Sony's first foray into console gaming single-handedly made the pass-time socially acceptable – perhaps even cool. So it's exciting, if not surprising, to hear that Sony has jumped on Nintendo's bandwagon and announced a mini version of an historic console with the PlayStation Classic, a miniature take on the original PlayStation with 20 games built in. We know Sony intends to include Final Fantasy 7, Jumping Flash, Ridge Racer Type 4, Tekken 3 and Wild Arms, but that leaves 15 slots available to make the device a must-own for gaming nostalgists. Here are our picks.
- i. Metal Gear Solid
- ii. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
- iii. Tomb Raider
Let's get the essentials right out of the way. Any so-called Classic release of the original PlayStation would be remiss to launch without these three titles. Tomb Raider, Lara Croft's debut outing, was a thing of beauty and, in comparison to its dour modern-day prequels, joy. Arriving in 1996, it was a real showcase of what the PlayStation could do: i.e., for the first time, rather good 3D graphics.
Meanwhile, stealth-action game Metal Gear Solid and roleplay-platformer Castlevania: Symphony of the Night are quite simply two of the best video games ever made, the latter proving the PSX (remember it was called that in the early years?) was no slouch with 2D graphics either.
- iv. WipeOut XL/2097
- v. Gran Turismo 2
- vi. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2
By including Ridge Racer Type 4 and Tekken 3, Sony has shown it's willing to put quality sequels ahead of their groundbreaking forebears. In that spirit, here are a few more suggestions for Sony to shove down its pipe. Gran Turismo 2's staggering 650 cars and 27 tracks constituted a vast increase over the original, and cemented the sequel's place as the definitive racing sim on the PlayStation.
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 sits proudly atop Metacritic's rankings of the most critically acclaimed PlayStation games of all time thanks to excellent graphics married with lightning-responsive gameplay. And with it's more forgiving collisions, WipeOut XL (or 2097 outside of North America) made the step from the frustrating to the sublime. Personally, it would probably be top of my list to revisit.
History in the making
- vii. Ridge Racer
- viii. WipeOut
- ix. Grand Theft Auto
- x. Resident Evil
- xi. Tekken
If we're honest, we'd argue prospective buyers of the PlayStation Classic won't just be looking for the best games on the system. They'll be looking for a heavy hit of nostalgia courtesy of some of the PlayStation's landmark titles. That said, Grand Theft Auto was an excellent game in its own right, being a top-down action crime-em-up before the iconic series made the leap to 3D.
Ridge Racer, WipeOut, Tekken and arguably Resident Evil are all inferior to their sequels that would go on to grace the PlayStation. Ridge Racer's minimal single-track arcade conversion remains a spotter's delight, while the first WipeOut almost single-handedly defined the PlayStation as a cool piece of consumer kit.
- xii. Destruction Derby
- xiii. PaRappa the Rapper
- xiv. Spyro the Dragon
- xv. Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver
Besides the outright racers and action games that have dominated the list so far, there are some quirkier but no less worthy titles that Sony should consider. The excellently colorful PaRappa the Rapper did nothing short of pioneer the rhythm-action game, where controls must be pressed in time to music, as if you didn't know.
Spyro the Dragon is the only 3D platformer on this list and, though no match for Nintendo's Super Mario 64 (what is?), was the best of its kind on PlayStation in what was a definitive genre of the time. The 3D hack-and-slasher is another stalwart of the time, and here the excellent Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver cries out to be included.
Finally, no list would be complete without at least one controversial pick: Destruction Derby. Though it divided gamers and critics at the time, it stands out as an innovative title with the focus on destroying cars rather than racing them over the finish line. The then-realistic simulation of car damage was genuinely impressive at the time. That said, if Sony includes Resident Evil 2 or Final Fantasy IX instead we won't be brokenhearted.
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