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Games: It's shocking that the PlayStation Classic bears Sony's company logo

Sony's new PlayStation Classic – not entirely stone cold but...
Neil McGreevy

PlayStation Classic

By: Sony

1994 was very different time. A Europhile Britain warmly welcomed our continental cousins through its newly gaping Channel Tunnel, Riverdance brought Paddywhackery to a global audience and the world mourned the death of Kurt Cobain and the birth of Justin Bieber.

But the Biebster wasn't the only tiny, white phenomenon to take its sophomore steps. That December, Sony challenged the twin titans of Nintendo and Sega with its fledgling PlayStation, bringing consoles into the mainstream and shifting 102 million units in the process.

The Japanese joy went on to become the fourth-best-selling console of all time (behind the Game Boy, Nintendo DS and, topping the list, the PS2).

Jumping on to the dinky retro bandwagon kick-started by Nintendo with their NES and SNES Minis, Sony's latest hardware is a diminutive doppelganger of the original PlayStation complete with two controllers and pregnant with 20 games from a halcyon age when surfing the net was a hobby, I could climb stairs without stopping halfway and complimenting a girl didn't get you arrested.

At 45 per cent of the original's size and with a price tag of £89.99, it's certainly pleasing to both eyes and pockets of a certain age, with a few modern bells and whistle such as a HDMI connection for modern tellies and the ability to save games at any point.

However, it's what's lacking that'll raise greying eyebrows. There's no rewind functionality, filters or improved textures for its ancient playlist, which is bereft of digital manuals, forcing virgins to fumble in the dark. The controllers lack analogue sticks (which came with the later DualShocks) and sport embarrassingly short leads while the console even omits a power source, coming bundled only with a USB cable (thankfully, your mobile adaptor should do the trick).

Worst of all, nearly half the bundled titles are the slower playing PAL versions, which makes the fighting and driving offerings in particular feel like playing in molasses. For a company with the reputation for luxuriant hardware, that the Classic bears the Sony logo is shocking.

So what about the games? For a console that hosted almost 8,000 titles in its lifetime, the barebones selection on offer fails to showcase what made the PlayStation so iconic in the first place and won't generate enough heat to warm the cockles of even the most diehard nostalgia hounds.

The full list includes Battle Arena Toshinden, Cool Boarders 2, Destruction Derby, Final Fantasy VII, Grand Theft Auto, Intelligent Qube, Jumping Flash, Metal Gear Solid, Mr Driller, Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee, Rayman, Resident Evil Director's Cut, Revelations: Persona, Ridge Racer Type 4, Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo, Syphon Filter, Tekken 3, Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six, Twisted Metal and Wild Arms.

While there are stone-cold classics in there, some read like a “who's that?” of gaming, with none of the era-defining WipeOut, Parappa, Crash Bandicoot, Gran Turismo or Tomb Raider. Though in many of these cases, it's a matter of licensing.

While a fun throwback for diehards, the PlayStation Classic feels like defeat snatched from the jaws of victory, falling short of its namesake and Nintendo's retro rivals.

While certainly stocking stuffer-worthy for gamers of a certain vintage, this stagger down memory lane feels like a meagre collection of classics buried alive in a shoddy coffin.

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