The PlayStation 2 was first released in 2000, and in the two decades since, the Sony console has become one of the go-to systems for aftermarket modding. The Raspberry Pi, a single-board computer originally developed for teaching computer science in developing countries, made its debut in 2012. Like the PlayStation 2, the Raspberry Pi has been an invaluable tool in tons of modding and homebrew projects. What happens when you combine the two?
I’ve covered numerous PlayStation 2 mods on my YouTube channel in the past, ranging from after-market fan options to simple ways to load your PS2 games from an external device. Today, I’m combining the powers of the PlayStation 2 and the Raspberry Pi to see what kind of cool stuff this match made in heaven can produce. As always, if you’re thinking about performing this mod yourself, I highly recommend checking out my full tutorial video so that your installation process goes as smoothly as possible.
"There are plenty of pros for this mod, including the ability to install it on a slim model PS2, which is unable to handle SSD loading solutions due to the lack of an expansion bay."
The Raspberry Pi Works Wonders on PlayStation 2
Sure, there are plenty of ways to load your backed-up games from external storage to your PlayStation 2, but the Raspberry Pi method eliminates a lot of issues thanks to the great data transfer speed from the ethernet port. Other methods that utilize the PlayStation 2 USB ports are often subject to slowdown and frame rate problems, both of which are a non-issue with the Raspberry Pi. If you’re looking to try this mod out for yourself, you’ll need a few parts to get started.
First off, you’ll need a Raspberry Pi, but don’t worry about grabbing the newest iteration, as this method supports all four versions of the Raspberry Pi. Second, you’ll want to grab a microSD card that’s over 8GB. You’ll also need a USB thumbstick to store your PS2 games on, so I recommend grabbing one that’s at least 16GB. Also, you’ll need an ethernet cable – a Cat-5 should work perfectly fine. Finally, you’ll need a PS2 memory card that has Free McBoot and OPL installed. As a side note, if you’re using a fat model PS2, you’ll need the network adapter. However, if you’re using a slim model PS2, this will not be necessary, as ethernet ports are already available without the adapter.
If you’re the type of gamer who prefers software modding over hardware modding, rejoice, as the Raspberry Pi x PS2 mod requires virtually no physical modifications. While I’d love to offer a step-by-step tutorial here, I recommend you check out my Raspberry Pi PlayStation 2 mod installation video for the full breakdown. In short, you’ll need to format your SD card and write the latest version of PSX-Pi SMB to it by using a program called BalenaEtcher. Once you’ve got the SD card installed on the Raspberry Pi, you can add some games to the USB thumbstick, connect the ethernet and thumbstick to the Raspberry Pi (be sure to power it down first), and then do some networking setup to get things finalized. Once that’s completed, you’re essentially good to go.
The Pros, Cons, and Features of Raspberry Pi on PlayStation 2
Truth be told, there aren’t a ton of crazy features included with the Raspberry Pi PlayStation 2 mod. However, it’s an excellent way to load your games from an external device. As a nice bonus, adding new games to your library is as simple as plugging the USB thumbstick into your computer and adding some files. This, combined with the general ease of installation, makes it one of my favorite solutions for loading backed-up games.
There are plenty of pros for this mod, including the ability to install it on a slim model PS2, which is unable to handle SSD loading solutions due to the lack of an expansion bay. Better yet, this mod works on PlayStation 2 consoles that have faulty disc-reading lasers, so you can still play your favorite games without buying a new system. Luckily, there are only a few cons to this mod, the most notable being the “messy” final look. There are ways to clean it up and make it look presentable, but the various dangling cables provide a less-than-premium look.
Overall, when it comes to loading backed-up games on your PlayStation 2, the Raspberry Pi method is one of the easiest and most cost-effective solutions out there. The setup does not require any soldering or console modification, making it a mod that most beginners can successfully perform. Best of all, your PS2 will retain its stock functionality with the mod installed, so you don’t have to worry about losing any features in the process. Generally speaking, I highly recommend this mod for any PS2 owner who wants instant access to their game library with just a few quick button presses.