Friday, May 9, 2008

PSP Homebrew and Emulators

If you were one of the fortunate few who grabbed a Japanese PSP running Version 1.0 of the firmware, then you have a very nice homebrew machine at your fingertips. There are multiple sites online that serve as repositories for these homebrew applications, where you can download them and then transfer them to the GAMES folder inside the PSP folder on your Memory Stick. After you copy the homebrew applications and games to this folder, navigate to Games Memory Stick on your PSP, hit the X button, and then select the homebrew game or application you want to play from the list and hit the X button again to launch it.

Keep in mind that all these homebrew apps take up space on your Memory Stick. Make sure you watch sites such as dealnews ( to try to get a 1GB or larger Memory Stick Duo card on the cheap.

If you, like most people who purchased their PSP in North America, have Version 1.5 of the firmware on your PSP, then things are only slightly trickier. Originally, the first workaround for running homebrew on Version 1.50 of the firmware involved something called a swaploit. For the swaploit, the EBOOT.PBP file that contains the main code for each homebrew program had to be split into two parts, placed into two identical folders inside /PSP/GAMES/ on two different Memory Sticks. You would navigate to the game on the first Memory Stick and hit the X button, then immediately after the PSP flash screen appeared, indicating that the game was launching, you had to quickly eject that first Memory Stick and replace it with the second one. If you timed everything just right, the game or homebrew application would successfully launch.

This swaploit was far from ideal, as the swapping required speed and skill and wasn't very good for the Memory Sticks involved, whichover timewould develop scratches on their contacts (and could also at times be damaged or possibly lost from accidentally shooting them across the room while ejecting them to make way for the second Memory Stick).

Fortunately, another workaround was discovered that eliminated the need to swap the Memory Sticks. Again, the EBOOT.PBP file was split in two, but this time, both files were placed on the same Memory Stick inside two different folders. Each folder had the same name, with the first ending with an additional % at the end of the name. When navigating through the Memory Stick via the PSP's Game menu, each homebrew game or application would show up next to another file called Corrupted Data. This file was merely the second folder that didn't appear launchable to the PSP.

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