Linux GameStation

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  • DevynCJohnson
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    • @devyncjohnson

    Linux can run a wide variety of game emulators. One emulator of interest is the PlayStation emulator for Linux - PCSX. PCSX simply emulates a Sony PlayStation. Emulators act like an original, but they cannot duplicate the original. The PCSX does have some issues playing games, but many games work well in this emulator. Some games (mainly the newer ones) will not work in PCSX; the emulator mainly runs PlayStation-1 (PS1) games. Remember, only use legal PlayStation games on this emulator; do not use pirated games.

    Install PCSX

    Three choices exist for installing PCSX.

    Option 1: Search the package manager for PCSX or PCSXR (this the the name of the installation package). The description should mention that the application is a PlayStation emulator. Once found, install the program.

    Option 2: In a terminal, type "apt-get install pcsxr" using Root privileges on Debian systems.

    Option 3: Go to and download the package that the user's Linux system requires. If the user decides to download the source code, then the user must configure, compile, and install the program by following the compilation instructions that come with the application.

    Configuring PCSX

    To configure the controllers, click the options icon on the emulator. PCSX supports up to two controllers, or the user can use the keyboard. To emulate two controllers for two-player games, the keyboard can be divided in half. One player would use buttons on the left side while the other uses the right side. This can be crowded and uncomfortable, but players can get used to using the same keyboard. Players could use two separate keyboards, but the same buttons cannot be used for both players. For example, the up-arrow-key can only be used by one player. Assuming that player-1 uses the arrow keys, player-2 would be controlling player-1 when the arrow keys are pressed even if two physical keyboards are used. This issue can also arise with some game controllers. Sometimes Linux or the game emulator cannot distinguish the signals from the two controllers although this is rare.

    Pressing "Ctrl+P" or clicking "Configuration -> Preferences" brings up a window that allows users to change the drivers used by the emulator.

    Under the configuration menu are two "Properties" buttons. One allows users to change the CPU settings for the emulator. Typically, users do not need to make changes here. The second "Properties" button permits users to enable or disable netplay. By default, netplay is disabled. Netplay enables the emulator to play the currently running game with others over the Internet if the game has those features. For example, some games have a network multiplayer, Internet play, etc. option where users can challenge others on the Internet that are currently running the same game.

    Playing a PlayStation Game

    To play a PlayStation game, insert a PlayStation disc into the CD-Rom. Then, under the "File" menu, select "CD-Rom" or press "Ctrl-O". Now, the emulator window should change. The emulator is now playing the game.
    Alternatively, users can use ISO, bin, mdf, and img files instead of physical discs. Users may use these files for legally downloaded PlayStation games or for backup copies of their physical discs that they own. To use these files, press "Ctrl-I" or click "File -> Open". Next, a window should come up for the user to browse for the PlayStation game. Once a compatible file has been selected, the game should begin.

    Saving and Loading Game Status/Progress

    To save a game so that the user can continue later without doing levels over again, the user can type "ctrl+NUM" where NUM is 1-5. For instance, the games progress can be saved to game-slot one by pressing "ctrl-1". To load the game's progress, press alt and a number one through five. For illustration, if a user wanted to use the data saved to slot three, the user would press "alt+3".

    The save-slots use the virtual PlayStation memory cards. The virtual cards are files usually found in ~/.pcsx/memcards/. The first memory card is named "". Players can make new virtual cards by clicking "New". Cards can be formatted by clicking "Format". To copy saved games, select a saved-game and click the copy button that points to the correct destination. A slot can be deleted and undeleted with the "Un/Delete" button. Users can go into the memory card folder and copy the actual files to make a backup or give to another gamer.


    Unfortunately, this is the only PlayStation emulator for Linux. If users wish to play PlayStation games on Linux, the only choice is PCSX. Hopefully, the future will bring more choices for PlayStation emulators. Thankfully, this emulator works well and the developers are doing their best to provide Linux gamers with an awesome emulator.

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