PSIO: Playstation Input Output Flashcart


Continuing the recent trend of optical drive emulators, or ODEs, Cybdyn Systems (aside: I keep reading that as Cyberdyne Systems from the Terminator movies) has produced the Playstation Input Output (PSIO). This is an SD card reading device that plugs into the parallel port in the rear of an original Playstation. The primary purpose is to be able to play backups of your games, should the optical drive fail or the original CD roms become unplayable.

It is important to note that not all Playstations are compatible with the PSIO. Only the earlier models that have the parallel port can connect to the PSIO. Later revisions of the console dropped that port, so if yours does not have this port you are out of luck. However, there were sooooo many Playstation consoles produced, that finding one for cheap should not be an issue.


Due to how the PSIO operates, a small pcb switch board needs to be purchased and soldered onto the motherboard. This step right here immediately raises the necessary technical knowledge of the user.
Alternatively, you can send in your console to have it soldered for you when purchasing the PSIO unit, which is what I did. This was a smart move by the sellers, as it diminishes the need for soldering skills, and widens the potential customer base.

One of the major differences between the PSIO and the Rhea, Phoebe, GDEMU, and Super SD System 3 is that the PSIO does not replace the optical drive. Since is connects through the parallel port in the rear, the optical drive is untouched, allowing for continued use. The Rhea and Phoebe for the Sega Saturn, and the GDEMU for the Dreamcast all require replacement of the optical drive, precluding the ability to switch back and forth from backup roms and original games with any kind of ease.

The PSIO accepts a standard sized SD card, both in FAT32 and EXfat formats. Larger capacity cards are compatible, but I found that FAT32 works better. The PSIO manual is quite the tome, and if you gloss over it you may miss some technical details that will make or break your experience. There are several caveats to playing your backups, format wise. The PSIO accepts bin/cue, iso, and img formats. If you use bin/cue formats, the bin file must be consolidated to a single bin file. The PSIO account that you create on Cybdyn's website (with serial number verification) allows you to download a program that will do this for you. However, I found this to be hit or miss. Compatibility is much better if you rip your games into a single bin file from the start using a program like imgburn. Also, not all cue files are compatible as well, depending on the audio configuration of the game. If the game contains redbook audio, the .cue file will definitely have to be converted to .cu2. The aforementioned program will convert your cue file into a CU2 file.

Another quirk I've found, is occasionally the PSIO will not remember the settings that were entered and I'd have to go through the initial setup again. This is especially a problem when resetting after the PSIO freezes when the rom format is incompatible.

This is the initial setup screen. If your rom files are incompatible, you'll be seeing this screen a lot.
Once up and running, with roms in the exact format that the PSIO likes, the gameplay is just as it should be. This is no surprise, as the original console is running the software, regardless of delivery method. I really like the flexibility to play backup roms or physical discs. With my Saturn Rhea ODEMU, I keep another Saturn console around when I want to play actual discs. Game compatibility is stated to be above 99%, and I haven't found a particular game that does not run.

The startup time is not necessarily faster than playing an original disc. The PSIO has to load up when powered on, which isn't exactly brisk. The Rhea on the Saturn loads way faster, but that may be attributed to the difference in how the devices operate. It's not a deal breaker, but it should be noted.

The PSIO is a unique ODEMU as it allows for original discs to be played

These can be purchased from the manufacturer's website. Cybdyn is an Australian company, so if you want to have the soldering of the pcb switch done for you, you're paying a premium for shipping.  More conveniently, Stone Age Gamer, a retail company based here in the states will offer the same package consisting of the PSIO unit, switch, and soldering. Shipping is cheaper, and turnaround is faster.

From a strictly cost perspective, the PSIO is well under the comparable rates that other ODEMUs are going for. Granted, the Rhea and Phoebe units are produced in smaller quantities and sell out immediately after being posted, which drives prices sky high on the secondary market. I get the feeling that there are many more PSIO units being made than those.

The menu is fairly basic, but at least there is a menu.

Overall, I highly recommend the PSIO if you are comfortable with the process of backing up your games and changing file and SD card formats. If not, there is a requisite learning curve. If you decide on picking this up, I urge you to read through the lengthy manual, as you will save yourself a lot of headaches.


Review: Super SD System 3 for PC Engine


Flashcarts has been around for years, allowing users to play roms on original hardware. Many find these invaluable as the rarity of certain games drives up prices to prohibitive costs. Since they play on original hardware, they function exactly as original games do. They are also a means to preserve their original games, and test other games to see if they would like to purchase them, and play rom hacks, unreleased games, and translations.

CD based systems like the Playstation, Saturn, an Dreamcast have recently been recipients of optical drive emulation, through such products like PSIO, Rhea and Phoebe, and GDEMU, respectively. These are devices that are installed in the CD system that forgoes the need for discs to play games. The use of the word emulation here is misleading, there is no emulation as far as gameplay is concerned, the method of getting game data to the console's cpu is direct and internal. In essence, these devices are like flashcarts for the CD systems.

Video output of older systems can range in quality, as most North American consoles were limited to radio frequency (RF), composite, or in some cases S-video. A recent revolution in retrogaming has been to adopt the RGB standard, which many consoles support internally, but require proper cables to coax it out of the system and or modification.


The Super SD System 3 is a modern solution for the Turbo Grafx/PC-Engine line of consoles. It also works for a Supergrafx, if you have one. It is produced by the Spanish company Terra Onion, who also make a Neo Geo flashcart. It is a hardware add-on that slides right on to the back of any TG-16 or PC-Engine. It's function is threefold: it acts as an optical disc emulator and flash cart for the CD add-on as well as for Hu-card games, it improves video output to RGB, and contains the arcade card required for some memory-demanding games like Sapphire and Strider. It is definitely a boutique item that fills a specific niche, and as such commands a premium price. If you add up the cost of these features individually, I think the price is appropriate, even at $300.

The Hucard slot can still be used to play games, but since this uses the pins at the back of the console, the CD peripheral cannot be used at the same time. So you have to be ok playing backup roms of your CD games. This introduces a little snag, as some may not be familiar with making backup images of their roms. If you search around, you can find tutorials on how to do this. It is more work than downloading roms, but you feel a little better about it. Then again, I'm never going to acquire a legitimate copy of Ginga.....Saphire due to its outlandish asking price, so this is an example of straight downloading to play.

There has been some debate as to the video quality from prominent online sources, but I honestly can't see the issue. I think mine is the revised version, which had some tweaks and improvements made in the interim. It could also be I don't have the highest end equipment to detect this. There may be an issue present, but I couldn't tell. I'm using SCART through the OSSC, and if it doesn't bother me with this setup, I think its fine for 90% of people.

An options menu allows for customization

The setup is similar to setting up a flash cart. You update the firmware via SD card, and load roms, Huard or CD, onto the SD card. You will have to obtain your own bios to run the CD games. This is not hard to find. You can customize some options, like loading the last game played, using an in-game hook to back out to menu, establish game save data for each game individually, and others. The in-game hook works on some games but not others, there's no way to tell beforehand. I found myself power cycling the system often to get out of games.

The game data saves is huge, as the original amount of space allocated on my PC-Engine Duo was miniscule. Now I don't have to worry about losing or overwriting game saves.


Being that I already have a SCART RGB setup, all I needed to do was buy another 9-pin SCART cable, like the one designed for the model 2 Sega Genesis. My SCART systems run through an OSSC and it looks fantastic to my eyes.  I also tried HD Retrovision's Genesis model 2 component cables and they work just as well as a SCART cable.


The one thing that I would have liked is for the system to have HDMI output. However, this unit is an add-on to existing hardware, not a complete overhaul of the console's processor, and thus high definition video would not be possible unless there was some external scaling taking place. Another cool addition would have been a second controller port, but given the fact that this attached to the rear, it would have been inaccessible.




So, overall I recommend this to anyone who already has a SCART-capable setup. The gameplay is still using genuine hardware, you can play backup roms of your games, and the video quality takes an huge leap forward. If you already have a CD system, the price point may be a bit too high. Given that TG/PC-Engine is notorious for escalating prices, so there is definitely a market for this.



More Shoot'em Ups for the Playstation


This is part two of my top shoot'em ups for the original Playstation. If you missed my top ten, you can view them here. Note that some of these are Japan region exclusives, and you will need some medifications or other methods to play them.


Raycrisis and Raystorm
Raycrisis


Raystorm
Raycrisis and Raystorm are very similar in theme and gameplay. I think one is the sequel, or prequel to the other, its hard to tell as they are both set in the future. Everything is rendered in 3D for both games, and they haven't aged all that well. Once you accept this there is fun to be had here. The primary game mechanic here is the lock on targeting for enemies in the background plane. Your main laser is fine, but the real fun is using the targeting reticule and taking out enemies before they arrive on your plane. Of the two, I prefer Raystorm, as I feel the control is better. In both games, there is a slight return to center if you let go, giving is a slight "on-rails" character. The pull to center is a bit too strong on Raycrisis for my liking. Maybe you won't notice it, maybe its in my head. It's not a deal beaker.

G-Darius
Another Darius game in a long line of Darius games, G-Darius makes the leap into 3D (actually 2.5D as it is still side-scrolling) with mixed success. The Bosses are larger than life and look good, but almost everything else doesn't. The gameplay is traditional Darius gameplay, except for the new capture ball that you can through at enemies (usually mid-bosses), and force them to fight on your side. A novel tactic that was explored in Darius Gaiden, but put to greater use here. Overall its a fun Darius game.


R-Types
From what I can tell, this is a near arcade perfect port of R-Type. There are a couple of home ports of this game, but I think this is the best, it looks great through RGB via scart. I am terrible at this game and nothing has changed. Both R-Type and R-Type II are on this port, and some options are selectable at the onset as well. I wish I were better at this game, as I feel my enjoyment of it is limited due to its punishing difficulty. Its a great game, I just have some kind of mental block where I die at the same point over and over again. One day I'm going to practice and try to get through it. One day.


Gekioh: Shooting King
This game is a fairly straight-forward game. Known on the Sega Saturn as Shienryu, the localized name doesn't do it any favors. I can't see it flying off the shelves with a name like that.
Anyway, its a very competent 2D vertically scrolling shooter, with some very nice effects. When enemy ships are hit, they trail downward, venting smoke all the way until they impact. This is impressive for a sprite-based game. The lightning weapon is equally as impressive when powered up; it jumps from enemy to enemy as it dispatches them one by one. Also present are a typical vulcan that widens with power ups and missile salvos. The character of the bombs also change, depending on which weapon you have. Control is smooth, and speed up capsules are available. Its a fun, lesser-known title.


Raiden DX

This is a tweaked and refined version of Raiden II, with more options and more advanced scoring mechanics. Specifically, you can choose from three levels: Alpha (training), Beta (5 stages), and Charlie (8 stages). Stages are remixed in the later Charlie level from the original Raiden II. It's kinda like the special champion edition hyper fighting version of Raiden. If you liked the earlier Raiden games, you'll like this as well. 



In the Hunt
A unique game in that there are very few submarine-based shoot'em ups. Without doing too much digging I can say this is the best one. Developed by the same team members as the Metal Slug series, the detail oozes from every pore. The love that went into the character sprite design is unparalleled. For a traditionally slow moving vehicle like a submarine, you might think that the level of action would be muted, but think again. There is so much going on at one time, it can be difficult to focus. Each torpedo, depth charge, missile, and explosion is laden with follow through animations, giving the game a level of animation that is inspiring. This can lead to some slowdown, as would be expected, but its a worthy tradeoff.



Zanac Neo
The first Zanac game on the NES was a difficult game. Even for its time, it was pretty impossible without a turbo fire setting. Zanac Neo, found on the Zanac X Zanac collection, shows its heritage in that regard. The visuals are fantastic, and the music is modernized with a trance - electronica grove thing going on, its reminds me of the music in Lumines. Like the original Zanac game, power ups are numbered, and you can level each one up if you collect them consecutively. It was developed my Compile, and similarities can be gleaned here and there if you follow the genre. I had more fun after I notched the difficulty down a bit.


Parodius Series


The Parodius series originated as a spin off of Gradius. The power up system and difficulty are the obvious give aways. The stage and enemy design is laden with choices that make you wonder what the programmers were smoking. There are multiple releases for the Playstation, but they were Japanese exclusives, like many games on this list. They are worth tracking down, as they are definitely unique, and a refreshing departure from the usual grim shoot'em ups out there.


Harmful Park
Once you get used to Parodius, the next step in weird shooters is Harmful Park. This game takes place in a theme park setting and builds stages around them. Roller coasters, zoos, candy shops, haunted houses all make for colorful and active scenery. Oddly, there is a wedding chapel scene where a distraught groom's tears sprayout and kill you. Makes sense. The weapons are as random as the stage design, employing pie throwing, shooting potatoes, and an sundae explosion. You can aquire a jello shield, becoming encased in a jello mold (like in The Office). If you die, you respawn automatically, which I much prefer. You'll likely die a lot as you get distracted by all of the random background happenings; its worth it as the game design is some of the most inventive ever seen in a shooter. This game is prohibitively expensive, it may be the most expensive shoot'em up on the system, so find another way to play.

So that was my second tier of Playstation shoot'em ups. All good games in their own right, just not quite good enough to crack the top ten. What do you think? What shoot'em ups that are under the radar do you think should get more attention?

Top Ten NES Two Player Vs. Games



My previous post was on my top two player co-op games for the NES, so this time I'm dredging up past rivalries and covering my top two-player versus games. Playing these games as a kid may have involved pushing, shoving, pulling your opponent's controller cord out of its port as you battle to back up all the your trash talk.


Super Dodge Ball

What kind of childhood would be complete without reliving the horrors of gym class dodge ball? In case you weren't traumatized enough during the school day, you can take out your aggressions in Super Dodge Ball for the NES. The game is sort of fun alone, but several times better against a live opponent (as are all of these games). There is variety to be found as each player has tweaked attributes, and differing power throws. There are some rules that I don't quite remember from gym class, but overall its a blast.


Tetris (Tengen)

The first Tetris game I played was the Tengen Tetris game. At the time, I had no idea that it was unlicensed, nor what that really meant. I remember the odd-shaped, black cartridge, and thinking it was odd, but whatever. This version allowed for two-player head to head, and that automatically makes it superior to Nintendo's official offering. It was the first two-player VS game that I ever played, and in my mind set the bar for how such games should play. As you clear lines, your opponent has junk rows added from the bottom, inhibiting his ability to clear lines effectively. The music was catchy, the colors popped off the screen, and there were little Russian dancers that would come out inbetween rounds.


Dr. Mario

A highly color-dependent puzzle game, Dr. Mario has you maneuvering bicolor pills that drop into a jar such that four pill halves in contiguous color contact disappear. The goal is to clear the play field. Just as in Tetris, the better you perform, the more difficult you make it for your opponent. There are only two music tracks, each one just as catchy as any Mario soundtrack. You'll be humming the melody to "Chill" or "Fever" for hours after you're done playing.


Ice Hockey

NES sports games did not require much actual sports knowledge, and I still don't know what icing is, but Nintendo's Ice Hockey built in its own layer of strategy by incorporating a simple concept everyone can understand. Fat guys are slow and strong, and skinny guys are fast and weak. By allowing you to choose the composition of your line, you choose your approach. Do you power through with a heavy set, knowing you'll lose every chase down of a loose puck, or do you finesse your way to the goal, knowing that if you get hit you're flattened and loose the puck? Debates still continue as to what is the optimum lineup.



Track & Field I & II

An early third-party release, Track and Field was a popular arcade conversion by Konami. What could be more adversarial than a pure button-masher? Want to see who will win a race? All you have to do press the buttons faster than your opponent. New and intriguing methods were devised to increase the rate of button taps. Two methods were using a shirt sleeve to rapidly slide your fingers back and forth over the buttons, using your index and middle fingers in a alternating tap. Other events required more than button mashing, like the timing of the javelin throw, jumping the hurdles, the clay pigeon shot, and others. This is a game that would fit well in a competition cart.


Pro Wrestling

Another early NES title, Pro Wrestling had just enough character, just enough simplicity, and and just enough realism to draw kids of the 80's in and pursue their own wrestling title dreams. I remember sleepovers where winner takes on all challengers, and keeping win-loss records on a notebook paper. Everyone had a favorite character, each with a signature move. Try the power moves too early and it will backfire on you. Will your opponent stay down on the mat long enough for you to leap off the top turnbuckle and crush him with a knee drop? Or will he roll out of the way, leaving you to crumple to the mat? Like the prematch posturing that took place before televised matches, this game brought out the most colorful insults.




Ivan "Ironman" Stewart's Super Off Road
Giant boulders are placed all over the course for character

This is an arena racer that shows the entire race course on screen. As such, your cars are pretty small. I don't know much about monster truck racing, but the courses seem ridiculously treacherous and unforgiving; perfect for a video game. The hardest part of this game is turning. Your controls are relative the to the direction the car is facing, and it can be easy to over turn and hit the wall just before a turn. With the aide of a Four Score adapter, you can race against three of your friends at the same time. It was a party game before party games existed. The difference between a skilled player and noob is painfully and hilariously evident. Adding insult to injury is the fact that the top finishers receive more money, and can upgrade their cars at a faster rate, further leaving unskilled drivers behind. A true gem that more people should play with friends.


Double Dribble
Do you know where "the spot" is?

There aren't a lot of basketball games on the NES, but even if there were, Double Dribble would have to be one of the best. It is hard to program a game with that many sprites moving around at the same time, yet Konami did a fine job replicating the fast pace of basketball. The graphics are serviceable, the sprites flicker as the cpu tries to keep up, and yet there is no slowdown to be found. The free throws involve timing, the three point shots are rare (unless you know "the spot"), and stealing passes is just as frustrating for your opponent as in real life. Despite not having the NBA license nor player likenesses, this game is worthy of settling disputes.


Blades of Steel
If you're anything like me, you often pass when you mean to shoot

Despite this being the second hockey game on this list, Blades of Steel has one thing that none of these other games offer: in game fights. If you keep harassing and checking the same player, he'll eventually throw down the gloves and be ready to duke it out. Player control is tight, and shooting and passing are intuitive. There's even a mini-Gradius game that you can play during intermission. Voice samples are impressive considering the machine. "Get the pass!"


Super Tecmo Bowl
If you are an NFL fan, its worth your time to track down the updated roms

Out of all of the competitive games on the list, I have found Tecmo Super Bowl to be the ultimate dispute settling, disparaging, humiliating, gloating, scream-inducing, controller-smashing game. Football is the sport I watched the most of growing up, and in our neighborhood, it was king. With quick plays and four quarters, you can do a lot of damage in little time, and have your opponent buried by halftime. Or, the game could come down to the last play. Part of the strategy is knowing the nuances of the game, and which team to use. Deeper than that, knowing the "money" plays and general football strategy will go a long way to provide an advantage. We're not talking "Madden"-deep strategy here, but even still, the cpu will control the players the users are not, so anticipating what the cpu will do can help you sneak some plays in that wouldn't work in real life.
This game has a cult following, and a community that hosts regional tournaments and updates rosters. You can even purchase an updated physical cart.

So there you have it. If you and a friend have a dispute that needs to be settled, you have a burning urge to yell "in your face", pick up those NES controllers and settle the issue like adults. Just don't throw the controller, as it is are harder to find replacements these days.

My Top Ten Playstation Shoot'em Ups


The Sony Playstation was the hands-down winner of the 5th generation console wars between the Sega Saturn and N64. Objectively, based on sales, there was no comparison. It wasn't my favorite console of that generation, but it had a great library nonetheless. I have written several posts on the robust Saturn shoot'em ups library, and now its time to recognize the PS1 for its wares. There were several cross-platform entries, but that's OK. Several of these are Japanese exclusives, but they can be played with other means today.


Thunder Force V: Perfect System (import)

The Thunder Force series cut its teeth on the Genesis/Mega Drive, and the jump to 3D was inevitable for this platform. The action is still primarily side scrolling, with polygons in lieu of sprites. I find the visuals to be a step back, as the sprite work in the previous entries was so good in comparison to chunky polygonal shapes. Aside from the newer visuals, the gameplay is largely the same. Some of the typical weapons remain, but a new entry is the game-wrecking Free Range weapon. It's a little hard to use at first, but master it and you can take down bosses in no time. This was originally released for the Saturn.


Salamander 2 (Salamander Deluxe Pack) (import)

This collection features Salamander, Life Force, and Slamander 2. Life Force and Samander are essentially the same game, except that Life Force adopts the collected-power-capsule method of weapon upgrading, like Gradius. Both Salamander games were unreleased stateside. The real treat here is Salamander 2. The graphics and stage design take another step forward in the series, and it is one of the most enjoyable games to play in the Gradius-Salamander lineage.


R-Type Delta

The fourth installment in the series also takes the leap into 3D. While most early 3D visuals don't age well, I find these more palatable than those in Thunder Force V. The gameplay is definitely R-Type, with newer features like adjustable speed, and a charge up system for the force pod. It is not as punishing as the previous entries, but still its not easy. It is a nice refinement of the series.


Gradius Gaiden (import)

By this point in time, the Gradius franchise is well established, and the gameplay is fairly predictable to those who follow the series. What makes this game stand out is the beautiful attention to detail in visuals. The stage design, enemies, and bosses all were lovingly designed, as if to make a statement with the first entry in the the 32-bit generation. Being a gradius game, it is just as difficult as you would expect it to be, but you will enjoy every death as the game is much more appealing to look at.


The Raiden Project

This is a collection of arcade versions of Raiden 1 and Raiden 2. Both ports are nearly perfect, with the addition of customizable button configurations and difficulty. This is a great choice for beginners due to that last feature. Having both games is a treat as well, since the first is a classic and the second improves upon the gameplay by adding a new weapon type, the purple toothpast laser, and a new scatter bomb. Just as you would expect, it is twice as fun with a second player. I had a hard time deciding between this and the Japan-only follow up, Daiden DX. Raiden Project just edged it out due to it having both games.


Darius Gaiden (import)

Darius games up this point were just average. The previous entries were OK, good enough for some casual play, but not really cracking anyone's lists of the best shooters. Darius Gaiden is in my opinion, the first Darius game to garner such attention. The screen bursts with color; this is the most visually appealing game in the series. The music is some really strange space opera on acid, as if alien fish teenagers were congregating at a rave near the edge of the universe, flailing glowsticks all about. The bosses are bigger than ever, and their demise is followed by a blinding screen flash. The outlandish screen sucking bomb is immensely satisfying to drop, and I regret every time I die not dropping them sooner. The difficult curve is appropriate, and you won't mind playing it over and over again as it is that funky.


Donpachi & Dodonpachi (import)

Donpachi, one of the first games produced by developer Cave, made the blueprint for how to make a bullet-hell shoot'em up. The different firing styles add a now-taken-for-granted gameplay strategy of alternating between concentrated fire and weaker, wide shots. Many people play games like these for high scores or one-credit clears (1cc), but I'm content to just play and enjoy the game as it comes. I haven't 1cc'd any shooter, and probably won't anytime soon, but I appreciate these all the same.

Soukyugurentai Obushutsugeki (import)

One of the few Playstation appearances from Raizing, the developer that produced the excellent Battle Garegga for Saturn. This game makes use of a secondary plane attack, as in, being able to target enemies in the background and fire at them with homing lasers before they come to the fore front and pose a threat. The standard weapon is fine, but the real fun is trying to string together as many targeted background enemies as possible.

Strikers 1945 I & II
I champion this series at every opportunity. To me, it is a near perfect shooter for all levels. The adjustable difficulty allows players to learn at their own pace. The variety of planes, each with their own attack patterns, charge shots, and bomb attacks adds a lot to replay value. The control is tight with the perfect amount of speed and maneuverability. Lots of color, realistic sprite design, imaginative bosses, and fine tuned amount of chaos make for one of my favorites. The two-player co-op adds tremendously to the fun factor. Parts 1 and 2 were released in Japan, whereas only part 2 was released in North America, but it was titled as "Strikers 1945" despite being the sequel.


Einhander
The most intriguing entry on this list is also Squaresoft's only foray into shoot'em ups. The developer that is renowned for RPGs tried its hand in the genre, and hit it out of the park. Clearly inspired by Blade Runner, the dark visuals, futuristic vibe, and rock'n techno music all contribute to a moody, serious, and challenging game. Its visuals are are 2.5D, with polygons instead of sprites, but 2D side-scrolling. This can be good or bad, and I think this is best case scenario for early polygons.
Bosses are all oversized technical monstrosities, many of which transform and are dismantled piece by piece, making for satisfying battles. The primary mechanic in the game is controlling the weapon arm. Certain enemies carry weapons that can be captured after their demise. These weapons act as a secondary weapon, but in most cases are more powerful/useful than your main weapon, this is probably intended. Why Squaresoft did not follow it up is a mystery to me, perhaps they wanted to have a perfect track record for the genre, maybe the team that made the game got fired, who knows? I I think its one of the best in the genre, and even one of the best games on the console.

I do have issues with Sony's attempt at a d-pad, and find it sub-par. When I play any kind of 2-D game on PS1 I use the Sega Logistical Services Saturn pad, made for PS1. I also pull out the arcade stick here and there, but the Saturn pad is my controller of choice.

So these were my top ten PS1 shoot'em ups. There are lots, and I'll probably make a follow up post on the next ten sometime in the future. Let me know your top ten!