Entertainment

How to Use PlayStation 2 Devices on Your Computer

Kris Wouk Updated 31-03-2020

What do PlayStation 2 controllers, Rock Band guitars, the EyeToy, and the PS2 DVD remote all have in common? They’ve all been in your closet for gathering dust. However, you can still put these devices to use by connecting them to your computer.

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It’s understandable that you don’t get much use out of your PlayStation 2 anymore. It’s now a retro gaming console, with several generations of hardware succeeding it. However, while the console itself may not be of much use, its peripherals can still come in handy.

Use Your PlayStation Controllers With Your PC

Yes, you can use your PlayStation controllers on your PC. No, it’s not free.

You’re going to need to purchase a PlayStation to USB dongle. Don’t panic, though; these are affordable. Google Shopping lists many such devices for under $10, much cheaper than buying a USB joystick for your computer.

If you’re wondering how to use your PS2 controller on your PC, all it takes is plugging it in with the adapter. Once you have the device you’ve got one of the best PC joysticks money can buy.

PlayStation 2 controllers still hold up quite well, and you’ll feel right at home using them in a wide variety of games. They work perfectly for playing old-school console games on your computer, or with any game that supports the joystick natively.

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DualShock 2

Of course, these controllers aren’t as well-supported as a PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, or Xbox One controller is on a modern PC. In the case of the Xbox controllers, you’ll find them natively supported in most recent PC games, while some support the PS4 controller as well. That said, if you just love the feel of the DualShock 2, it’s nice to be able to use it.

Despite PlayStation 2 controllers working well on PC with a dongle, this doesn’t work for anything that plugs into a PS2 controller port. For example, you can find multiple reports across the internet of PS2 owners trying to get their arcade sticks working with no success. You might luck out, but don’t expect your arcade stick or driving wheel to work without problems.

This may be true for third-party PS2 controllers on PC as well. Some will work while others may not. This is hard to test due to the sheer number of third-party PS2 controllers.

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Retrieve Your PS2 Saves From Old Memory Cards

Even if you don’t use your old PlayStation 2, you may want access to your save data. Since these saves aren’t doing you any good sitting on an old memory card in your closet, you might as well move them from your PS2 to your PC. Whether you’re playing your old games on your PC or you simply want to back them up, it can be nice to have them around.

As with using PS2 controllers on PC, this requires a piece of hardware. Unfortunately, this hardware isn’t especially cheap. There are a number of different devices you can use but one popular option is the PlayStation 2 Action Replay. At the time of writing this article, this sells for $279, so you would need to be pretty serious about your saved PS2 games to purchase one.

Datel Max Playstation 2 Action Replay

That said, this isn’t the only thing this device can do. You can also download completed save files for games, or even manipulated saves that give you a maxed-out character or all the weapons in the game, for example. If you’re looking for a way to breathe some life into old PS2 games, this is one way to do it.

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Use the PlayStation 2 EyeToy on Your PC

EyeToy for PlayStation 2

The EyeToy was an early, clunky version of Microsoft’s Kinect, and like that device, the EyeToy never really took off. Few games made use of the peripheral, and those that did were clunky and difficult to use. The EyeToy developed a bad reputation straight out of the gate and was quickly forgotten.

Fortunately, you can use the EyeToy as a webcam on your Windows, macOS, or Linux PC. It uses a standard USB port, so you won’t need to buy any new hardware in order to get it to work.

If you’re using a Linux distribution like Ubuntu, the EyeToy should be supported out of the box. Simply plug it into a free USB port and it should be ready to use. This may differ from distribution to distribution, but with a little searching, you should be able to get it working.

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For macOS users, you don’t get EyeToy support built into macOS, but getting the EyeToy working is simple. Support comes courtesy of the macam project, which lists the EyeToy as fully supported on its camera support page.

For Windows, things are slightly more up in the air. You can find Windows drivers for the EyeToy from the EyeToy on Computer project. The problem is that this project appears to be gone. While you can still find the drivers to download, there are no instructions on using them.

Even if you do get it working, the EyeToy is pretty dated by modern camera standards. If you’re just trying to get it working to say you did or because you don’t want to shell out money for a webcam, feel free to try. For a much nicer experience, try taking a look at our guide to the best budget webcams A Guide to the Best Budget Webcams for Under $60 If you don't own a webcam, you should get one ASAP. It's one of those things that seems unnecessary until you have one, and then it suddenly becomes useful for all kinds of things. Read More .

Use the PS2 DVD Remote With Your Computer

PS2 DVD remote

Part of the reason the PlayStation 2 sold so well is that it doubled as a DVD player. Sony capitalized on this functionality, selling a PS2 DVD remote that let you just the console to watch movies without needing to pick up the controller. If you still have the controller and the dongle that plugged into the PS2, you can easily use them with your PC.

You’ll need the same PlayStation 2 to USB dongle that you need to plug in a controller. Simply plug the dongle into the adapter, plug that into your PC, and you’ll be able to use the remote with your PC. If your PS2 DVD remote is otherwise going to waste, this is a nice way to make use of it.

We haven’t tested this, but the DVD remote might even function as a remote for using Kodi from your couch Kodi Remote: The 10 Best Ways to Control Kodi From Your Couch Here are all the different options available for a Kodi remote control, allowing you to control everything at your convenience. Read More .

Use Your Old Guitar Hero/Rock Band Guitars

Even if you don’t have some plastic instruments lurking somewhere in your closet, the chances are you know someone who does. While the glory days of the Guitar Hero and Rock Band franchises is long gone, that doesn’t mean those plastic guitars are useless. For proof, look no further than Frets on Fire.

An open source clone of the Guitar Hero and Rock Band games, Frets on Fire is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux. It supports a wide range of plastic instruments, including your old PS2 plastic guitars. Even better, it can rip songs from Guitar Hero and Guitar Hero 2. All you need to do is insert the game DVDs and let Frets on Fire do the rest.

Frets on Fire screenshot

Using your old PlayStation 2 guitars works just the same as how you use your PS2 controller on PC. Just plug them into the PlayStation 2 to USB adapter and plug that into the computer. Once you’ve done this, you’re ready to rock.

And if you’re the hacking type, know that there are many mods out there capable of making Frets on Fire even better. Check them out!

Don’t Forget About Your Old PlayStation 2 Games

Yes, the hardware might be dated but there are plenty of great games for the PlayStation 2.

If you have a PlayStation 2 or PlayStation 3, you could pay for them again to play them on your new console, but that’s not your only option. You could buy an expensive upscaler like a Framemeister to plug your PS2 into your TV, or you could play those games on your PC.

While the link with video game piracy makes people think that playing games via emulators is illegal, that isn’t the case. As long as you actually own the games, you’re free to use emulators and ROMs.

If you feel like firing up your old games again with a shiny higher resolution, we have a guide explaining how to play PS2 games on your computer How to Play PS2 Games on Your PC or Mac With an Emulator Here's how to play PlayStation 2 games on your PC, allowing you to enjoy classic PS2 games once again. Read More . Now would be a great time to revisit some of the classics, such as the best PlayStation 2 RPGs of all time.

Image Credit: kolidzeitattoo/Depositphotos

Explore more about: Gaming Consoles, PC Gaming, PlayStation.

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  1. Gamer
    October 27, 2018 at 9:10 pm

    I just pulled the old PS2 DVD remote out of mothballs and it will utilize the 12 bottom buttons and u/d/l/r directional buttons. Now trying to research some way to get the other 33 buttons :) Going to see if Xpadder will recognize the other buttons. Wish me luck :D

  2. bradnak
    December 8, 2010 at 10:28 pm

    I've used the original Singstar microphones as PC mics for about a year until I bought the new wireless mics. Both are picked up by the computer as the left and right channel on one microphone device and can be used as recording input or playing Ultrastar Deluxe [Broken URL Removed] (a clone of Singstar for Windows/Mac/Linux) with slight configuration on first use.

  3. bradnak
    December 8, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    I've used the original Singstar microphones as PC mics for about a year until I bought the new wireless mics. Both are picked up by the computer as the left and right channel on one microphone device and can be used as recording input or playing Ultrastar Deluxe [http://ultrastardx.sourceforge.net/] (a clone of Singstar for Windows/Mac/Linux) with slight configuration on first use.

  4. Tim - TekFreak.com
    December 8, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    I've used the dongle to even hook-up a wireless PS2 controller. I've got it working great with all of my Mame games and Emulators.