The Playstation Classic is here - but what do The Spinoff Board of Review think about it?

The Spinoff reviews New Zealand #78: The PlayStation Classic

We’ve already previewed Playstation’s new nostalgia thirst trap, but now the Classic comes under the real judges: The Spinoff Board of Review.

Sam Brooks, gaming editor

Even though I’d already spent a few hours having a little spin on the game, where the Classic came alive was seeing a group of people engage with the nostalgia. Whether it was José jumping through Rayman or a group of steadily drinking colleagues passing controllers around in Tekken 3, the joy is not in plugging it in and playing all twenty-four games by yourself (although you could do a lot worse than spending a few dozen hours in Final Fantasy 7) but in rediscovering these games with somebody else.

Now that the bulk of gaming has moved online where we can hear the voices of strangers beamed straight into our earholes, but can’t see them/shove them in the same room, the PlayStation Classic is a lovely novelty and throwback to a time where you could spend hours in front of the TV with your friends.

Jose Barbosa, staff producer

Honestly, this was a nightmare. When I was a teenager I was a ripped gaming maestro. I could plonk away at R-Type for hours like I was sharing my consciousness with the console. I was an assassin of the highest order; a ninja god on the controller.

I’m 40 now and I feel like I’m a big tub of chum, groping and pawing at the PlayStation One controller like a toddler pushing its faeces around on the floor. After years of conditioning with thumbsticks, I’m utterly useless at using the d-pad.

Playing Rayman I keep on falling into the water like an idiot. During Syphon Filter I keep turning into walls as I engage enemies. In Cool Boarders 2 I manage to slide my way to the finish, executing two slight hops and faceplanting several times into mountainside chalets. I fare better on the Tetris-esque Mr. Driller, but get progressively sadder as I realise Mr. Driller can drill all he likes but he’ll never reach the end of his drill hole.

Time to face the music: all I want from my games now is an endless chain of picking herb quests and a good spot to craft potions/tonics/whatever. Anything else and my brain, apparently, shuts down. Screw you, Playstation Classic, I still matter. I still matter.

Tekken 3’s Nina doing her absolute best.

Alice Neville, food editor

Ah, the PlayStation One. I spent a good part of my childhood sitting on the floor of a cold living room in Karori playing Crash Bandicoot. Eventually I wore out the arrow buttons on the controller and my cousin’s friend, who was a dental technician, crafted a replacement out of the stuff that’s used to make the gums in false teeth.

Anyway. That was about the last time I played PlayStation, so while my Gen Z colleagues were all like WHOA, THIS CONTROLLER IS SO WEIRD, it felt totally comfortable in my hands, like a long-lost friend.

We played Tekken, which I used to dabble in when I got sick of Crash Bandicoot, but was never particularly good at. The intervening years have not improved my skills, but, somewhat disconcertingly, I found kicking the shit out of people (in a virtual setting) thoroughly enjoyable.

I identify strongly with Nina, who is apparently an Irish assassin with a cold and indifferent persona who is bitter and hateful towards men. Same!

Madeleine Chapman, staff writer

I haven’t properly played PlayStation since we had a PS2 at home when I was at primary school. I’ve tried to get into the more sophisticated single player games on the PS4 but I just don’t seem to care enough to spend 100 hours on it.

Given the choice, I’ll ply a fighting arcade game or a racing game over anything else. The PlayStation Classic reminded me why. I could play for half an hour and literally nothing would be different. No incremental progress or “4% complete” flashing, just a bunch of button mashing and then I went about my day as usual. I don’t want to invest a huge portion of my life into one character. Thankfully I’m invested in Heihachi just the right amount to love fighting as him and then not miss him when he’s gone.

Don Rowe, staff writer

The defining achievement of my childhood – nay, life thus far – has been unlocking the farting dinosaur Gon in Tekken 3’s preposterous Beach Ball mode. Sequestered in a room with blackout curtains I buttonmashed for days and days, emerging like some stunned opiod mullet to find whole seasons had passed in the outside world. Or so it felt.

Reliving those moments on the PlayStation Classic was magical – for half an hour or so. The thing is, gaming has come so far since those halcyon days that clumsy controls and horrific graphics only carries you so far.

And without flagship titles like Gran Turismo, the catalogue on the PS Classic only allowed for so many. This is more of an aesthetically pleasing collectors item than meaningful gaming system, and I can’t imagine it getting much use beyond 20 minutes or so at the occasional reunion. Where nostalgia classics like the Crash Bandicoot and Spyro remakes are fun and touching, this feels entirely half baked.

Alex Casey, senior writer

My only memory of playing Tekken 2 as a child was one time at my friend’s house. Sounds boring, but here’s the crazy thing: her name was literally Jessica Simpson. Mental eh. A good 20 years later, it was a true joy to sit in a room with my beloved colleagues – none of whom have funny celebrity names – and do an extreme amount of digital capoeira as Eddy Gordo.

Of all the Tekken characters, Eddy is clearly the best. He wears cool sunglasses, has cool moves and an even cooler ponytail. As Eddy, you can dazzle your friends and family with an intricate martial arts showcase, before spinning around on your head and kicking your opponent to death. Choose life. Choose your future. Choose Eddy.


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