Chonky Palmtop

A cyberdeck with a butterflying split keyboard, you say? But, the key layout is a war crime.

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Playing old PS3 games

About once a year I think, "Hey, maybe I'll play that old video game that I used to enjoy." It never ends well.

If you wade through my previous thread about this, the punchline was: after having bought another PS3 CECHA01* for parts and replacing the Bluetooth subsystem, I was able to restore my backup onto a new internal SSD. It was working! I was able to play my previously-downloaded games via the internal drive.

But, it then lost the ability to recognize inserted discs. It can eject them, which means the ribbon cable is connected properly (as it can't when that cable is unplugged) but it acts as if there's no disc. And the DVD drive from the "parts" machine seems to have some kind of mechanical problem, so it's fucked in an entirely different way.

    * The model I have, CECHA01, is able to play PS2 games. Later PS3s such as the identical-looking CHECHL01 can't do that, and neither can the "Slim" models.

Dear Lazyweb, my question is this. Given:

  1. A functional PS3 internal hard drive with a handful of not-very-obscure downloaded games on it;
  2. A functional PS3-formatted backup of that drive;
  3. A handful of not-very-obscure PS2 and PS3 discs;
  4. No PS3 with a working optical drive;

What is the easiest way for me to actually play these things?

"Play them using a Mac as an emulator" would be ideal, but I will also tolerate solutions of the form, "eBay thing X", "torrent thing Y" and/or "Jailbreak using thing Z".

Like, in a non-crazy world, one solution to "this PS3 works except for the DVD drive" might be, "torrent new copies of the discs you own, load those onto a USB drive, and play them off of that." But I don't know if that's even possible.

I guess "buy 3 separate obsolete consoles, one for the downloaded games, one for the PS2 discs and one for the PS3 discs" would technically work, but that's some bullshit. I would much rather pretend that this software is software.


Because I know all of you are hanging on every word of this drama, here's where I am on this stupid, interminable project:

  • No working PS2 or PS3 emulator exists that will run on either macOS 12 x86 or Raspberry Pi. (If you intend to dispute this, you'd better have actually seen it running first.)

  • At some point, the CECHA01 stopped being able to complete a firmware update, giving error 8002F14E, which seems to mean "your optical drive is fucked, and it is preferable to brick the machine than allow you to fall so far from grace."

    I got it to install through some combination of wiggling the cable and swapping in a mechanically-broken optical drive. And while doing that, the little clip thingy holding the ribbon cable to the motherboard broke. I'm afraid to breathe on it now, let alone move it.

  • I also have a CECH4001B "Super Slim" which is less flaky, but that model does not have hardware support for PS2 games.

  • I managed to get both of them jailbroken, by following this video for the A01 (to install EvilNat) and by following this other video for the 4001B (HFW/HEN) since EvilNat doesn't work on it.

  • Using the 4001B and MultiMan, I was able to rip some of my game discs with the 4001B -- and then I realized that was slow and foolish and just downloaded those games from NoPayStation and/or Vimm's Lair instead. NoPayStation's downloader is pretty easy, but it gives the files absolutely asinine obscured names for no reason.

    And then... half of them don't work. I guess the RAP files are passwords or something? I have no idea how to install those. Update: To get NPS-downloaded PKG files to work, the corresponding RAP files have to go in the /exdata/ directory. You can rename the PKG files to something clearer, but not the RAP files. It may also be necessary to log in to Playstation Network and "activate" the console, I'm not sure.

    Pro tip: try to find PKG versions of the games instead of ISOs. The former install as if they are Playstation Store downloads and will (in theory) run without any jailbreak malarky, whereas the ISOs require goofy bank switching games to fake out the player into thinking it has a physical disc in the drive.

  • At some point the A01 started behaving weirdly again and so lacking a better idea, I wiped its drive and tried to restore from backup... and I can't. It's now behaving as if it can't reliably read my USB thumb drive. Sometimes it sees it and sometimes it doesn't. I tried a different, freshly formatted thumb drive too.

    I'd rather be using the A01 than the 4001B because it has native PS2 support, and EvilNat is a permanent jailbreak; whereas the 4001B uses Hen, which requires you to launch an app every time you reboot in order to do anything jailbreaky.

    But it seems like this A01 is just fucking cursed.

  • I can't believe that in the Twenty First Goddamned Century, some lunatic Playstation hacker went and implemented an ftp server, when rsync was sitting right there. Are you ok, guy? Do you hate yourself that much?

    I guess we're lucky it wasn't Kermit.

Shit I haven't figured out yet:

  • RAP files and making NPS downloads work.

  • I understand that it is possible to get the 4001B to play PS2 games using software emulation, somehow. I thought that ManaGunZ was that thing, but it makes the games show up as an "Unsupported Data" disc ("This model of PS3 is not compatible with PS2 software".)

    Update: Apparently that is how it is supposed to work. I installed webMAN MOD and ManaGunZ per the instructions in this video, and I'm able to mount and play PS3 ISOs, but PS2 ISOs still show up on the mount point as "Unsupported Data".

    My current theory is that PS2 games only work if the EvilNat jailbreak is installed, and don't work at all with Hen. But this Super-Slim can only do Hen, not EvilNat.

  • A number of the PKG games that I downloaded silently fail to install on the 4001B. The package installer just exits and the game does not show up in the list. Most, but not all, are PS3 releases of PS2 or PS1 games (with "PSOne Classic" or "PS2 Classic" in their names) which I thought meant that they are legit PS3 executables that don't require PS2 hardware support? And yet, no worky.

  • Besides the ones that won't run, there are a small number of games that I care about that I was only able to find in ISO form rather than PKG form, and most of those I would just write off entirely. But one of them is Rez. How can I find a PKG version of Rez? Can you convert an ISO to a PKG?

  • If I end up downloading a PS1 or PS2 game as a pair of BIN/CUE files, I can convert that to an ISO with "bchunk", but what if there are twelve BINs and one CUE? (Alternately, got a link to ISOs of the various PS1 Wipeouts?) Update: Though it's not documented, dumping the BIN/CUE files into the /PSXISO/ directory works.

  • Being allowed to retain any of my old save points from the A01 is apparently far beyond the reach of modern technology. They are locked to the hardware.


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