Sony have revealed the list of games that will be available to play on the PlayStation Classic, their miniature recreation of the beloved console that changed the world of video gaming. However, much of the nostalgia directed towards the vintage PlayStation is inspired by the legendary games that captured the hearts of a generation. Sony’s list of games for the PlayStation Classic features some impressive names, but its omissions will be disheartening to those looking for a truly classic gaming experience.
The list of twenty games revealed by Sony is not without its fan favorites, with popular titles like Rayman, Final Fantasy VII and Wild Arms coming back to life courtesy of the PlayStation Classic. There are familiar names for those who perhaps didn’t grow up with the original PlayStation but have since become attached to subsequent series instalments, with Grand Theft Auto and Tekken 3 also available on the Classic.
Yet much of the response to the news has been about the names that aren’t there. The reasons for many notable absences are admittedly justifiable. Renewing licenses two decades after a game’s original release is problematic both administratively and financially, thereby denying the inclusion of games like Madden ’98 and Gran Turismo that relied on their authenticity. Similarly, Nintendo have eschewed negotiating with third parties to secure games like Square Enix’s Bushido Blade and Eidos’ Tomb Raider. While the PlayStation Classic may transport gamers back to a bygone era, it cannot escape the clutch of modern financial realities.
The level of disappointment among many fans is exacerbated by the anticipation that inevitably arose when Sony announced the PlayStation Classic. Gamers become attached to titles, and each person has their favorite game that they like to turn to. The right game released at the right time for an individual can inspire loyalty to last a lifetime. One example is many players’ steadfast commitment to the Pro Evolution Soccer gaming series. While FIFA’s inclusion of real-life faces and names make it the soccer game of choice for most, many of those who grew attached to early versions of PES retain loyalty to the idiosyncrasies of the series.
It is the core of the game, and not the bells and whistles, that is most important for many gamers. Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon defined many people’s introductions to the world of video gaming. While these classic games may have recent or upcoming remakes, nothing can recreate the legendary but simplistic environments of the originals. Updated graphics and gameplay can sometimes negate the benefits of nostalgia, despite arising from intentions to improve a gaming experience.
This sentiment extends beyond these classic PlayStation games. Many yearn from the streamlined simplicity of the Pokémon games originally released on Game Boy, inevitably becoming displeased when they find that Game Boy Colors are increasingly difficult to get hold of. Those who enjoy playing cards often have a game of choice that they return to regularly but, when a card game is unavailable in a classic format, then it can be a source of disappointment. While there may be a plethora of new Pokémon games and themed card games, sometimes gamers long for something more streamlined and nostalgic.
This is why the PlayStation Classic was so highly anticipated but the absence of those games like Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon may dampen expectations for those whose positive PlayStation memories are linked to such influential titles. Holding the classic PlayStation controller alone will transport people back decades, while the list of twenty games that are available does encompass a wide range of genres. There should be something for everyone when the PlayStation Classic is released at the end of 2018 but it might be that it isn’t quite what many were hoping for.