Quite a long time ago, close to when we decided I would stay home, my wife gifted me a PSP. Sony’s first mainstream handheld, it was a technological marvel. It had a screen larger than some current smartphones, a disc-loader reminiscent of a minidisc and all the goodness of the Playstation brand. Eight years later or so I still find it to be a wonderful piece of technology, but the gaming world has left it behind for the most part. Two revisions would follow, and the platform replaced with Vita in 2012.
There is still a massive library of UMD-based PSP games to choose from though, and I was trying to figure out how to best play them. You see, my first model PSP didn’t get the improvements of the 2000 and 3000 series, such as a thinner body and most importantly more memory. More RAM leads to faster loading times, and less time spinning that disc. I can certainly buy digital versions from the Playstation Store, however not all games are there and they are generally more expensive. I was faced with possibly upgrading to a newer model and losing what made my PSP special – it’s status as a gift.
I was re-introduced to the idea of custom firmware the other day. I know all about hacking and modding consoles, and had heard about the concept on the PSP as well. CFW is often associated with pirating games, unfortunately, and carries a bit of a stigma. In my case though, I could use it to my advantage – bypassing the disc drive. By loading the games on a memory stick, I reduce noise and battery use while speeding load times by using flash memory instead of the optical drive. In my case, I am using the games I own instead of trying to download them illegally. The process was extremely easy, something you can find online with a search. I loaded the CFW, and then hooked the PSP up to my computer to copy the disc images. Once a large memory card comes in, I can then load all those games onto one memory stick: an added bonus of not having to keep up with the discs. As I add additional games that aren’t available digitally or are cheaper on disc, I’ll rip them to my computer as well. The UMD file sizes are at most around 1GB or so, that’s at least 30 games I can fit on this memory I have ordered – more than I currently have. My PSP should be very useful well into the second decade of ownership, and much more used than it has been previously. Something I was considering selling has now been seriously upgraded for free, thanks to custom firmware.
Long live the PSP!