There is this thing being sold for the Sega Saturn called the "Satiator". It's basically a little card that you slide into the back of a completely unmodified Saturn, and then you slide in a standard memory card into the Satiator with Saturn games on it. And then the Saturn can play these as if they were physical discs. It emulates the optical disc drive for when it has stopped working.

No soldering or anything like that needed.

For the PlayStation, the main competitor of the Saturn at the time, there are similar devices that I know of, but all of them seem to require soldering and major scary modifications of the console.

Is it technically impossible to create a solderless such thing for the PS? Is there something about that console which prevents this, even though it works on the Saturn?

I'm frankly surprised that it works on the Saturn. But the PS also had an "expansion port" similar to the one used for the Saturn, so with that in mind, it seems like it would be possible?

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    I'm guessing not because the PSIO, the closest equivalent, is both a cartridge/dongle for the parallel port and a small board mod to reroute signals that aren't normally exposed there. But that could just be one particular implementation.
    – Tommy
    Commented Jul 26, 2021 at 13:13

3 Answers 3


Per the developers of PSIO, the answer is no:

Exactly why is [the internal modification] required?

There are two signals that PSIO needs in order to function that are not present on the expansion port. These are the CS (Chip Select) and INT (Interrupt) lines from the CD controller. The job of the Switch Board is to basically forward them as well as connect them back to the CD-ROM drive when PSIO is unplugged (or if you boot a CD-ROM). In a nut shell, when PSIO is active, the internal CD-ROM controller is disabled and all accesses is redirected to the emulated CD-ROM controller in PSIO. All the hardware registers are still in the same place.

i.e. per that device's creators, there is no way to override the built-in CD drive from the PlayStation's parallel port.


Sort of - there is the tonyhax tool that allows you to softmod an unmodified PS1.

There is a nice table on that page that shows which versions of the console it will work with.

Specifically, FreePSXBoot is probably what you are looking for - it lets you use a special memorycard with tonyhax on it to softmod the console.

Here is a video by Modern Vintage Gamer that gives a good overview of how this works (and is where I found out about this)

This will softmod the console, but I don't think there is a way of playing backups from non-CD media.


Yes, this was possible with the PS2. You could get a HDD adapter for the FAT PS2 models, which would accept an IDE HardDisk Drive. Then using a 3rd PArty tool, it could copy to and play games from the HardDisk.

This is also possible on the PS3 via ModChips. The Cobra ODE is one such option.

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    The asker queried about the original PlayStation. Commented Jul 28, 2021 at 7:44

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