5 Classic PlayStation Games to Play on Your iPhone

Key takeaways

  • With the Gamma emulator available on the App Store, you can play PS1 classics on iPhone or iPad.
  • Obtain PlayStation ROMs legally to enjoy the PS1 games you loved on your mobile device.
  • Play iconic PS1 games like Metal Gear Solid, Spyro and Tony Hawk on the go.

With the Gamma emulator and RetroArch now in the Apple App Store and Provenance soon to follow, it might be time to start thinking about which PlayStation games you’d like to play on your iPhone or iPad. PlayStation has a vast library of games that are considered some of the best of all time, so if there’s a PS1 classic you’ve been wanting to try, you now have more opportunities than ever.

But the PlayStation 1 is home to many great games, many of which are considered among the greatest of all time. Given the sheer number of great games on the console, it can be difficult to figure out which games you want to put on your phone and play again or experience for the first time. However, some stand out from the rest and are absolute must-haves in the PlayStation 1 library, especially if you can keep them in your pocket.


Gamma is the first PlayStation 1 emulator to hit the iPhone app store. The Gamma emulator offers many expected features, such as Bluetooth support, save states, and more.



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Obtaining PlayStation ROMs

PlayStation games like Final Fantasy 9, Spyro, Austin Powers and more.

With PlayStation 1 emulation finally landing on iPhone and iPad, it’s important to remember to keep your activity legal. Emulation is perfectly legal, you just need to obtain all your ROMs through legal means. In the case of PlayStation 1 games, this is much easier to do than with cartridge consoles like the Nintendo DS or SNES. This is largely because discs are easier to use in general, and PlayStation 1 games are much easier to obtain in most cases.

Emulation is perfectly legal, you just need to obtain all your ROMs through legal means.

Obtaining ROMs from your copies of a given PlayStation 1 game simply involves having a computer equipped with a disc drive and using software to extract the game files from the disc(s). A good software to use for this would be ImgBurn or UltraISO. Once the game files are extracted, all you need to do is download the ROMs to your phone and load them into your favorite emulator.


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Spyro the Dragon

A platform classic that still holds up

Spyro emulated on an iPhone.

The PlayStation 1 is known for a number of platform classics. While some may prefer the PlayStation 1’s Crash Bandicoot trilogy, the tight action of the original Spyro the Dragon is perfect for on-the-go action. Yes, one could argue that Spyro: Year of the Dragon is the best game in the original trilogy, but for impromptu gameplay, the original has a pick-up-and-play appeal that you simply cannot not find anywhere else.

No world in Spyro takes too long to complete, and most can actually be done in a single pass through the world. The original also doesn’t feature the throwbacks that the last two games have in spades. Although the flying levels seen in Spyro can be frustrating, they are still a perfect treat to have in your pocket.

One caveat is that any platformer will feel finicky when using on-screen controls with an emulator. While Spyro can still be fun using your on-screen controls, you’ll have a much better time using a Bluetooth controller for a game like this. For one of the best platformers of all time and the most focused Spyro game in the trilogy, the original Spyro the Dragon is a fantastic game to load onto your iPhone.


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Tactical espionage, on the move

Metal Gear Solid emulated on an iPhone.

Metal Gear Solid is a true classic. Not just in the conversation for one of the best PlayStation 1 games ever made, but also in the race for best period in video games. If not the best, it is certainly one of the most influential. With PlayStation 1 emulation on Apple devices, you’ll soon have no more excuses for not playing Metal Gear Solid if you haven’t already.

The game itself is a pioneer of the stealth genre and also the series’ first adventure into the third dimension. The game itself features very engaging gameplay and characters and still has a lot to offer even years later. With an absolutely gripping narrative to boot, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a reason not to finally play Metal Gear Solid if you haven’t. Even for those who have played the game before, having it on your phone or tablet is almost the perfect excuse to play it again.

For those who have already played Metal Gear Solid: yes, the Psycho Mantis fight works great on an emulator.

Metal Gear Solid is playable with on-screen controls, but it’s best played with a Bluetooth controller. And for those who have already played Metal Gear Solid: yes, the Psycho Mantis fight works great on an emulator. For one of the greatest stealth games of all time with excellent story and gameplay, Metal Gear Solid is a fantastic experience, even on iPhone.


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Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2

Still so fun

TonyHawk PS1 game emulated on an iPhone.

The Tony Hawk games may be long past their peak, but that doesn’t mean they’re any less fun to play. The absolute gem of the Tony Hawk games is, of course, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2. Although the third iteration of the Pro Skater series arguably perfected the formula, the second game has an undeniable charm. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 and 4 were both released on PlayStation 1 and are absolutely awesome if you have them. But they feel undeniably downgraded for the PlayStation 1, whereas Pro Skater 2 is right at home on the PlayStation 1.

Pro Skater 2’s arcade gameplay also lends itself well to being playable on your phone. There’s no real story in Pro Skater 2: instead, you choose a skater and try to complete as many objectives as possible in a given stage during two-minute races. Every time you have two minutes to kill, why not spend them trying to complete your last two objectives in a given level? Or spend some time trying to beat your high score in a level?

Although Pro Skater 2 is surprisingly playable with the touchscreen controls, you’ll easily have a better time with the physical buttons. That being said, it’s entirely possible to have a good time with this game using just your phone. For some quick, low-stakes fun, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 is a near-perfect game to have on your phone.


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Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

A true genre creator

Castlevania emulated on an iPhone.

Although the term Metroidvania refers to the genre primarily based on the gameplay and mechanics of the Metroid and Castlevania series, there is arguably one Castlevania game that stands out from the rest of its series as a founder of the genre. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is an absolute blast and one of the best of the genre in general. The game sees you playing as Alucard fighting his way through Dracula’s castle. Although the setup is quite simple, the world, characters, and gameplay make the game one of the most addictive titles on the PlayStation 1.

For those who not only have never played SOTN, but haven’t played Metroidvania at all, there are very few games better suited for diving into the genre than SOTN. For those who like to slowly solve a much larger puzzle, a game like SOTN will perfectly scratch that itch in a way that will almost be difficult to follow for anything else.

While a controller will make the experience better, it’s not necessary to have a good time revisiting Dracula’s Castle.

SOTN is also fully playable using on-screen controls. While a controller will make the experience better, it’s not necessary to have a good time revisiting Dracula’s Castle. If you want to replay one of the best Metroidvanias of all time, or experience it for the first time, SOTN is a great game to emulate on your iPhone.


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Final Fantasy IX

The best of the series

Final Fantasy 9 emulated on an iPhone.

Final Fantasy VII is perhaps the most famous PlayStation 1 game of all time. It is widely loved and has been played by many, especially with the remake which introduced even more to the game. However, it also faces stiff competition on the PlayStation 1. Although it is difficult to picking the best of the bunch, Final Fantasy IX stands out as one of the most engaging and heartfelt narratives ever put into a video game.

More importantly, it’s nowhere near as well known as Final Fantasy VII. If you’ve played and enjoyed Final Fantasy VII, you almost owe it to yourself to give Final Fantasy IX a try. Almost everything in Final Fantasy VII is improved in Final Fantasy IX from a technical standpoint. While a comparison between the two games’ characters and narratives is subjective, Final Fantasy IX is absolutely worth experiencing.

This game is perfect for playing with on-screen controls.

Being a primarily turn-based RPG, this game is perfect for playing with on-screen controls. You will almost never need to make precise movements in this game or quickly switch between buttons. For a gripping story and an experience that works perfectly with on-screen controls, try Final Fantasy IX on your iPhone.


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