The Advantages of Letting Kids Hack Their PSPs

Kid-friendly hacks can add to your child's PSP experience

Although there are plenty of dangers in letting kids install custom firmware on or hack their PSPs, some benefits can be gained from the process. A hacked PSP can do things a normal one can't, some of which are within the law.

If your child is determined to hack a PSP, here are some of the fun, legal things you or your child can do with an unlocked system.

Run Homebrew

Homebrew software is developed by hobbyists, and it is available at no charge.

In fact, it is illegal to charge anyone for homebrew software, since it's not licensed by Sony, so you should never pay for it.

Homebrew isn't just about free games, it can also expand the capabilities of your PSP, from allowing instant messaging to turning the system into a universal remote control. For some examples of the neatest homebrew on PSP, check out this list, which includes links to download each of the homebrews. Don't worry--they're safe and easy enough for kids to use without wrecking anything.

Note: Installing homebrew may void your PSP's warranty.

Try Foreign Gadgets

Some peripherals for PSP aren't natively supported by the North American model. The GPS Receiver for PSP is one peripheral that players can use on a hacked PSP, in conjunction with the right homebrew software.

Play Game Backups on PSPGo

There are ways to make digital backups of your PSP game discs (or UMDs) if you have access to a PSP-1000 or 2000 with custom firmware.

Recently, PSP hackers have made it possible to put these backups on the memory stick of a PSPGo and play them on that system. This means that games never released in the PlayStation Store, like "Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep," can now be played on the PSPGo.

Games not available as digital downloads by now are unlikely to ever be made available, so this is a great alternative if you have a PSPGo and want to play these games.

However, you should know that downloading or creating a backup of a game you don't own is illegal, so only do this for game discs that you own.