- Sony announced the PlayStation Classic early this morning. Given the success of the NES and SNES Classic Editions, a micro console for the first PlayStation is a smart decision that will give Sony a way to make big profits off of its older library. Plug-and-play machines are a growing business, with sales of micro consoles increasing 400 percent year-over-over in 2018, according to The NPD Group.
But these devices are only as good as their library of games. We already know that the PlayStation Classic will come with 20 titles, including Final Fantasy VII, Jumping Flash, Ridge Racer Type 4, Tekken 3, and Wild Arms. That’s a good start, but that leaves space for 15 more games.
What follows is a combination of predictions and a wish list. These are all games that I would love to have on the device, but they’re also ones that make sense because of their quality and variety. Also, the PlayStation Classic is coming with two controllers, but these are the original PlayStation controllers. They don’t have control sticks, so later PlayStation games that depended them are out (sorry, Ape Escape).
I’m also going to avoid overloading the list with too many games of a single franchise or genre. I love Final Fantasy IX, but Final Fantasy VII is already taking up a valuable spot on the roster. And that role-playing game does a good job of representing the series on its own. Also, while I love Japanese RPGs (and the PlayStation had a ton of fantastic ones), I can’t just turn this micro console into some kind of JRPG machine. Even with just five announced games, it already has two.
Lastly, I’m going to avoid most licensed games. These are harder and more expensive to get the rights to, so they’re less likely to show up.
Metal Gear Solid
My favorite game for the system. Metal Gear Solid was revolutionary for using extensive voice acting and cutscenes (and, sure, a lot of codec calls) to create a narrative experience that rivaled a Hollywood production. Its stealth-based action makes for tense and exciting moments, and it still has many of the most memorable boss battles ever.
What the heck ever happened to Jet Moto? This hover bike racing series was a mainstay on the PlayStation, producing three installments. We may never get a new Jet Moto, but the PlayStation Classic gives the franchise a chance to make something of a return.
Now that we’re at the end of Tomb Raider’s reboot trilogy, this is a great time to go back to its beginning. The original Tomb Raider focuses more on platforming and puzzle-solving than combat. It was a huge hit that spawned a franchise that’s still going today. It needs a presence on the PlayStation Classic.
Gran Turismo 2
Gran Turismo an important franchise for the PlayStation and PlayStation 2. Instead of featuring arcade-like racing, it focuses on realism. Gran Turismo 2 has more cars than the original, so it makes sense to include it instead.
What would a PlayStation Classic be without Crash Bandicoot? During the original console’s life, Crash served as the brand’s mascot. He would eventually go multiplatform, but anyone who owned a PlayStation still associates Crash with the console.
Resident Evil is another innovative game from the PlayStation’s early years. It helped popularize the survival horror genre. Although much of the game is now cheesy instead of scary, it’s still fun and fascinating to see the birth of this franchise.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
PlayStation wasn’t all 3D games. Symphony of the Night took inspiration from nonlinear 2D games like Super Metroid while also adding RPG mechanics. We now call these kinds of games Metroidvanias, and Symphony of the Night is still one of the best of them.
The Legend of Dragoon
We can use at least one more JRPG, and The Legend of Dragoon is a good fit. You can make arguments for a lot of other games, but most of them have had sequels or remasters. The Legend of Dragoon is a standalone game that isn’t easy to play unless you still have the original.
Battle Arena Toshinden
Tekken 3 is already on the PlayStation Classic, and it’s a better fighting game than Battle Arena Toshinden. But Battle Arena Toshinden is the more nostalgic choice. It was a launch game for the system, and it gave a lot of people their first taste of 3D fighting at home.
PaRappa the Rapper
PaRappa the Rapper helped popularize rhythm games, but the original still has a lot of charm. It even holds up well visually thanks to its paper cutout-inspired visuals.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater
I remember how shocked I was when I found out I loved Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. While I have no interest in extreme sports, its combo and trick systems, along with creative levels and catchy soundtrack, make it one of the most entertaining PlayStation experiences. I’d be happy with either the first or second Pro Skater being on the PlayStation Classic, but the original is edging out just for nostalgia’s sake.
Twisted Metal 2
Speaking of genres you don’t see much of anymore, car combat games became a thing thanks to Twisted Metal and its over-the-top (and extremely satisfying) violence. In this case, I’d much rather have the sequel, as it had more characters and better levels.
We’re getting close to having too many racing games, but Wipeout is such a staple from the original PlayStation that it feels wrong to exclude it. Besides, it’s neon-filled futuristic take on racing sets it apart from the others.
Klonoa: Door to Phantomile
Here’s one more side-scroller that should make the list. Unlike Symphony of the Night, Klonoa did not have a beloved brand to fall back on. But Door to Phantomile is a cute, colorful, and engaging platformer that deserves more recognition.
This is on here partially because my editor would kill me if I left it off. But Einhänder is a great side-scroller shooter (or shmup, if you speak the Queen’s English. It also fills a niche that no other game on the list serves.
The RetroBeat is a weekly column that looks at gaming’s past, diving into classics, new retro titles, or looking at how old favorites — and their design techniques — inspire today’s market and experiences. If you have any retro-themed projects or scoops you’d like to send my way, please contact me.