If ever there was a great console to get your retro gaming collection started, it would be the PSX (or PlayStation 1). Why? Because it is relatively cheap and the catalogue of games is massive! If you are looking for an easy place to start your collection, then this is definitely the best way to go! But there are always things you need to be aware of. That’s why, today, I’m writing this PSX Buyer’s Guide for you! So, lets get on with it, shall we?
Why Is It Cheap?
This is probably the first thing we need to cover; the PSX is great to add to your collection, as long as you’re not looking to buy it, wait a while and then sell it for massive profit. That is not going to happen. Instead, the PSX is best if you are hoping to start a collection that you intend to keep.
This is because, when the PlayStation 2 came out, it was backwards compatible. What this means is the PS2 could play PSX games with no issue. Therefore, most people started selling or trading in their PSX for a PS2, because they could still play their PSX games, but could also start collecting PS2 games as well.
Thus, the PSX itself goes from anywhere between £10 to £50, depending on the condition. And it is important to note that, with the exception of die hard PSX fans, it probably won’t go for much more than that.
However, that means the PSX is a very easy console to get your hands on… Especially when compared to other, more traditional retro gaming rigs like the NES or SNES. You can pick them up on eBay or from secondhand shops like CEX pretty damn easily!
Which Version To Get?
Through the PSX’s lifespan, there were a number of different versions released. The first one (known as SCPH-1001) is probably the hardest to come by now, but would also be the one I would recommend. The easiest way to know if you’re looking at this version is back checking the back of the console.
If the console has the serial port (on the left in the above photo), then that’s the original version. The reason I would recommend this version is because of the serial port and the RCA connections. This version of the PSX had the best audio chip inside it, which means that if you connect it to a sound system using the RCA connections, you’ll be able to have a great sound experience.
On top of this, the serial port was used for some third party peripherals like Action Replay and Gameshark, so you’ll be able to have access to everything the PSX has to offer.
On top of this, because the early versions of the PSX had some issues with skipping FMVs (in game videos and cutscenes), having a Gameshark Pro is great because it would let you access these FMVs outside of the game. So, if you did miss one, you could watch it through the Gameshark instead of having to play through that section of the game again.
On top of this, just from a collector’s perspective, I would also recommend looking around for a “PS One” model. This, specifically, refers to the smaller version of the console, similar to the PS4 Slim. It was white, as opposed to the typical grey colour of the original versions of the console.
It also allowed you to connect specifically-designed screens to the back of it, allowing for portable play. This was a huge step forward for gaming at the time, and as such, is a piece of gaming history. Therefore, if you are looking to have a PSX collection, this should definitely be part of it!
Finally, it is worth saying that there is also the Net Yaroze version of the PSX, which is black. It is, by far, the most difficult version of the console to find, because it also has some developer functionality in it. So, if you do manage to find one, put your money on the table and don’t miss out on it! Seriosuly!
And that pretty much covers the important aspects of the console itself, so lets move on to the peripherals themselves.
What PSX Peripherals Should I Get?
Okay, so to begin with, the obvious thing to get is a controller. There are countless different types of controllers for the PSX, from the original controller that didn’t have thumb sticks, to the official dualshock controller and hundreds of third party controllers too.
At the very least, I would recommend that you get hold of the two official controller types. This is because the first (without the thumb sticks) is great from a collection perspective, and the second (dualshock) makes gaming on the PSX far more comfortable.
On top of these two, I would also recommend buying the PSX mouse, especially if you are looking to play some of the point and click games. It would may your life a lot easier!
However, when it comes to just adding things to your collection, there is also one controller that, if you can get it, I would pick it up immediately. It’ll probably cost you quite a bit now, because it is very hard to come by… But if you want an awesome PSX collection, then it is definitely worth it.
Known as the PSX Flight Stick, its a really unique and very interesting controller that is great for games like Ace Combat. However, as mentioned earlier, it is very rare and hard to find. It will likely cost a lot to buy, but if you find it and can afford it, I wouldn’t pass up the opportunity. You never know when you’ll get another one.
So, as you can see, even with the controllers, there’s a lot to get your head around. Up next in this PSX Buyer’s Guide, we’re going to look at peripherals that are designed to just make life more fun.
One thing you absolutely need to buy if you intend to play any of your games is a PSX Memory Card. You see, back in the PSX and PS2 era, you didn’t have a hard drive to save to (the PS2 had one eventually, but that was mostly for one specific game). So, because the games were now on CD rather than cartidge, a new way to save your game was needed.
In short, without a memory card, you cannot save your game… At all… And the standard memory cards had 15 save slots, with some games taking up multiple slots. At the very least, I would buy two official memory cards, and maybe one of the third party memory cards that hold more saves.
There are quite a few different light guns available for the PSX… My choice for a collection would be the Namco Light Gun, as it was probably the most common and therefore the easiest to get hold of… There’s not really much to say about these, other than the fact that there are different versions made from different companies.
If you find one, get it… If you then find a different one, why not pick that up too? They’re pretty cheap these days…
Now, these are pretty important and I would definitely recommend adding one to your collection! Back in the PSX era, if you wanted to play with more than 2 people at a time, you needed to buy a Multi-Tap. What this does is allow you to connect up to four PSX controllers and memory cards at the same time.
This is opposed to the standard setup that only allows for two controllers and two memory cards. There are quite a few different third party Multi-Taps, but I would recommend trying to get hold of the official one, just from a collector’s perspective.
You’ll be able to tell if the one you have found is official because it will be grey, like the original versions of the console, and it will be a right angle, as shown above. The reason for this is that it would be able to wrap around the PSX console itself.
Now, this is going to be the most difficult PSX peripheral in this guide to get hold of… Especially here in the UK, as I don’t believe it was released over here at all. In essence, the Pocket Station is a memory card with a screen on it that allows you to play mini games that then change things in the main PSX game.
An example of this is in Final Fantasy VIII, where you could raise your chocobo friend on the PocketStation, like a Tamagotchi or the original Digimon toys. Whilst doing this, the chocobo could find items that you could then transfer back to your save in Final Fantasy VIII itself.
Again, they are hard to find, so if you can get one, I would definitely snap it up! It would be a great addition to any PSX collection.
Games To Get You Started
Okay, so that’s the console and peripherals out of the way. But what kind of PSX buyer’s guide would be complete with going over is what games I would recommend you get in order to start your collection. So, here are 7 games that I would recommend getting as soon as possible, either because of their rarity or fun value.
This is going to be very hard to come by, because it didn’t sell very well, but it is definitely a hidden gem of the console. In short, it is a survival horror game in a cyberpunk world, where you control a young boy with psychic powers. It is incredibly fun, but also very challenging. That’s why it didn’t do very well… So, definitely get your hands on it if you can!
Another very hard to find game… If you ever see this in a car boot sale, get it immediately! On sites like eBay, this goes for upwards of £100 every now and then! Despite it’s rarity, it is considered a forgotten classic because of its unique style and plot, and the fact that it launched the PS2’s Shadow Hearts series.
Final Fantasy Tactics
Now, really, I could say any of the Final Fantasy games for PSX here (as you could guess from my Top Final Fantasy Moments post), but I would recommend trying to get your hands on Final Fantasy Tactics. It holds a special place in my heart, as it is my favourite Final Fantasy game to date. However, it is also one of the rarest Final Fantasy games for PSX. This is because it was a massive departure from the rest of the series, so most people stuck to the main FF7, FF8 and FF9. So, due to its rarity, FF Tactics would be a great addition to your collection.
Resident Evil 2
Generally considered one of the best Resident Evil games ever made, Resident Evil 2 is just a really great game! It isn’t all that rare… Instead, it is worth getting just because it is an amazing piece of Survival Horror history. It is fun, and it is very scary!
Metal Gear Solid
This shouldn’t come as a surprise really… Whilst not the first Metal Gear game, it was the first Metal Gear Solid game. It was a testament to what the PSX could do, and whilst it hasn’t aged well graphically, gameplay-wise it is still top notch! The main reason this is hard to come by is that people love it so much that they don’t want to get rid of it.
Gran Turismo 2
If ever there was a game series that showed off what the PSX could do, it was the Gran Turismo series. I would recommend the second one, as it was more refined than the first. But be warned, these are not arcade racing games… The Gran Turismo series is all about racing simulation.
Lunar 2: Eternal Blue Complete
Now, this one will probably cost you an arm and a leg to get the full set… Basically, the full box contains the game itself, the soundtrack, a necklace, character stands and a poster. I spent £90 on it back in 1998, importing it from the US because it wasn’t released over here in the UK. It is incredibly rare, so if you manage to get it, congratulations to you! Unfortunately for me, it was lost during my moving between countries… I still feel sad about that…
And That’s All Folks
Thus we come to the end of this PSX Buyer’s Guide. I hope you found it useful and that, at the very least, it will help you know where to get started with a PSX collection.
If you are thinking of starting a retro game collection, you could do a lot worse than starting with the PSX… It’s probably the cheapest way to get going, and the catalogue of games is insane.
Let me know if you found this educational or helpful at all by leaving a comment below! Good luck collecting!
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- Buyer's Guides
- 3rd September 2017