Sunday, July 02, 2006

Xevious on PSP?

Question: What happens when you drop your PlayStation Portable in the swimming pool?

I found out the hard way, and it couldn't be replaced under warranty because it was my own fault. So what to do with a dead PSP? Turn it into the world's smallest MAME machine, of course! For those who don't know, MAME stands for Multi Arcade Machine Emulator, that is, a free program that runs all those old arcade machine ROMs. I contacted the makers of the Space Cube, a cool PC that measures only 2 x 2 x 2.2 inches in size, and asked did they have one that was cosmetically damaged but running. I explained what I wanted it for, they were only too happy to sell it to me at a discount when they found out, because they were as interested as I was to see if it could be done. In order to fit all the components into my PSP case, I had to strip the PC of all its ports, cut extra ventilation holes into the back of the case (ventilation remains a problem, the unit still tends to run hot), bump up the flash memory capacity, and fit a (stripped down) SD card reader. I then copied all my game ROMs onto 4 gig SD cards. Remapping the PSP controls to the PC was a lot more difficult than I thought it would be, eventually I gave up on the PSP signals and installed membrane switches directly onto the PCB under the PSP controls. This meant I had to move quite a few components of the PC which were already in place, and that would have been next to impossible if I hadn't used Schmartboards for the project. It took a fair bit of tweaking, but I finally got the whole thing fully functional - the world's smallest MAME machine, and the only PSP with 3,412 games at your fingertips!

Space Cube

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