PlayS­ta­tion Clas­sic

The Guardian - G2 - - Games - Keith Stu­art

★★★☆☆ The orig­i­nal PlayS­ta­tion rep­re­sents a piv­otal mo­ment in the his­tory of video games, the dawn of 3D graph­ics. This tiny, nicely ac­cu­rate scale model of the con­sole boasts 20 built-in games, a range that can’t be ex­panded as it has no in­ter­net con­nec­tion. The se­lec­tion is rather ec­cen­tric, with bona fide le­gends such as Gran Turismo, Silent Hill and Tomb Raider all miss­ing, but there are le­git­i­mate clas­sics: Tekken 3, Fi­nal Fan­tasy VII, Ridge Racer 4 and Me­tal Gear Solid ( above) are all rep­re­sented, though time has been very cruel to them. Early real-time 3D vi­su­als weren’t pretty. Ev­ery joint grinds and blurs, ev­ery sur­face is a blink­ing mo­saic of con­torted shapes.

PlayS­ta­tion Clas­sic is fas­ci­nat­ing as an easy means of redis­cov­er­ing this cru­cial era of game devel­op­ment, but it is not great as a nos­tal­gic toy. The form fac­tor is lovely, but the func­tion­al­ity is so bare-bones, you feel it has surely been rushed to mar­ket for Christ­mas. There are no dis­play op­tions at all – you can’t change the screen res­o­lu­tion or ra­tio and there’s no op­tion to add sim­u­lated scan­lines to em­u­late the feel of an old CRT tele­vi­sion. Run­ning on your big LED dis­play, these old 3D games look blocky and tired.

The orig­i­nal ma­chine had a con­fi­dent sense of cul­ture around it, the mem­o­rable TV and mag­a­zine ads. Could some of that swag­ger have been in­cluded? Lodged be­tween cheap and easy nos­tal­gia and his­toric recre­ation, the PlayS­ta­tion Clas­sic serves nei­ther mar­ket wholly. What we have is the bare min­i­mum: a ma­chine that looks nice, is re­ally easy to use and has at least some games that peo­ple will re­mem­ber and en­joy play­ing again.

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