PS Classic hands-on impressions: Size doesn't matter

Sony is the latest company to get in on the mini-console collection party. We got a chance to check out the finer details of the console's functions before it launches next month.

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This has been a truly banner year for the video game industry. Not only has there been a plethora of modern titles released that really scratched the collective itch of current-gen gamers everywhere, but retro console gaming came back in a big way thanks in no small part to the introduction of classic gaming collections offered up in tiny, palm-sized versions of consoles of yore. Just about everyone with a back catalog from more than a decade ago has come out with their own version. But with the upcoming release of the PlayStation Classic, has Sony saved the best for last? I got a chance to spend some hands-on time with the PS Classic before its release next month.

The PS Classic will include a healthy mashup of 20 classic titles for players to choose from and the run the gamut from of just about every genre out there. RPGs like Final Fantasy 7, Revelations: Persona, Resident Evil: Director’s Cut and Wild Arms are included, while sports fans will be getting Ridge Racer Type 4, Destruction Derby, and Cool Boarders 2. Fighters will be able to take each other on in Tekken 3 and Battle Arena Toshinden. For puzzler players, the PS Classic offers up Intelligent Cube, Mr. Driller, and the iconic Super Puzzle Fighter 2 Turbo. On top of all that, the collection is rounded with other essential titles like Rayman, Jumping Flash, Metal Gear Solid, Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee, Grand Theft Auto, Syphon Filter, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six, and Twisted Metal.

After powering on the system, players will use a carousel menu to select which title they wish to play. Each game has a virtual memory card function to make traditional save game slots. There’s also a save state function that allows them to take a break from one title, play something else, and then drop right back in from exactly where they exited in the first title. In order to switch between all the included games, players will use the “reset” button on the actual PS Classic console itself. Games that originally had multiple discs to swap between will be virtually swapped by pressing the console’s disc tray open button.

The PS Classic comes with two controllers that are near one-to-one replicas with the original PS1 controllers. The one caveat being that the new controllers use a different input socket than the original, so don’t expect to be able to swap them out with your old school ones. Since you only need two though, you shouldn’t have to worry about problems playing co-op or competitive games unless you or a friend are the types to throw a controller into a wall when frustrated. For what it’s worth, the newer controls felt lighter to me than original counterparts, but that’s based off memories from over 20 years ago now, and I’m much bigger and stronger than I was back then.

As for the PS Classic console itself, much like its contemporaries, it’s an adorable, light, and teensy version of its parent unit. It’s just a little larger than the palm of my hand and weighs barely anything. It’s honestly kind of a trip to look back at how far technology has progressed since the first PlayStation came to market 24 years ago here. Collectors and retro gaming fans alike will get to decide the PS Classic’s adorability for themselves when the console launches on December 3 at a retail price of $99.99 although you may want to pre-order to assure you get one before the holidays.

Reviews Editor

Blake has been writing and making videos about pop-culture and games for over 10 years now. Although he'd probably prefer you thought of him as a musician and listened to his band, www.cartoonviolencemusic.com. If you see him on the street, buy him a taco or something. Follow him on twitter @ProfRobot

From The Chatty

  • reply
    November 8, 2018 5:00 AM

    Blake Morse posted a new article, PS Classic hands-on impressions: Size doesn't matter

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      November 8, 2018 6:25 AM

      Any opinion on the emulation?

      This article is honestly pretty light for a hands-on take - what the buttons do and how light the controllers are isn't a whole lot.

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        November 8, 2018 9:16 AM

        Full review to follow will hopefully address your question.

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        November 8, 2018 11:53 AM

        Yeah. Since I'm doing the review as well, I mostly tried to just state facts and save my hot takes for the review.

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          November 8, 2018 1:39 PM

          Blink once if the emulation is good and responsive. Twice if bad and sludgy.

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          November 9, 2018 2:15 AM

          Fair do. Thanks for responding man, I'll look out for the article. :)

          It might be worth noting that the console credits mention PCSX Rearmed as the emulator, rather than a Sony-coded one. Presumably it was easier doing that than coding their own ARM emulator.

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        November 8, 2018 1:58 PM

        Can't they do hardware implementation at this point? It would be par for the course: PS1 chips were built into PS2, and the early PS3s had PS2 built into them

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          November 8, 2018 2:15 PM

          No real need to given how well they've worked out the emulation for the PS1/PS2 at this point. Going FPGA would be too expensive right now and going with a system on a chip wouldn't be worth the time. ARM chips are cheap and they've had the software emulation locked down solid since the ps2 slim

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          November 8, 2018 2:46 PM

          That would require them to start up manufacturing on an extremely specific and intricate chip that was developed over twenty years ago. The fabrication processes may be much more expensive now, or the hardware that can built that kind of outdated design no longer in existence. Even CRTs are an endangered species these days and those were everywhere and still in some demand; a niche chip doesn't stand a chance.

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      November 8, 2018 1:52 PM

      Thats what he said