Nintendo has the NES Classic Mini and SNES Classic Mini, and Sony's not one for being left out in the cold. This December, it's launching the PlayStation Classic, a miniaturised version of the original Sony PlayStation released in 1994 – the one that started it all for the PlayStation brand.
Preloaded with 20 games and small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, here's everything you need to know about the PlayStation Classic.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? Sony's own retro system, packing 20 original PlayStation games
- When can I play it? December 3 2018 (the 24th anniversary of the original PS1's release)
- What will it include? A miniaturised console with 20 games, two original-style PlayStation 1 controllers, HDMI cable, microUSB-to-USB cable, immense nostalgia
PlayStation Classic price and release date
The PlayStation Classic goes on sale December 3rd, though it's unclear how many regions it will be available in on that date. It'll cost $99.99 in the US, £89.99 in the UK and $149.99 in Australia. Read on for how to secure a PlayStation Classic at launch as well as our tips for pre-ordering the throwback console.
PlayStation Classic specs and features
Nearly half the size of the original PlayStation, the PlayStation Classic is a dead-ringer for Sony's first games console, which first launched back in late 1994.
But whereas the original PlayStation ran on CDs, the PlayStation Classic's games will run entirely on internal memory. It may look like there's a CD tray there, but that's just for show (and it's about 50% too small anyway).
Likewise, where game saves were once stored on separate Memory Cards that plugged into the front of the PlayStation, the Classic will place all saves on virtual Memory Cards, emulated by the hardware itself.
What aren't virtual or miniaturised however are the controllers. Other than the USB connections they now use, they're identically sized to the original PlayStation pads, from the pre-analogue stick era. You'll get two in the box, letting you enjoy multiplayer titles straight away.
Some other small changes to the hardware include power and AV ports. Audio and video is now carried by the standard HDMI connection, and power over a microUSB port. It's worth noting that while an HDMI and microUSB-to-USB cable are in the box, it doesn't include an AC adapter. You're going to have to pick up your own that accepts 5 V, 1.0 A Type A USB (a wall plug included with your smartphone should be fine), or find enough power from a USB port on the side of your TV.
There are still a few details we don't know, though. How much memory is onboard, and what processor is being used? How are the games being emulated, and will they be formatted or upscaled in any way to make the most of modern TV resolutions? And what will the interface be for accessing the library of pre-installed games, and will there be a way to add additional titles to the machine at a later date? We'll update this piece once we have answers to these questions.
PlayStation Classic games list
The PlayStation Classic will come with 20 games pre-installed, all highly-regarded greats from the height of the PS1's glory. To keep anticipation mounting, Sony has only revealed five games so far: Tekken 3, Ridge Racer Type 4, Wild Arms, Jumping Flash and the mighty Final Fantasy VII. Here's a little bit more about each game.
Final Fantasy VII
Considered by many to be one of the greatest JRPGs of all time, it's certainly the game that popularised the epic, narrative-led adventure series in the west. Set in a dystopian fantasy future, you'll lead a team of freedom fighters as they take on a dangerous world-sapping corporation, whose experiments put the entire planet in danger. It's one of the best stories in gaming history, and a must-play.
The thinking person's fighting game, Tekken 3 brought a near-perfect recreation of the arcade beat-em-up to home consoles. Players focus on combos and smart defenses rather than histrionic projectiles. Not that the game wasn't without its flashes of silliness however – you could play a giant panda if you wanted to lay the smackdown that way.
Ridge Racer Type 4
Namco's Ridge Racer series built its name on its accessible high speed racing, with its corner drifting feature stolen by essentially every arcade-style racing game since. It perfected the art in Ridge Racer Type 4, which added a meaningful progression system and career circuit to the on-the-tarmac action. It's a height the series has never quite managed to hit again.
One of the quirkier JRPGs out there (and that's saying something), Wild Arms takes turn-based combat and a save-the-world story and throws it all into a Wild West-themed settings. Red Dead Redemption 2 this is not, however, with the trappings of Japanese role players firmly at its roots. Definitely worth a look once you're done with Final Fantasy.
Now, this is the very definition of a cult classic. A first-person platforming game that had you jumping high, high, high up above a level as some sort of robotic rabbit thing, it's the sort of game that'd win high indie acclaim these days, but has been all but forgotten now. A well-deserved resurrection is due, which the PlayStation Classic will deliver.
But that's just 5 games – what else could we hope to see on the PlayStation Classic? Here are 15 games that we think would make the PlayStation Classic a must-buy.
- Metal Gear Solid: a classic that needs no introduction, it invented the stealth genre, and changed the face of gaming forever. It'll be a crime if this isn't included.
- Tenchu Stealth Assassins: Metal Gear Solid, but with ninjas. 'Nuff said.
- Rayman: PlayStation's side-scrolling answer to Mario. Beautifully animated for its time, only to be overshadowed by the 3D extravaganza of Mario 64 soon afterwards.
- Crash Bandicoot: fast-paced, twitch-heavy mascot platforming.
- Gran Turismo: a driving game for petrol heads, it was one of the first racers to take the fetishistic love of cars and turn it into a massive career.
- Tomb Raider 2: a massive, mysterious adventure that mixed gun fights, puzzles and platforming in a wonderful Indiana Jone style. Lara Croft was an icon of the era, and needs to be represented, with the second game arguably her finest 32-bit outing.
- Demolition Derby: just great fun this one – it's not smart, but smashing cars together is simply fun.
- Die Hard Trilogy: three games in one – third person shooter, first person shooter and racing game, all styled around the yippe-kay-yay action films.
- Resident Evil: the birth of survival horror – bettered by its sequel, but with that getting a full 4K remake, going back to the very roots would be more appropriate here.
- Dino Crisis 2: Resident Evil, but with dinosaurs. 'Nuff said.
- Theme Hospital: great, humorous management sim where you build hospitals and wards to save patients from ridiculous, made up diseases.
- Castlevania: Symphony of the Night: one of the best games ever made, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night mixes tough-as-nails 2D platforming and exploration with some light RPG mechanics. Great level design and excellent combat. A genuine classic.
- Silent Hill: if Resident Evil got its scares through B-movie tactics, the similar Silent Hill did so by tapping a David Lynch-esque psychological vein. Even today, it's still really, really scary.
- Vagrant Story: a tactical RPG that was visually ahead of its time. A challenging adventure with a great story, it's well worth sticking with.
- Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2: So. Much. Fun. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 had a killer soundtrack and addictive combo based point-scoring skating action that was unlike anything around at the time. It'd be sorely missed if left off the Classic.
If you're interested in picking up one of these consoles at launch, seriously consider setting up a pre-order deal. The original PlayStation sold more than 100 million units, only beaten to the best-selling spot by its successor the PS2. There will be many people looking to get on the nostalgia train, and the pricing makes this a perfect Christmas gift.
Demand will almost certainly be high, and if the response to the Nintendo retro consoles was anything to go by, could well outstrip supply. Don't expect to see these on sale this side of Christmas, so if you've got your heart set on it, pick-up a pre-order from one of the retailers listed above to avoid disappointment.
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