What is a PSX Emulator?
PSX emulators were developed in order to allow Playstation aficionados to play their favourite PSX games on their native personal computers. There are PSX emulators for a wide variety of operating systems such as Linux, Windows, Android, and MacOS.
The first PSX emulators were developed in the mid-90s right after the first Playstation was released. The Playstation gained a lot of popularity since it was easy to program for and it had a pretty good hardware system for the time period with a whole 1 MB of video RAM.
Playstation released the Playstation Classic 2018 for enthusiasts to play old games on an actual Playstation, but it only allowed you to play 20 games on it. However, when you use an emulator, you will have access to all the games the old Playstations had at their disposal.
PSX Emulator BIOS
The BIOS (Basic Input Output System) of any computing device is the coding it relies on to control data flow between the microprocessor and its various other devices. These devices include the hard disk(s), video adaptor(s), memory card(s), keyboard, and mouse.
Anyone that is trying to emulate a Playstation on a personal computer first needs to encode the BIOS into the emulating software. This is so that the games will be able to access the devices and peripherals as they would on the Playstation device itself.
There are differences in BIOS programming in different versions of the Playstation. A good simulator will try to provide different BIOS emulations for the Playstation games being played depending on what Playstation version it was created for.
Certain emulators don’t come with their own BIOS pack. This means that while they provide emulation capability to the games of a PSX, it needs additional BIOS files to function. For these emulators, you need to place the BIOS files in a certain pre-determined directory so that they can be accessed by them.
Playstation emulators often allow the use of plug-ins. There are different plug-ins for the different hardware resources present in different personal computers. Most of the plug-ins are related to video cards and other graphics-related software.
Some plug-ins are there to ensure that your current operating system will be able to render the graphics that the emulator is presenting. For example, Windows has a video coding pack referred to as Direct X. These files offer different video options for programs to draw from when creating video imagery.
A well-designed emulator will have plug-ins that will allow it to perform well with a specific operating system’s own graphics-related plug-ins. For example, using the earlier Windows example, an emulator would have different plug-ins to cater to all the versions of Direct X present for Windows.
Best PSX Emulators for Macs
There are some PSX emulators for Mac operating systems including Mac OS X. However, the selection of emulators is fewer than are available for the Windows operating system.
PCSX is a popular emulator for Mac OS X that has had a lot of development that has gone into it. Some versions of it require you to download separate BIOS files for it to work. One of the longest-standing versions of the PCSX emulation program was the PCSX-Reloaded version.
ePSXe is also a fantastic and reliable Playstation 1 emulator. It allows you to customize controls and has controller support for almost all platforms. It also allows you to connect your laptop to a PS3 or PS4 controller for more realistic gameplay. There is also OpenGL support for enhanced graphics.
While there are other PSX emulators for Mac, they are not as reliable and cannot be recommended. Some versions will be better than others depending on the type of game that is being played. You can always use the trial-and-error method to find one that suits your favorite game best.
Best PSX Emulators for Windows
There is a wide variety of PSX emulators for Windows. However, it needs to be said that what emulator works best for you would depend on the version of Windows you have and what upgrade packs you have installed. Once again trial-and-error is a must for finding the best emulator for your computer.
Even on this platform, the best PSX emulator would have to be ePSXe. As mentioned before it has OpenGL support which was the highest graphics standard available in the 90s when the Playstation was first released. It also allows Bluetooth pairing with different Playstation controllers.
Mednafen is also a great PSX emulator that has been created for PC users. However, for this emulator, you should download your own BIOS files in order to make it work. Also, since it runs using command lines, you might want to download MedGUI Reborn and MetroMed for a user-friendly GUI interface.
A great way to maximize the enjoyment of playing an older Playstation game is by using the same (or in this case similar) controller. If you are using your laptop to run your PSX emulator you can use a Playstation 3 or Playstation 4 controller by pairing it with your laptop using Bluetooth.
This may require you to change some of the settings on your emulator because they are generally programmed to input data using the keyboard and mouse. This should be easy enough to do, instead of re-processing the input data, now it’s just being rerouted from a similar controller.
PSX Emulator Games
As we mentioned before, the whole reason for you to go for a PSX emulator is that you are able to play ALL PSX games! Just make sure that you have the right plug-ins for seamless video playback and graphics rendering that suits your computer.
PSX emulators are a great way to get to play the games you grew up with, in the 90s. They also enable us to immortalize the games that were the building blocks of the fast-action realistic 3D and 4D games we enjoy today. So download a PSX emulator today and get cracking!