There have been recent developments with PS1 emulation that mean best PS1 emulators lists like this have been disrupted. A new player has entered the fold and is quite frankly, stamping its authority over the established emulators such as ePSXe.
The original Sony PlayStation is now considered a true classic console as well as genuinely being a retro console (it launched in 1994!), so PS1 emulators are now reaching the point where they are giving an excellent performance on most devices.
So let’s waste no more time and recommend the best PS1 emulators for you.
Best PS1 Emulator For PC & Linux
DuckStation is now considered the best PS1 emulator for PC & Linux, pushing the likes of ePSXe to the wayside.
It balances accuracy and performance, enabling support for as many lower specification systems as possible. It is also worth noting that DuckStation requires a PS1 ROM file to boot games.
Users of Dolphin, the best GameCube emulator, may notice some similarities between DuckStation and Dolphin. This is because the UI of DuckStation was essentially copied from Dolphin because of its UX-led design. Not a bad move, as DuckStation is really easy to use!
Whilst DuckStation will work on a wide range of systems, it is recommended you use at least an x86 64-Bit, AArch32/armv7, or AArch64/ARMv8 CPU.
In terms of utilising hardware rendering, a GPU capable of OpenGL 3.1/OpenGL ES 3.0/Direct3D 11 Feature Level 10.0 (or Vulkan 1.0) and above, which pretty much covers any GPU made in the last 10 years, so most users will be absolutely fine.
- Hardware (D3D11, D3D12, OpenGL, Vulkan) & Software Rendering
- Resolution upscaling & Texture filtering
- PGXP geometry precision, depth buffer emulation & texture correction
- Post-processing shader chains
- Fast Boot
- Save states
- Namco GunCon Lightgun emulation (Mouse controlled)
- NeGcon support
- Auto updates
- Auto switch memory cards by game
- CPU overclocking
- Multitap controller (up to 8 controllers)
Best PS1 Emulator For Mac
OpenEmu is the best PS1 emulator for Mac devices running MacOS.
As you may already know, OpenEmu is a multi-system emulator, meaning it not only just emulates the PS1, it offers emulation for over 30 systems!
OpenEmu is similar to RetroArch in that it is actually a front-end for emulation, rather than an emulator itself. It runs emulator ‘cores’, again the same as RetroArch, to help deliver a wide range of emulated systems.
It utilises the Mednafen core for PS1 emulation, which is regarded as one of the best PlayStation 1 emulators out there. Its performance is excellent whilst also delivering a high-quality, accurate emulation experience.
OpenEmu is not only a powerful application but is certainly one of the most attractive looking retro game emulators out there, with really visually pleasing game ROM library management options.
OpenEmu Features Include:-
- Premium Metal API scaling & multithreaded playback
- Real-time 3D effects & image processing
- Video filters
- Full-screen mode
- ROM scanning functionality
- Cover art
- ROM hack compatibility
- Attractive UI and library to keep your ROM collection in order
- Save states
- A wide range of gamepads supported
Best PS1 Emulator For Android
DuckStation is the best PS1 emulator for Android devices and is the definitive way to play your favourite PS1 games on the go.
DuckStation on Android offers a high rate of compatibility, excellent performance and a great array of tools to improve the way your PS1 games look.
You can get your PS1 games looking incredible with the tools available. Resolution upscaling goes all the way to 16x (you only need 5x for 1080p upscaling!). Additional features such as multisample antialiasing and texture filtering will get all of the jagged edges and textures smoothed out and rendered to appear almost PS2 quality!
DuckStation’s simplicity is what really sets it apart. It pretty much auto-configures for an optimum experience upon installation. If you have a controller connected via Bluetooth, this again is automatically configured for use.
- Linear/Integer Upscaling
- Resolution Upscaling (Up to 16x)
- Multisample Antialiasing
- True Color Rendering
- Scaled Dithering
- Texture Filtering
- Widescreen Hack
- Save State (Save State on Exit)
- Fast Forward/Pause Emulation
- Disc Change Option
- On-Screen Touch Controls
- Bluetooth/USB Controller Compatible
Recommended PS1 Emulators
We’ve covered the best of the bunch above, but if you’re not getting on with any of these, check out some of the other PS1 emulators that are available. There are some great alternatives here, including the well-established PCSX-Reloaded and ePSXe.
|DuckStation||Windows PC, macOS, Linux, Android||9.0|
|RetroArch||Windows PC, macOS, Linux, Android||9.0|
|Mednafen||Windows PC, macOS, Linux, Android||8.5|
|PCSX-Reloaded||Windows PC, macOS, Linux, Android||7.5|
|ePSXe||Windows PC, macOS, Linux, Android||7.5|
|XEBRA||Windows PC, Android||6.0|
PS1 emulation is now in a fantastic place, whatever platform you use. DuckStation though has taken things to a new level, with a refreshed, more streamlined UI and excellent performance. It is without a doubt one of the best emulators for PC.
This does not mean to say that the old classics such as PCSX-R and ePSXe are still not worth a go, because they still work very well indeed and have a lot of documentation and community support behind them.
Since you have been reading about PS1 emulation, why not check out its successor with our guide to the best PS2 emulators and one of the PlayStations competitors, the N64, with our guide to the best N64 emulators.
Finally, our detailed guide to emulators includes all of the above-mentioned guides as well as lots of other insights into emulation in general.
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!).