The candidates are many, and the reasons vary. First consideration that we looked at would be the functionality of the said application. And then came the personal preference. So here it is, the brew apps that have caught our fancy, in alphabetical order.
Oh, and don't bother looking for iR Shell in the list. That's already a given.
Developer: Danzel (original author), ZX-81 (current developer)
Features: Originally created by Danzel in 2006, the AFKIM: Instant Messenger for the PSP is now being worked on by the equally-talented ZX-81. As the name itself blatantly points out, this app lets you continue that chat with your friend through your PSP even when you're "Away From Keyboard". And yes, AFKIM stands for that exactly: Away From Keyboard Instant Messenger.
Download: AFKIM: Instant Messenger for PSP v3.3.7 (source)
Download: AFKIM: Instant Messenger for PSP v3.3.7 (fw4x)
Download: AFKIM: Instant Messenger for PSP v3.3.7 (fw15)
Features: The Bookr is an all-purpose document viewer with native PDF rendering. Originally released in 2005, it has now continued on with its development, currently running at version 8.1. Today it supports an enhanced MuPDF, as well as carries the following enhancements:
- DJVU support by Yang.Hu
- Control/GUI enhancements by Christian Payeur
Download: Bookr v8.1
Download: Bookr v8.1 (source)
Features: Hold+ is a plugin that would definitely be useful for all those who keeps their PSPs on a tight hold in their hands for hours on end. That's because this was specifically created to help you save on some battery power for your favorite handheld.
Features: This one's for all the music lovers out there. If you just can't be without your tunes, then you should check this out. LightMP3 is a basic MP3Player, and what makes it all the more appealing is that it does not drain your battery life.
Features: PSPDictionary is a multilingual dictionary, which came out supporting five languages. This multi-functionality is what makes it oober-cool, and the succeeding versions just keep upping the ante by adding more languages. Perfect for the jetsetter and backpacker out to see the world.
Features: Here's another brewed app that proved to be more so useful, other devs have picked up on the project to continue with its development. Back in 2007, Japanese dev SofiyaCat gave us all a pleasant surprise in the form of PSPTube, an app that lets you play YouTube videos on your PSP, without the hassle of converting or hosting the files through a computer. This is definitely perfect for music video lovers (like me) on the go.
Features: As mentioned earlier, this is an off-shoot of SofiyaCat's PSPTube application. While this is a mod of the original version, this is not to say that this is just a plain copycat. The main contribution of this mod app would be the addition of supported sites on its list, which, for its first release, had a very impressive one.
Download: Ultimate PSPTube v2.0
PMP VLC Player
Developer: jockyw002001/ Team P86
Features: PMP VLC Player actually has two kinds: the one created by jockyw2001 back in 2006, and the more recent one from Team P86.
The first kind plays media files from the memory stick (video from PSP/Video and music from PSP/Music) and from Optixx's PMP Server via WiFi (requiring Python), on several platforms such as Linux, Windows, and Mac.
The more recent version from Team P86, on the other hand, upped the development to version 1.0, as jockywoo2001's ended with v0.9. So essentially, these apps are just one and the same, with only that gap in development as the main difference. The latest version is now at version 1.1 and has added improvements as well as bugfixes, particularly with the control scheme.
Download: PMP VLC Player v1.1
Features: Here's another plugin that lets you display your unit's info on the lower bottom corner of your screen. What's nice about this is that it has a very clean design and a built-in screenshot function. The toggle feature for info visibility is a plus.
Features: gpSP is a GameBoy Advance emulator, which puts a lot of emphasis on emulation speed and optimization, so full speed emulation was very common even back when the emulator was still in beta. This is definitely a must-have if you're into emulation.
Exophase has since stopped working on gpSP, but a coder named Takka has been steadily releasing an unofficial version called gpSP Kai. There was a bit of drama over that but it looks like everything's all hunky-dory now. Recently, an anonymous Japanese coder has also started releasing a gpSP mod called, appropriately enough, gpSP mod.
Download: gpSP v0.9 (1.50 Eboot)
Download: gpSP Kai 3.3 test 2 build 132
Download: gpSP mod 20090329
Features: Ruka's NesterJ emulator lets you play classic games from the old Nintendo Entertainment System on your PSP. This app may be a bit old, but I still find it to be one of the best NES emulators for the PSP.
Updates have been scarce (if not completely nonexistent) since Ruka stopped working on NesterJ, but homebrew dev davex has also released a nifty little NesterJ mod that adds Rewind, Mirror, and Rotated modes.
Download: NesterJ v1.20 beta with WiFi Network play
Download: NesterJ NES Emulator 1.11 RM (Rewind and Mirror Mods)
Features: The ScummVM emulator is a multiplatform emulator for certain point and click adventure games. It was originally designed to run SCUMM games (hence the name) but it has since grown to include non-SCUMM engine games as well.
The thing I like most about ScummVM is that while there are a lot of ready-made binaries that work great, but if you have some programming know-how, you can compile it yourself. That and the fact that it lets me play Beneath A Steel Sky.
Download: ScummVM 0.13.0 (PSP)
Features: As you can probably guess from the name, this app is an SNES emulator. The first snes9x I tried was the PC version, which I found totally impressive. When I heard that there was a PSP port of the emulator I quickly scrambled to find it.
Over the years, there have been a few PSP versions of the snes9x software. The two I remember are Ruka's snes9xTYL++ (which was actually a variant of SnesTYL9x from Yoyofr and Laxer3a) and another effort from an unknown group called Snes9xTYLsmcm.
Download: Snes9xTYLsmcm Test 5 27/05/08
Of course there's still a lot of great apps out there, some of which we might even have failed to mention. This is not to say, therefore, that this list is the end-all, be-all of all that is great in the homebrew apps community. So if you've got anything else to add, then that would be cool, too!
Join us again next week for more of QuickJump QuickGuide. And don't forget, How-To this weekend will be on XMB and CMB Themes. Watch out for that!
Co-written by Karl B.