Console makers hate emulators because of how they allow people to play games without buying their hardware or even their games. And yet two of the three biggest gaming console companies have resorted to using those for one of the best selling toys. Of course, they take great pains to lock down access to those but it seems that Sony has goofed up a bit, granting access to the installed emulator’s menu using nothing but USB keyboards.
It’s no longer a secret by now that Sony used the open source PCSX emulator, specifically the ReARMed version, for the PlayStation Classic retro mini console. That fact alone has given modders and hackers some hope but regular users are mostly left out of the fun. But if you have certain brands and models of keyboards, anyone can tweak their PS1 Classic experience. At their own risk, of course.
The folks over at the Retro Gaming Arts channel claim they only came across this “exploit” by accident. They simply plugged in a USB keyboard and pressed the Escape key in one of the games. This brought up a “PCSX Menu” that let them change some emulator settings, including frame rate, emulated CRT scanlines, etc.
The trick, however, is in the keyboard. Not all keyboards have been proven to work and not all keys work as you might expect either. Gamers theorize that there is due to the less than perfect USB blacklisting in the Classic console, making it possible for some keyboards to bypass the check while others can’t.
This discovery, while not completely useful, is still significant. It could encourage hackers to dig deeper into other open doors Sony may have accidentally left open. Considering how the PlayStation Classic is turning out to be somewhat of a disappointment, the motivation to squeeze out as much use as possible from the small box is even higher.