Sunday, 6 September 2020

Sony PS2 Mod Hack 2020

The PlayStation 2 has been around for 20 years now.

Over the years, there have been numerous ways of hacking the PlayStation 2 to enable it to run unofficial software and backups of original games. There have also been a number of ways of enhancing the hardware to make it more compatible with modern technology and keeping it closer to the latest consoles.

So for the ultimate PlayStation 2 in 2020, here are some software and hardware hacks and mods that will keep your PlayStation 2 going for another 20 years.


1. Wireless Controller.


Whilst there have been a number of third party wireless control solutions for the PS2 over its lifespan (MadCatz and Logitech to name a few), the best solution that I have found for PS2 wireless control is to use a Brook USB Super Adapter.

This allows you to use an official Sony PS3 or PS4 controller wirelessly or wired through the adapters USB port, with your PS2.


2. HDMI Output.


PS2 HDMI adapters are plentiful and enable progressive scan output to modern HDTVs. Interlaced output to modern TVs can look pretty blurred so using progressive scan output gives a sharper clearer image. Looks excellent on my Sony 65" 4k TV, and far clearer than a Composite lead.

There can be an issue with very few PS1 games being outputted in progressive scan by default, however this is resolvable with a later hack. Read on for PS1 Force 480p.


3. Internal SATA Hard drive (and modified PS2 Network adapter).


The PS2 has always been capable of supporting an internal IDE Hard drive using the official PS2 Network adapter.

With IDE Hard Drives now obsolete and difficult to find, you can now buy either a conversion kit to modify your PS2 network adapter to support SATA or a third party PS2 network adapter with the SATA interface already fitted.


4. Internal Mod Chip.


Yes it seems a somewhat outdated concept, however to run PS2 games from an internal hard drive, the easiest way is still to have a mod chip fitted.

There are other methods of running PS2 games / ISOs using the ESR method (making the PS2 think you are playing a DVD video disc) however the modchip is still by far the easiest way.


So.. now we have all of the hardware fitted, we can now look at software / firmware hacks to finish off the total hack up.


5. FMCB (Free Memory Card Boot).


FMBC is an app that you install onto either your PS2 memory card or your internal Hard Drive. This can be installed using a burned DVD-R, or if you have a modchip that supports running .elf files from a USB stick.

Once installed, this allows you to install other apps on your PS2 Memory card which you can then configure and run from the PS2s main menu.

You only need to install this once, and then you are FMCB'd up.


6. LaunchElf


Launchelf is kind of like Windows explorer for your PS2. It allows you to browse through memory cards, HDDs and USB sticks and copy / move / delete and rename files. It also allows you to execute PS2 .elf files directly, and until recently was the best way to run PS1 games from either a USB stick or internal HDD.

The latest version is wLaunchElf. This is an essential app and is usually installed along with FMBC as part of the "Noob" package.


7. Open PS2 Loader (PS2 OPL)


The essential app to install to your PS2 memory card. OPL allows you to run PS2 ISOs and PS1 ISOs using PopStarter (VCDs) from your USB stick, internal HDD or over an ethernet connection.

OPL provides an In Game Reset, Virtual Memory Card game saves and a number of game configuration options that can be set before an ISO is run.

It also allows you to skin the menu and add artwork / screen shots of the games installed using OPLManager.


8. PopStarter.


Popstarter is an app/plug-in that runs PS1 games in .vcd format from HDD and USB. OPL uses PopStarter to run PS1 vcd's. You can also launch PS1 .VCDs using PopStarter in LaunchElf.

Near the end of the PS2's life, it was possible to purchase a few PS1 games over the PlayStation network in Japan for installation on the PS2 HDD. This technology was ripped and exploited to allow almost any PS1 game to run from either a HDD, USB stick or ethernet connection when used with PopStarter, Launchelf or OPL, and a few Sony official files.

PopStarter adds a number of "In Game Key" combinations to allow various functions of the PS2 playing PS1 games to be enabled / disabled during play.

In addition to this, simple text files can be attached to each game to configure the PS2 before it runs the PS1 game including Force 480p, Smoother Textures and Force Pal.

As if this wasn't enough, there is a key combo for In Game Reset and also all game saves go to a virtual memory card.


Once all of this is in place, you will have a PlayStation 2 with built in PS1 and PS2 official and homebrew games, HDMI output and a wireless controller.. All fit for another 20 years of gaming heaven.


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