How to use a wireless controller on PS1 and PS2

So, you want to break out your PlayStation 1 or PlayStation 2 for some retro gaming goodness, but wish to keep some of the modern conveniences we take for granted. Using wireless controllers on PS1 and PS2 doesn’t have to be a hassle, but there are a few ways to go about it. We’ve detailed the two best ways we’ve found to bring wireless controllers to the PS1 and PS2 below.

Best Wireless Controller for PS1 and PS2: Use PS3 controller on PS1 and PS2

Brooks PS3 to PS2 and PS1 Wireless Controller Adapter

The best way to ditch the cords on a PS1 or PS2 is to simply use a PS3 controller. Since it has the same classic profile as the DualShock 1 and 2, the DualShock 3 is an excellent way to control a PS1 or PS2 without annoying cords while still keeping the same feel as using an official controller.

Unfortunately, Sony never released an official PS3 to PS1 or PS2 adapter. This meant for years you really didn’t have the choice if you wanted to control your older Sony consoles wirelessly. Thankfully, there’s an extremely affordable dongle available now that makes pairing a PS3 controller with PS1 or PS3 a snap.

The Brook USB Super USB Adapter lets you use PS3 and PS4 controllers on both the PS1 and PS2. You can buy it on Amazon or eBay, and it retails for $39.99 at the time of writing.

To use the Brook USB Adapter on your PS1 or PS2, you need to make sure the switch on top of the adapter is switched to “PS2.” Then you just have to plug it into the controller port on your system and turn it on. When your console powers on you’ll notice a red LED glowing on the adapter. After that, just connect a PS3 or PS4 controller to the adapter using a USB cord. Once attached, hit the PS button on the controller and it will pair with the adapter.

Once you pair a controller with the Brook adapter, you’re good to go. You can unplug it and from then on it will pair with the adapter as long as the console is on. You’ll even have vibration on titles that support it, and you don’t have to worry about any further setup.

Runner-Up Wireless Controller for PS1 and PS2: Buy a third-party controller

Third Party Wireless Controller PS2 PS1

If you want to go a little cheaper for your wireless solution, you can get third-party wireless controllers that work with the PS1 and PS2. One of the more popular (and less expensive) controllers on Amazon is the Blue Lake Performance Twin Shock for PS2. It gets good reviews, but I’d be wary.

With the Brook adapter, you get the benefit of actually getting to use original Sony controllers. When you go full third-party for the controller and adapter, though, it’s the wild west. You’ll find widely varying quality and reliability among the enormous amount of third-party wireless PS2 controllers.

A modern third-party controller might be worth checking out, but you’re best off skipping the models that were around during the times the PS1 and PS2 were released. It’s possible there were some decent wireless controllers around in the late 1990s and early 2000s, but I don’t remember any. Those were the days when third-party controllers were pretty much only fit for the kid you didn’t really like to use.

Not only were third-party controllers almost as a whole a lot less reliable when the PS1 and PS2 were new, but they’ve also almost certainly degraded sitting in whatever warehouse and closet they’ve been for the last decade or two.

What’s the Best Wireless Controller for PS1 and PS2?

I personally prefer the Brook USB adapter paired with a DualShock 3 for playing on PS1 and PS2. I don’t think any third-party controller beats the reliability and feel of an OEM Sony controller.

The combo above might cost a bit more than a generic wireless controller and dongle, but it has more utility and is a lot more likely to serve you without issue for years to come.


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