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Playstation 1 Backups

Playstation 1 Backup Discs in 2020, November, 2020
Sony Playstation 1 Backup Discs

Playstation 1 Backup Discs in 2020 Full Guide:


Disclaimer: This article is not about piracy or circumventing copyright, it's about preserving games that are now coming up on 30 years old and the original media is starting to fail due to disc rot and abuse.

Sony Playstation 1 Doom Sony Playstation 1 Doom and Final Fantasy 7

The Guide:

4 Things Required to make this work:

  • A Good quality CD Burner that does 10x speed (not a cheap USB one).
  • Mod chipped Playstation.
  • Original Game Disc or Iso.
  • Blank Disc to burn your game to.

In this guide I’ll tell/show you how I back my Playstation 1 discs up to a good quality writeable media that will work on a modern 8 wire or old school 4 wire mod chip PS1. I won't be discussing modchipping here as this can be found easily online and done very cheaply through ebay sellers or yourself if you can solder.


First up – most of the guides online now are old and rely on being able to burn discs at 2x speed, this is basically impossible unless you have some very old hardware around as almost no modern drives support speeds this slow and pretty much no drive manufacturers tell you the minimum speeds a drive will write at in their documentation, so there’s some trial and error involved.
The most difficult step these days is finding a CD burner that will work properly for this, I have tried numerous external USB cheap ones and had no luck at all – In the end I found that the internal drive bundled with a 2009 Dell Optiplex 960 Small Form Factor machine is perfect for this as it will write at 10x speed. An Optiplex 960 SFF will set you back between £20 and £50 if you can find one for sale, they’re pretty readily available.

This is the specific drive I will be using: Ebay Link


Sony Playstation 1 Sony Playstation 1

Media:

The discs I am using for this are MediaRange black bottomed backup discs – a cd cake of 50 discs is £16 from amazon at time of writing and works beautifully for this, MediaRange are a German brand and these are specifically designed as game backups discs (although I couldn’t tell you the actual difference between these and a standard disc, aside from them being black), meaning they work perfectly for this application.
Exact Discs can be found here: Amazon Link

I am also using printable 8cm self adhesive label sheets from Herma (also a German brand - £5.35 for 60 labels on Amazon) that works incredibly well with these discs due to the face design of them. These work with any standard printer as far as I can tell and are very easy to get set up using a simple photoshop template.
Exact Labels can be found here: Amazon Link


Sony Playstation 1 ImgBurn Backup Settings Sony Playstation 1 ImgBurn Backup Settings


Step 1: Ripping your discs or finding ISOS.
The first step is fairly foolproof, you want to rip your discs to either .bin/.cue format or .iso format, either works fine for this – select the optical drive – select a destination – set the read speed as low as possible and let it do it’s thing. When it’s done, you’ll have a disc image file for your game. You can do this in batch mode (check box, bottom right) so that it will rip multiple images one after the other just by inserting the discs to save you a bit of time.

Your other option here, if your discs are too badly damaged through scratches or disc rot, is to get hold of an ISO/ROM from the internet. Archive.org is a fantastic resource for this as they have full redumps for just about every PSX game in the relevant regional format – these can be downloaded individually as a .zip file containing the relevant images ready for burning.

Full PAL region PS1 Redump can be found below:
Part 1: Archive.org Link
Part 2: Archive.org Link
These should only be used for games that you actually own a legitimate copy of already.

A note on this:
Some games use a form of copy protection called LibCrypt – games that do use this cannot be reproduced using this method, they will hang during startup and need an additional patch applied to them manually, it’s a pain to do but details can be found here: Cybdyn Systems Forum Post

These games include Dino Crisis, Resident Evil 3, Spyro 3, MediEvil 2, Crash Bash and Breath of Fire 4 amongst some other titles – when it comes to manually patching these isos have a read through the above linked thread but be aware these patches are now years old and well out of development and can include unwanted things like Trainers or Cheats as well. What you see is what you get basically.

Sony Playstation 1 Disc Images

Step 2: Burning the ISO files.
Back in the old days of the early 00's it was essential to burn PS1 games at very low speeds (as mentioned above) as drive lasers and software were less good. These days (the futuristic space year 2020) you can burn a little faster but the faster the game is burned the more chance it has of not working, whether that’s the disc laser being unable to read it or a write error in the data itself, so slower is still better. Discs I’ve burned at 24x speed do not work at all on any of the 5 Playstations I have here for testing them on, while 10X speed discs work perfectly fine on all on them.

Burning with ImgBurn couldn’t be any easier – Select “Write Image to Disc” and then select either the .CUE file or the .ISO file you wish to burn. In the Write Speed box select your minimum lowest speed the drive will support, even if you set it to 2X or 4X it’ll autodetect the slowest possible speed and use that, as mentioned above most modern drives won’t go below 10X. If you leave it on “AWS” default this will detect the fastest speed and use that, which is not what we want.

Once it’s complete (after about 5 minutes or so) that’s it, you’re done. If you left the “Verify” box checked then you can pop the disc back in to verify it’s a good burn however games that contain multiple tracks (such as Tomb Raider) will likely not verify correctly despite being a good burn. Games that use junk data for copy protection will produce errors during the verification stage but these can be ignored and will still play fine.

This step is entirely optional and burned discs do not 'need' to be verified. A bad or skipped verify does not mean your game won’t work.



Sony Playstation 1 Disc backup images Sony Playstation 1 Disc backup images Sony Playstation 1 Disc backup images


Step 3 – Labelling the Discs.
As I’m using these specific ‘fancy looking’ discs I want to label them up in a way that looks half decent too, so I use photoshop to create an a4 template for printing the labels on to. My printer is a years old HP Photosmart 5520 but does the job absolutely fine. When making the disc labels, ensure there is some overhang around the template area, yes it’s a waste of ink printing in this area but better that than wasting a label sheet because the alignment was slightly off – all printers are different and not every sheet is cut to exactly the same tolerances. Template images above show the “before and after” along with a final printed disc. – These discs themselves do support printing directly onto the surface too, however I do not have an adapter tray for this printer and I strongly suspect that’d result in a scratched disc so haven’t used this method for what I hope are obvious reasons.

Herma (the label producers) do have their own online software available to do this with however there are some complaints about alignment with it in the Amazon listing comments so use at your own risk!


Sony Playstation 1 Disc backup images


That’s it then, discs reproduced and looking good, ready for play on any modded PS1!


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