How to Play PSP (Playstation Portable) Games on Your Computer (PPSSPP)

In this guide, we show you how to play Playstation Portable (PSP) games using the PPSSPP emulator. The emulator is multi-platform, so similar procedures should work to the Windows version (the OS this guide uses).

The Playstation Portable would be Sony’s response to Nintendo’s handheld gaming system. While Nintendo still has a foothold on high quality games in the handheld market, there are still plenty of great games you can play on this system. Unfortunately, the system is discontinued and even the next generation handheld is being discontinued.

This is not to say that all the games you paid for are going to eventually rot because the hardware is aging. In fact, there are utilities online that allow you to continue playing some of your favourite games long after the hardware has died. While there are a few emulators out there that can play some of these games, we’ve chosen the PPSSPP as a demonstration as it seems to be the most reliable.

Step 1: Download the Emulator

The first thing we want to do is to head over to the official PPSSPP website which just so happens to be From there, you can head on over to the downloads section and download the version that best suits you. There are a number of desktop and handheld operating systems that this emulator plays on. Something to keep in mind, though, is that if you use images of your legally purchased games, it can use some memory. Something to keep in mind when you are deciding which system you want to run the emulator off of.

You’ll notice that there are “Gold” versions available as well. This is for those who want to support the developers of the emulator. You’ll still get the fully functional emulator with the non-gold versions. If you want to chip in a few bucks to the developer, definitely consider getting the gold version.

When you download the emulator, note that there is an installer version and a zip version. I’m just going to download the zip version.

Step 2: Extract/Install the Files

This step will vary depending on how you chose to download the emulator and what operating system you chose to use. If you are like me and chose to download the zip version, then you’ll just need to decompress the files. If you don’t have anything that unzips a .zip file, try using 7zip. This handles a whole bunch of different formats including the zip format.

Open the zip file and extract it to the folder of your choice.

Note: If you chose the installer, just follow the instructions of the installer and set a folder of your choice as the destination of choice to unpack the files.

When you boot the emulator, it’ll look something like this.

Step 3: Locate Your Games

The first thing we are going to want to do is pick a folder where our games are located. For me, I just click on “C:”, then clicked on the tiles to locate the folder containing all of my games.

Unfortunately, the emulator cannot automatically extract games from ZIP files, so if you compressed them in that format to save a little in space, you’ll have to extract the ISO image you ripped.

If the emulator recognizes the game image, an icon will appear. Just click on the icon to load the game.

If the icon system is too confusing for you, you can just toggle to a more detailed view by clicking on the detailed mode button (highlighted in screen shot). This will offer the icon as well as the title of the game in question.

Feel free to test to see if the game loads. If it can load the game fine, great. Just hit escape and go back to the main menu again.

Step 4: Set Your Controls

Now, you might find yourself wanting to adjust your controls depending on the game you play. This can easily be done.

First, you’ll want to click on “Settings”.

Next, you’ll want to click on the “Controls” option in the subsequent menu (highlighted in screen shot).

After that, you’ll want to click on “Control Mapping”.

In this menu, you can click on any key you want to change, then hit the key you want to set. The defaults are generally pretty good for a standard control layout. However, for illustrative purposes, let’s say I want to change the “O” button. I just click on the symbol (as highlighted in the screen shot).

In this mini-window, you can just hit the key I want to use. That will set the new key.

If I happen to make a mistake and want to go back to the beginning, I can always click on “Restore defaults” key.

Note that you can not only adjust controller buttons, but also hot buttons such as save state and load state options.

when I’m done, I can click on the “Back” button.

Adjusting Other Settings

If you want to adjust the audio settings, you can always click on the Settings button.

Next, I’m going to want to click on the audio tab (highlighted in screen shot). From here, I can make adjustments however I like. In this case, I lowered the master volume down to 5.

That is it! You should be ready to play your backup PSP games!


Is there a way to tell if the game I’ve backed up will work?
Yes. Simply check out this page to see if your game is compatible with the emulator. A vast majority are compatible, so chances are very high that it will work at this point.

My game runs slow for some reason, what’s going on?
It may be because the emulation can’t keep up with the game in question. A more probable reason is that the system you are running the emulator off of does not have enough resources to run the game smoothly. Depending on the game, the emulator may be very resource demanding.

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