I have tried the PlayStation Classic for three hours of pure nostalgia. Including 32-bit classic choices like Final Fantasy VII and Resident Evil: Cut Director, but the characteristics are quite basic.
The PlayStation Classic will go on sale on December 3 for $ 100. It has 20 games from the first Sony console and includes two controls, which are not Dual Shock but models with two cross braces that were originally sold when the PlayStation came to the store in 1994. As happened with NES and SNES Classic of Nintendo, the engine is a small and perfect replica of the original console. However, unlike the Nintendo mini console, Sony uses a standard USB connection for control.
The PlayStation Classic also replicates the rather annoying feature of the Nintendo console: to go back to the game selection menu, you have to go to the console and press the Reset button. The button that opens the CD tray on the PlayStation also works in Classic; used to change disks in games with multiple disks. And Power is still the power button.
Not all plug-and-play systems like this correctly mimic retro games, but in my tests, I jumped from game to game and emulation looked pretty good. The game looks and sounds good, the mid 90's pixels give you the feeling that you can grate cheese with them. (A list of open source software licenses that can be accessed from the PlayStation Classic menu says it uses the PCSX Openmed PlayStation Emulator open source).
Some games look much better on HD screens than others. Ridge Racer Type 4, in particular, it has a blurry effect in your text that might look good when on a CRT TV, but it's hard to read on modern TV.
Interestingly, many of the PlayStation Classic games are European versions. When i open Final Fantasy VII, for example, the welcome screen "Licensed by Sony Computer Entertainment of America" appeared. But when I open Battle Arena Toshinden, Grand Theft Auto o Tekken 3, a screen that reads "Licensed by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe". There are some small differences that can be detected in the game, such as having to select the UK flag on the menu if you want the Grand Theft Auto text to be displayed in English. (I'm not sure if there are more important differences than that in the game).
PlayStation Classic sets virtual memory cards separately for each game. When you exit the game that you saved and return to the menu, there is a memory card icon below each game that allows you to view or delete stored data, as happened on the original PlayStation. The icon for storing data displayed on this menu is exactly the same as the original, so save it for you first Final Fantasy VII will be represented by the Cloud, the second by Barrett, and so on.
I was not impressed with the way PlayStation Classic handled the new "save anywhere" function. There is only one slot of this type for each game. When you press Reset, the game will automatically be saved in the slot. Start the game, play a little more and press Reset again, and it won't offer you a second slot to save. This will only ask if you want to overwrite the game in that slot. The Nintendo system has four slots to store, which is better.
"Basic" is probably the most accurate word to describe the PlayStation Classic. There is no option to change screen format or graphic aspects. There is a QR code for loading manuals on the PlayStation website, but it didn't work during my test. And then there is a screen saver option that darkens the TV after a few minutes. Even the game's selection menu is very useful; no thematic songs or other additions to arouse nostalgia.
Of course, the PlayStation Classic does its job. The command is very good, identical to the original. The box itself is adorable. Emulation is right. The choice of a game is … well, your opinion on that can vary. If you want to travel nostalgia and experience how the game is like again Filter Siphon before the analog stick arrives at Sony's control, the PlayStation Classic will be here in a few days.