The Playstation 2 is still the king of best selling game consoles at over 155 million units (just barely beating out the Nintendo DS).
And with nearly 2000 game titles in its library, there is no shortage of awesome content to keep you busy for a lifetime.
Take a look at our list of the 50 best PS2 games for some reminders.
But as we all know, game consoles become obsolete, unavailable and increasingly expensive as they age.
For retro gaming fans who do not still have the classic console in their entertainment setup… emulation might be the best option.
There are a couple emulation programs available for the Playstation 2, but we gave PCSX2 our number one spot on our list of the best PS2 emulators.
And for good reason… with open source applications available for Windows, Linux, and MacOS… PCSX2 has all bases covered.
And while PCSX2 does make emulation extremely easy for players, it will need some tweaking to get it working perfect.
To hopefully make the process as easy and fast as possible, here is our guide for how to setup PCSX2 BIOS the right way.
Step 1 – Install PCSX2
To get your copy of the PCSX2 program, all you have to do is navigate your web browser to the official PCSX2 website and download it.
If you have ever downloaded and installed a program to your computer, this is gonna be familiar territory for you.
Find your operating system on the Downloads page, grab the program, install it to your computer.
Step 2 – Install the PS2 BIOS
For those who are not super tech savvy or do not understand big words… that basically means that certain hardware needs specialized firmware to run properly.
And gaming consoles like the Playstation 2 use their own BIOS.
For PCSX2 to properly know how to behave like a real Playstation 2, and interpret the games exactly as intended on the original hardware… using the Playstation 2 BIOS is a must.
Don’t worry… once you install it, you will not have to think about it.
The BIOS pack can be located for free at this website: https://romsmania.cc/bios/pcsx2-playstation-2-bios-3
(Or find your own copy by searching for “Playstation 2 BIOS”.)
Download the ZIP file and extract its contents to a folder on your computer.
You may want to place this folder within the installation folder of the PCSX2 program to keep them together, but it can be placed anywhere you wish.
When you load PCSX2 for the first time, it will have you do some simple setup. It will ask about your default language settings, and it will also ask for the BIOS location.
The BIOS location is going to be the folder of the BIOS files that you extracted.
Select the folder location, and finish your initial setup of PCSX2.
That should be everything necessary to get PCSX2 up and running!
Step 3 – Play some games
Your copy of PCSX2 should be ready to play some games now.
You can obtain ROM files of your favorite games however you see fit (google em?).
See our final notes about emulation and ROMs for our thoughts on its morality and legality if you wish.
Once you have downloaded a game, you must make sure that you are loading an ISO format game file in PCSX2.
If you downloaded the ROM from a website, it may have come packed within a ZIP file. All you have to do is extract the ISO file that is inside that ZIP folder, and it is ready to play.
PCSX2 has a file menu at the top and to load the game ISO you navigate to “CDDVD > ISO Selector > Browse…”
Selecting the browse option will open a window to locate your ISO file. Select the file wherever you have it on your computer, and it will be loaded into the emulator.
Now navigate to “System > Boot ISO (fast)” and the game will begin.
We know, that all sounds quite complicated.
But once you have your emulator setup, you will not have to do it again.
And once you have learned the process of loading a game file and booting it, you will remember how to do it. It won’t feel so complicated once you have done it before.
PCSX2 has additional options once you are within a game, and can even use controllers connected to your computer. So you will have to do some additional experimenting if you would like to take advantage of those features.
But we hope this guide makes the setup of PCSX2 easy, and gets you into a game as soon as possible.
About Emulation and ROMs
We recently released an article titled “What does emulation mean?” that covers some of the basics of emulation and ROMS.
We also covered the topic of the the morality and legality of emulation in our article Are Emulators Legal?
But in summation… it is our personal belief that there is no harm in the use of a ROM file to play a video game that is no longer on the market by the original developers and publishers.
So download and use ROM files at your own discretion.
If you are here looking to install PCSX2, you have probably already came to the conclusion that you are okay with emulation and ROMs.
Anthony has been a video game lover ever since he can remember. He became a fulltime nomad in 2018, living throughout most of Asia. He focused his passion in retro gaming and began creating a game for the Game Boy Color while living in Nara, Japan during the 2020 pandemic. He is now in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where he spends most of his time gaming, going on long walks and meeting as many stray dogs as possible.