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Sony’s original PlayStation, now know as the PSX, had some fantastic games. And if you can’t download your old favorites on your PS3 or PS4, you can play them on your PC! By downloading an emulator, a BIOS, and a ROM or two, you’ll be retro gaming in no time. Here’s how to get it done.
There are a few different emulators you can use, but ePSXe is the most popular and has gotten updates as recently as October 2016. So we’ll be using that one. If you have recommendations for different emulators, please share them below!
To get started, head over to ePSXe’s website and download the app. There’s no installer file, so you’ll just need to unzip the folder and move the files to wherever you want them. I created an ePSXe205 folder in the Program Files (x86) folder and extracted the files there (ePSXe is a 32-bit app, so it belongs in the x86 folder). If you’re on a 32-bit version of Windows, you can do the same in the Program Files folder.
When you run the app for the first time, you may see a dialog telling you to extract additional files. Extract them and fire up ePSXe by double-clicking on the app icon (it looks like a PlayStation controller).
Set Up ePSXe
There are several steps you’ll need to take to get everything set up. If you don’t already have a PlayStation BIOS installed, you’ll see a warning and have to install one (remember that if you don’t own a PSX, downloading the BIOS is piracy). Just run a search online for “epsxe HLE BIOS” and grab the file called scph1001.bin. When you’ve downloaded it, extract the zipped file to the bios folder in your ePSXe folder.
If you’ve done it correctly, you’ll now see SCPH1001.bin in C:\Program Files (x86)\ePSXe\bios. If you’re on 32-bit Windows, this will be in the Program Files folder instead.
Next, you’ll see a menu with a couple different graphics drivers and some suggestions. If you have an Nvidia or AMD graphics card, select Pete’s OpenGL2 GPU core 2.0.0. and click Config. If the resulting window looks like a bunch of gibberish, just click OK.
But if you want to make specific tweaks for your game graphics, you can dig in here. Textures, resolutions, full-screen, framerate limiting, and other settings are available. You can also select Fast or Nice default settings at the bottom of the window. If you’re using a graphics card that’s even close to modern, you should be able to run very high settings without an issue. When you’re done, hit OK at the bottom of the screen and Next >> in the configuration window. And don’t worry, you can always adjust these options from the Config menu later.
Sound and Controller
The sound drivers window does the same for sound. Accepting the default ePSXe driver is probably fine, but if there are others available, you can choose to configure one of those. Hit Config for a few options, then hit OK and Next >>. The CD-ROM plugins are up next; if you’re using Windows 10, select ePSXe CDR WNT/W2K core 2.0.0. Hit Next >>.
Finally, you’ll set up your controllers. ePSXe support a number of different controller setups. Click the drop-down menu in the top-right corner to select the device you’ll be using; the screenshot below shows the setup for using a standard keyboard. Once you have the keys mapped how you want them (just click on a letter and tap the key you want to replace it with), hit OK and Next >>. A message saying that ePSXe is configured will appear and you’re ready to rock!
Getting PSX Games Onto Your Windows PC
Now that the console is ready, it’s time to pick out some games! Just like with the BIOS, if you don’t own the game, you’re committing an act of piracy by downloading it. If you do own the game, though, download away! There are tons of places to download ROMs; a quick Google search should reveal all you need.
Once you’ve chosen a game and downloaded the corresponding ZIP file, it’s time to do some more extracting. You may need 7-Zip to extract this one, so if you don’t have it, grab it now. ePSXe can run files that end in BIN, ISO, CUE, IMG, .CD, and a few others. You’ll most like see BIN, ISO, or CUE. Once you’ve extracted your game file, you can move it to wherever you’d like. It’s a good idea to make a folder for ROMs inside your ePSXe folder so they’re all in one place.
To start the game, click File > Run ISO and select your ROM. The game will start up, and you’ll be playing a PSX game on your PC!
From here on out, play the games using whatever control scheme you’ve decided on. A few tips, though, to help the experience go more smoothly:
- To get out of emulation, hit Esc. You’ll be taken back out to the main screen. From there, you can adjust options or consult your controller mappings. To get back into the game, hit Run > Continue.
- From the main menu, you can also save and load games from the Run menu. If you’re playing a game with multiple discs and need to change to the next one, use File > Change Disc.
ePSXe can be enhanced with additional plugins, but figuring out which ones to use and how to get them properly configured can be a bit of a hassle. Nevertheless, you can check out a list of plugins that are recommended for PSX emulators and do some exploring. If you have any recommendations on plugins, let us know.
And once you’ve played through your favorite PSX games, you can move onto PS2 emulation or take the fun with you using one these portable gaming consoles. Last but not least, you can emulate Android apps and games on your PC, too.
Image Credit: Graphic farm via Shutterstock.com, Kevandre via DeviantArt