The Best Way to Play PS1 Games
When the PlayStation released it blew the competition away, proving a worth rival of both Nintendo and Sega, Specifically the Sega Saturn. While the Saturn was really good as handling 2D games, the PS1 was much better at handling 3D polygons which were mind-blowing for the time.
I personally, remember seeing the ‘T-rex’ demo and thinking graphics probably won’t get much better than this. How wrong was I?
So, why should you play PS1 games nowadays? Well, the PS1 did not just win the 32-bit console war with 3D graphics alone, it also has one of the best libraries of games for any console. Sony did well to poach many companies who were frustrated with Nintendo’s reluctance to move away from cartridge-based media and lure developers towards the PlayStation with their CD-based games. The upcoming Nintendo 64’s game cartridges only stored between 4 – 64MB, but a fraction of CD’s 700mb not to mention CDs were far cheaper to produce than cartridges.
This led to developers like Square, Namco and Konami all producing numerous games for the PS1 while taking full advantage of the streaming audio, FMVs and increased game size offered, something that just could not be done on the N64.
Notable games that still hold up today include Tomb Raider, Final Fantasy VII, VIII, XI, Chrono Cross, Metal Gear Solid, Ridge Racer Type-4, Tekken 3, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Resident Evil 1, 2, 3 and Silent Hill. That’s just a few of the great series that really made a mark starting with the PS1. For many game series, the PS1 was where they started began.
PS1 Original Model
This model will give you the most authentic experience when it comes to playing your original PS1 games. Games will run exactly how you used to remember them and the original PS1 is perfect if you want to connect your console to a CRT television. The original PS1 ships with composite cables which primarily output a 240p video signal, Sadly, the way modern televisions handle this signal is usually awful.
You can mitigate some of these problems by using an RGB SCART adapter, either Sync-on-luma or sync-on-composite will work. This will clear up the image a lot and will look even better when fed through a line doubler like the OSSC.
Some of the earlier models have RCA jacks on the back which output composite video. Apparently, the composite output from the RCA jack will give you a slightly superior video signal, however, I would highly recommend sticking to RGB SCART.
Finally, if you want original aesthetics with HDMI, I can highly recommend installing the PS1 Digital Kit, an internal HDMI video solution developed by citrus3000psi & Chriz2600. As the name suggests, this mod allows you to get pure digital output from your PS1 and output over HDMI. The PS1 Digital features integer scaling making your old games look glorious on modern televisions, it also handles
the few games which switch between 240p & 480i resolutions (Like Chrono Cross, Silent Hill, Ehrgeiz etc) which can make some HDTVs and upscalers drop video signal for a few seconds. Pair the PS1 Digital with the XSTATION ODE and you have an original PS1 capable of outputting digital video over HDMI and the ability to run games stored on an SD card.
One last thing I must mention, the PS1 Digital can only be installed in a few revisions of the PS1 (SCPH-550X & SCPH-700X) and the installation is by no means suitable for novices. I would recommend getting it installed right by sending your machine off to a reputable installer: –
UK: 8-Bit Mods
Every model of the PS2 is fully backwards compatible with PS1 games, you can even use your original memory card directly with the PS2. The PS2 will output the exact same resolution as the original PS1 but now allows the use of YPbPr component video cables, these will provide a far superior video signal compared composite video and look amazing when plugged into the OSSC.
The PS2 offers a couple of ‘upgrades’ when running PS1 games, you can change the texture mapping to smooth, however, I find this is a little blurry, but some may prefer it. The other option allows you to change the disc speed, this can be great at reducing loading times etc but could cause issues when streaming audio from the disc, If it does, you can always turn this feature off in the options.
Modding your PS2 can allow you to run your PS1 game backups from an external hard drive or even send them over your network.
The PSP has a ton of PS1 games available to download and runs them surprising well for a handheld! If you want to go down the PSP route, I would highly recommend installing custom firmware. It’s pretty easy to do and will allow you to play your own PS1 game disc backups.
The second revision of the PSP (Model PSP-2000) and upwards include support for component cable and is a great way to display your PS1 games on your TV, I recommend changing your PSP settings to output to interlaced, this will make PS1 games output at 240p on your TV and looks incredibly sharp. Using the last revision, the PSP-GO, you can even pair a DualShock controller to give you a wireless gaming experience.
Every model of the PS3 can play PS1 discs, as well as PS1 games digitally. Each variant of the PS3 runs PS1 game through emulation, there’s no onboard hardware. Luckily, Sony’s emulation is pretty good. If you are looking for a ‘plug and play’ PS1 disc player I would recommend the PS3. The emulation deals with resolution switching games and It’s the easiest way to play your PS1 game discs over HDMI + you get the benefit of being able to use a wireless controller.
The PS Vita is a great way to play PSP and PS1 games. Much like the PSP, I highly recommend modding your Vita which will allow you to install custom PS1 game backups (and even PSP Game backups).
PS1 Games look great on the Vita’s screen, especially the 1st revision of the Vita which has an OLED screen. The Vita features twice the resolution of the PSP which games PS1 Games really pop. This is my preferred method for playing a lot of JRPGs portably, sadly there is no way to connect a regular Vita to TV.
This is the best way to enjoy your PS1 games on a modern TV. The PS TV is Vita hardware minus the screen, touchpad etc. This outputs Vita, PSP & PS1 game over HDMI.
Modding your PS TV will allow you to install homebrew and custom PS1 game backups, but probably the most exciting thing is homebrew called Sharpscale. As its name suggests, Sharpscale will let you scale your PS TV (Works on VITA also) image to display how you would like. You will want to switch the settings to 4:3 or 16:9, the pixel mode is interesting to see, but you’ll quickly notice inconsistent sizing which, if you’re like me, will drive you insane. If you install Adrenaline on your Vita, included is some additional video setting options which will let you tweak your image even further.
Overall, I would say the PS TV is the best way to play PS1 games on a modern TV, especially with Sharpscale enabled.
So, what is the best way to play PS1 games? Well, this depends on a few things, if you want to play your original PS1 game CDs the easiest way would be picking up a PS3, this output your original games through HDMI. If you want a more accurate way to play your PS1 game CDs you will want to use an original PS1 fitted the PS1digital mod. This will give you a completely authentic experience on real hardware over HDMI.
For digital versions of PS1 games I would highly recommend picking up a PlayStation TV, Using the homebrew Sharpscale in conjunction with Adrenaline makes for one of the most accurate and assessable ways to play PS1 games on a modern TV.