The Sony PlayStation (also commonly referred to as the PS and PS1), represents Sony Computer Entertainment’s debut in the home console market. This was too much-hyped expectation and consideration from Sony.
PS1 Emulation is also well established these days with a number of PS1 emulators available across a range of platforms.
Launched originally in Japan in December 1994, The PlayStation was not released to the rest of the world until the following year in September 1995 and beyond.
The development of the PlayStation as a concept can be traced back to 1986. This is when a planned joint effort between Sony & Nintendo failed at the last moment. Nintendo wished to develop a CD-ROM add-on to their SNES console, akin to Sega’s Mega CD.
Sony was enlisted as their partner, and work on the ‘Play Station’ began. To cut a long story short, Nintendo cancelled the partnership and partnered with Philips at the last minute and ultimately, the project never came to fruition.
Rather shockingly too, this was announcement was made immediately prior to announcing the Sony partnership at the Consumer Electronics Show in 1991. Sony was furious at this betrayal and decided to move forward with the project alone and develop their own dedicated CD-ROM-based console.
Release week in Japan during December 1994 saw the PlayStation go up against the Sega Saturn. Strong performance in Japan was followed by the famous Electronic Entertainment Expo event in May 1995 in the US.
It was here that Sega announced the launch of the Saturn which would be sold at $399 USD. Sony quickly followed up with the shock announcement that the much-hyped PlayStation would launch at £299 USD!
This virtually destroyed Saturn’s chances from the word go, with the PlayStation clearly focussing more on 3D gaming whilst Saturn’s 3D abilities were limited from the beginning.
The competition also came from Nintendo in the form of the N64. The N64 still utilised cartridge-based technology, whilst the PlayStation was modern in terms of using CD-ROMs. Whilst load times were slower, this generally meant that games were cheaper to produce. Sony also was a leader during this generation of consoles in terms of offering third-party support.
They were proactive in sending development kits to a wide range of third-party developers. In addition to this, they offered a close working relationship with them too, by offering lines of support to third-party developers as well as offering regularly maintained programming libraries.
Sony quickly became very attractive to developers in their offering, and this showed by the number of games that were being produced on the PlayStation vs. their competitors.
The now-iconic PlayStation controller has links in terms of design with the SNES controller. With its surface buttons resembling the layout of the Super Nintendo controller the most, but now included four shoulder buttons.
This allowed for more comprehensive control within 3D environments, for which the PlayStation was primarily designed. Sony evolved this design further by adding a more ergonomic ‘handle’ based design which certainly reduces cramps over longer gaming sessions! The original PlayStation controller core design remained in place over the PS1, PS2 & PS3 with the design being overhauled for the PS4.
Since the PlayStation had no onboard storage, memory cards became a staple feature for the PlayStation. This allowed users to save games across a number of ‘blocks’ on the memory card.
There were two PlayStation models released, the original design from 1994, and the smaller ‘PS One’ which launched in the year 2000.
Sony PlayStation Emulators
PS1 emulation is now well established across most platforms, so it is very easy to get up and running. Some things to be aware of though before you start;
- You will likely need a BIOS file for the emulator – Google is your friend here, typically these are named in this format – ‘SCPH1001.bin’.
- PS1 emulators use a range of disc image format, including .BIN, .ISO, .IMG, .CCD, .MDS, .PBP, .ECM.
- Many of the emulators can read original PS1 discs from a CD-ROM/DVD-ROM drive on your PC/Mac, so be sure to keep hold of your old games!
PS1 emulation is reasonably well catered for, we recommend taking a look at RetroArch if you are seeking an all-in-one solution. RetroArch emulates a large number of systems including the PS1. RetroArch is a front end that utilises emulator ‘cores’, it is reasonably easy to use and has lots of good supporting documentation on how to use it. RetroArch is available across a number of platforms including Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Raspberry Pi and many consoles.
If you want a dedicated PS1 emulator, there are a number of emulators to choose from. To help sift through all the options, we have selected the best of the bunch below;
PCSX-Reloaded has evolved over time into a highly regarded PS1 emulator. This is especially the case with its emulation accuracy of 3D games. PCSX-Reloaded utilises ‘plug-ins’ which allow you to tweak the emulator’s performance in terms of graphical fidelity, sound output and CD/Controller emulation.
One of the great features of PCSX-Releaded is there is no need to locate and download PS1 BIOS files since they include their own version of the PS1 BIOS. You can easily enough add your own BIOS files though should you wish. PS1 Emulation via PCSX-Reloaded comes recommended, check it out here.
FPSE is a dedicated PS1 emulator for Android devices. Note that you will need to obtain a bios file such as ‘scph1001.bin’ in order to get PS1 ISOs working on this app. FPSE is the most popular PS1 emulator on the Google Play Store. It is a paid app, but is certainly worth its low cost to get PS1 games on the move! You can easily set up a Bluetooth controller to use with your Android device too, instead of using the on-screen controls.
Sony PlayStation Related Links
A lifelong avid gamer and computing enthusiast, Matt has decades of experience in the field, so producing retro orientated content for How To Retro comes is second nature to him. Now over 40 years old, Matt now even considers himself retro, but fortunately, nobody has developed a Matt emulator (not yet at least!).