The PSP had some incredible games, so it’s no wonder you’re here searching for the best PSP emulators!
This handheld powerhouse is the third-best-selling portable console of all time, amassing around 82 million sales. While the PSP isn’t an exceptionally old console, it still costs a pretty penny to purchase (or a delightful dollar if you’re outside of the UK).
Check out our article on how much is a PSP worth after reading this article!
With games like Tekken 6, Final Fantasy, and Syphon Filter under its belt, the PSP has one of the most impressive portable handheld catalogues. It remains one of the most requested consoles in newly developed retro handheld devices and continues to battle the Gameboy for dominion over the handheld realm even today!
But is it possible to turn your Mac into a PSP? How would one go about playing Daxter on the bus through a smartphone or playing Persona 3 while in a quarterly budget meeting?
Check out everything you need to know below!
**PLEASE READ – Sharing ROMs is illegal, and we’re very much fond of our money and freedom.**
This article is purely for you to learn more about the best PSP emulators and should be thought of as a mythological artefact, mock exam paper, or legendary scroll. Retro Dodo does not condone illegal downloading or any other tricksy Hobbit stuff that might get anyone (namely us) into trouble. Please check the legality of ROM downloading in your region and always follow government guidelines on both internet safety and copyright laws.
Table of Contents
- Open Source
- Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android
PPSSPP is the best PSP emulator on the planet. I know it, you know it, and so do thousands of happy gamers who use it on a daily basis.
Some emulators can be tricky to set up and are far better at producing headaches than quality graphics and gameplay. PPSSPP isn’t like that; first time emulator users will be able to dive right in with ease, and the interface is so simple my granny could use it.
You might have noticed that some of the emulators in our previous lists have been left dead and buried. Some of the best Dreamcast emulators have gone the same way as the console and no longer get any love at all.
PPSSPP gets regular updates and, much like the legendary Mupen64, it’s the open-source platform that most other developers use as a starting point for their own.
Ok, every developer uses it as their starting point!
The emulator also upscales PSP games, making them look even sexier than they did on the original handheld itself. Yes, I did say sexier; I’m getting sick of using the same adjectives…
Play for free and see boring adverts, or pay $4.99 to remove them. Either way, PPSSPP is a solid app that even allows users to transfer save data from existing PSP handhelds via an ordinary SD card! Result!
2. Rapid PSP Emulator
- Free App
A lot of the emulators we come across recommend owning the latest 7G Ultima fliptronic 7-camera smartphone to run smoothly, but who has the money for that, right?
If, like me, you’re still rocking a phone from five years ago, then you need Rapid PSP Emulator.
Rapid PSP is basically a modified version of PPSSPP. Most of the same components are still there, though it’s specifically designed for less sophisticated devices. It works great on most Android smartphones and doesn’t need a degree in computer science to work.
Not everyone has spare money to be splashing out on fancy phones, and the same goes for apps. Thankfully, Rapid PSP Emulator is free to download and use. It’s a cracking app that allows saving and external controller hook-up, perfect for the best PSP RPGs!
Whether you own a Samsung Galaxy or a battered HTC, you can’t go wrong with Rapid PSP!
- Open Source
- Multiple Platforms
RetroArch takes the third spot in our list of the best PSP emulators. It crops up in all of our lists because it’s a jack of all trades and works an absolute treat!
We first covered this program while writing about the best N64 emulators for multi-platform use. RetroArch works on every operating system and device, from MacOS to Linux and even jailbroken iPhones and iPads!
Like the fourth emulator in this list, RetroArch is like a shopping mall for retro gaming emulation. It has ‘everything under one roof’, though in this case the roof is virtual. It’s essentially a program that holds multiple emulators in the form of ‘cores’ that gives users access to multiple games from every system imaginable.
We love the RetroArch interface. It’s a pleasure to use and just works! There’s no need to mess around with settings; just turn on, find your download, and defeat bad guys/win races/find treasure (delete as necessary reader!)
Oh, and guess what the core is? That’s right; the emulator so nice they included all the letters twice – PPSSPP! Say it with me
Ok, that’s enough of that…let’s carry on.
4 . Open Emu
- Open Source
- MacOS, Windows, Android
As a Mac user, I would go with OpenEmu as my PSP emulator… if I had time to leave my schedule of hard working, honest activities behind, of course…
Just check out that controller interface. It’s one of the sleekest looking button map screens I’ve ever seen, and the game library is just as nice. After dropping ROM files in, Open Emu puts them all in alphabetical order. Neat, right?
I hate mapping USB controllers to my laptop; it always stresses my out. With Open Emu, however, it’s super simple. Just plug your USB controller in and follow the simple instructions. My dog could do it!
Like RetroArch, Open Emu covers a whole host of different consoles, including the mighty PSP.
No points for guessing what core it uses… PPSSPP!
Mac users; this is the emulator you deserve and a slick looking program to compliment your stylish laptop! ‘Nuff said!
5. Rocket PSP
- Free App
Rocket PSP Emulator is a new emulator on the scene and still has a few teething problems. Still, when things are free, you can’t always turn your nose up at them!
As you were no doubt already thinking, this emulator uses PPSSPP as its core. If for some reason you have beef with PPSSPP and want to use a less-advanced version, then give Rocket a try.
Save and load data twinned with a pretty respectable game compatibility percentage make for a nice little app, but the teething problems may prove to be a little annoying on some games.
Look, it’s not great, but it’s not bad either. I could have capped this list at 4 of the best PSP emulators because they all use PPSSPP, but it’s nice to show that other people are continually using PPSSPP’s open-source code to produce new and exciting programs.
If you can’t get PPSSPP or Rapid PSP to work, then this should be your third port of call.
What Are Emulators?
You know when Professor McGonagall turns herself into a cat using magic? Well, emulators use plug-ins to turn your computer or smartphone into a games console, or at least they make it think that it’s one.
In todays advanced retro gaming world, many gamers are ripping and copying files from their existing game carts and discs in order to play them on the go via phones and handheld computers. Emulators play those ripped files, and like everything, there are so many programs to choose from.
Emulators virtually recreate all the wires and chips inside your favourite home consoles and portable handhelds within your laptop or other electronic device. It’s how many of our favourite Retropie handhelds work, and the PS1 Classic Console uses open source emulation too!
So, the ripped files are called ROMs, and emulators play them like QuickTime plays movie files.
Don’t forget that sharing ROMs is an offence, and we don’t want to get dragged down with you. Savvy?
What Are The Benefits Of Using The Best PSP Emulators?
The best PSP emulators give users the opportunity to play the best PSP games on their laptop, phone, or on a handheld such as the Gameboy 1UP alongside other emulators. The PSP is already a portable console, but people don’t always want to lug around a console in their pocket with their phone.
And besides, pulling a PSP out in an office meeting is way more obvious than logging into PPSSPP on your computer and kicking ass in God of War!
Some of the best PSP emulators also upscale games and make them look twice as good as they did on the original console!
Are There Downsides To Emulating Games?
Like everything that isn’t the original article, some emulators can produce poor results. Bad lines of code and poor compatibility can result in glitches, frame-rate drop, and few working titles.
Some of the best emulators are the ones that receive regular updates and the ones that stand as cores for other emulators. PPSSPP is the best PSP emulator and it’s used as a basis for every other emulator for a reason. How people manipulate that code for new programs will depend on whether the brilliance of the emulator transfers on or crumbles into virtual dust.
While we’re on the subject, don’t forget that working on and producing emulators isn’t illegal, it’s the sharing of ROMs that will get you into trouble.
How Do I Download The Best PSP Emulators?
PSP emulators can be found easily on the internet, but we’re not going to tell you where. Think of it as a challenge, a challenge that can’t get us into trouble with the authorities.
The emulators aren’t illegal, but we’ll leave you to make your own decisions based on the information we’ve provided above. Remember to check comments on forums and check for a sites authenticity before downloading.
And don’t share ROMs, got it?
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Seb Santabarbara has bought every Nintendo console that has ever been released in his 33 years on Planet Earth. His favourite game franchise is Zelda, and he’s patiently waiting for Banjo-Kazooie to come back to the fold. When he’s not playing games, he’s travelling the world in his self-converted camper van.