Skip to main content

Playstation 2 Emulation: PCSX2

A recent Twitter conversation with Jonn Shute from How to Murder Time got me wondering about the current state of PS2 emulation. A quick google search revealed that the leading contender is a programme called PCSX2  which is a highly developed emulator that already works with over 1800 PS2 games. Impressively there are Windows Mac and Linux versions available.

Disclaimer: The combination of hacking and gaming makes emulation a facinating subject but there are legal issues. You might feel that it is morally justifiable to emulate older systems and games that are no longer commercially available (abandon-ware) but I am not sure that a court of law would agree with you. In any case the PS2 only went out of production in January this year so even the abandon-ware argument is a bit unconvincing. The two main points of legal contention with regard to PCSX2 are the games themselves and Sony's PS2 bios. You can still buy PS2 games in second hand shops and on Ebay but the only legal way to get a copy of the PS2 bios is to get your own PS2. Even then I am not sure the law allows you to copy the bios from your console and install it in another device.  In any case, just to be clear, the following post is in no way an admission that I did anything illegal. It is merely a summary of observations that I have gathered from browsing publicly available websites and youtube videos. It is not my intention to give the impression that I undertook any of the activities described below myself.

You can pick up a second hand PS2 for as little as €20 these days so you might wonder about the need for an emulator. The PCSX2 website points out that there are advantages to emulation:  The ability to run games at higher graphics resolutions with features such as anti aliasing, greatly expanded storage facilities for games and save games, the ability to take screenshots, the abilty to save game states other than at checkpoints (you might consider this cheating but it is a biggie). It is important also not to overlook the fun that comes from hacking around with a complex piece of software that will reward those who invest time in it with control over just about every aspect of their games.

The disadvantage though is that emulation is not plug and play. The PCSX2 has been in development since 2001 and is very polished but even so it come with a choice of plugins for graphics, sound, controllers etc. and most of these plugins have further options to tweak on a game by game basis. Happily the default pugins and settings work well for many games. Advances in PC technology allow a fast modern processor to brute force its way through many of the difficulties that were encountered in earlier days. Nevertheless you do have to be prepared to get stuck in and play with individual settings on a game by game basis to get the optimal experience. There is a wiki which can be searched for individual game settings. There is no guarantee these settings will work on your hardware but they are a good starting point.


Popular posts from this blog

Portal 2 two screen coop on one PC.

I mentioned before that I intended to try Portal 2 in "unofficial split screen co-op mode. Well split screen on a small computer monitor is a recipe for a headache especially when the game defies gravity as much as portal. However a minor bit of extra fiddling allowed us to drive two seperate screens from one PC. The Steam forums describes a complicated method of doing this that I couldn't get working so this simpler method which worked for me might be of use to someone. 1. First I followed the instructions in this post to get split screen multi-player working: A minor issue not mentioned is that you need to enable the console from the keyboard/mouse options menu I am using keyboard and one wired Xbox360 controller as suggested. Getting the controller to switch to channel 2 was tricky at first but as Chameleon8 mentions plugging it out and in again during loading works. The trick for me was to do the plug / p

Return to New Eden and a Secret Confession

I feel a growing temptation to return to EVE but having been away from mmos for quite a while I am not quite ready to resubscribe.  Instead I started a disposable character on a free trial to test my resolve.  Knowing that this character will be thrown in the bin in a couple of weeks is actually quite liberating. Freed from the fear of gimping my character I feet no necessity to min max anything. I picked a Gallente because I think they have cool looking spaceships and went from there. First obvious change since I last played is being able to walk around my Captain's quarters. Its a nice idea but hardly a game changer. Can you decorate your quarters I wonder and if so do these home improvements move around with you wherever you go? The second obvious change is the much improved tutorial. I managed to make it through the first steps introduction without having to resort to on-line help or the  chat channel which is a first for me in EVE. Even better once you have finis

Lotro: The Forgotten Treasury

Throg joined a Kinship group for the Forgotten Treasury instance last night. It was an enjoyable change from the solo questing that the now level 55 dwarf champion has been mostly doing so far in Moria. Some members of the group had tried and failed to clear the Treasury before so we knew it would be challenging but we were lucky enough to have a well balanced group with Guardian, Minstrel, Lore Master, Hunter, Burglar and Champion (Throg). Throg (level 55) and the minstrel (53) were both below the 56ish level of the instance but the others were all higher so it more or less balanced out. [SPOILERs ahead] It is a well designed enjoyable instance set in a circular chamber with balcony around. As you enter, a boss absconds to a locked side chamber with his treasure leaving the fellowship to clear trash ringed around the balcony. Once the trash are cleared you have access to a puzzle which must be solved in order to open the locked door. Clearing the (including six mini bosses) also get