Sony announces the PlayStation Classic

It was in the cards, Nintendo has been releasing their classic mini consoles, Sega has been licensing their properties to make mini consoles… Now Sony has joined the pack, following the popular formula of shrinking an iconic console to fit in the palm of your hand and stuffing them full of classic games that meant something exclusively to that particular console.  The PlayStation Classic is here.

The PS Classic will come with an HDMI cable, two of the non-DualShock type controllers and a USB cable to serve as the power source. It’s going to release on December 3rd for $100 in a lot of territories, packed with 20 games, five confirmed right now.

  • Final Fantasy VII
  • Jumping Flash
  • Ridge Racer Type 4
  • Tekken 3
  • Wild Arms

I’d say this is great news. This is a great move for Sony as it caters to PS fans and retro gamers alike. There are a fantastic amount of PS games that could be placed into the system, sadly only 15 more can make the cut. So, you would think that only the most popular games for the system would be considered like the integral Metal Gear Solid, genre defining Resident Evil 2 and Silent Hill, at least one Crash Bandicoot game or Spyro title, another racing game like game like Gran Turismo 2 and maybe even Ape Escape.

So… what’s the bad news?

There is a lingering problem with a few of those games I mentioned. A lot of those classics utilize the DualShock controller. Not just for the rumble feature or the analog sticks individually, but in some cases in unison! I can say that I prefer the use of the analog sticks in Crash Bandicoot: Warped and Gran Turismo. Hell, Ape Escape won’t even work without a DualShock because it was designed around it. Metal Gear Solid has some easter eggs concerned with the use of the DualShock controller. Not including a DualShock controller or offering one as a separate purchase would be doing a disservice to any PlayStation fan, or any consumer in general.

Is $100 dollars a fair price?

Simply put, yes. But further analysis would say that a consumer is getting their money worth in hardware and software alone. If we take the price points of the PlayStation One Classics that are available for the PS3 and PS Vita on the PSN store, they range from $5.99 to $9.99. Do the math and 20 games at six bucks a piece plus the hardware included is a steal. Also, I would say that Sony is going to cherry pick from the work that they have already done emulating those for the PS3/Vita.

Are people going to hack it?

Yes as well. Assuming that when you plug it into a computer, it will be recognized as a writable device.

What else is there to know?

At the moment, not much else. Just the five confirmed games and initial specs. Who knows… maybe you can hook your console up to a computer and download extra game packs. Maybe Sony is holding back and will release a DualShock controller compatible with the mini console, because honestly, it’d be a damn shame not to. There might be other built-in features like save states, rewind capability etc. that have yet to be announced. And judging from the instruction manual schematic included with the promotional images, the memory card slots aren’t going to do anything.

 

As excited as I am for this, there are still some hardcore fans that have yet to be pleased.

The best hardware and technical innovations from past generations

These buttons are usually found on the top of the controller and typically have a secondary function in games. Though, in first person and third person shooters, they arguably function has the main buttons.  Over time, shoulder buttons have been further innovated upon with the creation of pressure triggers seen on the Dreamcast and a second row seen on the PlayStation home consoles.

  • Favorite usage: off-hand grenades in Halo

Mode 7 and true 3D environments

A flat, infinite and ever expanding plane probably gave the perfect illusion gamers needed for a pseudo 3D experience but, it wasn’t until CD based systems really started to take advantage of this. Two dimensions was pretty much the only aspect gamers knew and slowly, but surely that notion has reversed. Though, there are still very notable 2D based games around …

  • Favorite usages: Racing in F-Zero (SNES), navigating world maps in Square RPGs

Standard four controller ports

While this isn’t such a big thing now, but having four controller ports built into a system was an ingenious perk. Way before Nintendo implemented this on the N64, two ports were normally found on systems. Microsoft and Sega followed suite on this with their consoles, but Sony never did. Nowadays, USB ports and wireless signals are the standard for controller connections instead of a propriety connection shipped with a console.

  • Favorite usage: GoldenEye 007 multiplayer (N64)

Battery back up memory

Passwords were a great feature, but having to write them down all the time was a pain. Though passwords hung around while battery saves on the cart were being implemented, this function would later evolve into memory cards for CD based systems and hard disk drives further along into the future starting with the Xbox.

  • Favorite usage: The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

Dual analog joysticks

Looking back, first person shooters were awkward at first, GoldenEye being one of them! Holding down a shoulder button for precise aiming? Now that’s a thing of the past! Innovating controllers like the Dual Shock really paved the way for quicker and easier camera controls as well as a dedicated stick for looking/aiming.

  • Favorite usage: Xbox 360 controller