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How to download and play PS1 games on Android using the DuckStation Emulator

Relive your childhood!

First introduced to the world in 1994, the Sony PlayStation was the first of a series of gaming consoles that is currently one of the most popular names in the games industry. Also known as the PS1 or the PSX, this system brought a slew of iconic games, some of which hold special memories in our hearts, including Metal Gear Solid, Gran Turismo, and Crash Bandicoot just to name a few. Fortunately, there are ways to relive those memories today, with just an Android smartphone. In this article, we go through each of the steps to set up PS1 games for free to play right from an Android.

How to play PS1 games on Android for free

An emulator is just a bit of software that can virtually simulate another device. They are completely safe to download and can be found straight from the Google Play Store. On an Android device, the emulator will be nothing more than just another app.

Step 1: Download a PS1 Emulator (DuckStation)

There are a few different PS1 emulators available to download. The one we will be using in this guide is DuckStation by Stenzek. This is a free application with 500k+ downloads in addition to a 4.6 average rating, so it should be fine to trust. Additionally, there are no ads and the emulator covers most of the basics like a Save/Load state feature and controller support.

PS1 Emulator DuckStation Play Store PS1 games Android free
Image via Google Play

There are other paid options that are also worth considering: ePSXe and FPse. These are highly-rated apps boasting better processor speed, graphics, and other advanced features. They are great emulators but of course, the price is a factor to consider.

Step 2: Download some PS1 Games

The emulator will not come pre-installed with games. We have to find and download these ourselves and websites are a good place to look. It is easy to get tangled with shady websites so make sure to only use those that are completely trustworthy. A trusted site for PS1 games is EmulatorGames.net, they should have almost all the PS1 games available.

For any emulator, the game files to download are called ROMs which stands for Read-Only-Memory. Put simply, an emulator ROM is just a digital copy of one of those physical game cartridges you would put into the console to play the game. Each PS1 ROM could range from 100 MB up to 2 GBs so ensure there is sufficient storage available before downloading each game.

Step 3: Extract and Organise the game files

When downloaded the file will be in an archived format, so we need to extract the file first. To do this, first, download a file explorer app such as ZArchiver. Your device may already have one pre-installed as well. Navigate to the archived file on the explorer app, then click it, and select the option to extract.

PS1 Emulator Game Files
Image via DuckStation Emulator

There may be more than 1 file extracted, kike in the image above. Make sure to keep both, but the one of interest is usually the one with a larger file size. This is what the emulator will identify and run as a game. It is a good idea to create a folder on your Android phone specifically for PS1 games. This makes it easier to locate where PS1 games are stored if needed later and keeps PS1 games separated from other ROMs you might have for other emulators.

Step 4: Loading up the games

Now, open the DuckStation emulator downloaded from Step 1. There is one more thing to do to set up the emulator, so make sure to read carefully as this is very important. Head to this link here, and click the download box to download a file titled “SCPH1001.bin“. The site provided is tested, just follow the instructions to download the file from there. This is a BIOS file that the DuckStation emulator will use to simulate the PS1 system. Without this, the emulator will not run any games.

PS1 Emulator BIOS File PS1 games Android free
Image via DuckStation Emulator

Once the file is downloaded, it will be in an archived form, so extract it first. Then head to the DuckStation app and on the main menu, click the three lines in the top left corner. Click the Import BIOS option, then a file navigator menu should open. Find the BIOS file here and click on it. After that, the emulator should be set up.

PS1 Emulator DuckStation Settings
Image via DuckStation Emulator

To load up a game, click the Start File option at the top of the settings bar. Once again, navigate through the file explorer to find the game downloaded in step 3. The game should now load normally.

Step 5: Getting familiar with the controls and settings

The emulator offers on-screen controls to interact with the game, but they are a bit awkward with some games which frequently use the shoulder buttons. It’s possible to connect a controller via Bluetooth if needed and use the settings menu to change input controls and other features.

PS1 Emulator Game Crash Bandicoot PS1 games Android free
Image via DuckStation Emulator

There are settings to tweak graphics and performance, feel free to play with these but be careful since there are a lot of technical switches which can drastically change the emulator’s functionality. The emulator also offers a save/load feature, fast-forward, and achievements for some games.

Did you find our article on how to play PS1 games for free on Android useful? Do let us know in the comments below!

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