The Best Ways to Play Old PlayStation Games

The original PlayStation launched in 1994 and ushered in the 32-bit, disc-based console era. With genre-defining games like Final Fantasy VII, Metal Gear Solid, Tekken 3, and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, the PS1 built an amazing library over its production until 2006.

Decades later, retro gaming fans want to re-experience classic PlayStation titles. However, old TVs and PS1 consoles don’t connect well to modern displays. Tracking down rare games can also be challenging. Thankfully, there are great options for conveniently playing PS1 games on new TVs.

This guide covers various methods for enjoying old PlayStation 1 classics on current screens and hardware. We’ll examine emulation, remasters, mini consoles, original hardware mods, and more. With the right setup, you can easily revisit seminal PS1 games!

Overview of PlayStation 1 Games

First, let’s briefly recap some PlayStation history and stats:

  • Released September 1995 in North America
  • Fifth generation 32-bit CD-ROM console
  • Crash Bandicoot, Spyro, Metal Gear Solid, Final Fantasy VII
  • CPU: 33 MHz MIPS R3000A RISC
  • GPU: 16.8 million colors, 2D/3D graphics
  • Controllers: DualShock analog added 1997
  • Production ended March 2006 after 11 years
  • Total lifetime sales: 102.4 million units
  • Approx 3900 games released in all regions

With so many iconic franchises and landmark titles, the PlayStation 1 game library remains highly appealing today. Finding convenient ways to experience this catalog is our goal.

Using Original Disc-Based Hardware

For purists who want maximum authenticity, playing on original PlayStation 1 hardware with discs is hard to beat. Let’s examine how to get the best experience using original PS1 consoles and controllers on modern TVs.

Finding a PS1

eBay and local retro game stores are great sources for buying used PS1 consoles and accessories. Later PSOne models with integrated LCD screens also work well. Expect to pay $50-100 for a system, controllers, cables, and memory card. Make sure the console looks clean and is confirmed working.

Consider buying extras for parts/repair. Replacing the optical drive belt and lubricating the spindle can fix common disc read errors.

Display Connections

The PlayStation 1 originally outputted 240p, 480i, composite, and S-video signals over RCA and multi-AV connectors. Most modern TVs lack RCA inputs, so you’ll need adapters like:

  • HDMI converter – Converts RCA to HDMI for HDTVs.
  • Retrotink Classic – Line doubles 240p to 480p via HDMI. Sharp image.
  • CRT TV/Monitor – Natively handles 240p and scanlines well.

High quality upscalers like the Retrotink 2x Mini or OSSC also work great. This enables hooking up your PS1 to any new display in a plug-and-play fashion.


Original DualShock and Dual Analog controllers provide the ideal control experience. Third party knockoffs don’t feel or handle the same. Try to find OEM Sony controllers in good shape without stick drift. Make sure they work fully when testing buttons and analog sticks.

You can also mod PS1 controllers to use USB with adapters on PC/raspPi setups. Retro gaming shops can install new membranes and clean buttons if needed.

Disc Read Issues

Old PS1 laser assemblies naturally deteriorate over time. Symptoms include games not booting, skipping cutscenes, and freezing/crashing. Fixes include:

  • Cleaning lens with isopropyl alcohol
  • Adjusting potentiometer screw
  • Lubricating spindle and rails
  • Replacing entire laser mechanism
  • Trying known good game discs

Proper cleaning and adjustment can mitigate read errors in many cases. Failing lasers will need replacement.


Modchips bypass region locking and disc security. This lets you play imports and backups. Installation requires soldering and risks banning on modern networks if detected. Use responsibly.


With some maintenance and the right adapters, original PlayStation hardware paired with a CRT or upscaler provides an authentic retro experience. Just take care buying used systems and test functionality before purchase.

PlayStation Classic Mini Console

In 2018, Sony released the PlayStation Classic – a miniature reboot of the original PS1. It emulates 20 built-in games and connects via HDMI for simplicity.


Key features of the PlayStation Classic:

  • 45% smaller than original PS1 design
  • Emulated titles, not discs
  • 20 pre-installed games
  • HDMI output at 720p resolution
  • Powered by open source PCSX emulator
  • Two included controllers replicate original
  • Easy plug and play on modern displays

Game Library

The included game line-up has mostly big name classics like:

  • Final Fantasy VII
  • Tekken 3
  • Wild Arms
  • Twisted Metal
  • Resident Evil Director’s Cut
  • Ridge Racer Type 4
  • Syphon Filter
  • Intelligent Qube
  • Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo

A decent starter selection, but missing some major franchises like Tony Hawk Pro Skater, Gran Turismo, and Castlevania Symphony of the Night.


Reviews mention some drawbacks:

  • controllers use cheaper buttons and feel light
  • poor game selection omits many favorites
  • default emulator settings and performance not optimal
  • menu emulation lacks original charm
  • games run at 50hz instead of 60hz

Overall though, it works quite well out of the box for casual retro gaming if tempering expectations.

Modding Potential

Being Linux-based and using open source PCSX, the PlayStation Classic is very hackable. Popular mods include:

  • Add more games via USB
  • Improve performance via RetroArch
  • Enable 60hz titles
  • Replace stock games list
  • Run other emulators like SNES

Requires some technical know-how but unlocks more flexibility.


For only $20-60, the PlayStation Classic delivers simplified old school PlayStation gaming. Mods can improve aspects further. Just don’t expect perfection at this budget-friendly price point.

Software Emulation

Emulation using PS1 ROMs provides convenience and flexibility. Let’s compare emulator options.

Desktop Emulation

Using a keyboard for controls isn’t ideal, but PS1 emulators have long been available for Windows and Mac. Popular options include:

ePSXe – Compatible with tons of titles. Can enhance graphics. Requires BIOS image.

Mednafen – Accurate software emulation. Can be complex to configure.

RetroArch – Cores like Beetle PSX and DuckStation. Feature rich but complex UI.

Make sure to have a good gamepad like DualShock 4 or Xbox controller. Try various cores and settings for best compatibility and performance.

Raspberry Pi

Small single board computers like Raspberry Pi can emulate PlayStation games very well. Benefits include:

  • Fast performance even on Pi Zero
  • Customizable embeddings into console cases
  • RetroArch or standalone emulator options
  • Support various peripherals like controllers

Downsides are more setup complexity and weaker graphics compared to PC. But Pi offers low cost and compact options.

Mobile Emulation

Surprisingly, Android phones and tablets can effectively emulate PS1 games these days. Apps to try:

  • DuckStation
  • ePSXe
  • RetroArch

Connect a gamepad via Bluetooth, USB-C, or splitter cable. While not all titles are perfect, mobile emulation works nicely for many great PlayStation games on the go.


Emulation gives you options to play PlayStation games in multiple scenarios. Desktop PCs offer great quality while mobile and Raspberry Pi provide portability. Just be mindful of computational requirements for smooth performance.

PlayStation Game Remakes and Remasters

Rather than emulating old PS1 titles, updated remakes and remasters for modern platforms recreate and enhance the original experiences.


Sony has released HD compilations of PS1 and PS2 classics for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5 including:

  • Resident Evil HD Remasters
  • Kingdom Hearts HD Collections
  • Final Fantasy VII-X/X2 Remastered
  • Spyro and Crash Bandicoot Reignited Trilogies
  • Parappa the Rapper Remastered
  • Castlevania Requiem (Rondo & SOTN)
  • Shadow of the Colossus PS4 Remake
  • MediEvil PS4 Remake

These provide cleaner graphics at modern HD resolutions while retaining the core gameplay. Some even add trophy support and other extras.

Full Remakes

Complete ground-up reimaginings of original PlayStation games include:

  • Final Fantasy VII Remake
  • Resident Evil 2 & 3 Remakes
  • Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1+2
  • Xenogears (as Xenoblade Chronicles)
  • Spyro and Crash Trilogies
  • MediEvil PS4
  • Shadow of the Colossus PS4

These showcase beautiful updated graphics, controls, and quality of life enhancements while preserving beloved storylines.

Cross-Platform Ports

Select classic PlayStation IP has been ported or remade for Nintendo Switch, Xbox, and PC including:

  • Crash and Spyro Trilogies
  • Final Fantasy VII & IX
  • Grand Theft Auto Trilogy
  • Metal Gear Solid HD Collection
  • Juiced / Juiced 2

Allowing a new generation of gamers on non-PlayStation platforms to enjoy these classics. Native ports act as accessible “remasters” in their own right.


Remakes and remasters let you relive PlayStation favorites with modern conveniences. Purists may still want original experiences, but updated re-releases provide beautiful revivals.


The iconic PlayStation 1 game library can be readily enjoyed today through:

  • Original hardware with upscalers
  • PlayStation Classic mini console
  • Software emulation like RetroArch
  • Remakes and remasters on newer systems

With some great options to suit different budgets and needs, PlayStation classics can live on for nostalgic gamers everywhere. Each method provides distinct benefits, so try several to find your preferred way to re-experience PS1 magic. The original PlayStation’s amazing game catalog persists through ongoing hardware and software preservation by Sony and its fan community.


What are the best HDMI solutions for hooking up an original PS1?

For under $100, the Retrotink 2X Mini or RetroTINK-2X Classic provide great results without lag. The OSSC offers advanced configuration options for around $130. Avoid no-name generic converters.

What are symptoms my PS1’s laser needs replacement?

Can’t read discs, games freezing, skipping FMV cutscenes, and physical grinding noises point to a worn out laser pickup. Try cleaning the lens first before replacing the whole assembly.

Should I buy a brand new old stock PS1 or a used one?

If you find a new old stock PlayStation still sealed for a good price it can be worthwhile. But well-maintained used units work great if saving money. Just inspect and test before purchase.

How do PlayStation modchips work and are they worth it?

Modchips disable copy protection checks to enable playing burned games and bootlegs. Installation requires opening your console. While interesting, modchips raise legal and ethical concerns for personal use today.

Does the PlayStation Classic come with AC power adapter?

No, it uses micro USB for power, so you’ll need a phone charger or USB power adapter capable of at least 1.0A. Using an underpowered adapter can cause issues.

Can I add more games to PlayStation Classic?

Yes, the system can be hacked to load more games via USB flash drive. See ModMyClassic or BleemSync. Lineup curation and controls take time but enables 100s of titles.

Which Raspberry Pi boards best for PlayStation emulation?

Even a Pi Zero can handle PS1 emulation decently. Pi 3B or 4 provides better performance and flexibility for enhancing builds. Avoid Pi 1 due to weaker specs.

How do memory card saves work on PlayStation Classic?

Virtual memory card files are created per game. Transfer these files to PC or cloud storage to persist saves between console factory resets and modding.

What are the best controllers for PlayStation emulation?

For nostalgia, original PlayStation gamepads work great. For comfort, modern DualShock 4 and Xbox controllers map nicely. Some USB adapters like Retrobit let you plug in real PS1 pads.

Should I play PlayStation remakes or original games first?

If not experienced with the series, playing the remakes can provide more accessible and refined gameplay. But classics still hold up nicely if you don’t mind dated graphics.

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