How to Play System Link Games on a PS1 Emulator
I know I’m extremely late to the the party on this one. I own a bunch of old PlayStation consoles and games, but it’s no longer convenient to use them. One of the coolest features that I miss on my old PlayStation consoles was the ability to play system link aka “link-up” games between two consoles.
The link cable wasn’t very popular on the original PlayStation. The main reason it was unpopular was due to the extremely short link cable. The cable was only 6 feet long and Sony didn’t offer anything longer. It wasn’t realistic to have 2 TVs and 2 consoles just a few feet apart from each other.
I eventually took matters into my own hands and made a 50 foot link cable. That process was relatively simple. I just cut the original link cable in half and spliced Cat-5 Ethernet cable in between. That allowed me to have a permanent setup in two different rooms, which then allowed me to enjoy the library of link-up games that were available on a regular basis.
Here is a Wikipedia list of PS1 games that support link-up play between 2 consoles:
Andretti Racing (2 to 4 players)
Armored Core: Project Phantasma
Armored Core: Master of Arena
Ayrton Senna Kart Duel (EU/JPN)
Bogey Dead 6
Bushido Blade 2
Car & Driver Presents: Grand Tour Racing ’98(called “Total Drivin” in Europe)
CART World Series (2 to 4 players)
Command & Conquer: Red Alert
Command & Conquer: Red Alert: Retaliation
Cool Boarders 2
Dead in the Water
Dodgem Arena (EU exclusive)
Duke Nukem: Total Meltdown
Explosive Racing (Called X-Racing in Japan)
Formula 1 98
Monaco Grand Prix
Motor Toon Grand Prix
Pro Pinball: Big Race USA
R4: Ridge Racer Type 4 (2 to 4 players)
Red Asphalt (Rock N’ Roll Racing 2)
Ridge Racer Revolution
Robo Pit 2
Road & Track Presents: The Need for Speed
Rogue Trip: Vacation 2012
San Francisco Rush: Extreme Racing
Shutokou Battle R (JPN exclusive)
Streak – Hoverboard Racing
Test Drive 4
Test Drive Off-Road (NTSC only – removed from PAL version)
TOCA 2 Touring Cars (Touring Car Challenge in North America)
Twisted Metal 3
Warcraft II: The Dark Saga
Wipeout 2097 (called Wipeout XL in North America)
Wipeout 3: Special Edition (EU) (2 to 4 players)(Original release requires using default name LINK on both systems to enable establish link option)
Personally, my favorite games were Bushido Blade, Wipeout 3, Duke Nukem, Doom, and Command and Conquer.
I have been into emulating consoles for decades now, but emulating the system-link aspect of a console always seemed to be largely ignored. I have tried all of the mainstream PlayStation emulators and the most they could do was LAN play between player 1 and 2 for single console games that shared the same screen, such as Tekken. Recently, I stumbled across an emulator that I have never heard of until now, called NO$PSX.
NO$PSX (pronounced nocash psx) doesn’t have the prettiest front-end and seems like a typical PS1 emulator, but the main exclusive feature this one has is the ability to enjoy all of your favorite link-up games running on the same pc. This doesn’t support playing over a LAN or online (that I’m aware of), but if you have a pc with multiple monitors, you can stretch the window to divide the game into 2 displays.
I personally thought this was an awesome find, and what amazed me even more was finding out that this has been in development since 2012. I figured this emulator would be more popular and easier to find with such a cool feature as offering a way to play link-up games. It makes me wish that other developers would push this feature further and add proper LAN and online support. Imagine if this was ported to phones and being able to play link up Wipeout races!
I hope that this developer hasn’t given up work on this emulator. He claims to be low on cash (hence the name Nocash). If you like what this author is doing, consider donating to his homepage and encourage him to create a Patreon account.
As of this writing, the 2.0 build of the emulator seemed to be buggy with getting 2 instances of a game to work. I would suggest downloading the “1.9” build for now. Also, there appears to only be a Windows port for this emulator for now. If you would like to see this ported elsewhere, now would be a good time to let him know and give him some incentive.
Update: I also found another PS1 emulator called “PCSXR“, which allows you to play system link games over a LAN connection. I am currently testing out how well this performs.