Here’s our list for the PS Classic must-haves
For most of my youth, the Andriessen household was a one-console home. We had an NES which we traded in for an SNES which we traded in for a PlayStation. Those first two consoles were hooked up to the living-room television, but when we got our PlayStation, we also got a TV set for my brother to hook it up to. I was supposed to be able to use it whenever, but it never really felt like our PlayStation so much as his. This feeling was only amplified by the games we bought for it. There was a lot of Madden in my youth and I learned to love it. I also recall a great number of racing games in those days, but the one title I think both he and I enjoyed immensely was Twisted Metal 2.
I cut my teeth on the first game not long before the sequel came out. Twisted Metal was absolute fire to a 10-year-old at the time, but it was Twisted Metal 2 that really taught me to appreciate the intricacies of the series and learn to love vehicle combat. I never enjoyed — and still don’t to this day — the battle mode in Mario Kart. Twisted Metal has just always done it better, and unlike other fighting games of the era, I actually got deep into the lore of the series. I knew the backstories and motivations for every character in that game, none of which would into my decision of who I played as because I always picked Mr. Grimm.
It’s baffling to me Twisted Metal isn’t one of the biggest properties for Sony right now. I don’t know what went wrong after Black, but I could use some Twisted Metal in my life. And if I can’t get a brand-spanking-new entry on my PS4, I’ll happily take the second one on the PlayStation Classic.
Occams Electric Toothbrush
Many of my fondest childhood memories involve video games. I’m sure that goes for many of us. The systems change but the feelings and bonding moments remain universal. Legend of Legaia is one of those memories for me. I have a buddy named Todd. Todd was the tech guy in our group. He was the first to have everything from the Nintendo 64 to a cd changer in his car. We’d all congregate at Todd’s house and dive into the game du jour, raiding his pantry and fighting for the good spot on the couch.
Todd and I had a special bond over RPG’s. Something like a new Final Fantasy was a group event that commanded a full audience. It was equal parts spectacle and ceremony and we collectively gushed. The smaller RPG’s, however, were reserved for Todd and me to play on lazy Sunday afternoons when everyone else was doing homework and lamenting the death of the weekend. Legend of Legaia, with its unique martial arts-based combat system and fantasy setting, punched all the right buttons for us. It was smaller in scale and not as pretty as other games but it was unique and had heart and was a lot of fun. For Todd and I, it was a journey we took together every Sunday and the odd weeknight when time and school allowed and it’s a shared memory we celebrate to this day.
The image I chose for this article is from Todd. That’s the copy. Our copy. He found it in a box while cleaning his studio and sent me this picture. I almost teared up seeing it. Happy tears. All these years later, it’s still a great game with a lot of heart. I’d love for a new generation of gamers to have lazy Sunday afternoons to experience it the way we did.
In all honesty, the news of the PlayStation Classic didn’t really grab me in the same way as the Nintendo counterparts. Part of the reason is Sony has been relatively good at keeping many of the most popular games from that console available to purchase and play on more modern systems as part of their PS1 Classics line on PSN. Buy a game and then play it on one of 3 devices (4 if you count the PSTV as separate). The first games announced for the system hammer the point home. The five already announced games have been available on PSN for quite some time so there’s not so much to make the PlayStation Classic stand out aside from owning a mini console. Now, this is something you can also complain about the S/NES mini but the Virtual Console was fractured between the various systems and there were at least 5 games which were not available to purchase on the eShop.
And that’s where I would like the remaining PS Classic games to go. Sure, you can probably expect the likes of Resident Evil, Wipeout, Metal Gear Solid, Tomb Raider, etc on the list while they are still available to buy on PSN but there are so many games which are beloved on the PS1 which have never been re-released either as a PS1 Classic on PSN or even as a bonus in other games (SOTN, I’m looking at you!) and I would like to see more of those.
The PS1 era was a really experimental one with lots of companies just trying out a lot of stuff to see what would stick and the result was a number of games which truly do deserve a second chance. I could point towards Omega Boost from Polyphony Digital, before they became the pure Gran Turismo Factory they are now. Or Brave Fencer Musashi from Squaresoft before they doubled down on their JRPG juggernauts but instead, I’m going to go for one of their REALLY out there games, a small thing called Einhander.
Einhander is a shmup. Yes, you heard me right! Squaresoft made a shmup. Its the only one they ever made but it’s also one of the best in the genre and original US disks can command quite the price tag due to its rarity (it never made it to Europe). It was available on the Japanese PSN store but not anymore (believe me, I tried to find it!) but it’s definitely one game that deserves a spotlight and is not easy to purchase so I hope that Sony will surprise us with the names of the other 15 games to be announced.
Einhander is an amazing choice and I can’t top it, but I do have a whole boatload of games that I think are equally deserving. I’ve been known as a Nintendo guy here at Destructoid for all ten of my years writing for the front page, but if asked to choose between the PS1 and N64, I’d pick the PS1 every day of the week.
The biggest reason why it’s one of my all-time favorite consoles comes down to the eclectic library. It had a bigger install base and was cheaper to develop for than its competition, encouraging developers to take a ton of interesting chances on it. Games like Incredible Crisis, No One Can Stop Mr. Domino, One Piece Mansion and even first-party hits like Jumping Flash, PaRappa the Rapper and UmJammer Lammy would likely be considered indie-style oddities by today’s standards, but back in the 90’s, you could pick them at the local K-Mart right alongside your Metal Gear Solids and Resident Evils. It was a magical time for PlayStation consoles that I don’t think Sony will ever see again.
But this isn’t a post about how great the PS1 is. It’s about the one game we most want to see on the new-small-fake version of the console, and if you know me at all, you know I’m going to pick Tobal 2. The only way Sony and Square-Enix can hope to outdo the SNES Classic’s inclusion of Star Fox 2 is with the only fighting game in history where a penguin can fight a Chocobo. It’s the best 3D fighting game ever and I don’t care if they skip translating it. It’s worth paying $100 for on its own, even in Japanese.
If you right click and Save As to my photo above, you’ll notice that I named this file “blastosucks.” That’s because Blasto sucks. Big-time. Hoover levels of suck. It’s terrible and bad and stupid. Why would I want this hot steaming pile of a game to eat up one of the coveted 20 spots on the sexy little Nintendo ripoff Sony put together?
I have a very specific and fond memory tied to Blasto. I had rented the game for the weekend and knew about an hour into it that it was garbage. I wound up beating it like two hours later (if that) and had on my hands a game I sort of hated for the rest of the weekend. This was, however, the first time I can remember playing a game not to play the actual game, but to find other things to do within the game to make my own fun.
I found that dying animations were a whole lot more fun than anything else in the game, so I’d try to kill Blasto in fun ways. I discovered a magical perch high above some odd level architecture and spent the weekend jumping off to get the eponymous dope to hit this one specific metal juncture holding the level up. It was a tough target, but when you’d nail it Blasto would land on his back with a satisfying crunch. I eventually rummaged through my dad’s CDs to find Tom Petty’s Full Moon Fever and would play “Free Fallin'” on repeat as Blasto fell to his repeated doom.
I don’t want to play Blasto again, but I do want to recreate this odd memory from my childhood.
Blasto is a bold choice, but I think I have one even less likely. Konami has a number of masterpieces that are worthy of being on this Symphony of the Night, and Metal Gear Solid seem like a sure thing, but I’d really like to see two games that go hand in hand.
Suikoden and Suikoden 2 are practically one long game so I’ll go ahead and bundle them together. Suikoden isn’t a series I discovered until years after the fact but it’s one hell of an underappreciated JRPG and there are so few places to play it. I’d love to be able to let my Vita rest and have access to the game on this little Sony box.
I recently replayed both Suikoden and Suikoden II, and II, in particular, remains one of my favorite games of all time. What’s tough about the concept of a PlayStation mini-console is the fact that, as Jonathan mentioned, Sony’s done a pretty good job so far of ensuring that a ton of the platform’s most notable games are available on current platforms. It’s actually easier to play old PS1 games these days than PS2 games!
That in mind, for me this idea of the PS1 Classic isn’t really about getting a game I couldn’t get before or putting something I can’t access elsewhere, but curating my faves so I have them all in one place, like a weird little playable trophy, or a museum exhibit.
That in mind (and acknowledging that a lot of my faves are already listed here), there’s nothing like the original version of Final Fantasy Tactics. The objectively superior War of the Lions remake is available in all kinds of places, but having the first, slow-loading, poorly localized — and for a time, extremely rare — first edition of the best Final Fantasy spinoff would be a pretty cool thing.
I legitimately contemplated adding Bubsy 3D to this list, just for its infamous reputation, but I think someone might actually hurt me if I did so.
So I’m going with Bust a Groove. I actually never played Bust a Groove until somewhat recently, when I moved in with my now-fiance. I didn’t own a PlayStation until the “PS One,” and played just about everything at a friend’s house, so I was limited to what he had (it was mostly Dragon Ball Z games). When she booted Bust a Groove up for the first time and explained its rhythm mechanics, I completely fell in love.
The characters are pure 90s, the music is varied and catchy, and the entire package just oozes style. I mean, I guess if I had to pick seven adverbs and an adjective to describe it, I’d use “very very very very very very good!”