What do PlayStation 2 controllers, Rock Band guitars, the EyeToy and the PlayStation 2 DVD remote all have in common? They’ve all been in your closet since you bought the latest and greatest console. Put those devices to use by connecting them to your computer.
It’s understandable that you don’t play with your PlayStation 2 all that much anymore. The system, as great as it was, is well on its way to becoming retro. But just because you don’t use your PlayStation anymore doesn’t mean you can’t make use of all the great peripherals you purchased for it. Connect them to your Windows, Mac or Linux machine and give them a new life.
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.
Once you have the device you’ve got one of the best PC joysticks money can buy. I love my PlayStation controllers, and am glad they found new life connected to my media center. They work perfectly for playing old-school console games on your computer , or with any game that supports the joystick natively.
If you want something a little more recent, however, you’re still in luck. We’ve got guides for playing PlayStation 1 games on your PC . Still not recent enough? Try playing PlayStation 2 games on your computer . You’ll be able to insert your old PlayStation games into your computer and play them, complete with an authentic controller!
The EyeToy was an early, clunky version of Microsoft’s new Kinect; one that never really took off. Gameplay was clumsy, even if amusing in a party environment. I bet you didn’t use this with USB camera and your PlayStation much.
No worries: you can use it with your computer now. We’ve got directions for using the Playstation 2 EyeToy with Windows, Linux and Mac OS X . Pull this camera out of the closet and start using it for video chat over Skype. It even works as a microphone, meaning you can have a complete Skype setup in no time. Nice.
If you’ve got the PS2/USB dongle mentioned above, and you have one of the PS2 DVD remotes, good news: you’ve got a remote you can use with your computer. Just plug the wireless dongle into your computer and it will function like any other joystick. Combine this with software that can make any USB joystick mimic your keyboard . I use this exact setup to control Boxee .
Guitar Hero/Rock Band guitars
Love Guitar Hero, and want a working PlayStation so you can rock out again? Your computer can take care of that for you. Frets on Fire is a very good Guitar Hero clone for PC, Mac and Linux . Best of all: this game can rip your Guitar Hero on one and two DVDs, giving you access to your favorite tunes on your computer. Sweet.
Combine this great game with the USB dongle and your Guitar Hero or Rock Band controller, and you’ve got a great way to keep on rocking.
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!
There’s a certain thrill to giving new life to old hardware. If you can think of a reuse for another old console peripheral, leave it in the comments below. Also feel free to let me know if any of these ideas work out for you (or not).