The Playstation 2 is arguably the best game console ever made. Its lifespan was legendary, and it played host to some of the best games ever made. In short, the PS2 revolutionized gaming.
Now the PS2 is a historical relic of gaming’s past. That doesn’t mean that the hundreds of fantastic games for the console should be forgotten. You can play nearly all of your favorite PS2 games right on your Linux PC using PCSX2.
PCSX2 has been around for a while, and development still progressing on the emulator. Most major distributions include PCSX2 in their repositories by default, so you shouldn’t have any trouble installing it.
Both Debian and Ubuntu have PCSX2 in their repositories. Install it with Apt.
sudo apt install pcsx2
Fedora doesn’t include PCSX2, but RPM Fusion does. Add the repo to your system, if you haven’t already.
sudo sudo dnf install https://download1.rpmfusion.org/free/fedora/rpmfusion-free-release-$(rpm -E %fedora).noarch.rpm https://download1.rpmfusion.org/nonfree/fedora/rpmfusion-nonfree-release-$(rpm -E %fedora).noarch.rpm
Then, install PCSX2 with DNF.
sudo dnf install pcsx2
Make sure the multilib repository is enabled, and you can install PCSX2 with Pacman on Arch.
sudo pacman -S pcsx2
OpenSUSE offers PCSX 2 in their regular repositories. Install it normally.
sudo zypper in pcsx2
Solus also ships PCSX2 in their default repos. Install it with eopkg.
sudo eopkg it pcsx2
Set Up PCSX2
PCSX2 is fully graphical. You can launch it under the games category on your desktop.
When it first starts up, it’ll ask you to configure some settings, beginning with your language.
Next, it’ll ask you to choose your plugins. You can change these at any time, and the defaults are fine to get started.
The next screen will ask you to select your PS2 BIOS. Of course, you haven’t set those up yet, so it’s time to get those in the right place. You have two options for getting PS2 BIOS. The best way is to use the PCSX2 BIOS Dumper on your PS2 console to extract the BIOS files onto a USB drive and copy them to your computer from there. It gets you BIOS straight from the source, and they’re generally more complete. That said, you can find them online to download, too. This method is definitely not recommended and probably illegal in your area.
Once you have the BIOS, place them in “/home/username/.config/PCSX2/bios” and refresh the list. You’ll see your system BIOS at the top of the screen. Select them and finish the setup.
The default controls for PCSX2 might seem clumsy and uncomfortable. Click the “Config” tab at the top of your PCSX2 window. Look for the “Controllers” option in the menu, and choose “Plugin Settings” from there.
A new window will open to let you configure your virtual controller or a USB controller you may have attached.
Playing a Game
PCSX2 works with ISO files, primarily. Thankfully, it’s really easy to rip your PS2 games into ISO files with a regular DVD drive and a DVD writing program, like Brasero. Insert your DVD into your computer, and select the option in your program to make a copy of the DVD. Choose an ISO as the output.
When you have a game to play, select “CDVD” in the top menu of the emulator. Then, browse for your ISO file under “ISO Selector.”
Next, select the system tab at the top of the window, and choose one of the options to boot your virtual system. PCSX2 will start up with your game. You can save your game progress normally. PCSX2 uses virtual PS2 memory cards, too.
That’s it! You can rip your PS2 library and start playing your old favorites on Linux. PCSX2 will continue receiving updates through your distribution’s repositories, but don’t expect major changes. The emulator works with a fairly large percentage of PS2 games already.
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