Last night, Sony announced the PlayStation Classic – a console that looks like a PlayStation One and plays those games too. Is that all it is, though?
So what is the PlayStation Classic, exactly?
It’s a console that looks a lot like a PlayStation 1, PSX or PSOne (Jesus, that console had too many monikers ) but one that you can actually use with modern television screens and monitors.
It’s the same as that old console, but it’s about half the size. It’ll come with two wired controllers, and twenty pre-installed games (remember this, it’s the most important part).
If you want the real short version on this: it’s the NES Mini, but for Playstation kids of the 90s. We’re a big bunch.
Why would I want an old console when I already have a PS4?
Good question! I’m not here to give you a sales pitch. If you’re the kind of gamer who would rather spend half an hour playing Fortnite than reliving memories from twenty years ago, march on! This cheat sheet is not for you.
The real sell here isn’t the console – I don’t think owning an obsolete piece of equipment is anybody’s real idea of a financial year ending blockbuster – it’s the games.
Can’t I just haul out my old PlayStation?
If you’ve hoarded a console for that long, chances are you have a lot of problems that need addressing before dragging it out. But we’re not here to address those.
You can! But chances are you don’t have a screen that’s compatible with it, or can display it in any way that won’t absolutely ruin your eyes with the framerate, pixelation or distortion. Let’s just say playing a game that was never intended to be viewed on a monitor larger than 20″ is going to be a very different experience than playing it on your 70″ screen that you bought with the intention of hosting a weekly movie night but now just watch The Bachelor AU on instead.
The PlayStation Classic will let you play it on your TV – and it’ll include modern conveniences like not having to keep track of discs and… well, that’s about it, really.
Will my old games work on this?
You really need to clean out your closet, dude.
No, they won’t.
There’s going to be twenty pre-installed games on the console, and those are all we’re going to get. There’ll be no downloading, and the disk-lid that we remember so fondly is, unfortunately, just for show.
So what are the games?
As of this morning, the five announced games are:
Final Fantasy 7: If you need to know what this one is, bless your cotton soul. This is a huge deal of a game, but you can also find many versions of this on many platforms – it was just announced that it would be ported to Nintendo Switch, and you can likely play it on the device you’re reading this article on.
Jumping Flash: This was one of the first ever showcases for 3D gaming, way back in 1995, when Diane Wiest won her Oscar for Bullets over Broadway. Unlike the rest, it’s kind of impossible to find now, unless you’re still one of those stalwarts holding onto their PS3s, and even then only if you live in America.
Wild ARMs: This is a big deal for me, the JRPG fan, as this is a fairly obscure RPG from an obscure series that is super hard to find now – unless you’re one of those aforementioned PS3 stalwarts, in which case its on the store. It’s important to bring up here though, that little consoles like this do a lot of very important game preservation work, and bring these older lesser known titles to fresh eyes and fresh generations.
Ridge Racer Type 4: If you care about this sort of thing, this is one of the most important racing games to have ever existed, along with Gran Turismo. It is the pioneer of the age old video game trend of getting a pretty ethnically ambiguous girl who has nothing to do with the actual game on the cover of said game to market it.
WAIT. Tekken 3? I loved that game growing up! And I can’t find it anywhere now!
And no, you can’t, because of complicated rights issues around the character ‘Gon’, Tekken 3 has never been re-released in any way, shape or form since its initial 1998 release, despite it being one of the best-selling games of all time, and by some measure the most well-regarded title in its own series.
I have no doubt that Sony will fill out the PlayStation Classic with fifteen more games, but I suspect this will be the one that sells it. There’s a reason why this thing comes with two controllers.
So when and where can I buy this thing?
It releases December 3, and I assume you can buy it wherever places that sell video games want to make money selling video games.
Go forth, nostalgia freaks.
The Spinoff Weekly compiles the best stories of the week – an essential guide to modern life in New Zealand, emailed out on Monday evenings.