Update, 19th September 2018, 8am BST: This article has been republished following Sony's announcement of the PlayStation Classic.
There’s no doubting that the PSone is one of the greatest video game consoles of all time. The plethora of brand new IP, quality RPGs, and game-changing releases that landed on Sony’s debut PlayStation is arguably unmatched by any system that came before it or followed up on its success.
So, with Sony admitting that it's thinking about a PSone Classic console, we thought we’d have a go at compiling our own list of games that we think would deserve a place on a line-up for a PSone re-issue. Without further ado, these are the 20 games we would want to appear on a PlayStation Classic Mini.
The Ape Escape series was the epitomy of PlayStation during the PSone era. Strong mascots led the way for Sony in its debut generation, and the adventures of Spike still live long in the memory for us as he perilously tries to clean up the wrongdoings of ape Spector and the army he has spawned.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Continuously referred to as one of the greatest video games of all time, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is an essential inclusion. The journey through Dracula’s castle is 2D gaming at its very best, with unforgettable boss battles, a vast and sprawling map, and the twist that spawns an entire inverted castle. The title is still used as a source of inspiration to this very day and it’s easy to see why.
Things drastically changed for the JRPG genre back in 1997 and Chrono Cross, sequel to the classic Chrono Trigger, felt like the first game to really react to that and bring in a few innovations of its own. The ability to run away from every battle and the stamina bar were two departures that made Chrono Cross feel fresh in a crowded genre, as well as earning it the title of one of the greatest PSone JRPGs.
Crash Bandicoot is PlayStation at its very best. The Bandicoot was the Sony mascot for a generation and played a big role in so many childhoods, which is why the remastered PS4 trilogy is getting so much attention in 2017. Quality level design, memorable characters, and an incredibly fun gameplay loop is why the Crash Bandicoot series will never be forgotten by so many, and in turn helped PlayStation become the brand it is today.
Crash Team Racing
When he wasn’t collecting wumpa fruit, Crash Bandicoot was hitting the streets in Crash Team Racing. This kart racer was incredibly popular and it helped to flesh out the franchise with 15 playable characters, numerous game modes, and power-ups for days. PlayStation’s answer to Mario Kart was a successful and popular one, and to this day it remains one of the best kart racers to not feature an Italian plumber.
Final Fantasy VII
The JRPG classic that changed gaming. Cloud’s journey to stop Sephiroth is widely regarded as one of the greatest of all time, and a collection of PlayStation classics such as this wouldn’t look right without Final Fantasy VII. The turn-based combat was flawless, the story epic and grand, and the characters are still remembered fondly in 2017. Some may that its sequels went on to become better overall games, but it’s Final Fantasy VII that changed the industry forever.
Another industry defining game comes in the form of Gran Turismo, the real driving simulator. Back in 1997, GT changed the game for driving simulators and spawned one of PlayStation’s most popular franchises. The title brought simulated racing to the masses with over 140 cars and 11 tracks in its initial release, and sequels more than doubling those numbers.
The Medievil franchise may have been lost to time, but its legacy will never be forgotten. The adventures of Sir Daniel Fortesque represent Sony’s commitment to developing brand new IP, because there had been nothing really like Medievil’s trek through Gallowmere before it, and nothing has quite emulated it since then. Because of that, the title belongs on a line-up of PlayStation classics.
Metal Gear Solid
The first PlayStation release in one of the greatest video game series of all time, Metal Gear Solid symbolises yet another industry defining moment. The story of Shadow Moses brought along with it a deep, engaging, and sometimes wacky story, and cut scenes that a 1998 player would never have experienced before. Combined with memorable boss fights, innovative gameplay, and remarkable characters, and you’ve got an incredible experience that still holds up to this day. One of Sony’s very, very best.
PaRappa the Rapper
PaRappa the Rapper is widely regarded as one of the originators of the modern rhythm game genre. The rapping classic featured songs that everyone would find themselves tapping their foot to as well as a gameplay loop that kept you on the beat, all the while engraving the lyrics into your head. I gotta believe!
The survival horror pioneer belongs on this list for being yet another PlayStation title that changed things upon its release. Limited ammunition made every shot count, inventory management made you consider every item you picked up, the mansion was simply an unforgettable setting, the zombies were menacing and posed a very real threat, and then the voice acting was a real source of comedy. An extraordinary title that signified a landmark moment in the industry.
Resident Evil 2
The sequel that managed to improve on everything that came before it. Resident Evil 2 is considered by many to be the crowning achievement of the series thanks to a wider range of environments, a better story and cast of characters, and much improved dialogue. The same classic survival horror gameplay loop is present but it’s everything surrounding it that’s built upon which helped to create one of the best horror videogames of all time.
Yet another classic survival horror series that was founded on the PSone. Harry Mason’s search for his daughter through Silent Hill takes players to some truly unimaginable and grotesque places with twisted and horrifying enemies to fight along the way. With a very limited range of weaponry on offer and the prowess of its monster, it’s this combination that kept Silent Hill players up at night.
Spyro the Dragon
We return to another PlayStation mascot in the form of Spyro the Dragon. At the time the title made full use of the PSone’s capabilities with outstanding graphics and smooth gameplay, but it was the character of Spyro and his personality that lives long in the heart of many gamers. A likeable dragon who you could root for in his quest to defeat Gnasty and free all the dragons in the Artisan World. Another PlayStation classic that helped to form many childhood memories.
The taser must not become a relic of the past. Syphon Filter is another definitive stealth experience that found its home on the PSone with an immersive plot, excellent AI for its time, and a huge arsenal of weaponry on offer. Gabriel Logan set himself apart from Solid Snake by taking advantage of the gadgets he had at his disposal, and this combined with the excellent stealth based mechanics on offer, it’s easy to see why Logan was just as successful at his job as Snake was.
One of the best fighting games of all time found its way onto the PSone in the Spring of 1998. The graphics, sound effects, and music were revolutionary at the time, but it’s the fighting itself that did the talking. A large amount of attacks and combos were there to be learnt, fluid controls kept the game easy to pick up, and the action itself was explosive and incredibly entertaining.
It may be hard to go back to in this day and age, but the original Tomb Raider belongs on this list thanks to the legacy it has created and the resulting series of games it has spawned. The world trekking adventure of Lara Croft was revolutionary back in 1996, featuring a female lead character and a cinematic approach to gameplay that at the time was unprecedented.
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2
The Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series lived and breathed PlayStation during its heyday, and the second instalment is widely considered to be the definitive one on the original PlayStation. It had a huge impact on the sports genre back in 2000 with a level of growth over its predecessor the industry had never seen before within a skateboarding game. It belongs on a list of PlayStation’s greatest thanks to being such a quality experience that it hasn’t been surpassed by another skateboarding game to this day.
Twisted Metal 2
The PSone was the home to car combat games, and it’s Twisted Metal 2 that hit this genre’s peak. The sequel expanded on everything the first game did right, and in turn offered more cars to destroy, more tracks to race around, and more characters to get to know. The genre may have fallen by the wayside in recent times, but revisiting Twisted Metal 2 would still be just as fun as it was 20 years ago.
The futuristic racer may have been birthed on other consoles, but it’s the WipEout series that tweaked and fine-tuned the genre to become racing perfection. As a PSone launch title, WipEout brought something completely original to the console along with a booming techno soundtrack that created waves throughout the industry. It was an early showcase of what the PSone could do, and sequels then went on to build the classic WipEout series we know today.
Is there a game we missed? Would you be there day one for a PlayStation Mini Classic packed with PSone titles? Get nostalgic in the comments below.