The PlayStation 1 is an old console, and I must say that a lot of its games have aged poorly from a visual perspective. That’s because game developers and artists were still experimenting with how 3D works in an interactive medium. And back in 1994, nobody was complaining that PS1 games looked bad.
But it’s not 1994 anymore, and you might be asking “how can I make my PS1 games look better”? The easiest way to make your PS1 games look better on a modern TV is by purchasing an HDMI adapter. You can also use emulation on a PC to play PS1 ROMs, which will give you several benefits like higher resolutions and anti-aliasing.
If you don’t want to spend money on HDMI adapters, upscalers, line doublers, etc., just buy yourself a quality RGB SCART cable. Of course, you’ll also need a TV that has an RGB input. Most modern televisions only have component input for analog signals.
How Can I Make My PS1 Games Look Better?
There is no easy way to make PS1 games look better if you’re playing on a modern HDTV. The built-in upscaling algorithm of most TVs is designed for movies rather than games. And they also have to convert your PS1’s analog output into a digital signal before they can upscale it.
All of this adds processing time to each frame, and the input lag becomes massive. A big deal if you’re using your PS1 to play fighting games like Tekken. To remove the input lag, you can use an HDMI adapter that replaces the regular output cable of your PS1.
You’ll also need a power adapter or micro USB cable to power the conversion from analog to digital. All of these adapters usually come with a power supply included within the box. If not, you can plug a micro USB into your TV and use that to power the adapter.
Some of the adapters also include an aspect ratio switch that lets you transition between 4:3 and 16:9. Not all games will work perfectly in 16:9, so watch out for that. If you want to go one step further, there are dedicated line doublers made by retro enthusiasts.
The Kaico OSSC is a really good one. But be warned- these are quite expensive. And you’ll need to feed them with RGB or component input (so you’ll still need analog output cables).
Dedicated line doublers can reproduce certain effects like scan lines, which you only get on CRT displays. They can also do frame interpolation. And their upscalers are more advanced than what you get on cheap HDMI adapters, so you’ll get an authentic recreation of the original experience.
How Can I Make PS1 Games Look Better On My Computer?
If you’re playing on a computer, you don’t have to worry about line doublers or adapters. Unless you’re just using your computer display rather than the computer.
On a computer, you use emulation to play PS1 games. Probably something like PSX, PCSX, or ePSXe. You can even use PCSX2, which is a PS2 emulator, to play PS1 games.
The first thing you should do is crank up the resolution because PS1 games typically run at 240p. Then, you can use shaders to add a more authentic feel to the visuals. Enabling supersampling and anti-aliasing will also provide a massive boost to visuals.
For most of you reading this article, I recommend downloading a front-end called RetroArch. It has “cores” for various retro consoles, along with a GUI manager that lets you tweak controls, graphics, etc. You can also add a shader pack like CRT-Royale (check this Reddit post for more details).
Does PS1 Have Texture Filtering?
No, it was too computationally intensive for the time. And the PS1 uses affine texture mapping which doesn’t take the Z-axis into consideration. This was one of the reasons for PS1 textures wobbling as you shifted the camera perspective.
What Resolution Are PS1 Textures?
In the modern day, games use 4K textures that measure several hundred MB in size and have a resolution of 4096 x 4096 pixels. But with the PS1, things are a little more… primitive. Its textures topped out at 256 x 256 pixels (although 128 x 128 is what PS1 developers used in practice).
Understanding Why PS1 Graphics Wobble
The PlayStation 1 was a revolutionary console, but it lacked certain features like texture filtering and perspective-correct texture mapping. As a result, characters and objects in the environment would warp as you moved the camera around them. The PS1’s Geometry Transformation Engine couldn’t do floating point calculations, so there was no sub-pixel precision, and transitions between vertices were very rough.
Emulation Settings To Make PS1 Games Look Better
First off, you need to bump up the resolution and anti-aliasing. Then, add some shaders and filters to emulate the look of a retro CRT display. A shader like CRT-Royale is pretty good, and you can use it in combination with a frontend like RetroArch.
If you’re using the ePSXe emulator for PS1 games, check out this configuration guide. The key is to use the native resolution of your PC monitor and to have resolution scaling disabled in Windows (it should be at exactly 100%). You can also enable texture filtering and high-res textures to make your PS1 games look better.
I hope this article gave you the information you were looking for to make your PS1 games look better. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do on native hardware with a modern TV. Digital TVs using HDMI simply don’t play nice with old consoles like the PS1, and you might get weird visual artifacts even with an HDMI adapter.
You can grab an old CRT from a garage sale or a local pawn shop if you really want an authentic retro experience. Or, you could purchase a dedicated line doubler like the Kaico OSSC to make your PS1 work well on modern TVs.
The easiest and cheapest way is to use emulation. These days there are PS1 emulators even for Android phones so you can take your games with you.