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.

Top 5 things missed from past generations of gaming

This site is about acknowledging and remembering where the roots of gaming came from. Along the way, there were certain innovations, perks and characteristics that have either faded away or blended into the current generations of consoles. Back when these gaming extras were present, they could often be ideal to the game or system. Here are some those that either don’t exist anymore, or just have their place in some other technological fashion.

1. Custom soundtracks

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When Ridge Racer on PlayStation gave you the ability to play your own CDs during a race… let me tell you, this was a game changer. Sure, it sounds like a novelty to be able to do, but that novelty grew to a really cool perk to look forward too, but not just in racing games, but especially racing games! The original Xbox came fully functional with a harddrive, ready to download tracks from any audio CD you put in it. From there, it could inject those tracks in to compatible games, like Project Gotham Racing 2. I cannot tell you how many playlists I crafted or CDs I burned for specific games that used this functionality. Eventually, this would become a standard for other consoles in the generation past the Xbox one form or another.

2. The hard to find glitches and bugs

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Glitches that happened because of hours of experimentation, or even better, by accident. Like the Mega Man pause glitch or the infamous and numerous MissingNo. bugs. Large amounts of QA testing can catch most problems in a game, but when a game has one print run on a cartridge with no possibility of a patch, someone in the public is bound to break it, and those are often the oddest legacies a game can leave behind.

3. Console modding

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While this is big in the retro scene now: adding more compatible or better outputting visual signals to an older console… there were times when having a modded console was pretty awesome. Region-locked consoles where particularly susceptible to the temptation of those wanting to play games outside of their console’s region. Modding your console was an answer for a select few. Sure, there were other nefarious reasons to mod your console outside of breaking the region lock… nowadays it’s less about modding the hardware and more about breaking the firmware on consoles.

4. The Vaporware

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Remember Starcraft: Ghost? How about Project OverkillYou may not, but these were games that almost came out, or were cancelled during development. Now known as vaporware, some of these games eventually saw the light of day in one form or another. It was always cool reading up on the progress of development of games yet to be released in magazines and now in retrospect, a lot of them never made it or morphed into something completely different.

5. Near perfect games upon release

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It is actually kind of annoying to hear people say that games where better “back in my day.” And an argument that stems from that sentiment is that games didn’t need patches when you first start up the game. Day one patches normally do help a game on launch day. Not having to worry about a download is not something I necessarily miss, but there was something magical about slamming a cartridge into your system for the first time. You didn’t have to worry about the game freezing your system, save-eating bugs, or whether or not you had enough storage space to run the damn thing. Among other things that can go wrong with a games these days, patches and hot fixes weren’t one of them. Gaming was easier and simpler, “things just worked.”