The PS2 is the best selling console of all time, so there’s no wonder people have been asking us how to play PS2 games on Steam Deck!
It featured some of the best PS2 games of all time such as Jak & Daxter, Ratchet & Clank, Final Fantasy X/X-2, Yakuza, Katamari Damacy, Kingdom Hearts and so, so much more.
The love for this console makes it not surprising that people want to emulate the system, finding the best possible way to play games from that system in any way possible.
With the arrival of the Steam Deck, and the fact that it can do so many different things, obviously users are wondering how best to emulate the PlayStation 2 on the handheld.
We know that it’s powerful enough to do it, but how exactly do we do it?
Just how do you dump games to play on the system, and how easy is it to set up?
We take a look at what you need to do, how you can install a PS2 emulator onto your Steam Deck, where to place games and how to set up your emulator below!
Table of Contents
1. The EmuDeck Method
The EmuDeck Method is great if you’re hoping to install a wide variety of emulators other than PCSX2, including emulators for the following systems:
- Sega Genesis
- PC Engine
- Nintendo Entertainment System
- Super Nintendo Entertainment System
- Master System
- Neo Geo
- Super NES Widescreen
- Genesis Widescreen
- Gameboy Color
- Gameboy Advance
- Neo Geo Pocket
- Nintendo DS
- Nintendo 3DS
- Nintendo 64
- Nintendo Wii
- Nintendo GameCube
- PlayStation 1
- PlayStation 2
- PlayStation 3
- Nintendo Wii U
- Nintendo Switch
How To Install EmuDeck
It’s easier than you might think to install EmuDeck onto your Steam Deck. The Steam Deck itself is basically open-source, and you’re able to install whatever you want on it as long as you can find a workaround to any potential issues. In order to install EmuDeck on your Steam Deck, all you need to do is:
- Format an SD card to ext4 or btrfs if you want to store ROMs on your SD card.
- Then, you’re going to need to download the EmuDeck installer using the Steam Deck browser.
- Copy the EmuDeck installer from your downloads folder. To do this, you’ll need to drag it onto your desktop.
- Once it’s on your desktop, you then need to run the file.
- Follow the on screen instructions EmuDeck gives you. You need to select exactly what emulators you want installing. It’s not too much of an extra effort to install every single emulator, but if you want you can only install PCSX2.
Once you’ve done all this, dump your ROMs and firmware onto the Steam Deck. We’ll tell you all about how to do this later in the article.
2. The Alternative Method
You can also install PCSX2 by finding it through the discover store. All you need to do here is search for the emulator and it should come up, then you can install it. The biggest flaw with this method is that you will have to set up everything yourself, whereas EmuDeck makes everything a whole lot easier by doing it for you.
NOTE – You do need the BIOS files to actually run PCSX2. It’s illegal to use any BIOS files that aren’t your own, so first you’ll need to successfully dump your own BIOS files.
How To Dump Your PS2 Bios Files
In order to dump your files from your PS2 you’ll need the following:
- Modified PS2 console
- CDR-Capable Computer
- A Blank CD R
- USB Storage Device
- The file ‘dumpbiosUSB.7z’
While we can’t link to the file, you can find it out there online by googling it. Once you have all of this, you’re ready to start dumping your BIOS files.
- Download 7z. Once downloaded, open 7z so that you can unzip the dumpbiosUSB.7z file and access the contents.
- Put your disc into your CDR and create a disk using the file DumpBiosUSB.iso. You’ll need either Alcohol 120% or Nero Burning ROM to do this, but once you have them it should be pretty easy to do.
- Format your USB device to Fat32, as you cannot reset a BIOS on a PS2 from a NTFS formatted device.
- Insert your USB into the USB port of the PS2, turn on the system, and load the disc that you’ve just burn that contains the DumpBiosUSB.iso file.
- Press the select button on the controller and navigate to the CDFs directory. Scroll down to DUMPBIOSMASS.ELF and press circle.
- Reset your bios.
- Your bios should be fully dumped!
How To Create A PS2 Memory Card In PCSX2
While PCSX2 does have a save state function, it’s not great. Every time you update the emulator there’s a fairly decent chance that you’ll completely lose access to your save states as they become incompatible, which is where setting up a PS2 memory card comes in.
In order to create a PS2 memory card on PCSX2, you need to do the following:
- Head into the settings menu in PCSX2
- Click on the SD Icon
- Click on the create memory card option.
- You’re then given the option to name a memory card anc choose the amount of space that you can dedicate to it. We’d recommend choosing 8MB as that’s classed as the most compatible option, then once it fills you can swap it out for another virtual memory card.
Configure PSCX2 On Steam Deck
If you didn’t install PSCX2 through Emudeck, then you’ll have to sort out all of the settings yourself. In order to do this, head into settings. You’ll want to make sure the following settings are as follows:
- Renderer: Vulkan
- Aspect Ratio: 16:0
- Internal Resolution: 2x Native 720p
Since the Steam Deck itself is capped at 720p, you don’t need to go any higher than this, and indeed going any higher than this would be entirely pointless.
This changes, however, if you’ve bought a Steam Deck dock and want to emulate PS2 games on your TV screen. I
n that case, you can increase the resolution to as high as you want it, as long as your TV screen can actually keep up with it.
How To Have ROMS Appear On Your Steam Deck Home Screen
If you’ve got this far, then we’re imagining that you’re going to want your ROMs to sit neatly on your Steam Deck home screen.
Well, you’re in luck!
If you’ve followed the instructions needed to install EmuDeck, then you already have a programme called Steam ROM Manager. If not, then you’ll need to grab this useful tool in the Discover store.
Once you have it downloaded, just run the application and select each of the systems that you want the ROM Manager to cycle through as it searches for games.
Once you’ve done that, just click preview and click generate app list. Wait for the application to find artwork for the game and then click save app list, and you’re done!
This article may contain affiliate links. If you use these links to purchase an item we may earn a commission. Thank you for your support.
Ryan is a seasoned retro gaming features writer with bylines at Fanbyte, PCGamesN, Lost In Cult and more. When he’s not writing, you can find him playing retro video games.