The Games of the PlayStation Classic: Part 1

The Sony PlayStation is one of my favorite game consoles of all time.  It had a major impact on the industry and on many people’s lives, including my own.  So I was intrigued when Sony announced their PlayStation Classic system last year.  Similar to the NES and SNES Mini Classics, the PlayStation one is a tiny little console shaped like a little PSX and has 20 games preloaded onto it.  So I was glad when I got it for Christmas last year.  I finally got around to trying it, so I thought we’d take a look at what’s on it together in this blog.

But first I’m going to be a bit self-indulgent and explain why I like the PlayStation, and also describe a bit of the new mini console.  Back when the PlayStation first came out, I wasn’t much into it.  I was still enjoying games like Chrono Trigger, Donkey Kong Country 3, and Yoshi’s Island on my SNES.  Plus there was that new Ultra 64 console on the horizon that seemed more promising at the time.  But by the time the N64 (formerly the Ultra 64) did come out, things were a little different.  My beloved Final Fantasy series was going to be on the PlayStation, which was a big deal at the time.  Final Fantasy seemed like such a Nintendo staple, it would be like if HAL Labs decided to make Kirby on another console now.  And a year after the N64’s release, their big holiday title that year was Diddy Kong Racing, and while that was a great game, it just wasn’t going to cut it for me.  Plus I was reviewing games for The Dallas Morning News at the time, and getting paid for it, so getting a console that more games were on seemed like a good idea.

So that next Spring, even though I was a poor college student and really couldn’t afford it, I bought a PlayStation.  Man that was one of the best gaming purchases I’ve ever made.  After that, I was reviewing games for it left and right!  It also helped me grow as a game reviewer, allowing me more opportunities like appointments at E3 and such.  I was even invited to Sony’s big party a couple of years.  I went to one of them, man was it extravagant!  Plus, the new CD-ROM technology made it feel like the possibilities in gaming were endless.  And since I was in college at the time, the possibilities in my life felt endless, too.  It’s a shame that once I got out in the real world, I realized that wasn’t the case.  But at the time, it felt cool that my life, and the life of a console, were kind of intertwined in a way.  And I have so many good memories playing games on it.  And that’s why the PlayStation is one of my favorite game consoles.

So let’s take a look at the PlayStation Classic.  It’s even smaller than the NES and SNES minis, but it looks just like a little PSX.  It comes with two controllers, which is nice.  Too bad they’re just the original PlayStation controllers and not the Dual Shock ones.  Oh well.  One other problem is that the console does not come with an AC adapter plug.  You have to use your own, kind of like the Famicom Mini.  If you have a cell phone charger, chances you are can just use that, like I did, but it’s still a bit disappointing.  The buttons on the console do nearly what they did on the old console.  The power button turns it on, and the reset button lets you go back to the main menu to select games.  So what does the ‘open disc tray’ button do?  Well it doesn’t open the disc tray, that thing doesn’t open!  But if you are playing a game where you need to switch out discs, like FF7, that’s what that button is for!

The menu screen lets you select the games.  You can view instructions, which just tells you to go to a web site, which is dumb.  You can also view a virtual memory card for each game, which is how you save.  But it’ll also save your last entry when you played as well, so you can start right where you left off.  Anyway, enough of the tech stuff, let’s take a look at the games!

Mr. Driller

Since I’m a Namco fan, we’re going to start with the Namco games first.  It may just be the Namco fan in me talking, but like how Rare carried the N64 through a lot of times, I think Namco did the same with the PlayStation.  I’m kind of torn on Mr. Driller’s inclusion in this collection.  On one hand, I LOVE this game!  When I first saw it in an arcade, my friend said, “Pah, who’d want to play a game called Mr. Driller?”  Well I would, that’s who!  I ended up spending the whole two hours at that arcade just playing that one game.  And when it came out on consoles, I discovered how awesome the music was, too, and that’s how Go Shiina became my favorite video game composer.  It’s just such a fun puzzle action game, and I like how it’s related to Dig Dug (Dig Dug is Mr. Driller’s dad).

But there’s a side of me that’s disappointed that this is one of the Namco games on here, and not another that better represents the PlayStation.  Like Klonoa, for instance.  That would’ve been a much better game to have on here.  And even though I had Mr. Driller on the PSOne, I kind of consider it more of a Dreamcast game, since it was Namco’s second game on that console and their follow up to Soul Calibur, which got mixed reactions.  But at any rate, Mr. Driller was the first game I fired up on the PlayStation Classic. I heard that many of the games on this collection use the PAL version and run slower.  I haven’t noticed that yet, but I could tell that the reaction time from when I pressed a button to when Mr. Driller drilled through a block felt a hair off.  It could be that PAL thing, it could be the emulation, or it could just be me.  I could be remembering the game wrong and thought it was faster than what I thought it was.  Maybe it was faster in the sequels?  Anyway, just something I noticed.

R4: Ridge Racer Type 4

Don’t you just love the feeling you get when you remember a game you really liked, but haven’t played it in years?  And then you go back and finally replay it and you enjoy it just as much?  Well that’s how I felt with this game.  Even though the original Ridge Racer is more iconic as a PlayStation launch title, I’m glad they went with this one on the collection because it’s a much better game.  It’s also the first game that got me into the Ridge Racer series.  Yeah I played the arcade game (it’s one of my dad’s favorites), but I didn’t get R4 until I graduated college and I found it on sale.  Come to think of it, that’s how I got a LOT of my PlayStation games I didn’t review!  Anyway, after I got R4, I went back and got all the older Ridge Racer games on the PSOne, and I’ve gotten them for other consoles ever since.  R4 is just so good, one of the best games on this collection.  I was worried I’d have trouble driving with no analog controls, but I got used to it pretty quickly.  And even though they’re a bit grainy, I still think the graphics look pretty good for the time.  And then there’s…sigh…Reiko.  Just kidding!

Tekken 3

The last Namco game on the roster is Tekken 3.  A lot of people say Tekken 3 is the best.  I’m not knowledgeable enough about 3-D fighters to make that kind of decision myself, but from what I’ve played, it does seem pretty good.  I like that it had a lot of extra modes.  There’s even a ‘Tekken Force’ mode that plays like a bad side scrolling beat ‘em up, but I still had fun with it anyway.  I know I played this game when it came out, but I don’t remember owning it or reviewing it.  Maybe I just played a demo of it.  That was another neat thing about the PlayStation is all the demo discs you could get in magazines and whatnot.  I know that you can now download demos onto consoles, but it just seemed so novel back then.  Anyway, can you guess my favorite Tekken characters?

Battle Arena Toshinden

I think this was a launch title on the PlayStation and it shows.  Why they even would bother putting another 3-D fighter after Tekken 3 is anyone’s guess.  The animation is so choppy!  One good thing I can say about this game is that the music in many of the stages is pretty catchy.

Super Puzzle Fighter 2 Turbo

Man I love this game and I’m so glad it’s on here!  This is one of my top three favorite puzzle games.  Back in the day, I was really good at it, too!  I unlocked everything you could in the PSX version and nobody could beat me.  One time when Puzzle Pirates came out, it had a puzzle game similar to this one.  My friend was really into that game and came to me to help him train so he could get better at the swashbuckling puzzle game.  So we played Puzzle Fighter all afternoon so he could get better at it.  So am I still that good at it?  Well, after playing this version again, I can say I’m pretty rusty now!  Although remember when I talked about how Mr. Driller played a little slower than what I remember?  Well the same happened in this game, too.  I hate to blame my lack of skill on bad emulation or whatever, but I really do seem to remember being able to drop pieces faster originally and I can’t help but think if I could drop pieces faster here, I’d be better at this version.

Intelligent Qube

I remember this game pretty well because this was one of the games I reviewed back then for The Dallas Morning News!  It’s pretty simplistic, even by PlayStation standards, but it’s still a good puzzler, if not a bit hard later on.  It had some sequels but I never got around to playing those.

Jumping Flash!

This is another awesome early PlayStation game.  I rented it once back then, but by the time I played it, it was already out for a couple of years and already looked dated, but I still enjoyed it anyway.  It’s kind of a hybrid 3-D shooter/platformer, and yet came out before Mario 64.  Many years after I did play Jumping Flash 2, but didn’t like it as much for some reason.  I still enjoyed playing the first game on this collection, though.  Too bad we didn’t get the third game in the US.  I came up with an idea for a sequel to Jumping Flash that would have three characters.  The first would be Robbit, the robot rabbit from the first game.  The second would be Ribbot, a robot frog with a tongue you could use like a hookshot.  The third character was Roobot, a robotic boxing kangaroo with a smaller robot you could deploy named Jo-E who could fit into smaller places.  I think my idea was pretty good, don’t you think?


I can certainly understand why this game is on here.  The 2-D graphics in this platformer look good even today.  Unfortunately it’s way too hard and not in a good way, and it’s hard to tell what you can jump on and what is a pitfall.  Ubisoft certainly improved the formula with their 3-D Rayman games, and even their later 2-D titles Origins and Legends are much better.  I’ve had a lot of good memories playing and reviewing the later Rayman games over the years.  One time at E3, Ubisoft had a stage show with Rayman 2, and they called me up on stage and I got to talk and interact with Rayman in front of a green screen so it looked like I was in the game.  They gave me a video tape of that at the show, and when I brought it home and showed it to my little brothers, it blew their little minds!

Whew!  That’s a lot of games!  I think I’m going to have to split this blog into two parts.  So please check back later to read about the rest of the games on the PlayStation Classic!  –Cary

One Response to “The Games of the PlayStation Classic: Part 1”

  1. Woah! Remember playing Jumping Flash back when I was a kid. It was sad to understand that it is a great game only after 15 years of my life have passed.

    Sad to see no Crash Bandicoot ( on the list, though. Great post nontheless!

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