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Pure Opinion: The PlayStation Classic – A Bargain By Another Name

The PlayStation Classic has received a mixed bag of comments since its reveal. Some have criticised its line-up or limited offering, whilst others have questioned its worth at an RRP of £89.99. But what’s the truth? Is Sony’s plug and play option just another money making ploy from the gaming industry? Or is their value to be had from this all in one machine? From my deductions, for some, the price might just be right.

Now, let’s start by saying that whatever games are installed on a product like this can make it or break it at retail. However, even a line-up of all time classics could receive retribution should it fail to accommodate its main market. But now try defining that “main market”; I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s no easy feat.

There are customers buying for old times sake, those hoping to introduce a new generation to the wonders of ‘old school’, and even those looking to conveniently fill a gap in their gaming library. Each is looking for a different set-up under the hood, and that’s where things start to get tricky – selection wise.

The first and second demographic identified above will be hoping for a line-up that includes nothing but the best games from that generation of console. Nobody is interested in a game they’ve never heard of, and, thus, nobody would pay for such a privilege. However, the third group – we’ll call them seasoned collectors – are likely to already own those top titles and will be looking for a little more variety, which may even stray into the more obscure (we’re not talking unknown here, only the more overlooked). This way, they don’t only bolster their already impressive collection, but can do so at a fraction of the cost of doing so individually. After all, obscure is normally filtered under more financially-maximising terms such as rare and hard to find.

But all of this leaves us in a stalemate. What’s attractive to one isn’t to the other, and so the manufacturer must try to determine which group is more financially attractive. Even if that means alienating the others.

On the basis of the above, I’d say the target populations are those who don’t own the console now but did so in its heyday, and those who’ve never laid eyes on its grey beauty before. This is due to the fact that they’re easier to cater for, as current retro gamers will each boast a different direction selection of games depending on their own tastes and preferences, leaving them sitting at all ends of the ‘already owned’ spectrum. Obviously those without any PSOne games lie firmly at the zero owned end, making it a win-win buy for them.

That’s not to say it’s a clear-cut sell, though. Gaming preferences will still affect how the console is received, and ultimately how it will sell. But the fact that they’re all bundled in a convenient plug and play format will help alleviate most fence sitters, who will assume that there is bound to be more games that they like than they don’t.

And, let’s be clear: irrespective of what you’ve read, they’re good games. Amongst the selection are a number of titles that could outclass some of today’s offering. Fine, the graphics may be dated and the control schemes basic but that doesn’t make them unenjoyable. In fact, it gives them a charm and simplicity that shines through even after two decades.

I’ll end this bit by saying that Sony didn’t bow down to the noob market entirely. That’s because there are at least six games that wouldn’t be missing if they had, and if they weren’t under possible obligations imposed by publishers. I am of course talking about the Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon trilogies that have both enjoyed modern day remakes. Their exclusion can only be put down to the concern that their presence would harm those newer releases. Even if a proportion of the PlayStation Classic’s audience may not own the latest generation of console, and may have expected them as default additions.

Next up, we have the number of games on offer; 20 to be exact. Now, there have been complaints that this is less than the 30 offered by Nintendo with their Nintendo Mini Entertainment System. But it’s only fair to point out that the Super Nintendo Entertainment System only came with 20+1 games. And comparing the three is a little like comparing apples and oranges. So, this argument is a little thin on the ground. Of course, we’re always wanting more. After all, thirty’s better than twenty, fourty’s better than thirty, and fifty’s better than all three. But where do you stop? Before you know it, the thing has a bigger library than YouTube and you need a tour guide try show you around.

Now let’s forget practicality for a second. On a logical level, those Nintendo consoles barely crossed paths with the PlayStation One (the N64 would be the only fair comparative). Therefore, it might be fairer to say that those mini NES’ and SNES’ should of had double the games that they did, if their prices were inflated to that of the PlayStation Classic, because they’re only 8- and 16-bit.

Now, again, it’s down to who you ask and their “political” leaning – Ninty vs Sony. But as I’ll point out in the last part of this article, those twenty games might just be a bargain in disguise, if you happen to be in the market.

A quick scroll through a popular auction site can clearly show the growing popularity of old games and their associated hardware. Prices of even the most common of titles are skyrocketing as supply struggles to meet demand. And those prices soon reach a different galaxy when we start searching for the big ‘uns.

In an attempt to work out the console’s value, I have compiled a table of each game and their corresponding price online – the lowest buy it now that was available at the time. As they’re all pre-installed on the PlayStation Classic, some of these adverts were for the discs only. But that’s all you’d need, unless you’re looking to start hoarding collecting.

The only caveat was that I couldn’t find a copy of Persona: Revelations that wasn’t of US origin. The price has been included, separately, just for completion. However, all other games were Pal region coded.

GameLowest Buy It Now Price
Total£206.21/£276.21 (including Persona)
Final Fantasy VII£10.99
Jumping Flash!£22.95
Ridge Racer Type 4£3.99
Tekken 3£6.99
Wild Arms£24.99
Cool Boarders 2£2.99
Destruction Derby£3.50
Grand Theft Auto£4.99
Intelligent Qube£7.00
Mr Driller£19.99
Rayman
£3.95
Resident Evil Director's Cut£23.99
Revelations: PersonaN/a (NTSC £70)
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six£1.99
Twisted Metal£18.99
Battle Arena Toshinden£4.99
Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee£4.99
Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo£14.99
Syphon Filter£11.95
Metal Gear Solid£11.99

So there it is, in black and white. The PlayStation Classic is quite the bargain if you’re interested in what it’s got to offer. There’s a saving of £116 to be had, before Persona, if you’re in the market for the lot.

Sure, there are a few games that may be surprise entries to the final product but you’ll never please everybody all of the time. That’s not to say I wouldn’t have preferred to see the likes of Tony Hawks Pro Skater 3, Castlevania and Chrono Cross, to name but a few. But as somebody who owns a PlayStation One, who has at least nine of the titles on her wish list, Sony has certainly grabbed my attention. There’s no worry of scratched discs or corrupted memory cards. Just quality time between gamer and controller.

And those games I wouldn’t have picked up in the first place? Who knows, they might just become my new favourite.

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Living life one Batmobile chase at a time. When she’s not writing about video games, she’s writing terrible jokes that even a Christmas cracker would be embarrassed to share.

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