In the previous installment of these emulation series, you saw how to play Sony PlayStation (PSX) games on your PC.
Many of you told me (in the comments here and on Digg.com) how the first PlayStation was too outdated, and thus not interesting. ‘PassÃ©’, one might say.
Because of that and because it was planned anyway, we’ll raise the stakes a bit. This time, we’ll be discussing emulation of PlayStation 2 games.
How to Playstation 2 Games on PC
First of all a warning. Many of you will not be able to run these games properly. They’ll lag on a lot of PC’s. On some of them they’ll lag even more. When emulating PlayStation 2 and Xbox games, you always have to keep in mind the next equasion:
To remove the above mentioned ‘-1‘ factor, you can pay more attention to the specific type of game you’re trying to play. Naturally, visually simple games like ‘Disgaea’ will run smoother than 3D, over the top graphical shooters, like ‘Black’. In short, your computer will never completely be a PlayStation 2.
We’ll be guiding you through this process in a few simple steps.
Step 1 – Download and install PCSX2
Step 2 – Getting the BIOS files
Contrary to the first PlayStation, the PlayStation 2 uses several BIOS files. Basically, these are the hardest to find. Because they are copyrighted material, you are only allowed to own these files if you also own a PlayStation 2. MakeUseOf does NOT encourage piracy! This is also the reason why it’s illegal to host these files online. If you actually own a PlayStation 2 though, it’s not illegal to download them (laws may differ in your country).
So now you basically have two options layed out for you. You can either dump them from your PlayStation 2 yourself, or find someone else who dumped them and who put the files online. On this last website you can find the ROM1, eROM and the SECAM-, NTSC- and PAL BIOS files you’ll need. Again, you must’nt download them if you don’t have a PlayStation 2. You can put these files in a folder of you’re choice.
Step 3 – Running PCSX2 and configuring BIOS, video and controller input
The program comes in two different versions. One version uses TLB (pcsx2t.exe), the other one Virtual Memory (pcsx2.exe). First of all, try running the VM version. The program will try to reallocate the memory, after which you have to log off and on again. If it fails to do so, you’ll have to use the TLB version. This one is somewhat slower, but according to the developers the speed difference is not that great.
After you’ve started up, select ‘Config’ -> ‘Configure’.
First, we’re going to configure our BIOS. Press ‘Set Bios Directory’ and select the folder where you’ve put your BIOS files. Back in the Configuration screen, select the correct region from the Bios drop-down menu. You might want to change this now and then, depending on your games.
Next, the video plug-ins. PCSX2 comes with ZeroGS KOSMOS and GSdx9 plug-ins. A ‘Ps2 Output’ window (which looks similar to the command screen) normally opened when you started PCSX2. Else, temporarily close the Configuration screen, select ‘Misc’ -> ‘Enable Console’ and restart the program. In this Ps2 Output screen, look if ‘Detected SSE2′ is stated under Features. If not, you might want to choose the ‘no SSE2′ video plug-in.
If you press the ‘Configure…’ button under the video drop-down menu, you can tweak graphic related options like screen size, toggle full-screen, anti-aliasing and more.
As for the controller, I highly recommend LilyPad. This is one of the most adjustable plug-ins. You can use keyboard, mouse and controller input. There even is a setting so you can use your Guitar Hero guitar.
Just download it here, and drop it in the plugins directory. If you’ve used the installer, that would be C:\Program Files\Pcsx2_0.9.4\plugins .
Re-open the Configuration screen, select LilyPad from the drop-down menu and press configure. In the ‘General’ tab, you can tweak various settings. Select the ‘Pad 1′ or ‘Pad 2′ tab to configure the keys.
Step 4 – Test-driving and alternative plug-ins
With everything set up, it’s about time for a test-drive. We’re going to look if everything works as it should, and look which points need more improvement.
We can boot the games, depending on the plug-in we use, either by CD/DVD or by using an image file. The standard configuration uses Linuzappz, which is able to boot ISO’s and other image files. To do this, just select ‘File’ -> ‘Run CD/DVD’.
If you want to boot from a disc instead, go back to the configuration screen and select the P.E.Op.S driver from the Cdvdrom dropdown menu. Press configure to select an interface (based on your operating system) and the drive you want to use. Confirm your configuration and you’re ready to roll. Select ‘File’ -> ‘Run CD/DVD’ to boot from the chosen drive.
At this point you’ll be prompted for a date and a timezone, after which the game will start. If you’ve got problems with the graphics or sound, try using one of the the other plug-ins. You can get more additional plug-ins here.
If you’re still having problems, check the compatibility status of your game here.
About the (would-be) next article
Some of you might also remember that I had the intention of also publishing an article concerning Xbox emulation. We are, however, going to postpone this subject until it is in a somewhat more stable form.
More articles about: