Unlock the ultimate retro gaming experience with your Steam Deck by diving into the world of PS2 classics! If you’ve been yearning to relive the golden era of gaming with titles like ‘Final Fantasy X,’ ‘Ratchet & Clank,’ or ‘Kingdom Hearts,’ you’re in the right place.


Our comprehensive guide will walk you through every step of the process, from setting up the perfect PS2 emulator for Steam Deck to optimizing your settings for a seamless gaming adventure.

And the best part? We’ve got exclusive tips on how to dump games, configure the emulator, create saves, and emulate PS2 games on Steam Deck and Steam Deck OLED. So, why wait? Let’s turn your Steam Deck into a PS2 emulator with EmuDeck and PCSX2.

Install EmuDeck To Play PS2 Games On Steam Deck

Before you begin, switch your Steam Deck to Desktop Mode. This can be done by pressing the Steam button, scrolling to power options, and selecting “Switch to Desktop Mode.”

To install EmuDeck, first, download the installer from the EmuDeck website using your Steam Deck’s browser. After downloading, locate the EmuDeck.desktop file using the Dolphin File Explorer and execute it. The installation process will prompt you to choose between an Easy or Custom installation. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation.

During the EmuDeck installation, make sure to select PCSX2. To run PCSX2, you’ll need PS2 BIOS files, which should be legally obtained, such as by dumping them from your own PS2 console, and placed in the PCSX2 BIOS folder. To configure the controls, download a PAD.ini file and insert it into the PCSX2 directory on your Steam Deck.

Optimizing PCSX2 Settings

For a better gaming experience, set up a virtual PS2 memory card within PCSX2 for saving game progress. Adjust the graphics and performance settings in PCSX2, including enabling widescreen patches, configuring speed hacks, and fine-tuning the graphics settings like aspect ratio and internal resolution.

Accessing PCSX2 in Gaming Mode

Finally, add PCSX2 as a non-Steam game to your Steam library while in Desktop Mode. This step is crucial as it allows you to access PCSX2 directly from the Steam Deck’s Gaming Mode, ensuring ease of use and a seamless gaming experience.

Keep in mind that a stable internet connection is essential for downloading and setting up EmuDeck and PCSX2. Also, using a keyboard can simplify the installation process, though it’s not mandatory. Familiarizing yourself with the Steam Deck’s controls and shortcuts will be beneficial for navigating through the installation process and emulator settings. Following these steps will allow you to enjoy a wide range of PS2 games on your Steam Deck, merging classic gaming with modern portability.

Why Play PS2 Games on Steam Deck?

The PlayStation 2, or PS2, is more than just a gaming console; it’s a capsule of irreplaceable memories and groundbreaking titles that shaped the gaming landscape. Now, imagine reliving those golden moments but with the modern conveniences and powerful hardware of the Steam Deck. That’s right, your Steam Deck isn’t just for the latest AAA titles; it’s a gateway to a treasure trove of PS2 classics.

The Steam Deck is not your average handheld console. With its Linux-based environment and robust Desktop Mode, it offers unparalleled versatility. This makes it an ideal platform for emulation, allowing you to run a variety of PS2 games smoothly. Whether you’re a fan of action-packed titles like “Ratchet & Clank” or prefer the intricate storylines of “Final Fantasy X,” the Steam Deck has got you covered.

When it comes to PS2 emulation on Steam Deck, PCSX2 is often the go-to software. Its compatibility with the Steam Deck’s Vulkan Renderer ensures that you get the best graphical output possible, making your old games look new again. Plus, PCSX2 offers a plethora of settings to customize your gaming experience, from internal resolution to save states.

How to Dump PS2 BIOS Files for Steam Deck

To dump your PS2 BIOS files, you’ll need a few specific items:

  • A modified PS2 console.
  • A computer capable of burning CDs.
  • A blank CD-R.
  • A USB storage device.
  • The file ‘dumpbiosUSB.7z’ (search online to find this file).

Start Dumping

  1. Unzipping the File: Start by downloading and using a program like 7z to unzip the ‘dumpbiosUSB.7z’ file.
  2. Creating the Disc: Use your CD-burning computer to create a disk from the ‘DumpBiosUSB.iso’ file, using software like Alcohol 120% or Nero Burning ROM.
  3. Preparing the USB Device: Format your USB device to FAT32, as PS2 cannot reset BIOS from an NTFS formatted device.
  4. Using the PS2: Insert the USB device into your PS2’s USB port. Turn on the system and load the disc containing the ‘DumpBiosUSB.iso’ file.
  5. Executing the Dump: On your PS2 controller, press the select button and navigate to the CDFS directory. Find ‘DUMPBIOSMASS.ELF’ and press the circle button to start the dump process.
  6. Reset and Retrieve: After resetting your BIOS, your BIOS files will be dumped onto the USB device.
PCSX settings to play ps2 games on steam deck and steam deck oled

Create a PS2 Memory Card in PCSX2 for Steam Deck

PCSX2’s save state feature, while convenient, isn’t the most reliable, especially after emulator updates, which can render these save states unusable. To circumvent this issue, setting up a virtual PS2 memory card within the emulator is a more dependable method for saving game progress.

  1. Navigate to Settings: Open the settings menu within PCSX2.
  2. Initiate Memory Card Creation: Find and click on the SD Icon in the settings. Here, you’ll see an option to create a new memory card.
  3. Customize Your Memory Card: You have the freedom to name your memory card and decide its storage capacity. Opting for an 8MB card is usually the best choice due to its broad compatibility. When this card fills up, you can simply create and switch to another one.

How To Install PCSX2 Via Discover Store

While EmuDeck offers a convenient way to install PCSX2, you can also opt for the Discover Store, a built-in software center for Linux-based systems like the Steam Deck. This section will guide you through the process of installing PCSX2 via the Discover Store, an alternative method that some users might find more straightforward.

Note: The following method of installing PSCX2 is not recommended for playing PS2 games on Steam Deck. Without using EmuDeck, you’ll have to configure PSCX2 extensively which is not everyone’s cup of tea.

Installation Steps

  1. Switch to Desktop Mode: If you’re in the Steam interface, switch to Desktop Mode for a more traditional Linux desktop experience.
  2. Open Discover Store: Locate and open the Discover Store application on your Steam Deck.
  3. Search for PCSX2: Use the search bar to find the PCSX2 emulator.
  4. Install PCSX2: Click on the ‘Install’ button next to the PCSX2 listing.
  5. Wait for Installation: The Discover Store will download and install PCSX2 automatically.
  6. Launch PCSX2: Once installed, you can find PCSX2 in your application menu or search for it using the application launcher.

Configuration Steps

  1. Open PCSX2: Launch the PCSX2 application.
  2. Configure BIOS: Navigate to the BIOS settings and load your legally obtained PS2 BIOS files.
  3. Configure Graphics and Controls: Go to the settings menu to adjust graphics settings and configure your controls.

What You’ll Need: Your Checklist for PS2 Gaming on Steam Deck

Hardware Requirements

  • Steam Deck: The star of the show, make sure your device is updated to the latest firmware for optimal performance.
  • SD Card: A high-speed SD Card is recommended for storing your PS2 ROMs and ISO files. The larger the storage, the more games you can enjoy.
  • USB Hub (Optional): If you plan to connect external controllers or other peripherals.
  • Mouse And Keyboard: Makes it easier to navigate the Steam browser.

Software Requirements

  • PCSX2 Emulator: The most popular and reliable PS2 emulator, compatible with Steam Deck’s Vulkan Renderer.
  • Steam ROM Manager (Optional): For organizing and launching your PS2 games directly from the Steam Deck’s interface.
  • EmuDeck: An optional but highly recommended software that simplifies the installation and configuration of various emulators, including PCSX2.
  • Dolphin File Explorer: To manage your game files and navigate through your SD Card’s file structure.
  • BIOS Files: These are essential for running the emulator and can usually be extracted from your own PS2 console.

Additional Files

  • PS2 ROMs/ISO Files: Make sure to have the ROMs or ISO files of the games you wish to play. Remember, it’s legal only if you own the original copies.
  • Memory Card Files: To save your game progress, you’ll need virtual memory card files compatible with PCSX2.

Optional Enhancements

  • Warpinator: For transferring files between your Steam Deck and other devices over Wi-Fi.
  • Vulkan Renderer Settings: To optimize graphics and performance.

Internet Connection

  • A stable internet connection is required initially for downloading the emulator, BIOS files, and any updates. However, most PS2 games can be played offline once set up.
  • Ensure you’re abiding by the law when it comes to game emulation. Only use ROMs and BIOS files from sources you own or have explicit permission to use.

Why I Recommend PCSX2 Emulator For PS2 Emulation

When it comes to emulating PlayStation 2 games on your computer, PCSX2 stands out as the go-to choice for many gamers and enthusiasts. Here’s why I believe PCSX2 is superior to other PS2 emulators:

Extensive Game Compatibility

PCSX2 boasts a broad game compatibility list, allowing you to play a wide range of PS2 titles without any hitches. This is a significant advantage over other emulators, which often struggle with compatibility issues.

High-Quality Graphics And Sound

One of the standout features of PCSX2 is its ability to enhance the graphics and sound quality of PS2 games. You can customize the settings to get the best visual and audio experience, something that is not always possible with other emulators.

Active Community Support

PCSX2 has a strong and active community that continually works on updates and plugins to improve the emulator’s performance. This ensures that you always have access to the latest features and bug fixes.

User-Friendly Interface

The emulator offers an intuitive user interface that makes it easy to configure and start playing. Even if you’re new to emulation, you’ll find it straightforward to get your favorite PS2 games up and running.

Versatility And Customization

PCSX2 provides a plethora of customization options, including controller configurations, cheat codes, and even the ability to record gameplay. This level of customization is rarely seen in other PS2 emulators.

Cross-Platform Support

PCSX2 is available for multiple operating systems, including Windows, macOS, and Linux, making it accessible to a wide range of users.

Stability And Performance

Thanks to years of development and community contributions, PCSX2 offers stable performance even on lower-end hardware. This is a significant advantage for those who may not have access to high-end gaming rigs.

Tips And Tricks

  • EmuDeck also features a store filled with non-profit and fan-made games. It’s a great way to test if everything is working as it should with the emulators.
  • Some games may require additional settings adjustments for optimal performance.

Tips and Tricks

  • Check for Updates: The Discover Store often provides updates for installed software, including PCSX2. Make sure to keep your emulator up-to-date.
  • Troubleshooting: If you encounter issues, the PCSX2 community forums are an excellent resource for solutions and tips.

PS2 Games Compatibility List For Steam Deck

There are thousands of PS2 games that are compatible with Steam Deck and run exceptional well but the best performing PS2 games are listed below:

Game NameCompatibility StatusPerformance
Alone in the Dark 4PlayableBest
Call of Duty Finest HourPlayableBest
Cold FearPlayableBest
Dead or Alive 2 – HardcorePlayableBest
Devil May Cry 2PlayableBest
Dragon Ball Z Budokai 2PlayableBest
Dragon Ball Z BudokaiPlayableBest
Dragonball Z Budokai 3PlayableBest
Energy Airforce – Aim StrikePlayableBest
FIFA Street 2PlayableBest
Finding NemoPlayableBest
Freedom FightersPlayableBest
Ghost VibrationPlayableBest
Guitar Hero IIPlayableBest
Half LifePlayableBest
Ice Age 2 MeltdownPlayableBest
Let’s Make A Soccer Team!PlayableBest
Lord of the Rings – Aragorn’s QuestPlayableBest
Luxor – Pharaoh’s ChallengePlayableBest
Midway Arcade TreasurePlayableBest
Monopoly PartyPlayableBest
Neo ContraPlayableBest
Pro Evo Soccer 2011PlayableBest
Resident Evil – Dead AimPlayableBest
Rig Racer 2PlayableBest
Shrek the ThirdPlayableBest
Silent ScopePlayableBest
Soul NomadPlayableBest
Spyro – Enter the DragonflyPlayableBest
WWE – All StarsPlayableBest

Read the full compatibility list on the official PSCX2 website.