A shrine for PS1 classics… well, some of them at least
Because it doesn’t enshrine the best-remembered games from the ’90s, the Playstation Classic isn’t quite everything we hoped it’d be. But what it lacks in software is made up, in part, by its lovingly crafted hardware.
- Two controllers in every box
- Some interesting game choices
- Built-in memory cards
- – Some games didn’t age well
- – Limitations on resume points
- – Limited nostalgia factor
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Sony could’ve followed in Nintendo’s footsteps by releasing a populist’s retro console, one that had the undisputed best games of the era like Crash Bandicoot, Final Fantasy 8 and 9 or Tomb Raider.
But that’s not the Playstation Classic.
It doesn’t include the majority of the console’s greatest hits and instead opts for some cult classics like Persona and Jumping Flash among a few well-received titles. Using Sony’s retro console is therefore a lot less like walking down memory lane, an experience we had with the SNES Classic and NES Classic Mini, and a lot more like a sample platter of what the Playstation had to offer 20-some-odd years ago.
Ultimately while there’s fun to be had with the Playstation Classic’s collection of games, the gaps in what could have been a dream line-up are obvious.
Where’s Castlevania: Symphony of the Night? Where’s Silent Hill? Chrono Cross? Tomb Raider? Where’s The Legend of Dragoon or PaRappa the Rapper?
I’ll tell you where you won’t find them: Sony’s first retro console.
Sure, these games are available on other platforms, but being able to play them on a recreation of the hardware they helped define would have been a true celebration of the iconic system. What’s there is a collection of titles that you can enjoy in an afternoon but probably won’t be coming back to anytime after that.
There’s no telling why Sony went down this path, but the most likely reason is that this was the first age of the CD-quality soundtrack, and so many games featured licensed music – the rights to which have long since expired, making it difficult (or costly) for Sony to re-acquire them. That’s not Sony’s fault, but it does make for a less-than-stellar selection of games.
A more fundamental issue lies with the fact that the first Playstation was an entry point into the world of 3D gaming at home – there were lessons to be learned, as developers got to grips with the new way of working and, as a result, the early Playstation games (many represented here) were a bit rough around the edges. The SNES, on the other hand, has a library that works far better in a “Classic” resurrected format, as its games represent the absolute zenith of the 16-bit, 2D era.
Ultimately, while there’s an afternoon of fun to be had here by revisiting the dawn of the 3D era, those expecting stone cold classics and long-lasting shelf-life will be disappointed.
Regardless of how you feel about the game library, you’ll be moderately impressed with the package Sony has crafted to carry its software. the Classic is a nostalgia-inducing piece of plastic. It looks identical to the original Playstation 1, shrunken down of course, with a few modern touches like HDMI out, a power USB port and even USB controllers. (Though, weirdly, Sony doesn’t supply you with a power adapter for the microUSB cable so you’ll need to supply your own.)
After seeing them next to one another, the Playstation Classic is a dead ringer for the original Playstation, down to the little details. It’s exactly like the rectangular, gray hunk of plastic you remember spending hours with as a kid. just a bit smaller. (According to Sony, it’s about 45% the size of the original.)
It’s not only smaller but, as you might expect, a lot lighter, too.
That could make it incredibly easy to pack up and take with you. Thanks to the now universally supported HDMI port too, you won’t have to worry about finding a TV that still supports legacy composite connectors.
Just like on the original, along the top side of the Classic you’ll find three buttons: Power, Open and Reset. These buttons mostly do what you’d expect.
Power turns the console on and off, while Open allows you to switch virtual discs in multi-disc games like Final Fantasy VII. Reset is slightly different though, in that it takes you back to the game selection menu and creates a resume point for the next time you want to jump back into that game. similar to the system found on the NES/SNES Classic but with just one save slot instead of four.
Anytime you exit a game by resetting the system, the Classic will ask you if you’d like to overwrite your old save point. basically inviting you to overwrite your hard work at every turn. and other than saving to the memory card there’s no way to ‘lock in’ a save to prevent someone else from coming along and killing that checkpoint.
The big difference between the original console and the Classic is that the latter doesn’t play actual discs and there’s no way to add games from the Playstation Store to the console. That shouldn’t be a big surprise or even news to you at this point, but it’s worth pointing out now to avoid the inevitable comment of “Can it play my old Playstation games?” There’s no online multiplayer, either, in case you were hoping for a way to play Cool Borders 2 with a childhood friend halfway across the world.
Less impactful, another small difference can be found on the controllers themselves: While all of the buttons return from the original in their original form, you’ll find that the controller terminates in a USB port. That could potentially mean that the controllers will work on your PC if you have an emulator, but it definitely means that Sony isn’t introducing a proprietary port exclusively for the retro console.
Speaking of, as you might’ve noticed already, the two controllers that Sony supplies are obviously from the pre-DualShock days. That means you’ll have to use the directional pad as your primary form of locomotion in games and forgo the arguably better control schemes for Resident Evil Director’s Cut and Tekken 3. That’s not a deal-breaker, obviously, but it might not have hurt Sony to announce a DualShock controller variant alongside the true-to-the-original package.
Finally, the controllers are a bit short, and could give players some trouble if you want to kick back on the couch with a friend. A small boon, however, is that they plug directly into the front face of the console and don’t require you to remove a faceplate like you do with the SNES and NES Classic. which, ultimately, gives Sony’s console a cleaner look and serious style points.
Playstation Classic vs Playstation One: Which should you buy?
All things considered, the original Playstation One is still well worth your money despite being over two decades old. You just have to deal with the risks of buying used.
The Playstation Classic is a great gift for a person looking for something convenient, but it leaves a lot to be desired.
What’s the difference?
Visually, the original Playstation and Playstation Classic are identical upon first glance without any size reference. This is what Sony was aiming for: a replica console. However, if you hold them side-by-side, you do notice that the Playstation Classic is a lot smaller, approximately 45 percent smaller. Its physical size isn’t the only difference though. Both machines have their own advantages and disadvantages when it comes to running older software on televisions meant for today’s market.
|260 mm × 45 mm × 185 mm||149 mm × 33 mm × 105 mm|
|No (Yes with adapter)||Yes|
What these features mean to you
If you’re unfamiliar with any of the above terms or what role they serve when playing games, I’ll break down what these features mean to you so you can make an informed decision when purchasing whichever suits your needs best.
Physical memory card support
This aspect doesn’t really affect first-time Playstation buyers, but it’s incredibly important to people who played on the original when they were younger. If you want to jump back into your old save games, you’ll need to do so on your original Playstation One console. The Playstation Classic does not support physical memory cards, nor does it support any other peripheral devices. While it does feature a virtual memory card, you cannot simply pop in your old card and pick up a game where you left off.
Runs thousands of games
This is a bit self-explanatory, but the original Playstation runs more games than the Playstation Classic. Though the Classic will contain some of the most popular games from back in the day, including Final Fantasy VII, it only comes with 20 games total. In comparison, nearly 3,000 games were released for the original Playstation over its lifetime.
Jennifer Locke has been playing video games nearly her entire life. You can find her posting pictures of her dog and obsessing over Playstation and Xbox, Star Wars, and other geeky things.
Sony ps one classic
The original Playstation is a console that is very dear to my heart. It wasn’t my first encounter with the world of video games, but it’s the system that showed me the power of the medium and contributed to my interest in computer technology that continues to this day.
Over the past month, Sony has been rolling out their revised subscription model to compete with Microsoft’s Game Pass service. The highest tier offers various games from Sony’s past, including PS1 games being playable on the PlayStation 4 and PS5 for the very first time.
Unfortunately, Sony doesn’t have the best reputation when it comes to handling their back catalogue. The combination of dodgy emulation software and the reliance on inferior PAL code has left a sour taste in my mouth. But I’m willing to give Sony one more chance to prove they can show some respect for their back catalogue.
Oh boy, that was a mistake. I need some hard liquor.
Upon booting up a PS1 classic on the PS5, you will notice the game looks far sharper than you remember. This is because the native rendering resolution of PS1 games has been increased to 1440p. This includes the original PlayStation 4, which doesn’t support 1440p output. But the console still supersamples the image down to 1080p. With so much overhead being available, I’m disappointed that Sony didn’t try to push for higher resolutions on the PS5.
Games with simple visuals like Kurushi (Intelligent Qube) and Toy Story 2 look fantastic when presented at a higher resolution. But the same can’t be said for games with realistic settings like Syphon Filter, where the increased clarity reveals many flaws in the game’s visual makeup that were once masked by the CRTs of yesteryear. Although I would be lying if I said the increase resolution didn’t make it easier to achieve headshots against long range targets.
The increased resolution is also not flattering for games that use pre-rendered backgrounds like Resident Evil Director’s Cut. The character models being rendered at 1440p look out of place against the pre-rendered backgrounds (pictured below). This is why I would love to see Sony offer the option to run games at their original 240p resolution. On the plus side, any games that used an interlaced output on the PS1 like Mr Driller are presented without any interlacing artifacts.
Because the PlayStation 4 and PS5 controllers lack a select button, Sony has assigned the select and start button to the touch pad for each console’s respective controller, w hile the actual start button on your controller will bring up the emulation menu. Within this menu, you will find numerous options to enhance your walk down memory lane.
Perhaps the most useful among them is the ability to rewind up to 10 minutes of gameplay. Given that older games don’t offer the same frequency of checkpoints as modern games, this is a welcome inclusion that will make these games more approachable for newcomers. On top of that, Sony has included six save states with every game. Remember, the vast majority of PS1 games didn’t include auto-save functionality of any kind. This means you will have to make a habit of saving your progress on regular basis.
The emulation wrapper also includes a few visual presets and the ability to adjust the aspect ratio to your liking.
You can choose between default, retro classic and modern (pictured above). Retro classic applies a basic scanline filter that lacks any options to adjust the thickness of the scanlines and the type of mask being deployed. While the modern preset darkens the image for some unknown reason. Unless you want scanlines with your Ape Escape, I would stick with the default preset.
As for the aspect ratio, you’re given the choice between six different modes: Native resolution, 1:1, 4:3 for 16:10, 4:3 for 16:9, Square Pixels and Wide Zoom (stretched). By default, the aspect ratio is set to “4:3 for 16:9”. Given that 99% of the PS1 games are designed for 4:3 screens, I would stick with this option. “4:3 for 16:10” makes no sense given that none of Sony’s current machines support monitors or TVs with this aspect ratio.
Wide Zoom (stretched) is self-explanatory and stretches the image to fill the entire screen, but I would only recommend using this aspect ratio for Worms Armageddon, which offers a proper 16:9 mode within the game’s options menu. The other three are somewhat misleading if I’m being honest. Native resolution doesn’t actually render PS1 games at their native resolution and instead reduces the image to a postage stamp on your display.
While 1:1 or Square pixels don’t delivery what is promised on the tin. For example, Mr Driller ran at 384×480 on the PS1. At 1440p with square pixels, this image should be presented at 1152×1440. But alas, the game is rendered at 1440×1440 and this applies to all games in the initial line-up.
Perhaps the most exciting feature of PS1 classics on the PlayStation 4 and PS5 is the addition of trophies. That’s right, you can finally flex your puzzle solving skills with the Kurushi platinum that adorns your PSN profile.
However, it’s worth noting that trophy support is optional for third party publishers since their implementation comes at a cost. This probably explains why only five games offer trophies (Ape Escape, Everybody’s Golf, Kurushi, Syphon Filter and Wild Arms) and every one of them is published by Sony. Since mandating trophies was one of the factors that held back the rollout of PS2 classics on the PlayStation 4, it makes sense why Sony has opted to drop this mandate for PS1 classics.
On the positive side, the PlayStation 4 and PS5 applications for PS1 classics have separate trophy lists. Which means you can earn two platinums for each game!
What’s Available In Your Region?
Aside from the misleading aspect ratio options, the PS1 classics sound really promising. Unfortunately, all these positives are undermined by the fact that Sony has opted to use PAL code for numerous games outside of America and Japan.
I’ve broken down which games use NTSC and PAL code based on your region:
PAL vs NTSC
Why is this an issue? The problem is that many games developed by American and Japanese studios were optimised for the NTSC standard. Instead of reprogramming a game’s logic to accommodate the speed difference of the PAL format used abroad, developers would take the lazy route and reduce the speed of the game by 17%. This coding decision would introduce additional latency and decrease the speed of the player’s character.
The situation is made worse by the fact that neither PlayStation 4 nor PS5 offer a native 50hz output (outside of DVD playback). All PAL games, including ones that were optimised for PAL are forced to go through a 60hz framebuffer. The mismatched frame persistence creates visible judder that is highly distracting and ruins the visual presentation.
In a post-launch patch, Sony has tried to fix this problem by upscaling the framerate with frame blending (pictured above). This process might eliminate the judder, but it introduces these nasty ghosting artifacts that smears the final image. Not to mention this doesn’t fix the controller lag with games using unoptimised 50hz code.
On. Sony Europe has announced that PAL gamers will be given the option to download the NTSC builds of PS1 classics. But I refuse to give Sony any praise for this decision, especially after PAL gamers spent the last 15 years protesting against the company for not giving us a choice between PAL and NTSC.
Despite my preference for NTSC code, I can still see the merit in offering the PAL builds of these old games. Especially ones that contain additional localisation work for various European languages.
In fact, it turns out that PS1 classics downloaded from the Australian/European store offer regional variants based on your console’s language. For example, I changed the language on my Australian PS5 to German and fired up Syphon Filter. I was presented with the German version of the game, complete with German dubbing and red blood being replaced with green blood.
While Syphon Filter may have been censored for Germany, the land of the lederhosen was one of the few countries that received the uncut opening in the original Resident Evil. This remains true when my PS5 was set to German, as I got to enjoy Chris lighting up a big, fat durry.
Furthermore, games like Ape Escape had completely different English voiceovers in the UK and the USA. The 60hz version may offer the superior gameplay experience, but there’s several gamers that grew up with the UK version and their nostalgia lies with the British dialogue.
At least the games using 60hz code are in good shape. Free of the control or visual problems that plague the 50hz games. Tekken 2 and Mr Driller both operate at 60fps with only the occasional dropped frame.
There’s a lot of things to like about PS1 Classics on the PlayStation 4 and PS5. The save states and rewind functionality makes revisiting these classics more inviting, not to mention the trophy support will encourage trophy hunters to play through these games for the first time.
But all these quality-of-life improvements are undermined by Sony’s decision not to offer 60hz in all regions. The shoddy controls and presentation flaws associated with using 50hz code are not acceptable. Especially for a service that commands a yearly fee of 154.95AUD. Until Sony delivers their promise of giving everyone access to 60hz code, I wouldn’t recommend pulling the trigger on this service.
This article kindly written and provided by guest writer, WindyCornerTV who also wrote our review for Bright Memory: Infinite. Find more PS1 Classics content, retro reviews, gameplay, and retrospectives via his YouTube channel.
The 7 best and worst things about using Sony’s 100 mini Playstation 1, the Playstation Classic
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- Following the wildly successful lead of Nintendo’s Classic Edition mini game consoles, Sony is releasing the Playstation Classic on December 3.
- The mini console is shaped like a Playstation 1, and comes packed with 20 classic Playstation 1 games — no discs required.
- After spending a week with the console, I’ve got mixed feelings about the Playstation Classic.
At just 100, it’s hard to say no to the Playstation Classic.
On paper, it’s a pretty appealing proposition: a miniature version of the Playstation 1, with 20 games and two controllers, for 100. It’s an easy sell to millions of my fellow millennials, who either experienced the launch of the Playstation 1 firsthand in 1995 as a pre-teen (like me!) or saw it as a “retro” console in childhood.
The reality is far less appealing: It’s a retro console that feels bare-bones and rushed, even at that low price.
I’ve spent the last week or so with the Playstation Classic. Here’s what I love and don’t love about it:
The good stuff: 1. The console itself is an excellent reproduction of the original Playstation 1.
From the placement of the power, reset, and open buttons, to the nostalgia-laced logo sitting on top of the faux CD-ROM reader, to the little tactile raised dots, the Playstation Classic is an extremely faithful reproduction of the original Playstation console released in 1995.
To that end, if you’re looking for another adorable little console to put on a shelf next to the NES and Super NES Classic Editions from Nintendo, the Playstation Classic is a shoe-in.
With the exception of the controller ports in the front being replaced by USB ports, and the power and RCA ports in the back being replaced by micro USB and HDMI, respectively, the Playstation Classic looks almost exactly like the original Playstation.
The controllers are similarly faithful reproductions of the original PS1 gamepad.
There are a few subtle differences, but in general, the Playstation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch all use the same type of controller solution.
Way back in the mid-’90s, video game controllers weren’t standardized like they are today. There were no analog sticks on the first Playstation gamepad, and no rumble. The shape it took — a core component of all modern game controller design — was brand-new, and considered a risk by Sony’s leadership.
Though Sony‘s gamepad has evolved considerably over time, the original Playstation 1 gamepad set a design standard that Sony has stuck by for over 20 years. Having such a faithful reproduction of such a foundational element of gaming is rad, to say the least!
Being able to easily play foundational games like “Resident Evil,” “Metal Gear Solid,” and “Grand Theft Auto” is incredible.
Have you ever played the first “Grand Theft Auto” game? Chances are you haven’t, and its inclusion on the list of 20 games packed in with the Playstation Classic is a great opportunity to finally see it in all its bizarre glory.
If you play the original “Super Mario Bros.” on NES, it won’t feel that far removed from the most modern versions of two-dimensional “Super Mario” gameplay. But if you play “Grand Theft Auto,” you may not even know how to move your character — let alone see the evolutionary thread that leads directly from the original game up through to “Grand Theft Auto 5.” It’s like playing a game from another universe.
Similarly, the hilarious intro movie to the original “Resident Evil” is a delightful retro throwback. From such humble roots came a years-long game and movie franchise!
And “Metal Gear Solid,” unbelievably, is still very impressive. Its visuals haven’t aged terrifically well, but its presentation is as cinematic as ever. Playing these games provides crucial context for the modern landscape of video games.
The Playstation Classic is easy to use.
Like the miniature “Classic Edition” consoles from Nintendo, the Playstation Classic is a cinch to set up. One HDMI wire to your TV, one USB plug to the wall, and you’re off to the races.
Since the Playstation Classic has only one function — to play 20 Playstation 1 games — there are no updates or any real setup. After choosing your language, the list of 20 games shows up in the carousel seen above.
That makes the Playstation Classic an easily accessible device for pretty much anyone. It’s on the same level of technological difficulty as connecting and setting up a DVD player.
The not-so-good stuff: 1. The list of games is bizarre, and many don’t hold up to the test of time.
Of the 20 games included on the Playstation Classic, there are only a handful that are worth your time.
“Mr. Driller” and “R4: Ridge Racer Type 4” hold up remarkably well, and are loads of fun to play all these years later. And there’s something to be said for having access to “Grand Theft Auto,” “Resident Evil,” and “Metal Gear Solid.” The inclusion of “Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo” is a nice nod to a cult classic, as is the inclusion of “Jumping Flash.”
The same can’t be said for “Cool Boarders 2,” “Twisted Metal,” and “Battle Arena Toshinden” — three games that demonstrate little more than how far games have come since their respective launches.
Perhaps worse, many of the other games on the list are simply forgettable. Who was looking to play the original version of “Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six” or “Syphon Filter,” from before first-person shooters had camera controls?
In one particularly bizarre case, “Tekken 3” — the less technically capable European version of the game — was included, rather than the North American release of the game.
The overall package feels rushed.
Here are just a few reasons why the Playstation Classic feels like a rushed product:
The list of games is missing major Playstation classics, like “Crash Bandicoot,” “Jet Moto,” “Gran Turismo,” and “Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.”
Some of the games included in the Playstation Classic are the European versions (“Tekken 3,” “Grand Theft Auto”) and some are North American. Huh?
The system software is incredibly bare bones — no digitized instruction manuals, or customizable backgrounds, or much of anything really. There isn’t even music.
You can use a single save state per game. A new save state will erase your previous one.
To call the Playstation Classic experience “minimalist” would be generous. It feels dispassionate, like it was rushed into the holiday release window before it could get the attention it deserves.
The inclusion of the original Playstation 1 controller inherently limits the console.
The original Playstation 1 controller is a needless limitation — why not use one of the other Playstation 1 controllers that had analog sticks and vibration?
In 2018, the original Playstation 1 controller feels retro. It’s small, and the lack of analog sticks is outright weird — I found myself reaching for sticks that didn’t exist while playing several different games.
importantly, there are great games, like “Ape Escape,” that outright can’t be played without analog sticks. The inclusion of this controller directly constrained the list of potential games to be included, and that’s a bummer.
Overall: Is it worth it? Maybe, but I’m not buying one.
Is the Playstation Classic for people who grew up with the Playstation 1? That’s me, and my time with the Playstation Classic mostly served to remind me how rough early three-dimensional, polygonal games are.
Is it made for people interested in preserving game history? They’ll no doubt be let down by the scatter-shot, slim collection of games from multiple territories.
Perhaps it’s a love letter to the original Playstation 1 aimed squarely at die-hard Sony loyalists? The total lack of detail in every aspect of the system’s operation undercuts that possibility.
All of which is to say one thing: I have no idea who Sony had in mind as the target customer when creating the Playstation Classic. It feels like a very attractive USB stick full of games.
At 100, the Playstation Classic is almost in impulse-buy territory. It’s an adorable little Playstation 1, and it’s full of games!
For many people, those qualifications alone may be enough. For me, it is not.