PlayStation emulators

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Revision as of 00:35, 23 June 2024 by Ahayri (talk | contribs) (Enhancements)
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Developer Sony
Type Home video game console
Generation Fifth generation
Release date 1994
Discontinued 2006
Successor PlayStation 2
For emulators that run on the PlayStation 1, see Emulators on PS1.

The PlayStation (frequently referred to in shorthand as the PS1) is a fifth-generation console released by Sony Computer Entertainment on December 3, 1994, in Japan and September 9, 1995, in the US, and retailed for $299.99. It had an R3000 CPU (which was used by NASA to take pictures of Mars because of its reliability) at 33.8688 MHz with 2 MBs of RAM and 1 MB of VRAM. It used a proprietary MDEC video compression unit integrated into the CPU, allowing for playback of full-motion video at a higher quality than other consoles of its generation. It had better stereo sound than that of other stereos at that time.

The PS1 was particularly attractive to developers because of the relative ease of programming and the low cost of CD-based media. Sony also had a more inclusive policy towards third party developers, resulting in more third party games than the N64. A PS1 CD had a maximum capacity of 600MB, while the N64's was limited to 64MB.

PlayStation emulation has been available since the late 1990s, and was generally better than the comparable Nintendo 64 offerings despite the use of a plugin system. The plugins and emulators were often closed-source, rarely updated, and of questionable accuracy, but new offerings emerging starting in the mid-2010s offer high accuracy, many enhancements over the original hardware, or both.


Name Platform(s) Version Arcade
Hardware features
and peripherals
Enhancements Compatibility FLOSS Active Recommended
PC / x86
DuckStation Windows Linux macOS Preview
~ ?
Mednafen Windows Linux macOS FreeBSD 1.32.1
Beetle/Beetle HW
~ ~ ?
XEBRA Windows 22/11/06 ~ ? ~
Windows Linux 2.9.1
Dev builds
~ ?
(Core dependent)
PCSX-R/PGXP (Obsolete)
Windows Linux macOS PCSX-ReARMed
PGXP build (Obsolete)
PCSX-R SVN builds (Obsolete)
~ ~ ?
(Plugin dependent)
~[N 1] ~[N 2]
ares Windows Linux macOS v139
90 out of 165 reported titles
PCSX-Redux Windows Linux macOS Dev Builds ~ ? (WIP)
NO$PSX Windows 2.2 ~ ? (WIP)
hpsx64 Windows v0442 ? ? (WIP)
MAME Windows Linux macOS FreeBSD git artifacts[N 3]
libretro core
~* ~ ~ ? (WIP)
ePSXe Windows Linux macOS 2.0.5 ~ ~* ?
(Plugin dependent)
PSXACT Windows git ?
Rustation Windows Linux macOS git(Rustation NG)
? ~*
Avocado Windows Linux git ? ~* ? ~
pSX Windows Linux 1.13 ?
Connectix VGS Windows macOS 1.4.1 ?
Bleem! Windows 9x 1.6b ?
SSSPSX Windows 0.0.34 ?
(Plugin dependent)
Mobile / ARM
DuckStation Android Dragonbox Pyra Beta
SwanStation Pyra
~ ? *
Mednafen* Android iOS Beetle/Beetle HW ~ ~ ?
XEBRA Android 24/03/26 ~ ? ? ~
PCSX-ReARMed Android iOS Linux Dragonbox Pyra libretro core
0.1 Pyra
~ ~ ? ~
ePSXe* Android 2.0.17 ~ ~* ?
(Plugin dependent)
MAME Android iOS libretro core ~* ~ ? (WIP)
Avocado Android git ? ~* ? ~
FPse* Android 12.1 ? ~* ?
(Plugin dependent)
DuckStation Switch Xbox One Xbox Series X/S 20221203-uwp
~ ?
Official Sony emulators PlayStation 2
PlayStation 3
r13 (PS2)
6.60 (PSP)
4.82 (PS3)
2.60 (PSVita)
~ ~ 99%
1354 out of 1367 reported titles
PCSX-ReARMed PlayStation 4
Nintendo 3DS Switch
1.19.1 ~ ~ 65%
214 out of 327 reported titles
WiiSXRX GameCube Wii Wii U git ? ?
Bleemcast Dreamcast ? ? ~
  1. PCSX-ReARMed fork is still active.
  2. If you have a potato/low-end tier setup or incompatibility issues with DuckStation/SwanStation, mednafen/Beetle/Beetle HW or XEBRA try your luck with PCSX-ReARMed.
  3. CI-Windows CI-Linux CI-Macos



Quickly became a top contender on the basis that it has high compatibility and a built-in modern QT GUI. Its stated goal is to be "as accurate as possible while maintaining performance suitable for low-end devices." While PCSX-R has long dethroned ePSXe in features, DuckStation is the first to address all the shortcomings of plugin-based offerings thus far, as all of its features are available out-of-the-box, and no configuration is necessary to get games running outside of obtaining the original system firmware. Duckstation has modern enhancements built-in (one of the best emulator when it comes to enhancement capabilities, similar to Mesen, Bsnes, Dolphin, Flycast, BigPEmu, PPSSPP and PCSX2) and supports some of the hardware features, peripherals. An Android version is also available, although it doesn't have feature parity with the desktop builds.
Is heavily focused on accuracy, and also it has very good compatibility. It's even been known to outperform Sony's official PlayStation emulator in some of the accuracy tests. However, there are a few hurdles to using it; it requires a specific BIOS for each region, and the program interfaces from a shell only; it has no GUI. You can still drag-and-drop CUE files into the executable to load games, and the program will log errors to a text file called stdout whenever a crash happens. External GUI launchers are available.
Beetle PSX
This fork by the RetroArch developers has several experimental modifications and enhancements that aren't present in the standalone version, including a widescreen hack, CPU overclocking for smoother framerates, and increasing the internal resolution up to 8x. Increasing the resolution carries a heavy performance cost, however, since graphics are rendered in-software, an alternative core exists for hardware rendering. See this 2018 guide for setting up Beetle HW in RetroArch. Needs high-end specifications to run at full speed for Android and iOS devices.
An emulator made in Japan that also has high compatibility though games that require subchannel data are not supported. It is heavily focused on accuracy similar to Mednafen. The UI is in English, but because it's not the developer's native language, some of the naming conventions may seem weird compared to other emulators (for example, the BIOS is referred to as OSROM). Luckily, there's a guide that helps explain how each option works. Also supports some of the hardware features and peripherals which is not found in other recommended emulators.
Uses two cores ported from Mednafen for PlayStation emulation: "Octoshock" core (by zeromus) and "Nymashock" core (by CasualPokePlayer). BizHawk emulator is accepted by Speedrun community and actually more preferred compared to other recommended emulators because: it's more suitable for catching those who try and pass off RTA runs as TASes. The "Nymashock" core is more preferred between the two, with public talks about removing the "Octoshock" core. Further that only Mednafen and BizHawk accepted for certain games like CTR.
Has two versions, but standard users will want to use the cut-down gaming version. Made in the same style as NO$GBA, where it handles the PocketStation, it offers decent compatibility with very low-spec requirements – the programmer's philosophy is to deliver a working application out of the box.
PCSX is a playstation emulator by the same team that announced the first Playstation 2 emulator.
An open-source, plugin-based emulator based on PCSX-df, itself based on PCSX. It is no longer recommended, as DuckStation has all the same benefits as PCSX-R without needing to use forks or old plugins.
An ARM fork whose biggest draw is its NEON software renderer, which is both fast and accurate and can render at higher resolutions without resorting to HLE plugins. It was given the seal of approval by Sony after being used in the official PlayStation Classic emulation box.[1]
Latest iteration of PCSX but without plugin system and create a single monolithic codebase that handles all aspects of the playstation emulation. Heavily focused on development, debuggability, and reverse engineering, but still perfectly usable to run PlayStation 1 titles. PCSX-Redux also supports OpenBIOS - a free, truly open source bios replacement for the ps1, which works on the real hardware and emulators.
By nature of supporting arcade systems similar to the PlayStation, MAME's "Sony PlayStation" driver (psj) is considered "preliminary", but it works; it can boot to the BIOS and launch games but expect bugs, especially between hardware revisions. The MAME project as a whole remains active, but there's no incentive for any of its developers to work on the PS1 driver.
Despite having widespread name recognition, it is unfortunately not an emulator we recommend using on PC anymore. The source code is closed, meaning development is beholden to the original developers. Updates have brought it on par with PCSX-R, but that isn't enough. They are also selling a paid Android port.
A simpler emulator with a lot of compatibility issues.[2] Development has been halted, and it remains closed-source. It's really only useful for very old toasters.
Was slated to become an open-source, full-system emulator like DuckStation, with the caveat being that it could load games without a BIOS. That never panned out, as development has largely stopped.

Backwards-compatible emulators

This emulator supports PlayStation 2 backwards compatibility hardware feature. However, one thing to note is that backward compatibility in the original PlayStation 2 hardware didn't cover all the games in the PlayStation 1 library, and naturally these limitations carry forward to PCSX2's emulation, on top of that PCSX2's backwards compatibility emulation still not perfect at the moment.
See PlayStation 2 emulators hardware features and peripherals section for more information.
This emulator supports PlayStation 3 backwards compatibility hardware feature. However there is no PocketStation communication and ps1_emu support at the moment, only ps1_netemu is supported. Tweet from 6 May 2019: "RPCS3 supports Sony's PS1_netemu as of today. PS2emu is not yet supported. Both these emulators are present in the PS3 Firmware for backwards compatibility." ps2_emu used for PlayStation 2 emulation, ps1_emu used for disc based PlayStation games and ps1_netemu for PlayStation Classics from PSN.
See PlayStation 3 emulators hardware features and peripherals section for more information.


  • POPS (short for PlayStation On PSP System) is Sony's official PS1 emulator for their PlayStation Store releases. It utilizes EBOOTs, a form of binary file for PSP, instead of BIN/CUE disc dumps, which can be made using a converter if desired. Compatibility is very high due to similar hardware design; although the GPU is emulated, the CPU is close to the PS1 and would naturally speed up performance on its own. It includes support for multi-disc games (within the one EBOOT). Only the native PS1 resolution is supported, with games being stretched to fit the screen as the user wishes.
  • PCSX-ReARMed is only available on consoles as a libretro core (e.g., RetroArch). It can run on various handheld consoles with fairly strong specs, like the PlayStation Vita, the Nintendo 3DS, and the Nintendo Switch. This emulator in the libretro build initially used the P.E.Op.S. graphics plugin (reasonably accurate, but slow) from the mid-2010s to 2019; now it uses a port of PCSX4ALL's Unai renderer, which is less accurate, but much faster (e.g., 10-20 FPS faster). The CHD compression format, which shrinks disc images into more manageable sizes, is enabled on this emulator on the 3DS. These images will load and run much faster than '.bin/.cue' files - greatly reducing framerate dips, i.e., in FMVs & loading zones.
  • PS2PSXe is an unofficial PS1 emulator for the PS2. However, compatibility is very low. Double disc swapping (using the same method as a real PS1) is required for PS2s with model numbers SCPH-100xx - SCPH-390xx.
  • The PlayStation 3 has a built-in software emulator with very high compatibility, which is used for PS1 releases on the PlayStation Store and for handling PlayStation CD-ROM discs.
  • WiiSX is a port of PCSX to the Wii. Compatibility is fairly low due to the weak power of the Wii and the differing hardware designs that make PowerPC requirements a little stronger. It's generally not worth using since it doesn't get updated.


Side note: Please don't bump/spam GitHub threads/issues and feature request pages.

Name Duckstation Mednafen XEBRA No$PSX ares PCSX-Redux PCSX-ReARMed MAME Official Sony emulators
Graphics Resizable Internal Resolution ~[N3 1] ? ? ~[N3 2]
Parallel/Precision Geometry Transform Pipeline ~[N3 1] ?
Texture filtering
(Nearest-Neighbor, Bilinear, JINC2, xBR)
Textures on the PlayStation are typically displayed with "blocky" edges due to lack of texture filtering.
This enhancement is software-based solution that can significantly enhance texture appearances.
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
True Color Rendering
In practice PlayStation games stored colour in 15 bits. 24 bit colour mode was mostly used for still images.
This enhancement forces the precision of colours output to the console's framebuffer to use the full 8 bits of precision per channel.
It is useful especially on non-CRT displays, producing nicer looking gradients.
? ? ? ? ? ? ? *
True Color Debanding
Applies modern dithering techniques (performed during rendering as opposed to a post-processing step) to further smooth out gradients when true color is enabled.
You can use one of the existing deband post-processing shader for this, but this one works with internal rendering which makes it both faster and more precise. No loss of detail occurs, and no tweaking of thresholds is required.
* ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Scaled Dithering
Scales the dither pattern to the resolution scale of the emulated GPU. This makes the dither pattern much less obvious at higher resolutions.
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Widescreen Hack ~[N3 1] TBD ? ? ? ? ? ~[N3 2]
Texture Replacement ~[N3 3] ~[N3 3] ~[N3 2]
Pre-rendering AA
? ? ?
(DXR, VRT and MRT)
Implementing ray-tracing in an emulator is unfortunately quite challenging and unlikely to be feasible in the near future.
However you can try "Screen-Space Ray Traced Global Illumination" shader using ReShade.[1][2]
RTX Remix Implementing RTX Remix technology in an emulator is unfortunately quite challenging and unlikely to be feasible in the near future.
Besides, DuckStation already supports most of RTX Remix features such as texture replacement and post-processing effects etc.
On top of that you can use ReShade for post-processing and unofficial fork for taking 3d screenshots.
Performance Overclock ~[N3 1] ? ?
Internal Framerate Hack ~[N3 1] ? ? ? ? ?
Frame generation technologies
(LSFG, DLSS-G, ExtraSS and AFMF)
Implementing frame generation technology in an emulator is unfortunately quite challenging and unlikely to be feasible in the near future, however post-processing techniques such as motion interpolation is quite possible. Input latency will be a crucial factor, but its impact likely varies depending on the specific technique employed, it's recommended to use after applying the "Internal Framerate Hack".
While AFMF or LSFG could be used with DuckStation or Mednafen, please be aware that some visual glitches and artifacts may occur at this time.
Preload optical disc image to RAM
For users with sluggish multi-platter HDDs or plagued by horrible seek times, this enhancement might offer smoother experience, potentially reduced power consumption; it also shines when disc images reside on a network drive.
Although keep in mind that preloading image would take some time, and it will require additional amount of RAM capacity.
* ? ? ? ? ? ?
Rendering latency reduction technologies
(LatencyFleX, Reflex and Anti-Lag+)
While most emulators offer frame pacing or framebuffer latency control options, implementing rendering latency reduction technologies isn't currently feasible. This is likely doesn't offer enough benefit to justify the development effort.
Post-Processing Post-rendering AA
* ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Post-rendering scaling
(Sharp bilinear, Lanczos and FSR 1)
* ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
(Box and Adaptive)
In some scenarios, you can consider this option as an alternative to Pre-rendering AA. In mixed 2D/3D games, where some elements might be inherently pixelated (2D) and others might have smoother textures (3D), Downsampling can create a more visually consistent look by softening the pixelated elements. But 3D games already utilize techniques to create smooth textures and avoid a pixelated look. Downsampling in this case would simply blur the image unnecessarily and potentially reduce image quality.
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Filters ? ? ?
AI-powered filter compatible
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Shader Chain [N3 4] ~[N3 1] *
Inverse tone mapping compatible ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
TAS features Macros/Scripts/Lua ? ? ? ? *
Rewind ? ? ? ? ?
Fast-Forward/Turbo Speed ? ? ? ? ?
Savestates ? ? ? ? ? ?
Movie recording/playback ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Controls True/dual analog control * ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Mouse Injector Compatible * ~* *
Input lag-mitigating technique ~[N3 1] ?
Quality of life Built-in Graphics mod editor/manager
Built-in Cheat Manager ? ? * ?
Built-in Custom resolution/CRTSwitchRes
For using this on Windows OS you need CRT Emudriver.
Another option is using EDID editor tool such as "Custom Resolution Utility".
Exclusive to libretro cores and GroovyMAME at the moment.
Also there is a project for achieving software emulators like libretro cores and GroovyMAME send the raw RGB data over a network to a core running on MiSTer, it basically turns the MiSTer into a GPU for the emulator allowing for easy setup and use with CRT TVs/Arcade monitors.
Streamable compression format ~[N3 1]
Per-Game Profiles ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Command Line Options ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
On-Screen Display
Showcases messages, controller input state which is useful for speedrunners, performance data, active settings, and various notifications.
? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Variable Refresh Rate compatible * ~[N3 1] ? ? ? ? *
Big Picture Mode ~[N3 1] ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Misc Netplay ~[N3 5] ~[N3 6]
RetroAchievements ~[N3 7] roadmap ~[N3 2]
Free Look
Free Look is a enhancement feature that allows manipulation of the in-game camera.
PlayStation did not have hardware support for a Z-buffer or floating-point operations. However, the system used various techniques to giving the appearance of depth[3].
You can use cheat menu for certain games to use Free Look.[3]Also you can use dedicated tools like Spyro Scope.
EmuVR support Exclusive to libretro cores at the moment.
AI Service
With the help of OCR and other techniques, the AI service can provide a live translation of a game, or text-to-speech capabilities for the visually impaired among other things, either on demand or automatically.
Exclusive to libretro cores at the moment.
Debug Features ~[N3 6] * * ? ? ~* ?
Converts stereo sound to surround sound.
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 Standalone mednafen do not support these features while Beetle libretro core does. Keep in mind that graphics enhancements exclusive to Beetle HW core.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 No PSX backwards compatible game has trophy support or enhancements for PS2/PS3 or PSP/Vita via these official emulators. But PSX games that received HD ports for PS4, do.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Both DuckStation's texture-replacement-PR and beetle-psx-hw-libretro (mednafen_psx_hw_libretro) support this feature but still work-in-progress/experimental and incompatible with each others implementation.
  4. Has glsl and built-in ReShade .fx shader chain support.
  5. There is a Duckstation fork for GGPO implementation and also Pull request for rollback netplay implementation.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Libretro version do not support netplay while standalone mednafen version does. Also standalone version has more advanced debugging features.
  7. Only available on libretro cores

Parallel/Precision Geometry Transform Pipeline

PGXP (Parallel/Precision Geometry Transform Pipeline) is an enhancement for PlayStation emulation that produces high precision fully 3D geometry data that was not available on the original console hardware.


  • High Precision Vertex Data (more stable geometry)
  • Reduced Triangle Culling (more detailed models)
  • Perspective Correct Texture Mapping (reduced texture distortion)

First, it introduces subpixel precision to eliminate the wobbling polygon issues. Second, it adds perspective correct texturing to stop the ‘texture warping/dancing’ issues.

Hardware features and peripherals

Side note: Please don't bump/spam GitHub threads/issues and feature request pages.

Name Duckstation Mednafen XEBRA No$PSX ares PCSX-Redux PCSX-ReARMed MAME Official Sony emulators
PocketStation Communication [N2 1] * * (PS2)
Emulation [N2 1] [N2 2] *
PlayStation Link * ~ TBD
i-mode adaptor
CD player ~ ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ~
DexDrive ~[N2 3] ~[N2 3]
Input Pressure Sensitive Buttons TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD
Densha De Go! controller ? ? ? TBD TBD ? ?
Pop'n Music Controller ? ? ? ? TBD TBD ? ?
PlayStation Mouse * * ? ? ? * * ? ?
Namco Arcade Stick ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Jogcon ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
neGcon * * ? ? ? TBD * ? ?
GunCon[4] * * ? ? ? TBD * ? ?
Konami Justifier[5] [N2 4] ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Multitap * * ? ? ? TBD * ? ?
  1. 1.0 1.1 Possible with PK201. XEBRA is the first PlayStation emulator to include compatibility with PocketStation.
  2. PocketStation emulation is possible only with NO$GBA.Martin Korth hasn't got around to implement ARM emulation in no$psx yet, the Pocketstation is currently emulated as part of the no$gba project (eventually it might be moving from no$gba to no$psx someday in future).
  3. 3.0 3.1 There is no emulation for DexDrive but these emulators have built-in memory card editor anyway.
  4. You can use nixxou's DuckStation LightGun Edition fork.

PlayStation Link

List of games compatible with the PlayStation Link Cable

The PlayStation Link Cable (SCPH-1040) is a peripheral cable for the PlayStation console. Utilizing the serial I/O port found on the back of most PlayStation models, it allows for two consoles to be connected in order to play compatible multiplayer games on separate consoles.

Densha De Go! controller

Also available for the Nintendo 64, Densha De Go! is a Japan-only train simulator released by Taito that is compatible with an optional special controller.[4] No emulator is known to support it.

CD player

PlayStation CD player supports Audio CD and PlayStation format CD-ROM. However there is only one PlayStation model can play VCDs, and that is the PlayStation SCPH-5903, released in Asia only[6][7]. They're hard to find and expensive. Also there is a third-party peripheral called Gamars Movie Card (similar to Dreammovie for Sega Dreamcast) gives you the ability to play Video CDs (VCD) through your PlayStation and it is compatible with all types of PlayStations (PAL and NTSC), this third-party peripheral is very user friendly as it works by just attaching the unit to the back of the PlayStation.

  • Duckstation has Audio CD and CD-ROM support so you can boot directly your physical discs but there is no VCD support at the moment.
  • Swanstation libretro core has issues with CD-ROM support at the moment.
  • PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3 (backwards compatibility) have support for Audio CD and PlayStation format CD-ROM discs but no support for Video CD/VCDs.
See this dedicated page for more information about home media playback support for emulation softwares.
See Ripping_games.

Arcade variations

There were numerous PlayStation-based arcade systems. Most PlayStation-based arcade games extended the system in different ways. They often had more RAM, ran at higher clock speeds, had additional sound hardware, added additional I/O, and/or used ROM or Flash media rather than CDs. The Konami Twinkle games have a separate DVD player controlled via a serial link to provide background video/audio.[5]

Namco System 10, Namco System 11 and Namco System 12

Namco System 11/12 is an arcade system based on Sony Playstation hardware, with surface-mounted ROM chips as storage rather than CD-ROM.

MAME and ZiNc provides support for this variation.

 The first batch of Namco System 10 games have been emulated with 0.254 version.
 Two quiz games (Derby Quiz My Dream Horse, and Kaiun Quiz) running on Namco’s System 12 are now working with 0.258 version.

Capcom ZN-1 and Capcom ZN-2

Capcom ZN-1/2 is an arcade system based on Sony Playstation hardware, with ROM chips as storage rather than CD-ROM and an extra Capcom Qsound chip for audio.

MAME and ZiNc provides support for this variation.

Konami Twinkle

Konami Twinkle is an arcade system based on Sony Playstation hardware, designed for Beatmania IIDX series games, with an extra hard disk for storing (lots of!) sounds and a DVD player for full-motion video.

MAME supports this variation, but the full-motion video won't be shown in the game because the DVD video decoder is yet to be emulated. However, A fork of MAME reads mpg videos as background animations from iidx_videos folder under the root folder of MAME (like how LaserDisc game emulators work), which would solve the issue of lacking full-motion video at the sacrifice of orthodox emulation.

Konami System 573

MAME provides support for this variation.

Konami GV & Baby Phoenix

MAME provides support for this variation.

Konami GQ

MAME provides support for this variation.

Taito G-NET

MAME provides support for this variation.

Taito FX-1A and Taito FX-1B

MAME and ZiNc provides support for these variations.

 MAME Developer "cuavas" comment about ZiNc emulator: "No-one should be using ZiNc any more. MAME now does everything ZiNc did better, and supports more games."
MAME 0.267 compatibility status for all these variations

Emulation issues

Rendering quirks

Left: Native resolution and unblended dithering.
Right: Higher internal resolution and no dithering.
Jittering in games can stick out more when using higher internal resolutions. This full-color GIF may require you to view its page to see the animation.

The PlayStation takes shortcuts when rendering as a result of making most of the hardware available. This can cause some quirks that become even more noticeable when the internal resolution increases.

Polygons may jitter as a result of low-precision, fixed-point (to the native resolution) math, but this is mostly unnoticeable at native resolutions. Emulators that can increase the internal resolution of games have attempted to fix this.

There is no z-buffer in the hardware. This can cause things like polygons to pop over others; the limbs of Tekken characters are a good example of this. It is theoretically possible to implement this, but it wouldn't be accurate to the hardware.[6][7]

When perspective correction isn't applied to textures, certain viewing angles can make them distorted, more so when an object is near the edge of the camera up close. Tenchu: Stealth Assassins is particularly infamous for texture distortion, most noticeably in the training level where floor textures appear wavy at oblique angles; developers usually mitigate this by adding polygons to walls, floors and other scenery, but at the cost of filling the PlayStation's geometry rate. In DuckStation, at least, this problem has been solved.

Many PlayStation games dither to varying degrees due to having a low color depth. On most TVs, this dithering would blend in order to make new colors and smooth gradients. Plugin-based emulators usually have graphical plugins that use a 32-bit color depth, which removes dithering, while software-rendered plugins and emulators tend to retain it. While higher color depth can be considered an enhancement since it results in less noise and smooth gradients, some think of dithering as seen on real hardware as added shading and texture, especially on untextured polygons. The emulators that use software rendering and can increase the internal resolution of games can retain dithering for the shading and texturing aspect, and it's made more subtle by shrinking the artifacts.

Less-notable games using special peripherals

ZXE-D: Legend of Plasmalite requires the use of a special peripheral to play the game. It is a robot with connectable parts that plug into the memory card slot, which is then replicated in the game. No emulator has ever focused on it, probably due to a number of reasons:

  • It's not a well-known game.
  • No third-party controller and memory card connector has gotten support from emulators the same way that Nintendo's official GameCube controller adapter has.
  • To emulate this purely in software means it has to be reverse-engineered, which can take a bit of time.

CD format

PS1 games use the CD-ROM XA (eXtended Architecture) format, which is based on CDi and allows developers to use both CD-ROM and CD-DA (audio) tracks on the same disc.[8]

Certain image formats and CD dumping methods don't support this format correctly and end up with the CD-DA tracks missing or corrupted, hence no audio. The ISO format in particular only stores the content of a CD-ROM filesystem and cannot store CD-DA tracks at all. So it's generally a very bad idea to use ISO for PS1 games (even though it should work for single-track games). Even running an ISO file based on a PS1 game (i.e., Ridge Racer, Tomb Raider 1-2) with CD-DA audio may often cause an emulator such as ePSXe and other peers to freeze and/or hang up, especially during loading of a saved data or in-game levels and transactions.

  • However, a mounted image (Using Daemon Tools), running from a CD-ROM or using the Mooby2 plugin can solve these CD-DA problems. The MDS/MDF format is good for backing up the CD-DA, audio-equipped PS1 games. However, the best Image format for any PS1 game is the CUE/BIN format. The reason being that almost all the burning programs can read it, and the relevant patching programs (i.e., PPF-O-Matic) are designed for that format. Clone CD images in IMH/CCD format provide another ideal option as it has virtually the same structure as CUE/BIN format (The IMH file is the same data as a BIN file at the hex level). However, the available burning programs are largely unable to read Clone CD format. ISObuster and ImgBurn are good tools for some of the aforementioned notes.[9]
  • The European regional versions of many PS1 games tended to have copy-protection embedded, so they could cause problems with backing up images. These game backups could cause hangs or show a black screen infinitely in a typical emulator. An easy way to avoid that problem is to try the US regional versions. Another way is to patch it using a .sbi file which contains the protection information needed to run the game.
The perfect solution possible, at least for the ePSXe emulator—and perhaps other similar plugins-based emulators—would be (No virtual drive mounting needed)::
1. Use the Mooby2 2.8 CD-ROM plugin, and uncheck 'subchannel reading' in the plugin's settings.
(Just in case: also make sure 'repeat all cdda' is checked, and 'cdda volume' is set to something like 50 or 60, or else you won't hear anything.)
2. Launch the game with File → Run CDrom (browse, find and select your CD image as the window pops up.)
It's recommended you use the Eternal 1.41 sound plugin with default settings along with this. The SaPu CDRom Plugin v.1.0/1.3 is good if you're running official CDs. It especially works well with Daemon Tools Lite or Alcohol 120% when mounting an image.
  • If running ePSXe or a similar emulator on an old Windows OS (E.g., 9x, ME, 2000, XP), use ForceASPI to initialize the ASPI layer (For your disc drive) and a plugin like P.E.Op.S. CDR Version 1.4 plugin or similar. Then set the plugin to "W2K/XP IOCTL scsi commands" before running your PS1 CDs.

For more information about PlayStation hardware and reverse engineering;

See also