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Turn an old (or current) Android Phone into the Best Handheld with RetroArch!

New article. Hell’s bells it must be Christmas. /s

Yeah, we’ve been away for a bit. We’re sorry! But we’re here with a guide on making the best damn portable retro handheld device ever, and you might not even need to spend a penny – using RetroArch!

Swiss Army Knife of Emulation

Screenshot of RetroArch app on Android, showing Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros 2, and Zelda II Adventure of Link as options.

If you don’t know what RetroArch is, you need to check it out. Rather than having a few different emulators to run your favourite games, RetroArch acts as one interface for all, and lets you load the emulators inside it. Essentially, you can stop playing a SNES game, and start up a PS1 classic without closing the application!

If you checked out our guide for building a Retro Console with RetroPie, then congratulations – you’ve already been using it!

RetroArch comes on almost every platform known to mankind (even runs on Windows 95!), but the one we obviously care about – It’s on the Play Store.

For our purposes, we re-purposed a OnePlus 3T. Your mileage may vary, but typically on game performance than anything else. The heaviest platform we could successfully run was the PlayStation 1.

I have an iPhone ūüôĀ

Don’t fret, it works on iOS too! However, it is not approved to be on the App Store. You can still grab it without needing a jailbreak, if you follow their guide on using Cydia Impactor (or XCode) to install it on your iPhone.

Crafting the Perfect Handheld

Physical Controls

Vertical orientated phone with Tetris on the top of the screen. The phone is encased in A Nintendo Switch style controller.
Tetris, anyone?

You could stop here, really. Upload your BIOS files, ROMs and away you go – you got a pretty sweet emulator. Job’s done. But do you really want to be playing on touchscreen controls?

Bluetooth controllers can connect to your phone, and will be picked-up by RetroArch. In fact, you can connect multiple controllers to your device and play two/multiplayer games. Bizarrely, we’ve experienced better performance from generic controllers and keyboards than main brand, but performance may vary based on how complex the controller used is.

We have experienced (and seen reports of) input lag on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One controllers, so be advised your mileage may vary on these common controllers.

AliExpress have a bluetooth controller available called ‘X6 Telescopic’. This is a simple Bluetooth controller that wraps around a phone, and works perfectly for this project. This allows for landscape and portrait orientation, and works without the phone for big-screen gaming.

Dock Gameplay

This feature will only work with phones that support MHL (Mobile High-Definition Link). Check if your phone supports this before trying. Our OnePlus 3T unfortunately could not do this.

Nintendo Switch (and of course, PSP Go owners) will have got used to the glorious modern handheld experience that can turn into a TV console once hooked up to a screen. Neat, right? Well this isn’t a Switch exclusive ability. In fact, your phone might already be able to do this.

If you have a phone that supports MHL (Mobile High-Definition Link), you can benefit from USB to HDMI converters to show your gaming experience on the big screen. Combine this with a USB hub with HDMI to have a true dockable experience with wired USB controllers, for the true Switch-esque experience!

If you don’t have MHL, you can use a Chromecast. Be aware that since Chromecast operates over WiFi, the performance might be choppy. This can be pretty devistating during gameplay, so this will be need to tested in your own environment.

Steam Link

Of course RetroArch will be on your retro handheld, but if you’re also a PC gamer you can grab Steam Link for your phone for couch PC gaming. This will stream your PC Steam game to your phone, and your button inputs returned, to create a simulated experience on your phone.

Despite this working over WiFi, I’ve generally had positive experiences using this platform. I recommend sitting as close as you can to your router to keep the stream consistent, and dropping the quality to get a more constant FPS. Oh, and don’t let anyone turn on the microwave!

If you use an Nvidia graphics card, an alternative to Steam is Moonlight Game Streaming. This uses Nvidia’s GameStream functionality of their graphics cards to stream content instead of via a streamlined VNC-like connection. If you have one of these cards, try both and see which one works for you.

Show us yours!

Fancy giving this a pop? If you do, post your results in the comments below. Android phones power vary, and in turn the results can be spectacular. If you’re lucky enough to have a MHL phone (Samsung), you could get the best retro switch handheld setup!

End of the Line for Emuparadise ROM Downloads

A dark future lays ahead for homebrew game consoles as legal pressures mount on ROM sites. But is this such a bad thing?

Emuparadise was one of the largest sources for extracted game ROMs on the internet. While ROM download sites have always been in abundance, Emuparadise came with a large community backing and a paid subscription option, which in turn made the site pleasant to use for non-paying members – no intrusive adverts or malware!

However, after floods and floods of Cease & Decist requests from various different publishers, they have finally reached the end of the line with their lawsuit summons.

Pressure from Publishers

Piracy is always a heated topic, and the right of interlectual property has caused much confusion and anger over emulation over the years. While publishers have all but abandoned their older games into their inevitable oblivion, they also try their best to stop their games from being accessed DRM-free.

After many years of threats of legal action but with no recourse, these sites have happily deflected their attempts to allow us to relive our childhoods and spend precious times with memories. However, this has all changed in the wake of a particular legal threat.

Thanks, Nintendo.

Publishers Have Finally Recognised Retro

ROM Download sites found their market as publishers departed. As games come and go, they are removed from the shelves of your local game store and never seen again (except for thrift stores and sometimes the desert). However, it would appear rampant piracy has finally convinced publishers that we still dearly love our old games.

Nintendo have – for a long time now – provided paid-for emulation services on their Nintendo 3DS and Switch consoles. They also released their most popular (S)NES games on their own little mini console replicas. SEGA regularly release packs of retro games for various consoles and recently released new hardware for the Dreamcast, and some other developers have even open sourced their games!

Setting aside the debates of vendor lock-in and paying for emulation, it is nice to see commerical companies re-listing their old games for us to consume again.

At the end of the day, whether your allegance lies with true commercialism or the release of their old property, this comes as a big blow to the community as a whole. However, we wish Emuparadise all the best for the uncertain future for all ahead.

Personal Opinion


I have tried to be as diplomatic as possible over the issue, but my personal view is that Nintendo has made an awful decision. The normal approach to removing your ROMs is to send a Cease and Desist to those sites and they always normally comply. Nintendo is the only company to take this approach which means all sites – run by individuals who aren’t normally wealthy – have to shut down to avoid lawsuits.

This is not the Nintendo I grew up with. This is a Nintendo I will no longer be participating with, and will see as a patent troll. Nintendo died to me this year.

A PSP Go Storage Solution may be in the Works

Owners of a PSP Go with a large library will know it’s a struggle when it comes to storage. Whereas regular PSP has had the benefit of a MicroSD converter, the PSP Go has never had such luck. 

The mighty slidy PSP Go utilises space by using a smaller card. The card it uses is the M2, which is another proprietary format from Sony. However, unlike the long base Pro Duo format this M2 has a size constraint. As a result, it has made it harder for third parties to develop an effective solution, using a more common connector.

Light may be at the end of the tunnel however. Kouchan66 has posted the technical plans for a form of converter on Twitter. This by no means suggests that they are ready for the market, but it shows that progress is still being made for the 8 year old platform. 


It is still early days yet, but hopefully we will soon start seeing adapters on the market within the coming years.

Meanwhile, if you are a fan of beautifully custom designed PSP consoles, check out the work of Kouchan66 expertise.

Unreleased Saints Row game for PSP now Available

We’re still new to this, please excuse our slowpokery.

Saints Row series is famous for being in leagues with the Grand Theft Auto series with an added comedy twist. The series is based on being the leader of a gang and rising up from a tough spot to taking over the entire city from rival gangs. The game is famous for massive levels of customisation, eccentric storylines and a massive expanse of explorable land, and tried to come to the PSP.

Volition had planned a release of Saints Row for the PSP around the time Saints Row 2 was making the rounds. However, a fair way along the project the plug was pulled and the game slowly fell into the failed build abyss, until it was rediscovered by Volition staff. Instead of ignoring the code, the wonderful team chose to expose the game to the public, in a Twitch stream and in an actual download.

Bear in mind this game never saw the light of day, so running the game may be a big task. However you can experience the vision of Saints Row being on the PSP. If you can get the game working, you will find quite a big portion of the game was designed, but don’t expect to see any final release or working storyline.

If you have a spare moment check it out. It isn’t common a big studio releases their development builds!

Saints Row: Undercover

Nintendo DS text logo on a cartoon sunbeam background

Nintendo DS Next in the Family

New Super Mario Brothers for Nintendo DS isn’t so new any more. In fact, it’s now almost 11 years old. It’s running platform, the world-famous Nintendo DS, is now around 12 years old in itself, and only saw the end of the DS line in 2011. A 6 year official lifespan¬†with a massive range of variations gives it one of the longest lifespans of a handheld console. Sadly however, a mild homebrew community meant that it is now mostly unheard of, combined with a successor with an awfully similar name.

In the coming months (we mean it this time),  we will be adding a new section covering the hidden homebrews of the Nintendo DS. we will point you to the best community locations, guides, options and homebrews available for your DS. DSi will also be included in these guides, however personally I never owned one of these incredible little devices.

Meanwhile, we are still working on the Dreamcast section. We have had a couple of setbacks due to server issues, but rest assured we will be adding them to the site in the near future! As always, any concerns just let us know.

 

Raspberry Pi in a case with a SNES controller on top

Forget Retro Rebuilds, Create your own mutli-system Retro Console for £60

With a revival of interest in older video games, a few old console companys have re-produced anniversary editions of their consoles. Sinclair has released the ZX Vega, and Nintendo released the adorable little NES Classic. Are you awaiting your favourite console to undergo their transformation? Well, why wait when you can build your own?

The low-cost IoT board Raspberry Pi is a powerful little board of delights, and a delight in this situation is that it’s capable of running games up to PlayStation 1. As a result, the board is a great candidate for building your own DIY Retro games console. All in all, a decent build of this console will only cost around ¬£60, which is¬†less than some of these rebuilds.

The guide is currently on-going. If you’re tempted by this and wish to give it a shot, check the link below!

DIY Retro Console with Raspberry Pi

Dreamcast next up on RT

blue spiral with 'Dreamcast' written underneath

We’ve been modifying some of the current guides up.¬†With the transition complete it feels like the time to add a new console to the lineup. Up next was the last console release from SEGA, and they ended their releases with a storm. The Dreamcast.

Dreamcast was the first console to start the sixth generation of consoles. While it was the under-performer of the generation, the vast array of different types of games and accessories made this console a commercial success. This console saw the release of arguably the only successful Sonic RPG, Sonic Adventures.

Behind the Dreamcast is a utility that came to light after support was dropped, that was the VMU. The Virtual Memory Unit pioneered by SEGA, featured a controller slot-in. This slot-in not only let you store game data, but also had interactions with games by the way of a screen. Dreamcast games could utilise this screen however they wish, normally to display some game art. Pull the VMU out of the controller though, and you find a tiny set of controls. You can interact with many games, and even have a tamagochi-like pet by the way of Sonic Adventures.

In the coming weeks we will be doing some polishing to the site and adding to the currently sparse FAQ sections, but we will then add the Dreamcast in time for Christmas and the server migration.

Update: This is still in the pipe-works, and will be ready once we have the necessary resources. In the mean time we have been updating the site otherwise, but rest assured it’s still on the way.

We’re moving (already)

Hello all!

Here at Retro PlayStation we discovered that we have a couple of issues. Our domain name is very specific, in that we provide services for the older PlayStation consoles. However, We used ‘PlayStation’ in the name. Most of you will know that PlayStation is a trademark of¬†Sony Interactive Entertainment Incorporated. We added warnings to stay we are not affiliated to or endorsed by¬†Sony, but the trademark violation still exists. With a mission to stay active for as long as possible, a simple cease and desist from Sony could immediately knock the site permanently offline.

Asides from blatant trademark issues, we also do not intend to serve just PlayStation models. We already have Dreamcast and Nintendo DS in our lineup, so Retro PlayStation is in essence rather misleading for our future ventures.

So we have decided to migrate our site to a new domain. Starting Sunday, we will be found at revive.today, and be called – you guessed it – Revive Today.

We will aim to provide a great service across many existing and newly retro consoles, and still provide a great service to the PlayStation lineage. We will redirect requests to Retro PlayStation over to our new site, so you should not have to worry about any existing links. Also, should our website redirect unsuccessfully, we have been fully archived on the WayBack Machine.

So that’s our news for today. Please let us know what you think in the comments below!

Please note we have not actually been served a C&D from Sony. We are just preparing for the future.

Retro PlayStation is here!

Welcome to Retro PlayStation!

Besides the need for a hobby, this website was set up for a quite particular reason. I* was big into the Jailbreaking and CFW scene in my teens, esepcially iPod Touches and PSPs. When I came back to the scene years later, I noticed that all the sites I used has disappeared and were replaced by clickbait blogs and random people sharing files. I harbour a dislike for this method, as you never know what you’re gonna get is safe.

We¬†created this blog as my favourite mediums have started to wither, so together a collection can be built up so that hopefully this will stop being the case. While it unfortunately doesn’t work well with files, every step of the way we¬†have regularly backed this site up to archive.org, a wonderful website providing a service that lets you see the older historical version of web pages. WayBack Machine has received regular updates from here, so if this site was to disappear in the future the guides and information on¬†this site will not be lost forever.

With this goal in mind we do not wish to start replacing communities that already exist, so we will always try to provide linkbacks to currently active website communities. There are also plenty of wonderful guides scattered round the web right now, so this website will try to index all of these sites so they are not lost in the tides of the web.

How can I help?

There’s lots of ways you can help out with the site! We are active on Reddit (u/retroplaystation), so if you see something worth preserving or adding tag us in!

You can also help us by:

  • Sending us tip-offs of any new features or something we’ve missed (no form yet, email us!).
  • Commenting on the pages and guides on the site.
  • Pointing out any awesome guides you’ve found on the web.
  • Spreading the word, and the love of the retro.

Is this just for PlayStation?

No. We will be adding all forms of retro consoles we obtain that have a homebrew/hacking community behind. In fact, we are planning to add Nintendo DS, DreamCast and Gamecube next to the list.

Will this site be available forever?

We wish we could say yes, but no. We intend to keep this site as long as we possibly can. However, we have many risks hosting this site, including:

  • Server costs.
  • DMCA takedowns.
  • Sony not liking our domain name (We don’t intend to infringe copyright, otherwise we will rename not shut down).

However, we have a contingency plan in place when the site is due pop its clogs. Should the time occur for the site to pass on, we have backed up all our pages to archive.org, so all the content on this site will still be accessible. We will move all our downloadable files that have not received DMCA requests into a file sharing host, so they will hopefully still be available after the site perishes.


So that’s our site so far. Please let us know in the comments what you think, and we will try to provide you with great content for those new and experienced to the scene!

*This website is currently run by one individual, which is why things take a long time to process.