Best PS1 Emulator for Desktop & PCs in 2021
Best PS1 Emulator for desktop & PCs is here. When it comes to multi-purpose emulators that also do PSX emulation, check out Mednafen, an all-in-one emulation program that covers various systems, such as the NES, PSX, the Sega Genesis, and the Game Boy Advance.
While it is a versatile emulator, Mednafen does come with a few caveats. For PSX emulation, you’ll require to rip your own PSX BIOS files. Additionally, Mednafen, at its core, is a command-line program, so you’ll presumably also want to get your hands on a good GUI front end, such as MedGUI Reloaded, for a more user-friendly experience.
Adequately set up, though, Mednafen is a versatile emulator with several options (and support for other consoles is a great plus).
Best PlayStation Emulator in 2021
RetroArch: Another all-in-one emulator option
A different kind of all-in-one emulator program is RetroArch, an open-source multi-platform emulator ready on Windows, Linux, and Android. RetroArch previously comes with its front-end GUI and allows users to download a wide variety of emulation cores for various consoles and handhelds. (And the PSX cores are powered by Mednafen.)
RetroArch includes some unique extra features such as NetPlay support and support for custom shaders, resolutions, refresh rates and save states. RetroArch still requires PlayStation BIOS files for emulation, so that’s still going to be a significant hurdle for some users. Still, as a reasonably easy, one-stop emulator, it’s a great grab.
EPSXE: A PS1 emulator
An emulator that can trace its descent from the old PSemu program, EPSXE is a big emulator that features a plugin system from its ancestor, allowing users to pick and pick between different methods of GPU, sound, and CD-ROM emulation optimized for your hardware. The emulator’s options allow for compatibility with a lot of games after a bit of tweaking.
EPSXE needs a Playstation BIOS to function, which is something to consider if you don’t have the means to dump one. Compatible with an expanded library of games and with loads of plugins to work with, EPSXE is a bit of a hassle to set up, as you will need to look up the most suitable plugins for your configuration, but that’s also a strength.
BizHawk: PS1 tool-assisted speedrunning
Tool-assisted speedruns exploit emulation software features such as frame-by-frame advancement, save states, luck manipulation, and input recording from clocking the fastest (or most tactically or technically satisfying) playthroughs. A popular option on the PC for tool-assisted speedrunning of PSX games is BizHawk, a multi-purpose emulator whose PSX emulation is powered by Mednafen.
BizHawk comes with a slew of TAS tools for recording runs and inputs, RAM watching, keep states, rewinds, and more. You’ll still require a PSX BIOS dump, and BizHawk also has an installer of prerequisites before you load up the core program itself.
PCSX Reloaded: No BIOS PSX emulation
Getting your hands on a Playstation BIOS can be a real difficulty if you don’t have the means to rip the BIOS files from an old Playstation console yourself. Enter High-Level Emulation, which endeavors to emulate the behavior of the Playstation BIOS through software, negating the need for a BIOS dump.
A good sample is PCSX Reloaded, which uses high-level emulation to avoid the need for a PS BIOS file (though you can use one if you want more accurate emulation). The extra strong point of PCSX Reloaded is strong plugin support for a wide variety of software enhancements, though it is a bit more cumbersome to set up than some more user-friendly emulators.
XEBRA: High accuracy, no BIOS emulation
XEBRA is a PSX emulator plan by Japanese developer Dr. Hell which aims for the most reliable, high fidelity emulation of the classic Playstation, warts, and all. XEBRA can run without a BIOS file, but you can also prefer to load a PSX BIOS file.
The XEBRA emulator boasts high compatibility, though it doesn’t have the most convenient interface than other emulators. It might not be the most user-friendly first choice. Still, XEBRA is an excellent backup to have or even use as your primary emulator if you want to go down into the weeds of the technical details of hardware emulation.
PCSX2: PS2 emulator
When it comes to Playstation 2 emulation, PCSX2 is one of the most common choices. Users can opt for straight-up emulation of the classic system or use a plugin system to attach performance improvements. This gives you the ability to create different combinations of plugins to get the best performance or apply various graphics enhancements such as 4k resolutions, anti-aliasing, and texture filtering.
PCSX2 has pretty good compatibility with the library of games growing every day and an active community to help you out.
RPCS3: PlayStation 3 emulator
Playstation 3 emulation was once viewed as a near impossibility. Enter the team behind RPCS3, which has been plugging away since 2012 and has arranged to create a credible, functional PS3 emulator that’s shown desktop emulation is not only possible but achievable.
RPCS3 boasts full compatibility with more than 440 games (defined as playable from start to finish); unlike different emulators, RPCS3 users will have less of a hassle getting their hands on firmware, as they can download the files directly from the Playstation.com portal. The main hassle will be dumping games from the uniquely formatted Blu-Ray discs used for the PS3.
PPSSPP: PlayStation Portable emulator
The amusingly-named PlayStation Portable Simulator Fitting for Playing Portably (PPSSPP) does exactly what it says: it simulates an environment suitable for playing PSP games, portably. It supports multiple architectures and operating systems for several platforms, such as Windows, Android, and Linux.
PPSSPP includes options for upscaling textures and resolution, anisotropic filtering, and save state support, as well as provisions for transferring games from a PSP, allowing you to finish your long-abandoned playthroughs.
Getting Playstation emulators to play your beloved games is one thing. Still, you can get more use out of these programs with a site like PDroms.de, a repository for free homebrew programs and games written for older machines (and, of course, functional in their emulators).
The programs available for download at the site are all supposed to be freeware, open-source, or otherwise legal to freely share and distribute. They range from pixelated nostalgia fests to fusions of retro style and modern game design. Overall, it’s an excellent site to get more out of your emulators.