I think the games looked better and sound better (fact) on MSX than on NES. And there are dozens of gems in the MSX world that you can not encounter in other platforms.

    Thanks for your articles.
    Greetings from Spain


  • MitchellO July 17, 2005, 11:52 pm

    Whoa!! That was some post!!

  • BobHope September 11, 2005, 4:14 pm

    Hello, need some help please. Downloaded Nesterj emulator for psp but have no idea where to copy the files and what to copy! Could someone let me know please. Also, where can I get nes roms?
    Thanks ppl 🙂

  • MitchellO September 11, 2005, 9:36 pm

    What version PSP do you have (v1.0 or 1.5). If you have v1.51, 1.52 or 2.0 you can’t use homebrew/emulators.

  • BobHope September 13, 2005, 5:56 am

    Damn, got v 2.0 oh well. Thanks for the info

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