Book Review: Hacking the PSP

With the complexity of today's gaming consoles, it's no surprise we need books like Hacking the PSP. The amount of things that can be done to this little handheld is astonishing, and there isn't another book out there on this console that covers this much. The flashy, foil cover isn't just for show. It's there to grab attention away from the other books on the same topic because they're nearly rendered useless.

Hacking the PSP is a 300+ page book that offers something for anyone who owns the console. The basics are here, from simple things like getting video onto the console to playing around with photos. The extensive coverage of the web browser is by far the most well written guide on this feature yet. The layout is simple, easy to follow, and the pictures clear enough in black & white to understand.

That's the type of thing covered in other books and the manual though. To make this stand out, Auri Rahimzadeh digs deep to offer some remarkable things to do. He goes above and beyond the call by including a chapter on basic C and C++ programming to get simple code up and running. It would have been expected to toss the code out there for the people who understand it, but Rahimzadeh takes the time to explain the origins of the code, how it works, and why you would want to do this in the first place.

Little tips strewn throughout the book offer tiny tidbits that are useful and possible without any hacking. All of those game save pictures on the memory stick can be changed to your liking, something not covered in Sony's manual. It's not the easiest process (and it's arguable that it's not even worth it), but it's here in plain English if you want to give it a shot.

The side bars, like the explanation of widescreen and various resolutions is informative, not just filler. Rahimzadeh tosses in some light commentary at times too. This breaks up the guide and offers something different than instruction.

Hacking the PSP covers things away from the internals of the system too. If you want to build a cheap car stand for your console, the deeply involving guide is more than enough to do so. It may not look pretty, but it seems functional. There is plenty of information on keeping your battery going, even going as far building an external battery pack if your addiction has gone way over the point of no return and you cry if the included battery dies.

The only complaint here isn't against the author, but time. There's zero coverage on newer firmware updates, and while the hundreds of links provided will guide you in the right direction, it's now history to be discussing the 2.0 firmware. The speed of PSP development is simply too fast to keep up with in a book like this.

It's the same problem with the other PSP-based books too. We'll never see a definitive guide until this console is dead and gone. Until that finally happens, we have Hacking the PSP, and aside from the web, it's all we need. O'Reily's PSP Hacks, while a solid book on its own, pales in comparison to how comprehensive this is.

Note from the author:

I took the time issue into account and that's why I keep my site, www.hackingpsp.com, updated every day with the latest PSP news, information, and new hacks. I also cover all the new firmwares on my web site, and have a section entitled Homebrew Central that helps people run homebrew. There's a complete support forum for not only Hacking the PSP readers, but all PSP users as well.

Comments (1)

Thanks for the great review! You should share with the folks on Amazon.com.

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