PPSSPP is an impressively capable emulator for the original Sony PlayStation Portable, and today it's a little more so. The 1.1 update adds a ton of new features, or at least it officially adds them - support for Android TV and ARM64 seems to have been there for quite a while, since I've been playing Power Stone on the NVIDIA SHIELD TV since we published the review back in May.
Other changes include screen rotation support for those few PSP games that can be played in a vertical layout, the usual collection of improvements to general performance, audio, GPU compatibility, and AdHoc multiplayer mode, and savestates for homebrewed PSP apps.
Final Fantasy Tactics was an oddball when it was first released for the PlayStation in 1997 - ostensibly a member of the never-repeating (at the time) Final Fantasy series, the game broke from the familiar turn-based battles with a new isometric system that put a huge emphasis on tactical positioning and strategic use of classes and attack ranges. While FFT never got the attention of the standard numbered RPGs in the series, it became a sleeper hit, and the original was kept alive with a few sequels and remakes. It remains a popular game for PS1 emulators.
You won't need an emulator to play Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions, at least not anymore.
There's a huge emulator community on Android, helped in no small part by the fact that modern smartphones can handle older game console software without breaking a sweat. But 3D consoles and newer portable machines are harder to emulate - they require more power and more complex software to get bigger, more demanding games to run well. The PPSSPP emulator (for PlayStation Portable games) has been in development for a variety of platforms for several years, but now the 1.0 release is available for Android via an easy Play Store download.
PPSSPP has just about all of the standard emulator bases covered.
The PlayStation Network has become a surprisingly rich source of ports for the Google Play Store. Take Dokuro: it's a beautiful 2D platformer that turned more than a few heads when it premiered as a downloadable title for the PS Vita last year. Now it's available on Android for a single buck, and if you're a fan of platformers with both creative gameplay and gorgeous visuals, you should definitely check it out.
The basic gist is that you're guiding a princess through a forbidding castle, kind of like a dimensionally challenged version of ICO. You are a skeletal minion of the dark lord who's kidnapped her, but you're helping her escape because of the power of love, devotion, and possibly ponies.
The Google Play Store, as always, was abuzz with new apps last month. More than just new apps, though, the Play Store gained plenty of well-crafted, quality apps. The kind that have spurred the market's recent growth spurt, and which allow users to discover functionalities they never knew they needed. As always, we've sifted through all last month's new apps and selected our top five picks – a kind of short list for those looking to get the most out of their device with awesome apps.
Pixlr Express, despite its name, is an impressively powerful tool for on-the-go photo editing.
There's no shortage of emulators for older gaming consoles on modern mobile platforms. The latest addition to the list is PPSSPP, a PSP emulator that self-admits to being a work in progress. Of course, there are a couple of things you should know up front: for starters, it's possible this won't last long on the Play Store, since emulators tend to have a pesky problem with legal and policy gray areas. Secondly, the app is still in early development, so many games will likely not work. You should expect a level of beta-ness on this one. Heck, it's only listed as version 0.2.
ARCHOS, in an announcement that ambitiously looks to "revolutionize" Android gaming, has just unveiled the GamePad – a 7-inch, dual-core gaming tablet with built in controls (including buttons, a d-pad, triggers, and analog sticks) that remind us a little bit of Sony's PSP.
The interesting bit about this tablet is that it includes "automatic game recognition and mapping tools" which ARCHOS promises will "ensure control compatibility with every advanced Android game."
Of course, one of the most important things about a mobile device meant to center around gaming is its spec sheet. We aren't privy to the entire list of specs just yet, but here's what we do know: the GamePad will pack a yet unspecified dual-core processor at 1.5GHz with a Mali 400 quad-core GPU.
We certainly aren't a console video gaming blog, but when reviews of the US version of Sony's PlayStation Vita started cropping up this morning, I couldn't help but take notice of the new mobile console system's software. Particularly, how... smartphoney it looks.
Everything in Sony's Vita OS has been appified - Google Maps is there, while Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, and Skype apps are forthcoming. Sony has its own suite of apps as well, including a full-blown browser which, although it appears to be pretty terrible, is apparently the best on any mobile gaming device to date. But the point is this: the Vita's OS looks and tries to be a lot like a smartphone's.
Update 3: ZodTTD, developer of several well-known emulators, recently met a similar fate as yongzh - both his Market account and his apps were removed. Today, he decided to clarify a few things in a blog post, noting that the removal of the apps was not due to an open source violation but rather came as a result of a trademark infringement letter from Sony to Google concerning PSX4Droid's icon. While yongzh did not publish any Sony emulators himself, it does seem that the big guys are taking an active interest in the emulator situation on the Market.
Update 2: Google has issued a generic response to our inquiry asking what led to the takedown:
Engadget is reporting via a number of tipsters that the popular PlayStation emulator PSX4Droid has been pulled from Android market. Google's statement on the issue?
"We remove apps from Android Market that violate our policies."
Well, that's helpful. Actually, upon a short perusal of the US Patent and Trademark Office database, the reason became clear to us: PSX4Droid is infringing on a trademark owned by Sony for the acronym "PSX." This means PSX4Droid probably just needs a name change before being given the green light for republication. Considering the impending release of the Xperia Play, Sony seems to have timed its complaint rather strategically.