Retro Gaming Power
Honey I Shrunk the PlayStation
Sony announce miniature version of their original PlayStation console

Added 26th September 2018

It was bound to happen eventually. Following in the footsteps of Nintendo and the success they’ve had with miniaturized versions of their NES and SNES consoles, Sony have only gone and done the same with their original PlayStation. They’ve given it the shrinking treatment, slapped a few game files inside it, and announced that it will be released shortly before Christmas 2018 as the PlayStation Classic.

At about 45% smaller than the original PlayStation, this dinky replica comes with two USB PlayStation controllers. Fortunately these haven’t been shrunken down and are instead full-sized copies of the original PlayStation controllers. Being based on the original controller though means that they don’t have DualShock functionality, so there will be no analogue stick wiggling fun to be had with them. Sadly, this also means that games that benefit from the use of such functions either won’t be that great or won’t be included at all.

So far, Sony have only announced five of the twenty games to be included with the console: Final Fantasy VII, Jumping Flash, Ridge Racer Type 4, Tekken 3 and Wild Arms. So, already some pretty decent games and with the PlayStation's library of other fantastic titles, it shouldn't be too difficult to pick fifteen more from it. The additional titles will vary from region to region, presumably based on what the audiences in those areas would prefer to play, and quite possibly down to securing rights.

Also included with the console will be a HDMI cable and a USB power cable. But no power adapter, although it’s a pretty safe bet that you’ll have a plug lying around somewhere to provide power through the cable, or maybe even a powered USB port on your TV set. Yes, TVs have those now. Well, newish ones do.

Similar to Nintendo’s efforts, the tiny version of the PlayStation offers few extra bells or whistles. It is simply a console that plugs into your TV and plays the games included with it. There’s no network access which means there’s no way of playing online, achieving trophies or downloading extra games. Of course, there were no means of doing any of that with the original PlayStation, so in that sense it is a good replica and means the console remains true to its purpose. However, the CD drive is also non-functional, so there are no ways of adding extra games that way. It seems a bit of a missed opportunity for the manufacturers of these mini consoles not to enable them to read additional media. Of course, being smaller than the originals means that they won’t be able to take the size of the original cartridges and disks, but there could have been a market for miniaturised carts and disks too, giving the consoles a longer lifespan plus an an extra revenue source for publishers and developers too. Maybe the old memory card slots, which are purely cosmetic on the PlayStation Classic, could have been used as a cartridge slot for extra games. Perhaps even new games could have been developed for these old console revivals, making them full-fledged retro consoles rather than just a nostalgia gimmick.

Although the CD button doesn't open the CD lid, it still kind of operates as a virtual CD lid opener, in that it'll bring up the menu to allow you to change games. The reset button will be used to save your state. Whether or not Sony will be implementing any methods of doing these with the controller rather than having to get up and push buttons on the console remains to be seen. But if they want to remain true to the original, they won't. Instead people will just have to get up and experience one of the inconveniences of being a gamer in the nineties.

With no sign from Nintendo of a N64 Mini this year, Sega delaying the release of their Mega Drive Mini until 2019, and only a rather expensive Neo Geo Mini to compete with, it seems that Sony should have the tiny console market mostly to themselves this holiday season (ooooh, sounds so American). Of course, Nintendo's success with their NES and SNES mini consoles was largely down to demand exceeding supply, and people feeling that they had to get one, even if they didn't really want one, to avoid the possibility of missing out. Whether Sony experience (or instigate - ahem!) similar logistical challenges is something we'll find out soon enough. Providing the full selection of games is top notch and isn't full of early attempts at 3D which haven't aged well at all, Sony could have a little success on their hands.

The PlayStation Classic is expected to release on 3rd December 2018 at £89.99, €99.99, $99.99 USD, $129 CAD, and $149.99 AUD. Or three times that amount on 4th December on eBay.

Of course, if you can't wait to get your hands on a console to play old PS1 games, you can download them individually to play on a PlayStation Vita or PlayStation 3, but not the PlayStation 4 seeing as Sony apparently can't be bothered to give current gen gamers that choice, not even through their overpriced PlayStation Now service.