For a while you could play nearly any PSP game on a hacked firmware. Within the past few years there have been new games that have required updated firmware in order to play. Even if you had a hacked firmware, you could not play these new games. It has always been a game of cat and mouse between Sony and the hacked warez scene, but the pace has quickened recently.
Some users have upgraded from M33 to Gen-D (or Gen-D2) in order to play some of the more recent PSP games. The latest one was Dante’s Inferno, which would not play even on the most recent hacked firmware. If you can’t upgrade your firmware, then you can patch the game to work with your existing one.
Previously people have used UMDGen 4.0 in order to patch games, but this required not only a PC and the image file, but that you know what you’re doing. One way to patch your games to work with M33 or Gen-D is called Eboot Exchange, and it works completely on the PSP with no PC required.
1. To start, download Eboot Exchange 2.8 here.
2. Extract the program, and then copy the folder (ebt_exchange) to X:\PSP\GAME (of course replace X with the drive letter to which your PSP has been mapped).
3. On your PSP, navigate to Games, and then select Eboot Exchange
4. This program has several options. The interface is completely text-based and is pretty simple, as soon as you understand how to change the options. By default the program has “no backup” and “no patch” modes enabled. You need to change these by pressing the Start button, which toggles these two options. Keep pressing Start until you see “backup mode” and “patch mode” modes enabled.
5. By default the program should be looking at ms0:/ISO/, which is where your image files should be located. You can use the D-pad to navigate to different directories, if you need to change this. Press the right or left shoulder buttons to toggle through the files in the set directory until you see the image file you wish to patch… in this case Dantes_Inferno.ISO
6. Press Triangle to patch the game.
7. Once this is done, press X to exit back to the PSP’s main menu.
8. Enjoy your newly patched game.
This has worked every time whenever I have encountered a game that gives the mysterious “The game could not be started” message when using a custom firmware.