When the Sony PSP launched in Japan at the tail end of 2004, it looked set to dominate handheld gaming for the foreseeable future. The machine had it all: ultra-desirability, state-of-the-art specs, all-encompassing support from all major publishers, plus every major Sony and third party gaming franchise on the way. But a combination of shovelware PS2 ports, a basic lack of understanding as to what is required from a handheld game experience and a high price point has held the machine back dramatically. At the same time, Nintendo's DS has caught the imagination in a way that Sony seems unable to match.
With the PSP more than a little moribund, Sony has plunged an adrenalin-packed syringe of extra functionality directly into the heart of the machine, injecting new features deep into its advanced innards. Most exciting of these new upgrades is the PlayStation 1 emulator. A core component of the PS3-interfacing firmware 3.0, it is one of the most ambitious and complex pieces of code yet devised for the PSP. Original PlayStation titles can be bought and downloaded from the PlayStation Store via PS3, downloaded to memory stick then played on the handheld. And the emulation performance is astonishingly good, as close to perfect as you could want, with only minor glitches being reported on a minority of titles.