Pass or Play on the PlayStation Classic?

Those that know me know that I love having mini consoles hooked up to my TV. As a person with a mostly digital library these days I prefer to have all of my games in one convenient location so I just can just pick them up and play them whenever I want.

Over the years I have collected several Atari Flashback consoles starting with the Flashback 2 which used REAL Atari hardware (compared to the Flashback 1’s NES on a chip technology) and could even be modded with an actual 2600 cartridge slot and even have a Flashback Portable. Then of course there are the NES and SNES Classics that I own and with the large library I hacked onto both of them, they still get a lot of playtime and are not just sitting on my desk as a little novelty.

Earlier this week, the PlayStation Classic arrived in stores, and originally it looked like it would have the same hype level as both the NES and SNES Classics. You know what that means, how they would be very difficult to find, and as a result the resellers would find their new cash cow. After all, look at this:

$350? Are you kidding me? Sure the PlayStation Classic retailed for $100, far above the $60 for the NES and $80 for the SNES Classics, but if you think you’re going to get $350 for a PS Classic, you’re just insane. You’re even more insane after all the news that started to come out about all the issues that the PS Classic has, which turned out to be true!

For starters, there’s the game lineup, which is quite lackluster to say the least. For instance, why would you put the worst version of Rainbow Six on your mini-console, the only one that doesn’t allow you to control four full fire teams?

Then there is the inclusion of two STANDARD PlayStation controllers instead of DualShocks. While I give Sony credit for including two controllers (are you listening, NES Classic? But then again, you DID include an AC adapter which the PS Classic did not,) you still have to wonder why only the standard controllers were bundled? Two of the PS Classic’s included games, Metal Gear Solid and R4: Ridge Racer Type 4 were designed with analog control in mind. Sure the latter came bundled with its own controller, the innovative JogCon, but still you could play it with an analog stick and it would be much better.

Next, we have the fact that NINE of the twenty included games are actually the European PAL versions. Why is this an issue, you may ask? Unlike here in the US where our games are NTSC that run at 60Hz, PAL runs at 50Hz, which means games play much slower. Even worse, Tekken 3, one of the better games available for the PS Classic, is running the slower PAL version, and for a fighting game which requires precision timing, that is just downright inexcusable.

Lastly, games-wise for those who were disappointed with the software lineup, it gets worse. Recently a post from Twitter user @AlphaFoxWarfare (which has since been removed,) found source code for 36 more games that could have been added and made the PS Classic a better value. While some I can understand were removed because of licensing issues or to not negatively affect the sales of remasters, I would still take this lineup any day over what we got.  Here is what might have been included:

  • Chocobo’s Mysterious Dungeon
  • Colin McRae Rally
  • Crash Bandicoot
  • Crash Bandicoot 2
  • Disney’s Toy Story 2
  • Driver
  • Ehrgeiz
  • Fighting Force
  • Gran Turismo
  • GTA 2
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone
  • Kagero
  • Klonoa
  • Kula World
  • Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver
  • Medal of Honor
  • MediEvil
  • Mega Legends
  • Mr. Driller G
  • Paca Paca Passion
  • PaRappa the Rapper
  • Parasite Eve (which is actually in the Japan/Taiwan/Hong Kong PS Classic)
  • RayStorm
  • Ridge Racer
  • Silent Hill
  • Spec Ops: Stealth Patrol
  • Street Fighter Alpha 3
  • Street Fighter EX Plus Alpha
  • Suikoden
  • Tomb Raider
  • Tomb Raider 2
  • Tomba
  • Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2
  • Vagrant Story
  • Wild Arms 2
  • Xevious 3D/G+

These games alone would have not only been more appropriate for the standard controller, but it would more than warrant the $100 asking price. I would have gladly bought this in a heartbeat compared to what’s out now.

And lastly, there’s the emulator. Now we know all of these current mini-consoles use some form of an emulator to play these games, right? And we’d figure that Sony would use their own proprietary emulator? After all this is the same Sony known for using proprietary storage in the past (such as UMD, Memory Stick Pro Duo on the PSP and Memory Stick M2 on the PS Vita/PSTV,) so would the emulator be proprietary? Lana, care to ring in on this?

The PlayStation Classic uses PCSX ReARMed, an open source emulator similar to what Hyperkin did with their Retron 5 console! But emulators can be altered to make PAL games run at NTSC (albeit at the risk of possible glitches,) so why didn’t Sony work on that to fix the PAL problem? But now it looks like the hacking community is hard at work. Shortly after the PS Classic was released, several hackers already found access to the emulator’s root menu by plugging in either a Corsair or a Logitech keyboard into one of the controller ports (which are USB) and pressing the escape key.

It’s a start to seeing this console get hacked. I’m sure we’ll hear more about the hacking potential in the weeks to come, but as it is right now, I will NOT be buying the PlayStation Classic the way it is, and it looks like nobody is. A recent check of all the Best Buys in the area shows that they have tons of units still in stock, which I am sure will be a slap in the face to Mr. $350 that I posted earlier. If more games can be installed into the 16 GB of flash storage, then maybe this might be a better value.

Or I’ll just stick with my laptop. But then again, though I normally say against this because of how many times I hear it, it would be better to build a RetroPie PS Classic. LGR did it already and it looks good!

Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below. Are you planning on getting a PlayStation Classic under your tree this holiday?

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