Fan-Made Portable Console Runs PlayStation 2 Games on Raspberry Pi Server

Photo Source: Darkwingmod

Sony welcomed the new millennium by releasing the PlayStation 2 (PS2). Almost two decades later, a fan who goes by "darkwingmod" has created a portable version of the console that relies on a Raspberry Pi 2 server to load games without a DVD drive. So of course it was granted its own Pi-based moniker: the PIS2. We have our reservations about how that's pronounced, but hey, it works.

Calling the device portable might actually be a bit of a stretch: the handheld is pretty large. But it's still interesting to see how one fan was able to resurrect a nearly 20-year-old console without relying on expensive parts. Even the Raspberry Pi 2 is slightly dated at this point--the Raspberry Pi Foundation released the Raspberry Pi 4 earlier this year--which makes the fact that the device works even more notable.

Those dated parts are somewhat expected because Darkwingmod actually started working on this project in 2017, then took a break before starting again this year. They said the device is capable of loading "99%" of the games they tried at full speed, despite relying on the Raspberry Pi 2, which is exactly what someone would expect from a handheld console. (Nobody likes dealing with slow loading.)

The PIS2 looks a bit like the Game Gear that Sega released in the '90s. The layout is basically the same as the PS DualShock controller in that it has a D-Pad on the left, four buttons on the right, buttons on the top bumper and one analog stick on each side. The obvious difference is that the DualShock controller doesn't have a display right in the middle, of course, but this handheld console does.

More information about the PIS2 can be found in Darkwingmod's Reddit post and work log on the BitBuilt forums. We don't necessarily recommend following their lead on this without brushing up on the legality of running PS2 games without a DVD drive, which implies there's some form of backup taking place, but we doubt that's going to stop anyone who's already decided to breathe new life into the PS2.

Nathaniel Mott
Freelance News & Features Writer

Nathaniel Mott is a freelance news and features writer for Tom's Hardware US, covering breaking news, security, and the silliest aspects of the tech industry.

  • S_P_Ewing
    You may find it has 3 USB 3.0 ports and 2 USB 2.0 ports.
  • bloodroses
    This is a VERY misleading title as a PS2 is still being used to run the games; with the PI just hosting DVD images. The way the title is written it makes it sound like the PI is emulating PS2; which it is way too under powered for.