Building a Better PlayStation Classic Console

Building a Better PlayStation Classic Console


Greetings and today let’s talk about the
PlayStation Classic! Or rather, my reaction to it. Cuz I was seriously lookin’ forward to this
thing but after seeing the final result? I’m giving it a hard pass. And I slapped together an LGRStation instead! It plays all the PS1 games I want and costs
less than a hundred bucks. And we’re gonna make one today using a Raspberry
Pi and the help of a few handy websites! All right let’s dive into the LGRStation
Classic! Heh, or whatever you wanna call it. I know this isn’t revolutionary or anything
and I’m certainly no Ben Heck when it comes to building stuff, but I still think this
thing is pretty darn useful. If you’re only here for the build section
you can skip to this point in the video, but otherwise: first a little backstory. Because man, the PS1 is easily one of my favorite
systems of all time, so a miniaturized version emulating twenty games had my attention. But what Sony came up with in the PlayStation
Classic confounds me. No Crash Bandicoot, Tomb Raider, or even Gran
Turismo, no analog controller option for the games that support it, and a rather lackluster
selection of emulator tweaks compared to the competition. Then I saw the lukewarm preview coverage of
the PlayStation Classic in November 2018 and my disappointment was palpable. Just, the more I hear about this thing the
worse it looks. Especially since I already had an alternative
I’d put together one weekend back in June of 2017. So I posted this tweet to gauge interest in
a video. And well, your reaction was pretty clear so
here were are with the LGRStation Classic! It’s a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B in a 3D printed
case running the RetroPie frontend. That’s it, nothing fancy or exotic. And I’m well aware this kind of solution
is not news to many of you. But for those of you that have never done
so before, or are simply curious what parts I chose, the rest of this video is for you. The first item is of course a Raspberry Pi,
which is really just a tiny system on a chip with some handy integrated interfaces, and
for this I went with a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B. There are plenty of Pi models out there and
some new ones have come along since I first put this together, but the 3 Model B is more
than capable of running PS1 games and only costs 35 bucks. However, it tends to have some challenges
with heat distribution, especially if you put it inside of a case. So I added these two straight-fin aluminum
heatsinks from LoveRPi, which was sold as a set for $1.99 back when I bought them. They come with some nice thermal transfer
adhesive and just stick on there, dropping temperatures by a good 25% according to my
own testing. Seriously, do not skip the heatsinks if you’re
planning on running PS1 games as I ran into a bunch of performance throttling without
these installed. The other thing I added was an official 2.5
amp power supply, again due to performance throttling issues when emulating PlayStation
games. The Pi 3 is capable of using any micro USB
power supply, but I kept running into errors when using third party ones, constantly getting
“under voltage” warnings with USB phone chargers and generic 2.5 amp USB power supplies. Next up is the micro SD card, which I had
lying around from a previous project. But a 64 gig card like this can currently
be had for about fifteen bucks. I’ve only ever used these Ultra Plus UHS-1
cards with my Pi 3, but it seems more than quick enough to efficiently load and run PS1
games. And 64 gigs is enough space to fit a good
hundred to a hundred-fifty games or so, depending on your selected games of course. Then there’s the case, which is a notable
step down in quality from the official Classic, I’ll admit. This is a design by Filipe Campos that I had
printed and shipped to me since I don’t own a 3D printer, and altogether that came
to about $20. And while it looks rough on close inspection,
with whoever printed it applying this shoddy paint job, I think it looks halfway okay at
a distance sitting under my TV. And the design appealed to me more than most other 3D printed PS1 cases I was seeing online at the time. It doesn’t have any moving parts, LED lights,
or functional anything really. It’s simply a shell so the Pi itself can
cosplay as a tiny PlayStation. And it really is tiny: tinier than the official
PS1 Classic and even smaller than the Nintendo classic systems. With that screwed together it’s now ready
to plug into a display, which is done using either composite or HDMI. For me, HDMI was the priority since I wanted
to use this on a 4K TV, but this optional cable is fun to have as an option to easily
plug it into a CRT for that warm and fuzzy composite video aesthetic. And while prices are sure to fluctuate, here’s
what everything ended up costing me. And this does assume that you already have
a controller to use, a topic we’ll address in a moment. There are links to all this stuff in the video
description for your convenience, and to be clear I am not affiliated with any of these
sites or services, they just worked out for me. Finally, there’s the software side of things,
which is thankfully all free. Raspberry Pis don’t come with their own
OS but getting one on there is straightforward thanks to the excellent RetroPie project,
which combines things like Raspbian, EmulationStation, and RetroArch into one pre-configured package. In fact, one of the PlayStation emulators
it comes with is PCSX ReARMed, which just so happens to be the same emulator that Sony
chose to run the official PlayStation Classic! Anyway, download the appropriate pre-made
image to your computer of choice, plug in your micro SD card, and run either Win32DiskImager,
Apple Pi Baker, or Etcher depending on your OS. This will write the entire RetroPie setup
onto the card pretty much ready to go. Once that’s done insert the card into the
Pi, power it on, and behold: expanding file systems and configuration options! The first order or business is setting up
an input device, and while it defaults to an Xbox controller, you can customize the
Pi 3 to work with nearly anything so long as it uses USB or Bluetooth. I went with a PS4 controller since it feels
great for PS1 games and can pair with the Pi using Bluetooth no problem. You may have to plug in a wired device at
first though since the Bluetooth pairing options are somewhat out of the way, but once you’ve
got it paired it should stay that way unless you decide to pair the controller to a PS4
again. After this, head into the RetroPie setup menu
and enable wifi. Well, unless you’re connecting via ethernet
of course, but wifi is nice and lazy and I approve. Once you’re connected it’s a good idea
to run the package updater to make sure you’ve got the latest versions of everything, or
maybe add more emulators if you want anything beyond the default configuration. But by default, the PlayStation emulators
are already installed. With that out of the way it’s time to play
some games! You’ll need two things: a BIOS file and
some disc images. The BIOS is the PlayStation firmware, and
while there’s a version of PCSX with its own emulated BIOS, the most compatible version
requires an original. And unless you back it up yourself you’ll
have to find one from sites like the Internet Archive. Same goes for disc images, or ISOs as they’re
commonly known, even though PCSX can handle ten different extensions beyond just ISO files. Once you’ve got some though, getting them
onto the system is super simple. You can either copy them directly onto the
micro SD card or you can use your home network to transfer them over wifi. I prefer the latter myself due to laziness,
and also because on Windows it’s as simple as typing “\RETROPIE” into the address
bar of Windows Explorer. Bam, everything you need is accessible, no
swapping of memory cards whatsoever. Now it’s time to enjoy your games! [PS1 startup theme plays] [Need For Speed III gameplay commences] -“3…2…1…GO!” [engines revving, tires screeching] [engines revving, tires screeching]
[drum and bassing] Ahh, this is what we’ve been after all this
time, isn’t it awesome? Well, awesome assuming that you’re happy
with the default emulation options. There are a pile of options to explore in
PCSX alone, with plenty of sound and visual tweaks that are worth exploring. I typically try to get things looking as clean
and crisp as possible, while not changing the look of the games too much. So that means keeping the original 4:3 aspect
ratio, upscaling in integers to maintain pixel shape, and disabling things like scanline
filters, bilinear smoothing, and resolution doubling. Some might prefer that stuff, I just don’t! About the only visual tweak I’ve applied
is the one to remove dithering, and that’s only for certain games where I prefer cleaner
textures. But for the most part I’m just happy having
another way to get my PS1 gaming fix when I feel like it, and being able to swap between
my entire collection of games without leaving my couch is wonderful. And I don’t feel as if I’m missing out
on much compared to the official PlayStation Classic either, considering this is using
the same base emulation software underneath. Sure my 3D printed case is a whole lot uglier,
that’s for sure, and it’s not nearly as easy to use as the real thing. But I can play whatever I want from my collection
and also use analog controllers with the games that support it, or even those that don’t
by enabling a tweak in the options menu. And of course, being that this is running
RetroPie you can emulate dozens of systems in addition to the PlayStation, as well as
customize it to your heart’s content with things like custom user interfaces and graphics
shaders to make things look however you like. So yeah, that’s my LGRStation Classic build. Simple stuff, but highly versatile, to the
point where I’ve kept it plugged into my TV for about a year and a half now and I don’t
see that changing anytime soon. The hardware is more than up to the task,
the software is only getting better, so I’m happy with it. And do lemme know in the comments if you’ve
put together something like this yourself using a Raspberry Pi already or if you now
plan to after seeing this video. And of course, if you like this kinda thing
then do check out the rest of LGR, I make new stuff every week on all sorts of tech. And as always, thank you very much for watching!

About the Author: Michael Flood

100 Comments

  1. As with any project like this there are tons of variations in terms of parts, software, and execution to play with. Let me know what you'd do differently, I'm sure we can collectively come up with something far better!

    Also, I'm looking into getting a nice 3D printer in the future since I'd love to try making my own case. Would appreciate suggestions.

  2. You just changed the Original cpu for a Rasperry Pi I don't get how that makes the custom one better than the official one

  3. When it comes to SD card, you need to look out for the A1 rating more than class or UHS rating.

    A rating stands for random read. A1 is good enough. A2 exists, but is super costly.

  4. Thanks to this video there is now one of these sat under my TV. Took a few hours to get everything up and running and to figure everything out, but I'm chuffed to bits with it. I decided to go with a Mega drive clone case for mine as it'll always be one of my favourite consoles to have come out. If only I could have found a decent Dreamcast one…

  5. I would suggest getting rid of this 3d printed case, open the playstation classic remove its internals and just put your raspberry inside. Would it need drilling new holes ? absolutely, but if you do it carefully, the result will be much better than the 3d printed case.

  6. As much as I get the idea of the appeal for emulators is there, I think I like going for the original hardware, I just think there is a slightly more appeal for the original hardware then emulation.

  7. imo retroarch is better than emulationstation as a frontend, i like the advanced settings and ps3 like menu

  8. Now that the Playstation Classic has dropped to $30 and $40, I'd say it's worth it once you mod it to add more games using Bleemsync or something similar. However, there's no way I'd pay the original $100+ price.

  9. Picked up a new ps classic for $30, modded it using a 128gb usb I had lying around best $30 spent sold my pi for $100 . Profit 🙂 ps classic runs all my retro games and the psp games I love ( yugioh tag series )

  10. Hacking my PS Classic with BleemSync was fun, but adding games is quite a tedious process to do manually, and not every game is guaranteed to work.

    The more I hear about Retropie, the more I'm starting to think this is the retro game solution for me!

  11. Sony should have made a PS2 Classic, mainly since it still can't be smoothly emulated and it can run PS1.

  12. LGR can you bulid a ps2 mini classic use the same construcion did you use to make the ps1 classic by you only make a ps2 classic mini and with it put a duralshock 4 controller but in a diffent color And download the ps2 games like the gtas in 3d tony hawk Games ect

  13. But you're playing with the "bilinear filter" on, right? Maybe it's the little screen of my smartphone, but in my TV with every filter turned off the image I get is more pixelated than that.

  14. Of course, this isn't so much of a problem now that Playstation Classics can be had for a pittance. I have a Pi and a PS Classic and they both come in handy, but it's been a lot of fun to mess with the latter system, swapping out games on the internal storage and using AutoBleem to access games for other systems.

  15. I admit that despite the poorly made case,this device is actually better than the real PS Classic! No joke!

  16. I built a retro console raspberry pi system just recently. 3+ model used with the Kintaro 9000 case which looks just like an SNES with functioning power and reset sliders. Totally sweet! Project turned out great. Got it loaded up with all the major consoles from NES to PS1. Even got some PC ports like Doom and Duke3D on there but still haven't got the controls mapped to the controller I'm using. Still a work in progress but great fun. Love your build and your videos, Clint. Take care.

  17. Lol, i actually have a full working original ps1, and a ps2, i havent the ps3 or ps4, gotta buy them later, they will become antique and more pricy 😁

  18. Is original PS Classic hackable to run native Linux and write my own games on it?
    I don't want to print, solder, and do all the stuff with Pi, while I have ready to use hardware kit in any local store with $50
    But I know Sony with its idiotic policy, they made the piece of scrap, but will never public SDK for it.

  19. I use the RetroFlag SNES style case, and 8bitdo bluetooth SNES (with analog sticks) controllers. I have a 400GB SD card which allows me to include complete libraries of most 8-bit and 16-bit consoles (including CD variants), as well as Nintendo 64, and about 450 PlayStation games.

  20. The games that would have tempted me to buy PlayStation Classic, crash trilogy and ctr. Tomb raider 1 and 2, bugs bunny lost in time, driver 1 and 2, spyro, Dino crisis 1 and 2, duke nukem 3D, Doom 1 and 2 and final doom, the original Quake and heart of darkness

  21. My dad used our raspberry pi (We still have it!) using the case from a playstaition, he made the power button do what it needs to.

    Boot it up.

  22. lol a few months after this. and my actual ps classic costed 30 bucks and……. has all the games i want to play hahaha

  23. hello, can you give me some info? that retro img and that win32 is not booting into my raspberry pi 3 model B+ please help

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