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The PlayStation Classic has been revealed, with Sony “borrowing” Nintendo’s idea of repackaging its old console into a 20-games-in-1 bundle. Though we haven’t seen the full spread of pre-loaded games available for the mini PlayStation just yet, we do know that it will feature Final Fantasy VII, Jumping Flash, Ridge Racer Type 4, Tekken 3, and Wild Arms. Unfortunately, these are five games that don’t hold up all too well in 2018.
Unlike the NES Classic and the SNES Classic, the inherent issue with the PlayStation Classic is that early 3D games served as the foundation of much better games we can play today. Whereas the 16-bit SNES’s games and their limited color palettes are emulated by plenty of modern indie games, the same can’t be said for the blocky, primitive visuals of the mid-90s.
Revisiting classic PlayStation games is an exercise in carefully readjusting your rose-tinted glasses. After re-purchasing an old PlayStation last year, flicking through a library of games I previously loved filled me with existential dread. Ape Escape, the very first game to introduce me to analog sticks, felt like I was controlling a drunk gnome. Twisted Metal had me repeatedly crashing into a series of identical brown walls. The A Bug’s Life tie-in game, which was somehow a highlight of the ’90s for me, turned out to be a bag of toss in retrospect.
After playing through these old games again, I could feel death’s breath against my neck. As I desperately tried to realign Lara Croft in Tomb Raider to make the simplest of jumps, grey hairs started to appear in my beard. Though comparing my mental image of these games to the reality of their appearance was interesting, it didn’t exactly leave me wanting to dive into more of them.
There are PlayStation games that, by the nature of their design, still have a chance of holding up today. Resident Evil‘s 2D backgrounds, borne out of technical limitations, ironically make it easier on the eye than many of its peers. The same goes for Silent Hill, which circumnavigated the PlayStation’s limited draw distance by way of filling the terrifying town with fog, making it a lot more unsettling as a result. There’s no word on if these games will make their way to the PlayStation Classic, though you’d have to imagine that at least one of them will.
However, even counting for a few additions that haven’t aged too badly, I still find the PlayStation Classic to be a tough sell. The NES and SNES Classic have proven that people will fawn over these mini consoles, but it’s a lot easier to dive back into a 16-bit game than deal with the deteriorating appearance of Tekken 3 or Final Fantasy VII. Collectors will no doubt be head-over-heels in love with the PlayStation Classic, but this might be a particular era in gaming history that isn’t worth revisiting in 2018.