With Nintendo having shown the world that gamers will pay for small versions of classic consoles loaded with beloved games, more companies are moving to get in on the action. To date, most of those offerings have come from companies making a play to rekindle nostalgia in markets where they no longer actually compete. The original Commodore, Atari, and Sega hardware business are all long gone, and these revivals of their brands and hardware are being done by entirely different people.
That fact alone makes the Sony PlayStation Classic a bit of a different animal. The revived console, which is a fraction the size of the original, will ship with 20 classic games, only five of which Sony is currently announcing. Those five are:
Final Fantasy VII
Ridge Racer Type 4
There are so many games that should be on this list. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night ought to be a shoo-in if there’s justice in the universe. Metal Gear Solid, Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2, Resident Evil 2, PaRappa the Rapper, Silent Hill, MediEvil (it’s a personal favorite), Tomb Raider 2, Spyro the Dragon — the list of excellent PlayStation games is long indeed, and 20 titles, if anything, doesn’t seem quite enough.
But in terms of playtime? In total playtime, the advantage of these classic consoles with preloaded titles is that, as the time frame moves into the modern era, the depth and richness of the games begins to explode. You don’t really see complex, deep RPGs on console hardware until the SNES generation at a minimum — the limitations of console cartridge storage on the old NES were just too steep. But the PlayStation 1, as modest as its stats are today, was a leap beyond what previous consoles had been capable of. The main story on FF VII takes an estimated 38.5 hours to play through, with a “completionist” run tagged at 88.5 hours according to HowLongtoBeat.
Obviously, length doesn’t equal quality and not every title can be an RPG. But PlayStation games were still far more complex than games that shipped for previous platforms, whether by dint of superior graphics or in terms of complexity and plot.
Of course, it’s always good to keep in mind that many of these titles really didn’t look all that great, a point Forbes makes with a discussion of just how primitive the 3D graphics were at the time. The shift towards graphics that look more modern, as opposed to “old-fashioned” 16-bit sprites may actually make it harder to drop back in time to enjoy these titles for what they were relative to what we have today. Sony could spruce things up a bit with some filter options or upsampling for 1080p, but the company hasn’t released any details on the hardware powering the console.
The PlayStation Classic will cost $ 99 and ship with an HDMI cable, a USB cable for power, and two controllers. Availability is expected on December 3, 2018. You can pre-order it now.