What went wrong with the PlayStation Classic?
The answer is much more than the subjective arguments about which games should be included with the hardware. The games that are present look muddy, and the imprecise emulation can lead to glitches that didn’t exist in the original releases. A video from Digital Foundry, which you can watch above, shows some of these issues, and the problems go much deeper than issues with Final Fantasy 7’s music.
“Perhaps more baffling is that nine of the PlayStation Classic’s 20 games are the slower-playing versions from Europe (which followed the PAL television standard, with a refresh rate of 50 Hz),” Polygon news editor Michael “Mike” McWhertor wrote in our review of the system. “Fighting and driving games play much better in 60 Hz, and the inclusion of PAL versions here is simply bizarre.”
Using the PAL versions of these games brings no advantage to the PlayStation Classic, instead resulting in a slower experience than what you’d get on the original hardware. The PlayStation Classic also tries to display the 50 Hz image through its 60 Hz visual output, which leads to a pronounced juddering effect. This all adds up to an image that looks bad, and games that feel horrible when you try to play them.
The full Digital Foundry video goes into extensive detail about why these technical issues are present, and even presents some better options if you want to play these games on modern displays.
It might be easy assume that most of these games didn’t age well, and that players just didn’t know better when the original PlayStation was released. But comparing the PlayStation Classic to other forms of emulation shows that the mini-console presents an image of the past that looks, feels and performs significantly worse than the real thing.
Sony should treat its past, and our memories, with more respect.