If you’re looking to discover how to play PS1 games on your Mac, you’ve come to the right place. Have a read through this page to find our selection of the best PS1 Mac emulators along with tutorials on how to install the emulators and play your favourite games.
Everything You Need To Know About Emulating PS1 Games
Why Should I Emulate PS1 Games?
The original PlayStation released back in 1994 in Japan and 1995 for the rest of the world, and the console was a gigantic success, helping to kick-start Sony’s long legacy within the gaming market. The PS1, also known as the PSX, was home to numerous classic titles, many of which have helped inspire the games of today.
Although the graphics of older PlayStation games are incredibly outdated when compared to the titles of today and although many of the original PS1 games have been remastered, there’s a charm in the original PS1 games that isn’t present in the remakes. There are also plenty of classic PS1 games that haven’t been remade for modern-day consoles, only available on the PS1 console or on the PS2.
Unfortunately, modern-day PlayStation consoles aren’t completely backwards compatible with past titles and finding working PS1 and PS2 consoles to play these classic games is a little hard, unless you’re willing to spend a lot. Even if you do find working older consoles, you’re going to have a hard time trying to find compatible televisions and making them these consoles and games work on modern-day screens.
PS1 emulation on a mac does away with all of that as you’ll easily be able to play classic PS1 games with next to no issues. Many emulators will also allow you to slightly upgrade the visuals too for a better experience, meaning that playing PS1 games via emulators on a mac is significantly better.
So, whether you’re looking to re-play some childhood favourites or you just want to play classic PS1 titles that aren’t available on modern-day consoles, PS1 emulation is the way to do it. Just keep reading our guide on the best PS1 mac emulators and how to install them.
Is It Legal?
The laws regarding game emulation is a little murky and will depend on your country. Generally speaking, it’s completely legal to download and use emulators and to, according to some, download and rip ROMs of games you already own. However, it is against the law to share ROMs of games – even if you own them – since it’s a form of piracy.
There’s also another argument which suggests that it’s fine to download ROMs of older games like those from the PS1 since they can no longer be bought, but this is incorrect. Downloading ROMs of games is piracy and illegal in most countries, but that hasn’t stopped people doing it.
These rules also apply for console BIOS which emulators need to run games. Legally, you can transfer console BIOS from your consoles to your PC but cannot share or download them.
Best PS1 Mac Emulators
So, if you’ve got some legal ROMs of games you own and want to try emulating them on a Mac, it’s worth taking a look at our suggestions of the best PS1 mac emulators.
OpenEumu is an open-source video game emulator available for Mac and is regarded as one of the best PS1 Mac emulators. Through the application, you’ll be able to emulate PS1 games along with Atari titles, Gameboy titles, Nintendo NES, 64, and DS titles, as well as games for numerous other retro consoles.
You can use different controllers with the application and assign buttons as you see fit. This essentially allows you to play with any controller on any game! According to the OpenEmu website, the application is compatible with PlayStation’s DualShock three and four controllers, the Nintendo Switch Pro controller, Wiimote and Wii U Pro controllers, the Xbox One S Wireless controller, and numerous others.
Finally, a major benefit to using OpenEmu is that the program works similarly to how Apple’s iTunes program worked, automatically sorting your legal ROMs.
How To Install Open Emu On Mac
To install OpenEmu on your mac, you’ll need to visit OpenEmu.org, scroll down to the ‘Download Now’ button and click the ‘Experimental’ button to download OpenEmu with additional console compatibility and new features still in working development. Don’t worry, it’s completely safe to download the Experimental version of OpenEmu!
Once you’ve done that, you’ll need to have your ROMs at the ready (Which, if you’ve downloaded legally must be unzipped via Archive Utility on your Mac or any other unzipper program). Once the ROMs are ready, you simply need to drag the file to OpenEmu and the program will organise the ROM into the appropriate location. However, if it’s in the wrong place for whatever reason, you can easily drag it the correct folder and edit the file. Box art will automatically be applied to the game, but you can also add your own by dragging and dropping an image file over the game.
Finally, you’ll need to add BIOS files for the systems you wish to play on in OpenEmu, and that includes PS1. There’s a user guide on BIOS files available other at OpenEmu detailing exactly what you need. If you’re missing on any BIOS files, OpenEmu will inform you, which makes it easier for you.
When you’ve got your BIOS files for OpenEmu, you’ll need to add them to ~/Library/Application Support/OpenEmu/BIOS. Once they’ve been added, you’ll be ready to play. Simply select the PS1 game you want to play and start!
PCSX is another open-source video game console emulator. Released in 2000 as PCSX, the program focused on allowing users to emulate PS1 games and an updated version of the program was released in 2009, known as PCSX-Reloaded or PCSXR. PCSXR is widely regarded as one of the best PS1 Mac emulators since it supports external plugins as well as savestates, a Save Rewind feature, and includes various shader packs to improve visuals.
How To Install PCSXR
To download PCSXR, you’ll need to head over to EmuTopia here and find the Mac OS version and download the file. Once you’ve done that, unzip the file and launch PCSXR. When you do, a pop-up notice should appear to create the necessary files and folders for the app. You should also see a pop-up warning you that you don’t have the required PS1 BIOS files.
To install the BIOS files, you’ll need to add them to ~/Library/Application Support/PCSXR/BIOS, allowing you to play your games. After you’ve done this and launch PCSXR, you’ll notice that the app is open on your Mac’s dock but nothing has appeared. To play games, you’ll need to head to the toolbar and click File and then Run CD or Run ISO. You’ll then need to select the ROM you want to play and boot it up.
When running a game, you may need to experiment with the application’s settings to get things running properly, but you shouldn’t have too much of an issue with PCSXR.
Note: PCSX2 is another open-source emulator that can emulate PS2 titles and is partially compatible with many PS1 games. The program can be downloaded for your Mac just like those listed here, but we haven’t suggested it because not all PS1 games are supported.
What Are The Best PS1 Games To Play?
Between 1995 and 2000, dozens of games released on the PS1. Many were completely unique to the console and others were branded, based on existing properties or new film and television releases. If you’re looking for some suggestions on what the best PS1 games to play are, check out our list below:
- Resident Evil
- Resident Evil 2
- Resident Evil 3: Nemesis
- Gran Turismo 2
- Final Fantasy IX
- Final Fantasy VII
- Final Fantasy VIII
- Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone
- Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets
- Tomb Raider
- Tomb Raider II
- Tomb Raider III
- Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation
- Crash Bandicoot
- Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back
- Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped
- Crash Bash
- Spyro The Dragon
- Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage
- Spyro: Year Of The Dragon
- Metal Gear Solid
- Silent Hill
- Twisted Metal
- PaRappa The Rapper
- Rugrats: Search For Reptar
There are numerous other PS1 titles which are all worth playing for, but these are some of the best. Unfortunately, it’s important to note that you might have a hard time finding real copies of these in the world, but it’s a good idea to check eBay, independent video game stores, social media marketplaces, and second-hand shops.
If you manage to find real copies of any PS1 game, you’ll easily be able to rip it into a ROM and play with any of the best PS1 Mac emulators!