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Archive-name: games/video-games/sonyfaq
Version: 1.4 (text)
Posting-frequency: monthly
Last-modified: 14 Sep 1999
Copyright: (c) 1999 Tod Weitzel Official FAQ 1.4
Updated 14 Sep 1999
Maintained and Authored by Lord Xarph (Tod Weitzel)

Table of Contents
1 - FAQ Info
* 1.1 - Legal stuff
* 1.2 - The purpose of this FAQ
* 1.3 - Who maintains this thing?
* 1.4 - Recent changes
* 1.5 - Formatting
* 1.6 - Information still needed

2 - The Group and General Questions
* 2.1 - What do you talk about here?
* 2.2 - X Next Generation System is better than Playstation!
* 2.3 - The best game ever is...
* 2.4 - FT/FA/FS messages and their ilk.
* 2.5 - Basic posting rules.

3 - The Playstation
* 3.1 - What are the differences between the various models?
* 3.2 - What does the X in PSX stand for?
* 3.3 - My Playstation skips!
* 3.4 - My Playstation won't recognize controllers!
* 3.5 - My Dual Shock controller doesn't work any more!
* 3.6 - My Playstation picture bounces!
* 3.7 - How do I play a Video CD on my Playstation?
* 3.8 - What's a Mod Chip?

* 3.8.1 - Where can I buy one?
* 3.8.2 - How do I install it?

3.9 - What is a Game Enhancer?

3.10 - I've got a great idea! I'll buy a new Playstation and take my old
one back to the store in the same box!

3.11 - What memory cards should I use?

3.12 - Why is Sony selling memory cards with only three blocks?

3.13 - What's the code to make show up nekkid?!!11!

3.14 - What does it mean to "lock" an import game?

3.15 - Are CDR backups legal?

3.16 - How do lightguns work, and how is the Guncon different?

3.17 - How do I clean the lens on my Playstation?
4 - References
* 4.1 - Web sites

* 4.1.1 - Repair
* 4.1.2 - Mod Chips/Game Enhancers
* 4.1.3 - Imports

4.2 - Acronyms

4.3 - Contributors


-(1)-FAQ info---------------------------------------------------------------

1.1 - Legal Stuff
This FAQ is copyright 1999 Tod Weitzel. It is neither affiliated with Sony
nor do any opinions belonging to me or other contributors reflect those of
any organization or company.
Portions of this FAQ include quotations and postings from other persons, in
which case all bets are off and the content quoted is copyrighted to the
quoted individual.
Reprinting of this FAQ or the articles and editorials contained within for
commercial purposes is prohibited without written consent from the
maintainer. Reproduction of this FAQ on free, informational sites is
permitted, although a reminder from the main tainer of such a site regarding
the posting is requested.

1.2 - The purpose of this FAQ
One day, after answering the "my TV picture bounces!" question for the third
time, I decided that someone REALLY needed to write a FAQ for After realizing no one did, I decided to hack a quick
one up.
This FAQ answers questions frequently asked about, the
Sony Playstation video game console, and any other video game product by
Sony. In it's current state, the FAQ only addresses really annoying
questions about the first two, but th is will soon improve.
It does NOT currently answer questions relating to games, mostly because
there aren't any really frequently asked questions about specific titles,
but if any question pops up very frequently, it'll probably end up in here.

1.3 - Who maintains this thing?
Right now, just me, Tod Weitzel, a.k.a. Lord Xarph and his Orchestra
(, though I appreciate mail being sent to

1.4 - Recent changes
1.4 -
* Added content to section 3.17. Oops.
* Updated model table (section 3.1)
* First HTML edition ( Still haven't put in
links to each individual section number.. that will be in the next

1.3 -
* Added section 3.17 - How do I clean the lens on my Playstation?
* Added Pandora's Cube to the link list. Their site was down, but I did
some business with them at Anime Expo 99.

1.2 -
* Added Tronix to the link list.

1.1 -
* Added a description of light guns and the guncon that actually makes
sense, as opposed to my lousy description that was completely

1.0 -
* Changed 3.14 to point towards National Console Support's boot code
archive. No more nightmares about me having to maintain such a beast.
* Started working on the acronym glossary. Mainly because I was bored.
* Modified the "picture bounce" section (3.6) with a possible workaround.
* I'm refraining from adding a "is emulation illegal" section for two
reasons: 1: this is not an emulation newsgroup, and 2: I'm enjoying the
flame war. =)

0.9 -
* Added the long-awaited "piracy" section (3.15) with the DEFINITIVE
piracy laws. "Backup" sellers: you are now officially doomed. Have a
nice day. =)

0.8 -
* Replaced section 3.1 with an article written by Jerry Jessop.

0.7 -
* Added National Console Support to the references list. (4.1.3)

0.6 -
* Added "Locked imports" section (3.14).

0.5 -
* Moved the Needed Information bit to the top section where people are
more likely to see it (hint, hint).
* Redid the section on FA/FT posts.
* Took out the guncon section (formerly 3.6) until someone writes a clear
yet detailed explanation of how lightguns work and why the Guncon is
* Added the "three block" question (3.12).
* Added the "nude code" question (3.13) for the people who still insist
that they exist.

0.3 -
* Fixed misc. typos and justified my source to 70 columns.

0.2 -
* Took some feedback I received and repaired some factual errors regarding
CD mechanism replacements (3.3) and attempted to fix some misconceptions
in the light gun department (3.6).

0.1 -
* Proposed FAQ. First incarnation. The original, baby!

1.5 - Formatting
This document is either in HTML format at or
in an 80 character word wrapped ascii text document.

1.6 - Information still needed
* Information about reputable dealers for Mod Chips, Game Enhancers, CD
mech replacements, repair houses, etc.

-(2)-The Group and general questions----------------------------------------

2.1 - What do you talk about here?
Anything related to the Sony Playstation or its games and accessories.
Flaming on the grounds that someone is an idiot is not what we want to see
here (usually). Keep in mind that transmitting a USENET post to takes up hundreds, if n ot thousands, of dollars to
transmit around the world, and posting a message that says "YOU ALL SUCK" is
not the thing we enjoy spending money on.
Also, posting FAQs and full walkthroughs for a specific game usually just
clogs up our newsreaders. A specific group,, exists solely for that purpose, plus
the infamous is always around to help you out.

2.2 - X Next Generation System is better than Playstation!
If you're reading this, do us a favor and go elsewhere. We get enough idiots
in here who never will read this FAQ or obey the rules.

2.3 - The best game ever is...
If you're comparing only Playstation games in your initial post, then voice
yourself. If you're comparing games from multiple systems, take it to
.advocacy. We already cope with a monster "game of the century"thread that
was started by someone who conveniently forgot about Sega systems and
anything before 1985. We don't need another one, 'cuz that thread ain't
gonna die till January 1st, 2002.

2.4 - FT/FA/FS messages and their ilk.
There's only one real rule for selling stuff on know
how you're selling it. The general consensus is that selling things is okay,
but don't list items for auction as items for sale. Again, MAKE SURE YOU

2.5 - Basic posting rules.
1) Try to put a header in your subject.
If the message refers to a specific game, put the title or acronym into
brackets at the front of the subject, like [MGS] for Metal Gear Solid
questions or [BAG] for Bust a Groove comments.
2) Avoid HTML posting.
A lot of us can't read HTML posts, and a larger percentage (yours truly
included) find it annoying.

-(3)-The Playstation--------------------------------------------------------

3.1 - What are the differences between the various models?
From Jerry Jessop (Updated on 9/14/99 by Lord Xarph):
Last digit represents territory

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
SCEI    = 0     Sony Computer Entertainment Inc (Japan)         1000
SCEA    = 1     "       "       America                         1001
SCEE    = 2     "       "       Europe                          1002

Consoles in order of release:

1000            3 revisions of this one. 1st one had S-Video in Japan
                2nd was the U.S. launch version.
                3rd 6 mos. latter had a new O.S. and GPU/Vram scheme
                to stop the "swap trick" problem.

3000            Net Yaroze System

5000            Not sold in the U.S. (Japan only)

5500            First console with the rear RCA jacks removed

7000            Sold for 6 months in the U.S. and first to introduce
                "SoundScope" and all components mounted on top of
                the PCB.

7500            Same as 7000, except ships with a Dual Shock controller.

9000            Current model. Lacks the parallel port, preventing the
                use of Game Sharks or other such devices.

   3.2 - What does the X in PSX stand for?
   Depends on who you ask. Some say "eXtreme," "eXperience," but the rumor
   seemed to have started around the letter "X" referring to "eXperimental," as
   the acronym first appeared when the Playstation was still in the design
   3.3 - My Playstation skips!
   Join the club. Model 100x Playstations have a habit of developing skipping
   problems after being left on for a long time. The reason is that the power
   supply in those early models put out enough heat to slightly warp the
   plastic on the CD mechanism. This caused the lens to go slightly out of
   focus, leading to video that skipped, choppy CD audio, and abnormally long
   loading delays.
   There are two fixes available to those who don't mind playing around with
   their Playstation's innards. The first is to slightly tweak the lens
   alignment knobs. A simple overview of this procedure is at However, note that it is very
   easy to screw your Playstation up worse than it already is using this
   method, plus it's only a temporary fix: the problem will most likely come
   back in the future or the problems will redevelop after the unit warms up
   The second alternative is to have the CD mechanism replaced. You can
   supposedly take it to Sony and have it fixed for $50, but if your
   Playstation has a mod chip, all bets are off. You can also buy a CD
   mechanism off the net and install it yourself. A good, reputable place that
   people seem to recommend is National Console Support (
   I've heard that replacing the CD mech isn't that hard (two or three cords
   and some miscellaneous screws), but if you're an amateur, make sure you keep
   all the parts and you don't have any left over. =)
   3.4 - My Playstation won't recognize controllers!
   This is a big "iffy" question. A number of different things could cause
   this, but the most common incidents occur when someone uses a non-licensed
   controller (as in, a cheap $10 controller you pick up in the bargain bin).
   Sometimes these controllers aren't exactly wired to spec, and tend to blow
   fuses in Playstations. Obviously, the solution is to go in, find the blown
   fuse, and swap a new one in, but this isn't always the case. Your best bet
   is to have a professional test and repair the Playstation. The hell of it is
   that if Sony finds out you were using an unlicensed peripheral, they *won't*
   fix it.
   3.5 - My Dual Shock controller doesn't work any more!
   Do you own cats? =) Seriously, due to the higher power requirements for the
   Dual Shock's vibration motors and cool looking red LED, it's VERY
   susceptible to static electricity. There's really not much you can do except
   be careful about what you do before playing. Also, don't put your Dual Shock
   on a wool carpet or other static-inducing furniture, don't let your pet play
   with your Dual Shock, and zap yourself on a doorknob or something before you
   pick it up.
   3.6 - My Playstation picture bounces!
   We usually get a flood of these messages every Christmas. The reason is that
   your TV is either a Zenith or uses Zenith components. The Playstation,
   perhaps to save money or processing power, skips even-numbered scanlines on
   the TV screen when it is in lo w-resolution (around 320x240) mode. Zenith
   TVs don't know how to cope with this properly and go whacko, either causing
   the image to bounce up and down, lopping off the top or bottom of the
   picture, displaying it in a shrunken-down image, or just plain not showing
   anything on the screen. Fortunately, you can take your Playstation to Sony
   and they'll install a chip for free that will fix this problem. The
   turnaround time is anywhere from three days to a week. I've never heard of
   anyone not getting their Playstation back after more than five days.
   If you really don't want to send out your PSX, Doug Dingus mailed me with a
   workaround if you have a newer Zenith:
     The truth is that very old Zeniths work great. These are the old Chroma
     Color series. The newer ones are of two types. Those with an on screen
     menu and those without. If you have a Zenith without the on-screen menu,
     then you are SOL. Better get one of the chips, and or a new television.
     If you have the onscreen televisions (system 2, 3, or better), then there
     is a good chance that a solution lies right in your television. Here is
     what I learned about mine from the TV Repair manual.
     (This works for System 3 NTSC televisions sold in USA for sure. Your
     mileage may vary...)
     To access the service menu, press the menu, volume up, and channel up
     buttons at exactly the same time. Most things in here need to be left
     alone. What the Playstation needs turned on is the 'VFORCED' option. This
     allows the television to sync up to the interlaced playstation signal.
   3.7 - How do I play a Video CD on my Playstation?
   First off, a Video CD (abbreviated as VCD) is a CD containing about 40
   minutes of MPEG-1 compressed video. The quality is much worse than that of a
   DVD. I compare the quality to standard Playstation FMV, although it looks
   slightly better than that.
   A Video CD cannot be played on a Playstation right out of the box. However,
   numerous adapters exist that plug into the Parallel I/O on the back of the
   Playstation like a Game Shark that allow it to play Video CDs. Most often,
   you'll be buying them import ed from Southeast Asia, where Video CD is very
   popular. There are many places on the net that sell them; just go to the
   search engine of your choice.
   3.8 - What's a Mod Chip?
   A Mod Chip is hooked into your Playstation that bypasses the copy protection
   and country lockout phase of the Playstation's startup. With one installed,
   you can play CDR backups *of games you legally own* and import titles.
   Please note that the majority of (myself included) does
   not condone piracy or using "backups" of games you didn't shell out for and
   don't own the original disc for. See section 3.15 for the reasons why you
   WILL lose in a court of law when dealing with CDRs.
   Mod chips also destroy whatever was left of your original warranty. You have
   been warned.
       3.8.1 - Where can I buy one?
       All over the place. Some URLs are at the bottom of this FAQ, but
       remember to shop around on the net. There may also be a shop near you
       that will do mod chip installation. The approximate price to manufacture
       a mod chip (assuming you already own the equip ment) is about two
       dollars, so remember that while you're looking at prices.
       3.8.2 - How do I install it?
       I'm not providing detailed instructions (those should come with your mod
       chip), but for your reference, chipping involves taking apart your
       Playstation and soldering four wires to four spots on the board with
       VERY small traces. If you can't solder, don't even try. Finds a person
       or place that will install the chip for you.
   3.9 - What is a Game Enhancer?
   I don't have a Game Enhancer, nor am I going to buy one, but from what I
   know about it, it acts as a Game Shark/Action Replay with the added ability
   to stop the motor in your Playstation to make the swap trick easier.
   Swapping tends to be a poor choice i n comparison to a mod chip, as games
   that use CD audio usually have problems playing the right part of the right
   track at a given time. Game Enhancers, however, do not void your warranty
   and (supposedly) allow the swap trick to work on recent model Playstations.
   3.10 - I've got a great idea! I'll buy a new Playstation and take my old one
   back to the store in the same box!
   Three words: don't do it. Not only is it most likely illegal, but some of
   these places are stupid enough to put returned merchandise back on the
   shelves, so someone quite innocent could end up buying your damaged
   Also, the model number of each Playstation is printed on the side of the
   box, so if the store clerk is worth their salt, they'll check the contents
   against the box, and if they don't match, they won't take it back.
   Bragging about this in will brand you as a Royal
   Asshole and get any credibility you have as a human being thrown out the
   window. Or else we'll just flame you.
   3.11 - What memory cards should I use?
   ONLY use genuine Sony cards. No contest. The sheer amount of horror stories
   related to third party cards (especially those with multiple pages or use
   compression) will make you sick... but not as sick as a shoddy card losing
   your 60 hour RPG save.
   3.12 - Why is Sony selling memory cards with only three blocks?
   They aren't. The back of the Sony memory card package is a prime example of
   the marketing department screwing up (don't they always?). It has an example
   memory card logo that says "3", as a sample of what to look for on the back
   of game boxes. ALL Sony and Sony-licensed cards hold 15 blocks - no if,
   ands, or buts.
   3.13 - What's the code to make show up nekkid?!!11!
   Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, X, O, Start. Just kidding. =)
   To date, there are have been no commercial games released in the US that
   have a code like this in them. The amount of lawsuits that would be filed by
   overly sensitive individuals would be too great to risk. The PC version of
   Tomb Raider has a hack floating around the net that does this by swapping
   textures, but there are no built-in "nude raider" codes.
   Now, as for some of the more bizarre imports and Yoruze games...
   3.14 - What does it mean to "lock" an import game?
   Recently, Sony has been making an attempt to "crack down" on mod chips, such
   as making the screws on more recent Playstations tamper-resistant and
   redesigning the guts of the Playstation to make it hard to modify. As part
   of this effort, numerous games have boot code that detect presence of a mod
   chip and fail to run if one is present.
   There are ways around this, however (what, you think the PSX hackers were
   going to let this stop them?). First, you can attach a switch to your mod
   chip that will allow you to turn it off after it has validated the game but
   before the protection kicks in. Second, you can use a Game Enhancer,
   although this requires swapping and games with CD audio will screw up in the
   music department. Finally, you can enter a Gameshark code that will bypass
   mod chip detection.
   National Console Support maintains an archive of detection workaround codes
   3.15 - Are CDR backups legal?
   In a nutshell: maybe. This is a very confusing topic that has led to many a
   flame war in the newsgroup.
   Just so you have some reference points, this is all based off information
   from the IDSA (International Digital Software Association), the entity
   you'll most likely be tangling with if you get busted for piracy. The law in
   question is 17 U.S.C. Section 117(2). As for countries other than the U.S.:
   If your country has signed the Berne Convention, these apply to you. If not;
   you're on your own.
   I am not a lawyer. If you get sued, lose, and end up with a massive fine,
   it's not my fault. Period.
   Basically, you have the right to make ONE copy of a game that you own an
   original of for archival purposes (read: your dog decides to play frisbee
   with it or other such damage).
   The law states that you CANNOT post or download a backup off the internet.
   Backup server operators: yer screwed.
   You CANNOT sell backups, unless you are the copyright holder of the
   software. Backup sellers: yer screwed.
   The backup copy can only be transferred to the another person if the
   original is also transferred *and the transfer is part of the transaction of
   all rights in the program.* In other words, you can't trade a backup unless
   you own the rights to the game.
   As for backup services? Who knows. Just keep in mind that the IDSA has many
   very expensive lawyers at their disposal for the sole purpose of making your
   life a living hell.
   3.16 - How do lightguns work, and how is the Guncon different?
   Charles Doane posted this excellent description to the group:
     The simplest answer is that the TV has a scan, called a "raster" that
     moves from the top to the bottom of the TV screen as it sweeps from left
     to right. It does this 60 times per second (USA/Japan), the standard is
     called NTSC (National Television Standards Committee, or Never The Same
     The light gun can see that scan, and by comparing when the scan goes by
     against one of the synchronizing signals, the software can determine the
     position of the gun.
     The reason you can't see that scan is a trait of the human eye known as
     "persistence of vision", which is why flashbulbs tend to make spots in
     your vision for a little bit.
     The lightgun doesn't have that limitation, it's a machine. Cameras don't
     have that limitation either, which is why, in some photos with a TV on,
     it appears that the TV screen is partly blank. The reason it appears that
     way is because the TV screen really is partly blank much of the time, you
     just can't see it because of the way your eyes work.
     The light gun is just a light receiver, it can no more hurt your TV than
     your eyeballs can, so don't worry about that at all.
     As for the best brands, it depends. For Namco games, you're stuck with
     either a Namco Guncon or a Clone such as Nyko's Super Cobra, or for the
     earlier games (like Die Hard Trilogy or Project:Horned Owl) you need a
     non-Guncon type of gun (The Nyko Super Cobra works for those too). There
     were two gun standards for the PSX in one of the few screw-ups by SONY,
     but now it seems that the standard has pretty much centered on the Guncon
     for all recent and future PSX gun games.
     P.S. The reason the Guncon has the Composite Video plug is that it uses
     the far more frequent (and therefore more accurate) Horizontal sync,
     which occurs 262.5 times more often than the Vertical sync's 60 times per
     second, or 15,750 times per second. Pretty spiffy, huh?
   3.17 - How do I clean the lens on my Playstation?
   With a Q-tip and isopropyl alcohol. Lightly dab the lens with the Q-tip,
   then let it dry for a few minutes. Do NOT use those "cleaning kits" that
   Funcoland or any other company sells. If the stiff bristles on the disc
   miraculously fail to damage the lens, it will scrape dirt onto the lens from
   the tray.
   4.1 - Web sites
   * denotes sites that have not generated any comment (other than
   self-advertising) on Usenet. If you send money or your PSX to these people
   and don't get it back, it's not my fault.
       4.1.1 - Repair
       * DK Enterprises
       Playstation repair and Mod Chip sales/installation.
       4.1.2 - Mod Chips/Game Enhancers
       4.1.3 - Imports
       National Console Support
       Import and domestic software and hardware, including CD mechanism
       replacements. Highly recommended by almost everyone.
       Import and Domestic hardware and software. High marks from most
       Pandora's Cube (down as of this writing)
       8145L Baltimore Ave
       College Park, MD 20740
       Import hardware and software for Dreamcast, PSX, and N64, as well as
       loads of anime, models, CCGs and whatnot. They sell VCD adaptors!
       4.1.4 - Miscellaneous
       IDSA Piracy Information
       Read it before you go do something stupid with your new CDR drive.
       Game Shark Code Creator's Club
       A lot of people have asked where to get Gameshark codes. This is the
       largest collection on the net. Have fun.
   4.2 - Acronyms
   Acronyms of game titles and terms relating to specific games are not listed.
   There are too many of them. Plus you can usually tell from a few messages
   what game a given acronym represents.
   CDR - CD Recordable. For our purposes, an unlicensed copy of a Playstation
   DC - Dreamcast. The PSX and forthcoming PSX2's main competition come next
   DS - Dual Shock. The new regulation-issue PSX controller. It has two
   joysticks and force feedback in addition to the normal set of PSX controls.
   EB - Electronics Boutique. Despite numerous horror stories floating around,
   they seem to be the main supplier for most r.g.v.s regulars.
   FA - For Auction. Usually on eBay (
   FL - Funcoland. Considered EB's evil twin. They get roughly the same amount
   of flamage as EB, except no one buys from them and admits it. A popular
   rumor is that they use the film "Clerks" by Kevin Smith as a training video.
   FS - For Sale. Nuff said.
   FT - For Trade. Like FS, except they don't want money. =)
   HK - (Supposedly short for "Hong Kong.") A professionally pirated, silver
   bottomed Playstation game. Most CDR copies are just burned with a CDR drive
   and the title written on with a felt tip marker (to make a gross
   generalization). HKs are pressed silver discs, are professionally silk
   screened, have color manuals, and are almost indistinguishable from the
   original except for the lack of a black coating and any form of license.
   PSX - Sony Playstation. See section 3.2.
   WD - Working Designs. Mentioned because a flame war reminiscient of WWII is
   constantly going on regarding their "liberal" translation policies and
   tendency to release stuff only "when it's finished," which drives
   Electronics Boutique absolutely mad. =)
   VGS - Virtual Game Station. Connectix's controversial PSX emulator that
   allows PSX games to be played on a G3 Macintosh. Currently at war with
   Sony's legal department.
   VCD - Video CD. Not to be confused with DVD (the new, high density Digital
   Video Disc format). VCDs are normal data CDs that store roughly 30-40
   minutes of MPEG-1 compressed video. The quality varies depending on how much
   video is compressed onto the disc and how discriminating of an eye you have
   when it comes to compression artifacts. They are very popular in southeast
   Asia due to their relatively low cost (around $5 a disc). The PSX cannot
   play VCDs out of the box (rumors abound of pure-white PSXs in Asia that
   can); unlicensed peripherals are available that add this feature. See 3.7.
   4.3 - Contributors
   Doug Dingus Sent in the Zenith TV workaround.
   Charles Doane Posted an excellent description of how a lightgun works, which
   is something I've been asking for since this FAQ's inception.
   Jerry Jessop Provided article regarding the various models of Playstation.
   Ogrt48 Tipped me off to the Gameshark codes that bypass mod chip detection.
   OliviaSrch Corrected me on an aspect of CD mech replacements.

Lord Xarph
Data potato doo-wop doo-wop

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