Aug 04 AT 12:16 PM Anthony Domanico 59 Comments

A new generation of emulators comes to Android: Android and Me reviews psx4droid

One could argue that high-quality games come very infrequently to the Android market. Sure, there are a handful or so of games out there that are worth the $2-10 developers are asking for them, but the number of must-have Android games remains relatively small.

Emulators, such as NESoid and SNESoid (among others) in the Android market have been very popular as they not only allow us to relive the glorious days of our youth playing Super Mario Bros (1, 2, or 3) with all our friends, but they also provide access to thousands of games for the same price as a single game in the market.

Until last week, the availability of emulators was largely limited to the old cartridge platforms. The release of psx4droid brings gamers into the CD-console age of the mid-90s, bringing thousands upon thousands of original Playstation games to your Android.

Now, I had my coming of age with respect to video games around the time of the release of the Playstation, and have owned every Playstation platform produced to date, so needless to say I was very excited for psx4droid’s release.

Overall Impressions

After spending a little over a week now with psx4droid running on my Froyo-equipped Nexus One, am I still as impressed as I was the first few days? In a word: abso-friggin-lutely. psx4droid brings with it the quality we have come to expect from the work of the ZodTTD team. The on-screen controls are implemented very well, though at times a portion of the screen is a little bit obscured. The menu options allow you to save your game right where you are and pick it up later, which is very useful for games like Resident Evil that have save spots sparsely spread out throughout the levels.

The games you know and love play identically well to how they played back in the 90s when you were enjoying them for the first time, though on a decidedly smaller screen. I have fairly bad eyesight, and have had no complaints about viewing on a 3.7″ screen. Playing through about 10 hours of Final Fantasy 7, I experienced no hiccups or glitches of any kind.

Encorporated right into the in-game menu is the ability to take screenshots of your gameplay. Though I can’t off the top of my head think of a reason I would ever really use this feature (other than to write this review of course), the ability to take screenshots is a nice little added feature that could serve some useful purpose down the line. Bragging rights, anyone?

Update: After playing FF7 for a little over a week now, the gameplay seemed very smooth and I did not notice any significant reductions in frame rates. psx4droid was tested using a Nexus One running CyanogenMod 6.

Complaints/Issues

psx4droid doesn’t come without its (small) frustrations, however. From discussions with colleagues as well as frustrations expressed on twitter, there are two main concerns/issues people are having with psx4droid.

Complaint 1: Initial Set-Up

The first complaint is taht psx4droid is a bit tricky to set up on your device. Fortunately, forum member ap3604 over at XDA have come up with a step-by-step tutorial to help users get psx4droid set up properly.  You can follow the conversation at the link in the last sentence, otherwise I have pasted the instructions below as well for convenience.

Step 1: Download psx4droid in the android market (search psx and it will come up)

Step 2: Connect your phone to your computer via usb and create a folder where you will place your Bios file and Roms (SDcard -> then create a new folder PSXoid)

Step 3: google the term scph1001.bin and download the file

Step 4: place the scph1001.bin file in the newly created folder PSXoid

Step 5: go to http://www.underground-gamer.com/wiki/index.php/ECM and download ECM under the Windows section of the page and extract the UNECM portion of the EMC download to the desktop

Step 6: grab the Rom in ECM format from the desktop and place it into the UNECM file now on the desktop, it will start making a copy of the Rom with the correct file type and will pull up a small black screen showing you that it is converting it to the correct format with a percentage ticking away to 100%

Step 7: now that you have the PSX Rom in the correct bin format, you can place it in the newly created PSXoid folder and your emulator will now be able to see it!

Step 8: unplug phone from USB and open psx4droid app

Step 9: Use the top portion of the settings to search for and select scph1001.bin as the bios file to use (It’s easy to find since you know its in the PSXoid folder)

Step 10: Once you have selected the bios file you will be promted to find a rom that you want to use. You will now be able to see the rom and play it on your psx4droid emulator!

Step 11: Enjoy =)

Complaint 2: Downloading and Installing ROMs on your Phone

Disclaimer: Now, it’s important to throw up a legal disclaimer before getting started in this section. Android and Me in no way supports illegally downloading ROMs, as there is some gray area concerning the legality of doing so. A general rule of thumb I’ve heard (and used) is to only use ROMs for games you have purchased previously. I’ve used Final Fantasy 7 when writing this review, and have actually purchased that game a grand total of 3 times (one I gave to a friend once I completed it, one I bought when it hit the greatest hits section to re-play it, and again when I bought a PS3), so I think I can safely defend myself should Sony/SquareEnix come after me.

Several websites exist that allow you to download ROMs for the original Playstation games. Simply do a Google search for “Playstation ROMs” and you should be well on your way. Once you’ve downloaded the ROM file for a game you already own, go through steps 6 and 7 of the process from Complaint 1 (above) to get the ROM into an emulator-friendly format.

Final Verdict: Should you actually BUY psx4droid for the $6 asking price?

To quote insanely popular ROM developer Cyanogen, the ability to play Playstation games on your Android phone is “Holy crap, full of awesome!” If you enjoyed the original Playstation back in its days of glory, and are willing to operate in somewhat of a legal gray-area, you basically owe it to yourself to shell out the measly $6 to purchase psx4droid. Once you get over the minor hassles associated with set-up, it really is a killer application that is a must have for any gamer.

As I noted above, this review was done on a Nexus One running Android 2.2. If you have a first-generation Android device (looking at you G1, MT3G, Cliq, BH2, etc.), it will still run decently, but not as well as on the newest-generation devices. Take that for what you will when considering whether or not to purchase psx4droid, but it definitely deserves pointing out.

psx4droid is currently available for $6 on the Android Market, and should work on all Android versions.

psx4droid psx4droid psx4droid psx4droid psx4droid

Anthony loves all things technology, from hardware to apps and games. You can connect with him via Google+ or Twitter by clicking one of the fancy doo-dads above.

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  • http://Website max

    This is your whole review? No indication of which games you tested/reviewed? How playable were the frame rates? Come on! Give us some indication as to how viable this is as a game platform.

    • HardNoks

      Dude…shutup and read

    • http://adomanico01.blogspot.com/ Anthony Domanico

      I’ve added a small blurb just for you. Framerates were smooth throughout the 10 hours or so I played through FF7.

  • http://adomanico01.blogspot.com/ Anthony Domanico

    See the Disclaimer above, I spent the week with FF7 and FF7 only. The point was to test how well psx4droid runs the ROMs, not to test which ROMs work and which ones don’t.

    I can look into framerates if people would like, but it’s going to vary significantly from version to version and phone to phone. Will having framerates for one device really help in any way? Again, I’d be happy to look into it more if it actually mattered to some people, but I didn’t feel it was necessary for (or helpful to) the review.

    • http://Website doc

      I purchased and downloaded both the psx and FF7, and downloaded ECM, but still FF7 does not work. The only thing ECM does is add an extension to the end of the file. Am I doing something wrong? I ran into this same problem searching in various forums.

      • http://adomanico01.blogspot.com/ Anthony Domanico

        Did you follow the steps word for word? You literally need to drag the rom file from where it is on your computer, right on top of the UNECM exe file. Literally, drop and drag it as though the unecm.exe file was a folder you were moving a file itno. This converted it to .bin format and worked for me the first time.

        Let me know if you are still having problems.

        • http://Website Kevin

          would you be able to create a video to help explain the process of putting psx4droid onto my phone? I am planning to get a droid x but am not computer savy yet but I am a frequent reader

          • http://adomanico01.blogspot.com/ Anthony Domanico

            I will look into it, but can’t promise anything. I’m a video-noob. Try the step-by-step directions and see where it gets you. It was fairly easy for me.

      • TravLadin

        Im going to get it tonight..

  • http://Website NeoteriX

    Any discussion of compatibility?

    Even just testing FF7, was it a 100% faithful emulation/reproduction or were there some glitches?

    • http://adomanico01.blogspot.com/ Anthony Domanico

      That’s really all going to depend on the ROM itself, right?

      I also added a little blurb for you in the post, FF7 was 100% true-to-form though 10 hours of gameplay, and I wholly expect all well-put-together ROMs will have the same experience.

    • http://Website Ryan Francis

      Is it really so hard for people to just go test it themselves?

      Thank you for the review, Anthony. You gave me enough information to go try it out and see how I like it. Will report back soon!

      • http://adomanico01.blogspot.com/ Anthony Domanico

        That’s what it’s really about. I give you all I can manage to think about when testing an app out, and if I like it, hopefully I can entice some of you to try it out for yourself. If it’s bad, I’ll tell you to avoid it. That being said, however I have one opinion, and it might not be the same as yours, and that’s okay (that’s why paid apps have a 24 hour refund window).

  • http://www.toysdiva.com PixelSlave

    Playing FF9 on my Droid (Froyo, overclocked to 1000). It’s been a wonderful experience. Now, I hate to point it out, onscreen control sucks. The games aren’t designed for touch controls, so you often found your finger blocking important area of the display — I tried playing it with a Gundam Battle Assault and it totally destroyed the gameplay. But that’s when my Droid shines — I assigned every buttons to a physical keys and turned off the onscreen control. Bingo, psx4droid becomes near perfect. I feel sorry for the folks who don’t have a physical keyboard.

    • http://adomanico01.blogspot.com/ Anthony Domanico

      Interesting take on the controls. I’m sure it chalks up to personal preference/tolerance. I can understand the notion that on-screen controls can kill some of valuable screen space, but felt it was done in such a way that it only minimally interfere with gameplay.

      Of course, having a phone that lacks a physical keyboard, I probably didn’t have the same expectations that you had that it would be a perfect experience.

      • http://Website Gomez

        The Wii Controller should work on this Right? It works for the other emulators. I dont even have a Wii but i bought both the controllers to have a better gaming experience on my Nexus One. Get the Classic controler and it works like a PSP controller.

  • http://Website JD

    any chance of bluetooth controller support, ala wii controller for the Nesoid and Snesoid emus?

    • http://www.PeterSouza.com/ Peter Souza Iv

      Yes, it already supports WiiMote and other blutooth goodies.

  • http://Website LostMyNutsToMeWife

    Yeah i was kind of expecting results on different types of games and their performance. As far as my experience with this app, i have two rom games tested Final fantasy 8 disc 1 and Metal Gear Solid disc 1 using a MOTO droid with Android 2.2 and overclocked to 1000 Mhz.

    FF8 = runs fine. The intro footage visually runs perfect but no audio. Game play runs flawless a little bit of lag or slow movement when moving, i’m guessing because i’m using the on-screen controls.

    Metal Gear Solid = Not as positive. Game (rom) hangs if i wait for the intro. Still haven’t managed to start playing yet, again rom hangs not the app or the phone, you can reset, but the rom seems either too much for the emulator or is a bad rom. (I shall try to download a different rom to see)

    I have the games in a box because they have a special place in my heart, so i’m not doing anything illegal. But downloading them is a pain. You have to download all the pieces in .rar format then uncompressed them to get a .BIN file which normally is 1 disc of the entire set.

    At least thats my experience with the app. Please feel free to add any pointers if somebody has gotten lucky with other roms.

    • http://adomanico01.blogspot.com/ Anthony Domanico

      I also wonder how much of that is ROM-Specific, and how much is psx4droid-specific.

      • http://Website LostMyNutsToMeWife

        Exactly.

        Thats why i’m gonna try and download Metal Gear Solid from a different source (hoping is not the same compilation), to isolate the problem.

        But is very common for some games not run well in emulator environments.

        • http://adomanico01.blogspot.com/ Anthony Domanico

          Which completely makes sense when you think about it. Sucks that they’re usually the good games. Thank god the FF series seems to work ;)

  • http://Website dk

    Still says authorizing purchase…anyone else have this issue?

    • http://Website dk

      nvm, got it ;)

  • http://Website jwmaag

    Just in case anyone is curious, Xenogears runs a pretty slow.

    I’m running without sound on a cyanogen6 rc2 Nexus one.

  • http://Website dk

    Getting pretty poor (almost unplayable) performance on my HTC MyTouch Slide (Espresso) playing Driver :(

    I’m gonna try FF7 when I get home, hopefully that gets better results.

    • http://adomanico01.blogspot.com/ Anthony Domanico

      Unfortunately, the Slide is still considered a first-gen (or 1 1/2 gen at most) due to the old processor. Best performance is going to be on the 1GHZ processors in the new generation devices.

      Fortunately, if you’re unhappy with performance, you can always get a refund if you’re still within the 24 hour window.

  • http://Website kswap

    Im playing FF7 and i got to where you first get to the hideout and tifa ask cloud if he forgot about this promise and it launches to a flash back. My screen just goes black and i can still hear audio

    im on cyan 6 nightly nexus one

  • http://Website markus

    Nice review and thanks!

    I’m picking up the Samsung Galaxy S (In Canada, on Bell) this friday and I can’t wait.
    This app will probably be 1 of the first 10 I go for.

  • http://Website calvin

    Websitelator works fine with my sammy vibrant, ff7,8, 9, fine perfectly, but fighting games like bloody Roar 2, tekken 1,2, 3 runs dreadfuly slow, if doesnt matter i need a controller for those anyway, but over dl psx4driod for my mt3gs, if runs slow but playable

    • http://Website calvin

      Sorry for the bad typing(using swiftype kb)

  • http://Website Schmich

    I’ve played quite a few different games on my Galaxy S and two remarks I have to mention
    1) sound could be better, it’s weird how the video is great but then sound goes from good to terrible depending on situations
    2) some games you really want a controller. Overlay controls is just playable on some type of games

    Gran Turismo 2: playable although the play is a bit slow (not all too choppy, mainly slow, as in 1 second turns into eg.1.5 sec)
    Need For Speed 3 & 4: slightly better frame rates than GT2
    Driver: pretty okay frame rates but with texture popping of course, controls are pretty good
    Wipeout 3: great frame rates and controls work really nicely. You can easily avoid bumping the sides and all
    Doom: the only one that I tried which didn’t work. Gets me stuck on “loading”
    Quake 2: doesn’t run all too well with the frame rates. The Kwaak port of Quake 3 for Android is much much better.
    Duke Nukem LOTB: playable but not great frame rates
    Medal of Honor: great frame rates and much more playable that Duke Nukem in terms of controls
    Street Fighter Alpha 3 and Collection 2: frame rates are great but special moves are hard due to the L/R1/2 controls being hard to access

  • http://Website jmn

    Any issues going from cd1 to cd2?

  • http://Website Ronald

    Hey I’m a Noob when it comes to Rom’s and many other topics but i want to try this…Im wondering if i should follow the steps if im using a Mac?….and btw its my only apple product…lol….can I get some help?…my only regret in my video game playing career is to never finish playing Xenogears!!

  • http://Website dave

    Droid users should get the keyboard overlay controller called game gripper.

  • http://Website bali balo

    I still don’t understand why they don’t make these emulators free of charge, maybe because android and iphone platforms are popular and people are used to pay a few bucks without complaining ? (as you said, what is 5$ compared to the amount of games you can play “for free” ? I won’t start a debate on the legitimity of playing “backups” and how people gen,erally use emulators but you got the idea)

    My problem is that these emulators are originally open-source emulators (all based on the same snes9x/pocketsnes, pocketnes, picodrive, pcsx4all, etc) developped by REAL emu developpers on their own time FOR FREE. The source code was made available to everyone so anybody can learn from it (this is the GPL spirit) but instead you see people just grab the code, port it quickly to those mobile platform (yes, because those emulators are VERY portable in the first place or were optimized for ARM cpu, like the GP2X or DS are using), add some kind of generic interface with the given devkit and voila….

    I know it’s perfectly legal to ask money for open-source or GPL-based program (but in this case, the sourcecode should also be made available to anyone for recompiling it itself without having to pay anything, is that the case here ? I doubt it) but the problem is that the amount of time that was put in these ports are NOTHING compared to the work done by the original authors in the first time , which, obviously, does not earn anything on these. It’s just unfair and it sucks, but hey, life sucks sometime and there will always be people trying to make easy money

  • http://Website Khoonoh

    Can this PSX work in Android tablet?? i plan to buy a tablet,

    • http://Website LostMyNutsToMeWife

      If its running Android 2.1 or later there shouldn’t be a reason not to run. Heck it would actually make sense to use a controller. I just wonder if a PS2 emulator is in the works!!

  • http://Website bacon

    I want an N64 emulator so I can play super smash bros. with the wiimote and nunchuck controller.

  • http://Website cccola29

    so I’m a noob with this stuff, I purchased psx4droid off the market and I am following the instructions. I’m just having a hard time finding a good rom of FFVII a lot of the places I went to had ff7 disc 1 in 9 parts. Where is the best place to find a ff7 rom. Other than I can handle the instructions on my own

    • http://adomanico01.blogspot.com/ Anthony Domanico

      Do a google search for playstation ROMs and go to the first 3-5 sites to come up. You’ll be able to find, just takes a bit of time/searching around.

  • http://www.nxtgamer.com KieranD

    Any word on how well this will run on my HTC Hero?

    • http://adomanico01.blogspot.com/ Anthony Domanico

      Being a 1st gen device, it likely won’t run it as well as the newer devices. It WILL run, but results will be mixed.

  • http://Website Joel F

    FF: Tactics works fairly well on my Galaxy S/Captivate. Sound stutters some, which can be annoying. I also started up FF: origins; the intro video plays with more audio stutter. I didn’t get into the game itself though.

    Regarding obtaining ROMs for games you already own–you don’t need to download them anywhere. Do a search for “ImgBurn,” install it, and use that to make a CD image .bin. It’s trivially easy…

  • http://Website Johnel

    I’m a noob to this stuff as well and I have taken the time to try to experiment with this but this an awfully long process to get one game onto a device don’t you guys think? Some of these ROM’s you download come in up to 10 different files and then to have them converted is really time consuming. I get that the final product is the key here but jeez talk about a process needed to be streamlined.

  • http://Website adryan

    its a great application. i just hope they can get a ps3 controller or another wireless controller similar to ps1/2/3 to work with it like the wii remotes

  • http://Website deeb215

    It would be cool if there was a site or blog specifically for this emulator. It pains me to download rom after rom only to be greeted with a black screen. The hit or miss game gets old pretty quick. Only listing games that are completely compatible with few bugs, and providing the converted .bin or link to said games. Wish I had the time :/

  • http://Website code.vtek

    Ive had the PSxDroid emulator for sometime and i must say its one of the coolest apps, ever. Quick questions though….are u guys having trouble playing some R0MS? I guess it depends where u DL them. Like MK Trilogy will freeze on me. Ive messed around in the settings but it doesnt make a diifference. Anyone recommend a great site for games?

  • http://Website roberto

    I was so psyched for playing this on my new Galaxy S but when I loaded up the wiicontroller app, my bubble burst. The Vibrant won’t pair with bluetooth gamepads… I hate using touchscreen. It just doesn’t work. Try using turbo, switch players, and tackle all at once when playing BLITZ. Frustrating. Why can’t someone come out with an android specific game pad?

    • http://Website BobbyZ

      I too, dislike touchscreen control. Is everyone else using a qwerty?

  • http://Website vishal

    how to scan that app? i am a new user of milestone and dont know how to scan it.please anybody help.

  • http://Website Murph

    I have the UNECM extract, but when i drag a ROM to it for conversion it attempts to open and immediately force closes…Any help…Is there another type of UNECM program available?

  • http://Website Terrell

    Hey I have a the samsung galaxy S and cant get ff7 to download to my phone do I need to buy the V2 verson of the emulator on the android market?

  • http://Website MAx

    When something is absolutely illegal, such copyright infringement or theft, it is not called a grey area. It is called illegal, massaging the terms doesnt change that. I still miss my gameboid.

  • arcijs26

    Well i completed the whole Resident Evil on my Samsung Galaxy Gio.

  • Jake

    You totally forgot to mention the #1 resource for Android Emulation, http://www.roms4droid.com. They have anything and everything you’ll need for playing on your phone.

  • http://adomanico01.blogspot.com/ Anthony Domanico

    I like your idea, but I think it would much more likely be integrated with Google TV than a phone per se.

  • http://Website Paul

    Wouldn’t it make more sense to just release a bluetooth? gaming keyboard/controller peripheral?