Sony’s PlayStation Classic mini-console has only twenty games pre-loaded, and there’s no built-in mechanism for adding more. But the system also uses a popular open-source PlayStation emulator to run its ROMs, so an unofficial expansion was more or less inevitable.
Only a week after the gadget’s official release, modders have cracked the rather basic software wide open, enabling it to boot PS1 ROMs off of a USB drive plugged into one of the controller ports. In fact, “cracked” might not be the right word, since the PlayStation Classic is remarkably insecure and doesn’t seem to do any verification of software running on an external drive. A GitHub developer has already made a tool that allows users to load up PlayStation ROMs on a USB drive with the correct file structure, inserting them into the console’s own game browser.
The process is a little finicky, but it’s essentially just running a single PC application and checking to see that files are stored and labeled correctly. At the moment permanent modification of the console’s built-in storage isn’t quite so easy, but that might not be practical anyway. PlayStation ROMs are much larger than those of the NES and SNES, whose mini editions were also quickly hacked and expanded.
But for all those players saddened by the exclusion of that one PlayStation title they loved, there’s now a documented process for getting said game on the Classic. More extensive ROM support for other consoles might come later since the PlayStation Classic definitely has enough power to handle 8- and 16-bit emulators. Gamers hoping to build a dedicated emulation box might be better served by something like a Raspberry Pi or an NVIDIA SHIELD.