We all know how great Nintendo’s line of “Classic” retro consoles are. Even I got sucked into the hype and got a Super Nintendo Classic even though the store was charging much more than the suggested retail price. I didn’t care and I still love this “mini” version of that old 16-bit console. I even wrote up a glowing review for the system because it’s an incredibly cool system and works beautifully. There was generally one thing that was in the back of my mind when I was playing it. That thought was this: When was Sony going to release a miniaturized version of the first PlayStation?
It may seem like an impossibility but, if you really think about it, making a “new” PlayStation would be a really good idea. It’s been more than two decades since Sony’s first foray into the gaming console business started and millions of people must have some nostalgic memories for they system. The system may have been state-of-the art then but the technology is pretty obsolete by today’s standards. Also, the system has so many great games for it so Sony should have no problem assembling a solid lineup of built-in games for it. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if Sony came out during this E3 and announce it and mention that it’ll be available for the 2018 Holiday season.
Now, Sony can go follow what Nintendo did with the NES Classic and the SNES Classic and just make mini versions of their popular console. It would still sell very well but I would expect them to up the ante a little bit more. They would want to stand out, especially if Nintendo reveals an N64 Classic system. So, what would Sony have to do to put one over on Nintendo and beat them at their own game? Well, I have a few ideas.
The first thing Sony would have to do is make sure that the PlayStation Mini keeps the original gray box look like when it came out in 1995 but shrunk down. While I do like the modified PS One, where Sony got the entire package into a slimmer casing and established that they would always make a “slim” version of their console, there’s just something iconic about the original bulky looking gray box that everyone remembers. The original design would trigger a more nostalgic feel for me and many others who grew up playing the PlayStation.
Although I would prefer Sony use the original boring gray look for a PlayStation Mini system, I wouldn’t want them to bundle it with the original controller. The original PlayStation controller was fine when the system first launched but once Nintendo added pure analog controls to the N64, Sony had to do the same and they did with the first ever DualShock. Once they added those two analog sticks as well as a rumble feature, there was no turning back.
However, I do believe making a DualShock, even by today’s lower manufacturing costs, would bring the price much higher than most people would like. So, how can Sony get over this obstacle? Well, they can make the PlayStation Mini compatible with Sony’s current lineup of controllers and make the system use wireless Bluetooth. I know it sounds like heresy but it would be much better for consumers if they just use their current controllers, sync them via USB cable then make them interface wirelessly.
I would suggest that they bundle the PlayStation Mini with a PS3 DualShock controller, however. It does sound ridiculous but the PS3 controller does have the same shape and feel of the original DualShock. Besides, I’m betting Sony is looking for a way to unload the surplus of unsold PS3 controllers so it wouldn’t cost them a penny to make more of them. Also, if you’re like me and you have an old PS3 controller lying around because you’ve upgraded to Sony’s latest console, then you would have to buy any new controllers for the PlayStation Mini. Win-win!
Of course, the thing that will make the PlayStation Mini sell would be its library of games. The system should come built in with a solid lineup of its stellar games because that’s what consumers would expect. I would expect to see around a list of 20 fantastic games at the very least. Game like Final Fantasy VII, Gran Turismo 2 (because it’s much better than Gran Turismo), Crash Bandicoot, Tomb Raider and Metal Gear Solid, Parappa the Rappa and Resident Evil should come with the system. I’d mention much more but that would be too long as the PlayStation was a host to so many games. In fact, even if it came with 30 games in the system, there are going to be some really great games that’ll be left out.
Which is why I say the PlayStation Mini, if Sony ever does develop it, make it possible that you can download games for it. This is something that isn’t possible officially for the NES Classic and SNES Classic, which is precisely the thing that would make it seem like a better system. However, to keep costs down, the PlayStation Mini shouldn’t have any Internet access. So, how would you download and install games for it? Simple: Put a couple of USB ports where the memory cards would be. Make the games available on the PlayStation Store and allow customers to download the games there. Then, once they’re downloaded, transfer the games to a USB stick, plug it in the PlayStation Classic and play the games from there. This doesn’t address the issue of piracy or how many people will be sharing the same games using the same stick… but Sony’s cool with sharing games with friends, right?
Finally, the name itself. If Sony does follow Nintendo’s game plan and do launch a PlayStation Mini, I hope they don’t call it the “PlayStation Classic.” Just call it the PlayStation Mini and be done with it. This is what Nintendo should’ve called the NES Classic and SNES Mini in the first place but they decided they wanted to be fancy for some reason, even though everyone calls them Minis.
What would you want to see in a PlayStation Mini? How would you execute it? Let me know in the comment section below!