Did you grab the PlayStation Classic system when it launched on December 3rd? Many of you skipped on buying one for now, after an awful lot of backlash prior to the systems release. News of an open source emulator (PCSX Rearmed) rather than an in-house solution didn’t go down well. Nor the lacklustre list of games. There was the revelation that almost half of those games would be PAL versions rather than NTSC. The problem there being, PAL games ran a bit slower than their NTSC counterparts. This isn’t really a thing anymore, but back then it was due to differing Utility Frequencies. We did technically have a higher possible resolution in PAL regions though.
We had tell that the emulation itself was sub-par. With input lag reported and a lack of things like boarders, scan lines and smoothing. All things you’ve come to expect from classic systems (and other emulators). Things we do find on offerings from Nintendo. All of this saw store shelves full of unsold systems come close of business on launch day.
Let the games begin!
There’s good news! If you’ve been left cold by the PlayStation Classic, the Hacking scene is all over this and progress has been swift. Owners of the NES Classic and Super NES Classic systems have been able to add and remove games for a long time. And cover art for those titles as well. It would seem the PlayStation Classic is almost at that point as well.
It really all started when someone had the idea to plug in a USB Keyboard. Starting the machine and hitting ESC, opened up a menu for the systems emulator, where options can be found for things like scan lines, frame skipping and forcing PAL 50hz titles to run at NTSC 60hz. There’s a bunch of other interesting stuff in there too.
People in the modding scene then made additional progress, soldering wires on to empty USB headers found on the motherboard and getting additional games to run via different methods of technical witchcraft. In any case, the hard work of these people has brought us to the point where you can now load additional games from a USB stick plugged into the front of the system.
What’s the catch?
This is great for any of you who felt burned by the purchase, or those of you who have been waiting for hackers to blow the lid off of the PlayStation Classic. But it isn’t quite at the same level of convenience that we see with Nintendo classic systems. At the time of writing, you’ll have to copy files to a USB drive and leave it plugged into the system. Somewhat spoiling the aesthetics of the cute and compact PlayStation Classic perhaps. We’re not yet at a stage where we can copy games onto the systems internal storage. It also seems at this point we can only have one additional game at a time. Meaning you’ll have to take your USB drive back to a computer when you want to change titles. Additionally, cover art for that game must be manually placed onto your drive and named correctly for it to show up when you take it back to the PlayStation Classic. There are also reports that some games run better than others so, you may see some problems yet. Save states work though, so you can resume where you left off.
Ultimately, the PlayStation Classic is done, hacked and open to modification. All within a week of its release. There’s still features missing that will hopefully show up. Some of you would love to see things like smoothing options. Or those boarders we mentioned and getting additional games loaded right from the PlayStation Classic’s internal memory. I think the biggest step would be getting other controllers to work. Seeing as the ones included with the system lack analogue sticks. If we could have a DualShock 3 or 4 working, even wired, that would open things up a lot. With the lightning quick pace at which progress is being made, those things could have arrived by the time this article is published. The future looks promising for the PlayStation Classic. It’s just a shame it has fallen to outside sources to get it to this point.