If you’ve been keeping abreast of PSP news over the past few months you’ll know that there have been some interesting developments in the “home brew” scene. Developments such as making the PSP emulate other gaming systems and running said emulated games from a MemroyStick. Of course Sony hasn’t been too happy about its firmware being compromised and has launched several updates over the year. But I’m very much of the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” camp and have been happily running version 1.0 of the PSP firmware that came with my first generation Japanese unit.
Unfortunately, it seems that Sony is well aware that some users have just not bothered to download the firmware update, and has decided to force our hands, so to speak. I realised this when I loaded the Virtua Tennis UMD into my PSP and was promptly told that I could not play the game until I’d updated my firmware to version 1.52! Now this put me in a tough position – I hate being told what I have to do and part of me just wanted to refuse to load the firmware update, but of course an equally big part of me couldn’t wait to play the game.
It’s pretty obvious from the fact that you’re reading this review that I succumbed and loaded the update, but not without protest! But as if being forced into a firmware update isn’t bad enough, you can’t actually perform the update without the PSP plugged into the mains – so, if I’d taken my PSP with me to the shops and bought this game, I wouldn’t have been able to play it until I got home. Now, this isn’t the first time that Sony has tried to slip a Trojan firmware pony into your PSP, but it is the first time that an update has been required for a game that’s worth playing.
I’m not going to blame Sega for the compulsory update, since I’m fairly certain that the orders came from the Sony mother ship. And, to be fair, any European or US PSP consoles will already have the updated firmware. I guess there aren’t that many people left like myself, that were still running the original firmware, so the problem isn’t a huge one – but I just don’t like being forced into things.
The most important thing to remember here though is that even a little gripe about civil liberties can’t change the fact that this is one of the best, most addictive and downright playable handheld games ever to hit the street.