Last month Sony announced, via the PlayStation blog, that the PlayStation Classic would be launching later this year (2018). Similar in concept to Nintendo’s classic re-released consoles it will come pre-loaded with a number of classic games which originated on the PlayStation. So, what do we know about the console and what can we wildly speculate upon based on what I want from it?
We know that it will have twenty pre-loaded games, five of which have already been announced, Final Fantasy 7, Ridge Racer Type 4, Tekken 3, Wild Arms and Jumping Flash. We know that these twenty games will be it. As reported by IGN there will be no mechanism for expanding upon this with a Sony spokesperson saying “There are no plans to bring new content to PlayStation Classic post-launch,”. We know that it will release with original PlayStation control pads, not the upgraded pads with the analogue sticks nor the original Dual shock with the vibration functionality. We know it won’t have memory card support, but do not know how games will save if you want to jump into a different game. Finally it will output at a higher resolution than the original PlayStation with games running at 720p or 480p dependent upon the game. For me most of these knowns suggest a one and done machine. You buy it, enjoy the games loaded on and wait for a possible second pre-loaded PlayStation classic to release in the future.
With this information what do I want from the console, or more aptly what would I change? I think a couple of these known facts are a mistake. I would have been all over this if it was able to have an expanded library. The ability to stick in a flash drive, produced and distributed by Sony if needed, loaded up with 5 or 6 additional games would see the life of this console extend to more than just a nostalgic novelty. It would elevate it as a choice above buying a second hand original console to play the full library. Unless there are plans to bring classic PlayStation games to PS Now or through the PSN Store on PS4 this experience will only provide us with slightly smoother graphics than playing a second hand original console. The second major issue for me is the control pad. Not having a dual analogue pad seems madness. Most console owners will be used to controlling a game using analogue sticks and whilst the Nintendo classic consoles haven’t updated the control pads PlayStation does have this option available. Not only are we taking a slight step back in comfort and accessibility we will also miss out on Ape Escape one of the best platformers on the PlayStation. Finally seeing Final Fantasy 7 on this device is a odd choice. Yes, it was a defining game for a lot of people, myself included. Yet I can play it on almost every console or game capable device available, with it also soon coming to the Nintendo Switch. I don’t want games I can already play on a modern machine featuring on the PlayStation Classic. Both Crash Bandicoot and Spyro have modern versions currently available, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night has a remaster releasing in a few days under Castlevania Requiem, Metal Gear Solid can be played as part of the Legacy Collection, Resident Evil is everywhere and Oddworld: Abe’s Odyssey can be played on PS4 as New ‘N’ Tasty!. I actually expect all of these games to feature on the PlayStation Classic much to my dismay.
With my issues outlined how can this be turned around and get me to buy the PlayStation Classic? Well, great games, and as explained great games I can’t play anywhere else. Of course everyone’s favourite PlayStation games differ and dependent on likeness, music or distribution rights some games won’t be available but I have complied a list of games I want to see on the console. Games from my youth that I think deserve a place on a retro console to be played again and spread to a wider audience.
Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver (1999), Vagrant Story (2000), Tomb Raider 2 (1997),
Destruction Derby 2 (1996), Wipeout 3 (1999), Silent Hill (1999)
Cool Borders 2 (1998), Tony Hawk’s Skateboarding (1999), Driver (1999),
Dino Crisis (1999), Croc (1997), Syphon Filter (1999)
Medievil (1998), Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX (2000), Gran Turismo 2 (2000)
It’s not the widest selection of games heavily featuring trick scoring or driving games but this is a reflection of the best games I enjoyed between the ages of 14 to 16. It also reflects how my tastes began to change from platformers like Croc and Medievil to deeper narrative games like Vagrant Story or more complex action games such as Soul Reaver and Syphon Filter.
There is one final change I would make to the games line up and that’s removing one game we already know about, Final Fantasy 7. I’ve played and completed FF7 multiple times and with the remake in development I don’t have any want to replay the original again. Therefore I’d swap this out for a similar but slightly more mature game, Final Fantasy 8. I know I said I didn’t want any games I could play elsewhere and FF8 can be purchased on Steam or through the PS3 store for PS3, PSP and the Vita but I’m breaking my own rules, don’t cry about it. Final Fantasy 8 doesn’t get anywhere near enough love as it should and is over shadowed by both 7 and 9. Whilst 7 brought about a great leap in the style of the franchise, upgrading both the perspective and graphical style, 9 took the older Final Fantasy formula and applied it to the modern basis created in 7 improving on those before it. What elevates 8 for me above these is the story, the setting and the characters. Remember I was a teenager at the time so a lot of what these characters and their situation portrayed resonated with me. School kids trying to find their way in the world and the relationships between each other was, apart from gaming, skating and a little sport, all my life revolved around at that time. So to experience something similar in a game at that age really hit me. I played for hours after school well into the night but never actually finishing it. My brother was also playing it through at the time and I watched him complete it not feeling the need at that age to control the characters myself. I have a little bit of guilt over that. I’d experienced a story which meant something to me and failed to finish it myself using my skill. It’s inclusion would give me the opportunity to do that again (with a slightly better resolution). It also had an excellently complex card game called Triple Triad that I played far too much.
I’ve no doubt Final Fantasy 8 won’t appear on the PlayStation Classic so I’ll just have to find it boxed away somewhere in my garage and pick up a second hand PlayStation to get that fix complete with analogue stick control pads.
What games do you want to see packaged on the PlayStation Classic? Let us know and at some point soon Sony may actually reveal the rest of the games.