Now that my history with the PS2 is out of the way (that absolutely nobody will be interested in), it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty of modifying it to play downloaded ISOs.
My intention was to pick everything up as cheaply as possible – practically everything came from AliExpress. was a fantastic resource for getting the parts I needed. In fact, there was only one item I picked up elsewhere… but that’s because I forgot about it and didn’t want to wait another month for delivery.
The GameStar network adapter allows a hard drive, with either an IDE or SATA interface (depending on requirements), to be connected to the PS2’s expansion port.
This adapter isn’t strictly necessary, as it is possible to boot games from a USB stick or expansion drive, but I felt that it would be something I’d benefit from due to the convenience and aesthetics that it provides.
Whilst I’m sure there are a few technical advantages to choosing the SATA interface, I decided to go with the IDE interface to use one of the many aging drives I have collecting dust in my office. Even though the software I’m using has a limit of 2tb, 80gb seems ample for my needs.
The PS2 TO HDMI adapter drastically improves image quality over the stock composite cable when used on modern screens. Unfortunately, it is quite unsightly as it protrudes out of the back of the PS2 and requires a mini USB cable for power, meaning that there’s a cable now permanently connected to one of my front USB ports. However, this is a small price to pay when you consider the cost of the device and the quality of life improvement it provides.
I needed to pick up a cheap controller as well as my PS2 is sixteen years old and has been through three house moves. It has definitely seen heavy use but the original controllers have long since been lost or destroyed. Is it as good as an OEM controller? No. Is it good for a copy? Yes. For less than a fiver I’m not going to complain.
I’m finally down to the last and most important item, the FreeMCBoot memory card. FreeMCBoot adds extra options to the PS2 main menu and allows plenty of interesting features to be utilised including running homebrew software, booting ISO files, running emulators, running graphical upscalers and much more.
Whilst the official PS2 memory card is a mere 8mb, I decided to go with a more substantial 64mb FreeMCBoot memory card that was bundled with an additional 128mb blank card to provide me with the saving capacity of twenty four original memory cards.