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How To Play Sony PSP Games On Linux With PPSSPP

Those looking to play your favorite Sony PSP games on the Linux platform need to try out PPSSPP. It’s a Sony PSP emulator written in C++. The emulator works very well on nearly any Linux distribution. Best of all, it takes all PSP CPU code and optimizes it to work with regular computer CPUs.

Note: Addictivetips in no way encourages or condones the illegal downloading or distribution of ROM files for PPSSPP. If you want to play Sony PSP games with PPSSPP, please use your own game ROM files you’ve backed up to your PC, legally.

SPOILER ALERT: Scroll down and watch the video tutorial at the end of this article.

Install PPSSPP Emulator

Getting the latest version of the PPSSPP emulator for Linux can be challenging at times. Some Linux distributions choose to package it, and others don’t. It is possible to find installable binary packages, but not every OS has them. It is because of this, in this guide, we’ll be working with an archive binary instead.


Ubuntu and Debian users should be able to run the PPSPP emulator once the correct dependency is installed. In this case, PPSSPP requires libsdl2-dev. Install it on Ubuntu or Debian with:

sudo apt install libsdl2-dev

If you’re using an older version of Debian that doesn’t use apt, replace apt with apt-get.

Arch Linux

Install PPSSPP via the Arch Linux User Repository.

To get it, grab the latest AUR package with git.

Note: be sure to install “git” before attempting this

git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/ppsspp-git.git

Using CD, enter the clone directory.

cd ppsspp

Lastly, use makepkg to build and install the program.

makepkg -si


PPSPP works fine on Fedora in binary form, once SDL2-devel is installed. To install this package, open up a terminal and enter the following command:

sudo dnf install SDL2-devel


SUSE, like other Linux distributions in this guide, require an SDL library to run the PPSSPP emulator software. Follow these instructions to get the correct SDL files.

First, add the external game repository (Leap 42.3)

sudo zypper addrepo https://ftp.gwdg.de/pub/opensuse/repositories/games/openSUSE_Leap_42.3/ opensuse-games


sudo zypper addrepo https://ftp.gwdg.de/pub/opensuse/repositories/Emulators/openSUSE_Tumbleweed/ opensuse-emulators

Then, use the Zypper package management tool to install the software.

sudo zypper install libSDL2-devel

Other Linuxes

The program should work as-is on your PC. The only real requirement here is that you install SDL2 development libraries. Consider heading over to pkgs.org and searching for “SDL2 develop”. Pkgs.org has a long list of binaries, as well as instructions on how to install from nearly every Linux distribution (even the obscure ones).

If you can’t find it on this website, consider looking in the official manual of your OS for “SDL2”.

With all of the dependencies required to run the binary installed, all that is left is to download the program. Go here, scroll down and select “Linux.” Be sure to select “dev-working.” When the download is complete, open up a terminal window and use CD to move to the ~/Downloads directory.

cd ~/Downloads

Make a folder to unzip the file using mkdir.

mkdir ppsspp-emulator

cd ppsspp-emulator

Unzip the program.

mv "ppssppbuildbot-org.ppsspp.ppsspp-dev-working-linux-amd64.zip" ~/Downloads/ppsspp-emulator/

unzip *.zip

rm *.zip

Lastly, move the program into your /home/ folder.

mv ~/Downloads/ppsspp-emulator/ ~/


To use the PPSSPP emulator, go to /home/username/ppsspp-emulator/ with your file manager, right-click on “PPSSPPSDL” and run it. Clicking PPSSPPSDL opens the main emulation window. In this window, you’ll need to use the arrow keys to navigate and enter to select things.

To load a PSP ROM file, press the right arrow key and move to “Games.” Selecting “Games” exposes PPSSPP to the /home/ directory. Select your username, then find the PSP ROM inside your home directory. Press enter to load up any selected ROM file.

To close a game while it’s currently playing, press ESC to open up the main settings area in-game. From there, use your keyboard (or gamepad) and select “exit”. This should quit the ROM. On the main menu, select “exit” once again to quit PPSSPP altogether.

Saving And Loading

Unlike a lot of other emulators, the save menu for PPSSPP is only accessible when ROMs are running. To save a game, press ESC on the keyboard. Pressing this key reveals the central settings area for PPSSPP, including 5 save state slots. Whenever you’d like to save, access this menu then use the up or down arrow keys to find a save slot, and enter to start the saving process.

To save multiple times, simply select different slots before saving.

Loading a save state in PPSSPP also happens in the ESC menu. At any time, press ESC on the keyboard, and use up or down arrow keys to select a saved game. Once you’ve found the saved game you want to load, press enter to load it up.

Graphics And Audio Settings

Looking to change graphics for the PPSSPP emulator? Select “Settings” on the main menu with the arrow keys and press enter to open it. Inside “Settings,” look for “Graphics” and press the enter key. Inside the graphics area, users can change the rendering mode, as well as framerate control, and even such settings as post-processing control.

To enable fullscreen mode with PPSSPP, look towards the bottom of the “Graphics” area of settings and click the check-box to enable it.

In addition to the graphics options, the PPSSPP emulator has some pretty decent audio settings as well. To access these settings, select “Audio” in the settings window. In “Audio” users can enable/disable sounds, change the volume of the emulator globally, change the audio-latency as well as sound speed hacks, etc.

Configuring A Controller

To configure a gamepad with PPSSPP, plug in a compatible joypad, open up “Settings” and select “Controls” in the menu. From there, click  “control mapping” to open up the controller binding tool. By default, PPSSPP should assign controls automatically. Chances are your gamepad will work out of the box.

With all that said, the default controls may not work for everyone. If you’d like to manage the different mappings, go through and click on the + symbol to re-assign controls.

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