The Mini Console Trend Continues: Playstation Classic(s)


Kotaku also mentions they based the emulation off an open source Playstation emulator. While it’s great that open source emulators are actually being looked at and not sued to death like Sony used to try pull off (Like Bleem). It’s a bit of a bad look that the emulation is mediocre from the company who were the architects of the device they are trying to emulate. The reports on how bland and cold the menus are as well don’t sound good. The NES and SNES mini are rather stingy in terms of game count and Nintendo’s over-valuation of those games but the presentation and emulation quality on both is good, not perfect but better representations of those products.

Don’t get me wrong, it will sell but I can’t see it as being the “must have” items the SNES and NES mini were on release.


Between this and Filmstruck closing I’m getting real down in the dumps about the state of creating access points for “classic” media. FS made learning about film easier and more cost efficient. Folks that couldn’t afford buying all the Criterion collections could watch great movies and some even got lovely extras attached. Now that’s gone and so is a way for a lot of people to watch those films.

PS Classic comes in, has a so/so lineup and then doesn’t even do those titles justice. They could have done more. Given fans of this era as well as folks that might tap into these games for the first time something to get energized about. But that’s not the way these things work. It will be a quick nostalgia trip and then tossed aside. It won’t get folks to care about these specific games or Games more.

Granted I’m probably blowing this out of proportion cause that was never what this device was pitched as but I wish a device or service could be.


Very much this. As someone who hasn’t owned a console since the NES (or played any console games at all since the SNES/Genesis era), I’d like to fill some of that huge gap in my knowledge of the medium, but these piecemeal releases tied to pieces of plastic just don’t move the needle for me. The offerings to date feel anemic compared to, say, the Shock Theater block of films which revitalized interest in classic Universal Monsters in the era of television.

My perception (possibly off-base) is that ROM collecting / piracy is currently in slightly better shape than the equivalent in film, if only because of the (relatively) small number of titles compared to the history of cinema. (The disparity between canon and corpus is vastly larger in film than games.) My experience of gray/black-market film is that it is driven by collectors in esoterica, not generalists. If you’re a mondo or giallo or kaiju fan, you can find the goods, but good luck finding mainstream films which have fallen out of distribution. Renewed attention/vigilance by video game copyright holders might lead to a similar situation with games, without actually providing a viable new channel for legitimate distribution.


Though ROM sites are also running into more legal challenges and getting shut down. We’re running into a situation where companies are understanding the financial value of their history, and trying to capitalize on it to a larger degree then they’ve ever done before - but the people who have been preserving that for free for literally decades are doing it better than they are. However, instead of learning from the emulation community, they’re perceiving them as a threat and trying to shut them down. It feels like a person trying to protect their possessions by lighting them on fire.


I feel like the weirdnesses of these mini-consoles - their limited libraries, high cost, lack of flexibility / expandability, the over(?) reliance on nostalgia over practicality - just show the limits of capitalism’s ability and interest in preservation of culture.

Games need their own version of public libraries. Or perhaps public libraries just need to be given funding to preserve games.


The catch being that libraries can’t circumvent DRM - if they’re going to preserve games, they have to retain the original physical media, and devices to play them on. Retro clone consoles cover the second issue - but the ever encroaching wave of bit-rot will ultimately overcome retaining the originals. Basically, unless libraries are made exempt from our current piracy law (unlikely), or our current anti-piracy laws are completely overhauled in a manner that is favorable to preservation and archival and which shuts out content corporations from the overhaul process entirely (unlikely), the history of video games as an art form is at grave risk of being lost due to (ironically) the very corporations responsible for creating and promoting this artform in the first place.


Agreed, unfortunately. I want to believe we could make the needed legal changes to make truly democratic video game preservation possible, but it’s hard to imagine it actually happening.

As a side note, the A.V. Club has an interesting piece up today that captures some of my feelings on this topic:


Digital Foundry did a review confirming that yes, the unit has worse performance than an original PS1 on NTSC games never mind PAL. And a lot of fears were confirmed that it was using an older version of PCSX Reloaded on a barebones android fork, though the System On Chip it runs on was much better than expected (Which made the bad emulation even more suspect). But this is probably the biggest swerve yet and kinda amazing.

There’s “coming in hot” and there’s “The debug menu of the emulator can be easily accessed”. It’s incredible.


Wait, are the NTSC games on there and they decided to just… surface the PAL versions instead? I can’t think of any good reason to do that.


The running theory is that those versions were used due to the technology’s inability to maintain a locked 60fps, so they chose to use the ones that top out at 50fps.

Everything with this device feels deeply, deeply cynical and very characteristic of a platform holder that has historically done a poor job of making their legacy catalog available on modern hardware.


(Angrily grips Vita and PSTV) You fools! You had the perfect platform for legacy software and threw it all away!


If this (shitty product) fails, I wonder if Sony will see it as a sign of people not caring about old games and never try to make them available. Like, I wonder if they are that stupid.
All we want is to be able to buy the games we want individually. I refuse to believe this is either difficult or expensive.


its been consistently my favorite thing since I got an xbox one that I could play backwards compatible games at pretty good prices. I got a 3TB harddrive recently and now have like most of Double Fine’s catalogue and all the Zone of the Enders on a modern console. Just waiting on those MGS rereleases to be made backwards compatible these days

EDIT: literally just checked cause I realized I haven’t in like a few weeks and they added in MGS 2 and 3


So apparently there were a lot of cut games with profiles that were found by people working through the emulator files still on the device (Not the ISO files but what was tested including speed hacks and configuration files)


As a stupid person who doesn’t understand how emulators work, are they saying the necessary emulator files to play these specific games are in there still, or literally the entire ISO for THPS is still included in the device?


It seems like those games were tested for the device and in some cases had speed hacks and emulator configurations for the games ready but never made the final product due to licensing or whatever. I think what people are really annoyed about is that this was all the potential that they were working with and the final result was just cheap and cynical. I feel sorry for the devs because while they tried putting the effort in, this is absolutely a product rushed to market (I certainly don’t endorse the tweet about “Lazy devs”. At the same time Sony management absolutely screwed the pooch on this one)


Now that would be one hell of a collection, jesus christ.


I think some of @EdComment’s points are worth considering – we probably would never get a selection this wide-ranging, but this does offer a small window into the pipeline of it. I imagine licensing and rights would be a pretty big impediment to some of the games on the list, even beyond the less technical aspects like management making decisions about what represents the best catalogue.

In theory, I’d say “best catalogue with the smallest number of games so they could nail the emulation just right”, but, erm…

I can’t help but think that the rushed-for-Christmas aspect of this product is what will stand out for any use it has a record of the games going forward. I imagine that, either with a different version of the emulator or more work, they could get something better than they do out of this now, but they felt the need to get it out the door before Holidays 2018 and, well…


There was a suspicion this thing might be hard to get into and bootload other games onto the device like the NES and SNES Mini. Turns out Sony used a public encryption key and it was trivial to mount a USB Drive. Time till DOOM? Two days.

Don’t expect much out of it though. The Mediatek ARM SOC isn’t particularly great even if it’s only clocked at 57% consumption while in use by the emulator so it’s not going to be powering Dreamcast or anything like that. It’s fascinating how a product by a market leader shipped in this state though. Especially by the current hardware market leader.


Let’s not forget how Sony behaved the last time they were a market leader.