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.
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.
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.