If you really want to play Gran Turismo or Castlevania on the go, Sony's PlayStation Portable is a great way to do it. But it gets harder and harder to justify carrying around a PSP handheld gaming console when you've got an equally powerful Android phone in your pocket already. The PSP had a good 10 years before being discontinued, and your Android can pick up the slack now.
There have been numerous PSP emulators available over the years, such as PPSSPP, but the one I find myself coming back to time and time again is UltraPSP by UltraGameEmulators, which is actually based off of PPSSPP. It's one of the most stable PSP emulators I've used so far, and that's reason enough to keep coming back. I've used it on a Samsung Galaxy S6, HTC 10, Pixel, and LG G5 with no issues. Plus, it's free.
While UltraPSP is no longer available on the Google Play Store, it can still be sideloaded onto your Android phone or tablet. Just download the latest version from APKPure, make sure "Unknown sources" is enabled on your device, if not already, then install it by tapping on the "Download complete" notification, or from any file manager, and following the prompts. If you'd rather use an emulator available on Google Play, there's always PPSSPP.
If you have your own ISO files for your own PSP game collection, great! If not, you'll also need to install an Android app that will extract RAR, 7Z, ZIP, etc. archive file types, such as the free Easy Unrar, Unzip & Zip utility.
There's a legal gray area when it comes to downloading ROMs due copyright and intellectual property issues. As such, we can't link out to any specific ROMs or even to download sites. If you were to google Emuparadise or CoolROM to look up PSP games, though, we certainly wouldn't stop you.
Once you've picked a site, look up a game you're interested in playing and download it. Technically, you should have a physical copy of the game you want to play, so proceed with caution. Read the prompts carefully, and make sure you select the right download link on the page. Once it starts downloading, you should see the downloading icon in your status bar, and you can keep track of the download's progress in your notification tray.
Once your file has been downloaded, make sure that the file size in your device matches the one that's posted on the site. After that's been verified, proceed to the next step.
Once you've downloaded the game, you'll have to extract the RAR, 7Z, ZIP, etc. archive to access the ISO file.
- Open Easy Unrar.
- Scroll down and tap on the Download folder.
- Tap on the archive file for your game to check the box.
- Tap on the "Extract" button.
- On the popup, tap the file again to check it yet again.
- Tap on "Extract" one more time.
Once the folder is done extracting, scroll through the files inside to make sure there are no other files that need to be extracted. If you find another archive file, make sure to extract it as well. Once you see the ISO file, you can exit Easy Unrar.
The hard part is out of the way, so now it's time to play! Open up UltraPSP, tap on the control pad symbol, then select "Games." Select "the "Home" button, then open your Download folder. Note that you have the option of viewing your selections in a grid or list format.
In the larger green boxes (the folders), tap on the game title that you unzipped—not the actual RAR, ZIP, whatever file. In my case, it's Monster Hunter Freedom Unite.
If you only had to unzip one archive file, then you should see a cover image of your game title in a folder box. If not, tap on the game folder title again until you see the game's cover image. Once you see the image, just tap on it to start the game.
Now just sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor. As you can see below, Monster Hunter Freedom Unite is working perfectly on my device. The controls will be overlaid on top of the game itself, which is how every other video game console emulator works. It takes some getting used to, but you can always pair a PS4 controller with your phone or tablet if you just can't get the hang of it.
To give you an idea of how well this works, here are a few other games working on other Android devices using the UltraPSP PSP emulator. Not all PSP games will be able to work on UltraPSP, just as they would not be able to work on PPSSPP. Some are just not compatible, so if one doesn't work, don't be discouraged—try another.