Relive The 90’s With The PlayStation Classic
Nintendo found massive, mainstream success with its limited availability NES and SNES Classic systems. Preying upon the fragile nostalgia of the newly middle aged, the big N was able to get people into stores in droves. Meanwhile, elsewhere in Japan, Sony had a giant red circle around the 25th birthday of PlayStation.
“We can do that too, right everybody?”
Well, they did. The product needs checklist may as well have been a carbon copy of Nintendo’s, right down to the product name. The Playstation Classic, featuring 20 classic (ish) games at a low, $99 price point.
I say classic-ish because there are some obvious omissions. There’s no Gran Turismo, no Tony Hawk, no Symphony of the Night. The first two I can explain via licensing, but since when has Konami ever turned down licensing money? Furthermore, why are the wrong Twisted Metal and Resident Evil games on here? It’s a kind of bizarre list. But then again, I played Cool Boarders 2 and felt like I was a kid again. In that sense, Sony has more or less accomplished their nostalgia mission.
It does feel like the PlayStation Classic was cooked up in a hurry though. There’s a weird mishmash of PAL and NTSC versions of games in the mix, and the framerate differences between those two formats make some awkwardness. It’s nothing a casual fan will notice really, but go ahead and Google Tekken 3 PS Classic if you want to see some people upset.
For me, the real purpose of a product like this is to churn up old feelings. I don’t really want to play through Syphon Filter again, but I DO want to fire it up for 5 minutes and reminisce about how things used to be. It’s a museum piece that’s fun to look at and mess around with, even when the PS1 generation has held up terribly.
Amazingly, our first foray into polygonal home entertainment looks pretty rough in 2018. Whereas the sprites and pixel art of the 8 and 16-bit generations still look fine, flat shaded triangles are hard to look at. Especially if you don’t have direct nostalgia for these games. But hey, everything works pretty seamlessly, and you won’t notice flaws in the emulation unless you specifically know what to look for.
The hardware itself gets a big thumbs up. It’s much smaller than I expected, unbelievably light, and uses standard USB connections for the controllers. The pads are sadly not Dual Shock, which severely limited which games could be included on this thing, and makes the games that put rumble on the map like Metal Gear Solid a bit odd to play here. Still, the quality seems great.
Having plain ol’ USB connections on this thing likely means it’s going to be hacked to pieces quickly — I mean, it was only a few days before someone realized you can actually access the emulation menu using a keyboard. I suppose that means the potential is there for the community to turn the PS Classic into something much more, just like happened with the Nintendo Classics.
As it stands now, the PlayStation Classic isn’t a must own product. It’s neat to go back and see what we as gamers tolerated in the late 90’s, but the whole PlayStation era is a victim of Sony’s own success. The ideas in each of the 20 games presented here have been iterated and improved on incredibly in the last 20 years, and while it’s fun as it is to go back to the beginning, you’re not really missing too much if you don’t experience Mr. Driller again.
**Sample Unit Provided by Sony**