Playing PlayStation Games on PC, Step by Step

Was itching to play some of my old PlayStation games but didn’t want to pull out the machine from storage, so I tried using an emulator. Here’s one way to get started quickly:

  1. Go to www.ePSXe.com and download the latest version of ePSXe (1.9.25 as of this post).
  2. Extract the ePSXe emulator files into a new folder (I named mine ePSXe), making sure to preserve the folder structure.

    ePSXe Folder Structure
    Be sure to preserve the folder structure when unzipping
  3. Use a search engine to find and download a PlayStation BIOS (ePSXe recommends SCPH1001.bin), then download it into the bios folder. For legal purposes it’s better to match the BIOS with the model of your own PlayStation (my original PlayStation is SCPH-3000, but for some reason only SCPH1001.bin will work with the wizard in the next step. Any other version will require a manual configuration afterwards in Config->Bios).
  4. Launch ePSXe.exe. If ePSXe has not previously run on the machine, the config setup should run automatically.

    ePSXe Configuration Setup
    This wizard runs automatically when starting up ePSXe for the first time
    Click the Config>> button.
  5. Select the SCPH-1001 BIOS downloaded from step 2, then click Next>>.

    ePSXe - Configuring the BIOS
    Only SCPH1001 will show up in this list – any other version will require going to Config->BIOS after completing the wizard
  6. Select Pete’s OpenGL2 Driver 2.9 (should work for any modern system), then click Next>>.

    ePSXe - Configuring the Video
    Pretty much all cards support OpenGL nowadays
  7. Select ePSXe SPU core 1.9.0., then click Next>>.

    ePSXe - Configuring the Sound
    Only one option here
  8. Select ePSXe CDR WNT/W2K core 1.7.0. for Windows 7, then click Next>>.

    ePSXe - Configuring the Cdrom
    Choose appropriately for your OS, though probably at this point nobody uses Win9x
  9. Click Controller 1, then click inside each box to map a key/button to the corresponding PlayStation controller button. When finished, click OK, then Next>> again. Super easy whether you have a PlayStation->USB adapter or a keyboard.

    ePSXe - Config Gamepad
    Click inside each box, then press the key/button you want to use. The upper-right dropdown selects the type of controller.
  10. Click Done. ePSXe should now be ready to run at the most basic settings (they can be fine-tuned later).

    ePSXe Configuration Complete
    Almost there!
  11. Insert PlayStation game into optical drive.

    Resident Evil - Director's Cut
    This game is almost 20 years old
  12. Click File->Run CDROM.

    ePSXe - Launching a Game
    This is it!
  13. Play!

At this point the game will run fine but some of the settings might not be perfect (e.g. full screen vs. windowed, etc.). You can play with the settings (Config->Video->Configure) to get the quality and speed that you want. Below are the settings I chose and the result. Note that my machine is from 2011, so I’m guessing most machines today would be able to meet or exceed the settings I chose. Hope you found this guide helpful. Have fun!

My ePSXe Settings
My settings after some trial and error
ePSXe - Resident Evil
Looking good – enjoy!

Batch File Renaming – One Method

Like a dummy, I recently accidentally deleted all my DuckTales episodes (photo of my collection so that the FBI doesn’t get on my case) from both my desktop and my portable backup drive (be careful when using robocopy with and without the /mir switch). Fortunately, I still had a backup on my computer at home back in the Bay Area, so I have been transferring these files back onto my desktop. Because I’ve been using IRC to send the files, one side effect is that spaces in the filename turn into underscores, like this:

DuckTales_#67_-_The_Duck_Who_Would_Be_King.mkv

I could go in and manually remove all of these underscores (on occasion I have, sometimes it’s just easier and quicker to do it that way), but with 75 files overall it’s worth it to create a system for quickly renaming the files.

Here’s a quick rundown of the tools used:

  • Windows 7 Command Line
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Notepad++ (get it here)

Ultimately, we want an Excel spreadsheet that will generate the ren commands. It will have 3 columns: one for the source filename, one for the destination, and one for the command.

We start by generating a list of the files in the folder/directory. This can be done with the classic dir command, with the /b switch (/b for “bare”, resulting in filenames only; otherwise you’ll get dates, times, and filesizes). In Windows 7 (and Vista and 8, I believe), if you hold SHIFT and right-click the Explorer window, you can open up a command window that already has the proper path. In XP, you can download a PowerToy that does the same thing. Otherwise, you’ll have to navigate to the path using the CD command.

Once you’ve opened up a command window with the proper path, input this command:

dir /b *.mkv > list.txt

The command above lists all the MKVs in this folder in bare format, then redirects (the > sign) the output to a new file called list.txt (as opposed to the screen; if list.txt already exists, it will be overwritten). Without the *.MKV, dir will recursively list list.txt inside list.txt. You could manually remove it from the list, but I like to keep it clean so I use the wildcard.

Now we open up list.txt with Notepad++. You can use any text editor you like, maybe even Microsoft Word (though over the years I’ve found its spell-check and auto-correct features can sometimes cause issues), as long as it has a search/replace function. Before we do the search/replace, however, we want to copy this list of files into column A (our source filename column) of our spreadsheet. Use Ctrl-A to quickly select the entire list and then Ctrl-C/Ctrl-V it into Excel (obviously I like keyboard shortcuts, but you can copy/paste using whatever method you prefer).

Column A

Back in Notepad++, do a search/replace for the underscore, replacing it with a space. Once again, select-all and then copy/paste. Now you should have a list of original filenames in column A, and a list of desired filenames in column B.

Column B

Column C is where you will input the formula for creating the ren command. Here is the command that we want:

ren "DuckTales_#67_-_The_Duck_Who_Would_Be_King.mkv" "DuckTales #67 - The Duck Who Would Be King.mkv"

Notice how the filenames are inside quotation marks. When a filename has spaces, it’s best to use quotation marks to avoid ambiguity. I know that on occasion I haven’t used them and commands completed successfully, but there have also been times when they haven’t. So, quotation marks.

The formula for creating this command is:

="ren """&A1&""" """&B1&""""

In Excel, if you want to represent a quotation mark as text, you need to escape it using another quotation mark. That’s why there are 14 of them in the formula above. You have 6 for the formula itself, and 2×4=8 for the filenames (and if you look at the example above, you’ll see 4 quotation marks total in the command). The ampersand is used to concatenate text, so basically we’re concatenating a bunch of text to create the command.

Review the command to make sure it’s correct, and then copy/paste the formula to the rest of the column. In Excel, there’s a convenient way to do this. Select the cell with the formula, then double-click the little black square on the bottom right. I don’t know what the square is called, but it will autofill the rest of the column for you.

Excel Autofill

A convenient side-effect of the autofill is that the entire column will already be selected afterwards. Now you can quickly copy this text back to Notepad++. If you had left it open after the search/replace function previously, all you’d have to do is paste over, since the text would already be selected. Ctrl-S to save, then quit Notepad++.

Back in the Explorer window, you can now rename list.txt to list.bat*. Confirm that you want to change the file extension, then double-click or hit enter to run the commands. Wow! The files are now properly renamed!

*This assumes that your system is configured to display file extensions, which IMHO is something that should be enabled by default. To enable it, type ALT-T-O in any Explorer window, then uncheck Hide extensions for known file types under Advanced Settings in the View tab.

At this point you can delete list.bat or rename it back to list.txt for later use. I usually just delete it. I do save the Excel spreadsheet since I now have the formula in there. I suppose I could save it permanently since it’s a generic formula for renaming any two files, but it’s so easy to re-create it that once I’m done renaming all my DuckTales episodes, I’ll probably just delete it along with the temp folder I’m using to hold the episodes.

So, there you have it. Though it may seem like a long procedure (this is a pretty long post, and I tried to explain everything thoroughly), it’s actually quite a time-saver once you’ve set it up and get used to all the keyboard shortcuts. I’ll summarize the steps below:

  1. SHIFT-right-click to open command window
  2. dir /b *.mkv > list.txt
  3. Open list.txt, copy/paste filenames to column A of new spreadsheet
  4. Search/replace list.txt, replace underscores with spaces
  5. Copy/paste new filenames to column B
  6. In column C, enter formula ="ren """&A1&""" """&B1&""""
  7. Autofill formula
  8. Copy column C back to list.txt
  9. Save and close list.txt, rename to list.bat
  10. Run list.bat

Not too bad!

I first used this method back at work, when we sometimes had to rename hundreds of files at a a time. There are probably utilities and/or creative ways of using wildcards to make this happen, but when I tinkered around and looked online, I couldn’t find anything that didn’t require buying something or learning something new and esoteric. These are the tools that I had and knew at the time so I made do. The cool thing is that most people already have them on their PCs, so anyone can do it.

Sometimes, you never know what you might come up with when the need arises. I hope you found this post useful!

Updating “Date Taken” En Masse

I recently came into a large amount of JPGs that had been taken with the camera set to the wrong timezone. The camera was still on Pacific time while being used in Hong Kong. As a result, the “Date Taken” tags on all the photos were all 15 hours before they were actually taken.

I could go through and manually change the dates for hundreds of JPGs, but obviously that would get old fast. What I needed was something that could process a large number of files without any intervention from me. Searching around, I found a tool called ExifTool by Phil Harvey that allows me to correct the “Date Taken” tags for every single JPG at once. Credit should also be given to this thread in the DP Review forums for helping me to find ExifTool in the first place.

After downloading and learning about the program, I wrote a quick and dirty batch file that does what I need:

exiftool -DateTimeOriginal+=15 *.jpg
exiftool "-AllDates<DateTimeOriginal" *.jpg
exiftool "-FileModifyDate<DateTimeOriginal" *.jpg
exiftool "-FileCreateDate<DateTimeOriginal" *.jpg

The first line adds 15 hours to the “Date Taken” tag for all the JPGs in the current folder/directory. Now, if a JPG is selected, the status bar in Windows Explorer will display the correct time and date.

The ExiF data actually contains a whole bunch of dates. For consistency, I added the second line to make all of these dates the same (i.e. plug in the newly updated DateTimeOriginal to AllDates).

The last two lines change the “Date Modified” and “Date Created” dates in Windows Explorer (i.e. the dates that appear if you right-click a file and choose “Properties”) to match “Date Taken”. These dates are a part of every file and separate from the ExiF dates, which is why updating “AllDates” doesn’t work. I added these lines because I like to view my files using “Details” view and sorted by “Date Modified”, and I figured I might as well update “Date Created” as well.

Hopefully, this information helps anyone else who has to batch update “Date Taken” for multiple files.

MPC-HC H.264 Playback Stutters When Subtitles Enabled

options

I recently installed the 64-bit Media Player Classic – Home Cinema (MPC-HC), version 1.6.5.6366 (744df1c) on a new Windows 8 computer. When I tried to play back H.264 content that included subtitles, the video stuttered terribly. Scenes without subtitles played fine. Turning off subtitles was not an acceptable option.

After clicking around in the settings to no avail, I looked online and stumbled onto this Subtitles FAQ at Codec Guide. The answer was to uncheck Allow animation when buffering in MPC-HC’s subtitles options. Thanks Codec Guide!

Now you tell me?

I just tried uploading a video to YouTube. Everything seems fine, I’m able to add descriptive comments and tags, etc. After 40 minutes of uploading, I try clicking the link to the video:

WTF YouTube

Seriously, WTF YouTube? Can’t tell me beforehand that the video is too long? Have to waste my time leaving my browser window open?

It seems everyday that with as many advances as we make in technology, there are still these little one-off idiotic things that still happen that make no sense.

Complaints About Google, Jump Lists

A couple of complaints and resolutions today:

First, Google doesn’t seem to work as well as it used to. Sometimes I input a term that Google thinks is misspelled, and it automatically shows me results for the corrected word.

To fix, use quotation marks around the word to identify to Google that this is a literal search.

Second, regarding Windows 7 jump lists:

Every so often, a jump list becomes corrupted. Items that you’ve pinned no longer appear, and you will not be able to pin any new items. There is no fix that I have found other than obliterating the jump list and starting over. Luckily, items in jump lists reside in files, and you can back up these files on a regular basis so that when a jump list does become corrupt, you can restore it from backup.

Not so luckily, the jump lists all have some crazy names. A couple that I have identified are:

Excel 2003 jump list – 75d01b5b7df0d177
Acrobat 8 jump list – 6807f6e0bc8d4ca7

The place to find these files: %AppData%\Microsoft\Windows\Recent\AutomaticDestinations

Be sure not to accidentally back up a corrupted jump list, or else it will be too late!


Update: Microsoft now has a hotfix for this issue.

Load Adobe Acrobat 6 Faster

How to make Adobe Acrobat 6 load faster:

  • Navigate to C:\Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat 6.0\Acrobat
  • Create a folder called plug_ins_disabled
  • Enter the plug_ins folder and select all files and folders except Paper Capture, Preflight, EWH32.api, Search5.api, and Search.api
  • Cut selected files and paste them into the plug_ins_disabled folder you just created
  • Load Acrobat 6 and enjoy the loading time decrease

Note that some of the files I left in the plug_ins folder can be removed to the disabled folder, but since I require scanner function, I left some of them in. To get a clue as to what each plug-in does before you disable them, click on Help, then About Adobe Plug-Ins while inside Adobe Acrobat.

How to Play a Video CD on Your Computer

This short article will teach you how to play a Video CD (VCD) on your computer. If you do not know what a Video CD is, chances are that this guide will be useless to you. The target audience of this guide is the person who is only familiar with playing VCDs in a standalone VCD or DVD player, but not a computer. Lets proceed, shall we?

There are two options for playing VCDs on your computer. One is to use Windows Media Player, which is installed on most Windows systems. First, insert the VCD into your CD or DVD-ROM drive. Then, navigate to the MPEGAV directory on the CD. One way to do this is to click on Start, then Run, and in the Run box type X:\MPEGAV, where X is the letter of your CD or DVD-ROM drive. Here, you will see one or more files with a MUSIC***.DAT or AVSEQ***.DAT naming convention, where the asterisks represent a series of numbers, usually beginning with 01 or 001. These are the video files. Unless you have another application that uses DAT files, there should be no programs associated with them. If this is the case, double-click on one of them, and when Windows asks you what program you want to use to open them, choose Windows Media Player (or mplayer2.exe), and check the box that asks if you want to always use mplayer2.exe to open DAT files. In Windows XP, you will have to locate the file yourself. The location of the file is C:\Program Files\Windows Media Player\mplayer2.exe. Once you have selected mplayer2.exe, click OK and the video should now play.


Click on Start, then Run.


Type X:\MPEGAV. (My CDROM drive is F:)


Double-click on the AVSEQ01.DAT file.


Specify Windows Media Player as the default player and click OK.


Enjoy the show!

The second method for playing a VCD is deceptively simple. If you have a DVD drive on your computer, then you probably already have DVD player software (such as WinDVD or PowerDVD) on your computer as well. Start up this software, insert your VCD, and the VCD should play automatically. Note that you can also install said software on your computer even if you do not have a DVD drive, and use it to play VCDs.

Well, there you have it, a super short guide on playing VCDs on your computer. Please email me if you have any questions. Enjoy the show!

Update May 10, 2016 – 1:06 AM

(Kind of crazy to be updating this article after nearly 12 years, but believe it or not this is one of the more popular pages on this site. Luckily, it’s now much easier to play a video CD on your computer than it was back in 2002.)

It would seem that Windows 7, 8, 10, and possibly Vista now support video CDs out of the box. The first time inserting a VCD, the OS will prompt you to choose how you want VCDs to be handled. Select Play Video CD (Windows Media Player) and that’s it! If no prompt comes up, then go to Autoplay settings in Control Panel (you can simply type autoplay into the Start menu) and make the proper selection under CDs->Video CD. Once Windows Media Player starts playing the VCD, use the right-click menu to select the proper audio track, if necessary. Below are some screenshots which should help. As always, leave a comment below if further help is needed, and enjoy the show!

Windows 8 VCD Prompt
When a VCD is first inserted in Windows 8.1 (upper right)
Windows 10 VCD Prompt
When a VCD is first inserted in Windows 10 (lower right)
Windows Autoplay Settings
Windows Autoplay Settings – shared by Windows 7, 8, and 10 (with possible slight differences)
Windows Media Player VCD Audio Settings
Select an individual channel if the VCD is dual-language