For almost two weeks, I’ve been living life like it was 1994 thanks to Sony’s PlayStation Classic. The $99. 99 system, like Nintendo’s NES and SNES Classic before it, is yet another miniaturized game console pre-loaded with games from a bygone era.
But if you approach the PlayStation Classic as a retro toy — as a nice look at the early days of 3D graphics — and a game console that asks for your full attention for the sole sake of enjoying an expansive adventure, two-player brawl, or silly weapon-tricked-out-vehicle battle without the many trappings (Netflix, music, and messaging, etc. ) of a modern internet-connected console, the thing is damn fun to play with, especially with a friend.
Unlike today where many console games are created using similar engines (the most popular one being Epic’s Unreal Engine) so there’s more consistency in the quality of graphics and physics, games from the PlayStation era pretty much all ran on their own proprietary game engines, and as a result spanned a wide spectrum in graphics and gameplay.
If Sony could rewind time before production of the PlayStation Classic, I’d ask them to make one change: include the Dual Shock version of the controller, which comes with two analog sticks so you can better control 3D games and experience built-in rumble feedback.
I’m sure the increasing CGI advancements in Hollywood would have still inevitably filled game developers looking to up the level of realism in their games, but modern gaming might have been so very different had Sony never released the PlayStation.
Unlike the timeless, colorful 2D sprites of Super Mario Bros. or The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past that still look as beautiful today as they did 35 and 27 years ago, respectively, many of the once cutting-edge 3D graphics from the 20 included games on the PlayStation Classic simply don’t hold up in 2018.
Whether this means the PlayStation Classic can be hacked to load legal ROMs of games you own (Mashable doesn’t condone piracy) is unclear, but it leaves the door open than if Sony developed their own emulator and locked it down.
These are my reviews of the 20 games first released some 20-something years ago that Sony curated for the PlayStation Classic.
While the PlayStation wasn’t the first home console capable of 3D graphics — Nintendo’s SNES sorta did 3D with the Super FX chip built into some game cartridges like Star Fox and the Sega Saturn also supported 3D graphics — it was the first to be architected with polygonal graphics at its core.
If you look at the PlayStation Classic as just a tiny plastic box running games using an emulator, the console’s entire reason to exist seems kind of like a quick cash grab since the games don’t really offer anything the PSN versions or an emulator on your PC running legally ripped versions of games you already own don’t.
Sony’s PlayStation Classic is a fun throwback to the early days of 3D gaming, but the included games won’t please everyone.
Still, if you add up the value of all of these games purchased separately as digital downloads on Sony’s PlayStation Network (PSN), thirteen of the titles total up to $90, with the remaining seven not available for purchase. Assuming the average $5. 99 price of many of the digital downloads (some of the titles are $9. 99), the PlayStation Classic still gives you well over $100 worth of games.
It’s one of a few block/jewel-matching puzzle games on the PlayStation Classic, but the cute spin on drilling and running out of air as you drill deeper underground spices the genre up.
The story of how Sony convinced Squaresoft (now Square Enix) to dump Nintendo and exclusively develop Final Fantasy games for the PlayStation is as epic as Cloud’s adventure to save Midgar from the evil planet-energy-draining Shinra corporation in Final Fantasy VII.
Tekken 3 is the better of the two included fighting games on the PlayStation Classic, but Battle Arena Toshinden is pretty decent.
Syphon Filter was another one of those PlayStation games that really pushed the limits of the console to new heights by blending in-game 3D graphics and cutscenes and it was excellent at its time.
There are plenty of IQ-like games on iOS, but replaying this original made me pine for a proper remake with a more vibrant stage designs. Jumping Flash! looks cute at first, but as one of the earliest PlayStation games, the quirky first-person platformer/shooter’s camera controls were pretty awful.
With the nostalgic tech trend already underway for years and the PlayStation brand the strongest asset in Sony’s portfolio, the PlayStation Classic was perhaps inevitable. Dec. 3 marks the 24th anniversary of the original Sony PlayStation and the official launch of the new PlayStation Classic.
Though nowhere as photorealistic as the latest Resident Evil, Capcom’s terrifying original game still managed to scare me to a certain degree. (I hate scary movies and games. ) The cubic blood splatters likely won’t give you nightmares anymore, but if you get scared easily, the game’s eerie mansion music might be enough to keep you from getting a good night’s rest.
If the list of games for the PlayStation Classic don’t impress you, buying the ones you want à la carte via PSN (provided you have a PS3, PS4, or PS4) will save you some cash.
The titles are far from the perfect list of PlayStation legends — it pains me these fan favorites like Crash Bandicoot, Gran Turismo, Spyro the Dragon, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, and Wipeout XL didn’t make the cut — but at the same time I get that whittling down an enormous library of nearly 8,000 published games throughout the PlayStation’s lifetime down to 20 that would’ve pleased everyone is basically impossible.
Without the original PlayStation, who knows what turn video game consoles and graphics would have taken.
Dated as many PlayStation graphics look, if you grew up with the console — maybe it was your first one or perhaps it helped forge friendships — Sony’s PlayStation Classic has its charms.
On the PlayStation Classic, all 20 of the included games are accessed from the home screen’s carousel.
But even with awful and confusing menus, Destruction Derby’s far from the worst game on the PlayStation Classic.
Hideo Kojima’s classic is blockier on an HDTV, but everything that made it such a genre-defining game on the original console still checks out 20 years later.
Sony PlayStation Classic review: The graphics are weak, but the fun is real https://t.co/FXMdLiTPdm— Mashable (@mashable) September 1, 2020