Denki News

June 5, 2006

PSP vs. PSP

Filed under: Japan, Video Games — icruise @ 2:52 pm

I am a freelance Japanese translator specializing in video games. Unfortunately, I don’t always get to see the games I am translating before I do the translation. Sometimes the game isn’t finished yet and the developer can’t be bothered to give us in-progress builds, and sometimes (like with the portable systems) it isn’t really possible to play non-final versions without some kind of development hardware, and translators like me don’t usually have that. But when I am given the game to play, I have to have a system to play it on, so I have at least one of all of the current video game consoles.

Up until recently, my PSP had been used mostly for homebrew software such as emulators. I absolutely love being able to play all the old 8-bit and 16-bit games that I played years ago on a portable device (what I wouldn’t have given for something like that when I was a teenager!). And frankly, there weren’t all that many PSP games that appealed to me. Now, those of you familiar with the state of homebrew software on the PSP know that Sony has been doing everything it possibly can to prevent its users from running homebrew software. Each firmware update they put out adds some new features, but often the main reason is to close off a loophole that someone has found that lets them run homebrew software again. I think the main thing they are worried about is piracy of UMD games, and in fact some people have been successful at running copies of games from a memory stick. It’s unfortunate that in their crusade to kill off piracy that they’re also making it impossible to use a lot of cool software that users have made.

For this reason, my original PSP’s firmware is 1.5 and it’s going to stay there. While there has been some progress in getting homebrew software to run on later versions, it’s a never-ending struggle, with every firmware update from Sony disabling whatever hacks that people came up with. My PSP was able to stay at 1.5 for quite a while, but recently I started the translation of a new PSP game that forces you to upgrade to 2.6 or later in order to play. Although I hate Sony for making me buy two PSPs, I decided that being able to play my emulators was probably worth a couple of hundred bucks, so I plunked down the money for a second PSP.

Of course, as long as I had to buy a second PSP, I couldn’t just buy another black one. Not when there are Ceramic White models available in Japan. So I ordered one from Lik-Sang.com who got it to me very quickly. It’s quite nice looking, and certainly reminiscent of the iPod. I think I prefer the black model overall, but the white certainly has its appeal, and I think its screen is somewhat brighter as well. So now I have a “good” PSP (the angelic white one that will always been updated to the latest firmware version) and the “bad” PSP (the devilish black one that can run all of my emulators and other software). I suppose now I’ll have to look into getting a DS Lite…

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