After the PlayStation Experience keynote just wrapped in Las Vegas I had a small realization… Sony is building an accessible archive of video games. It seems everyone keeps getting up in arms every time a rerelease is announced for a titles… Either an HD upgrade, PS1 classic, or port across last gen to this. The vocal, angry minority of the internet rages about wanting new games and new IPs. I get that, I really do. I love playing new games. I also love playing my old games too. I’ve been burned in the past by trading in my N64, PS1, and PS2 games and then regretting it years later when they are sparse or expensive. With the Xbox360 / PS3 I opted not to trade in any titles and keep my catalog. I got tired of reaching for Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance 2 and it not being in my collection. I realize this isn’t everyone, but it’s me and I like having that option.
So here we stand with the PS4. The PSX keynote bombarded us with 2015 releases of PC, PS1, and PS3 games coming to the PS4. Day of the Tentacle, Bastion, Final Fantasy 7, and Super Stardust Ultra. They also had new titles being released with Uncharted 4, What Remains of Edith Fitch, No Man’s Sky, and The Order: 1886. Some have mentioned prior to the release of the 8th gen of consoles that this may be the last generation of new consoles as we know them. Maybe this is true. If that’s the case and we’re expected to be playing with these machines for the next 10 years… Why wouldn’t we want this smorgasbord of gaming delight? As much as people have argued the price of PSNow, it does offer the ability to play a slew of PS3 games as well. They’re not native to the system though so personally I’d welcome ports to run on PS4. We’ve seen some good stuff like Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition, GTA5, Sleeping Dogs, and Tomb Raider: DE all bring last gen games forward. Soon we’ll have Dark Souls 2 available. If none of these are exclusive to PS4, what’s the big deal?
A c c e s s i b i l i t y . Previously finding a slew of old consoles and games in my attic, I’ve come to realize while the games stay fun and relevant, the hardware becomes more and more obtuse. I had to make a trip to Radio Shack (*shudders*) to purchase a piece that lets me connect an Atari 2600 to my TV. I needed to buy an adapter for my TV to take a component cable from my N64. Controllers get gunked up over the years. Also, my TV only has two HDMI slots so I’m already shuffling between my PS3, PS4, X360, and Wii U more often than I’d like. Hardware is the thing that bogs retro gaming down. If I had one device that played all my games across all platforms, that would be absolutely choice. For a lot of people, PC is that beast. I work with them all day though and get burned out dealing with them. Optimizing, reformats, downloading and reinstalling OS’s, getting new drivers, weird bugs, etc. When I game, I just want to drop in a disc, click on boot and play… When I can skip the disc part, even better.
This is where the PS4 is really starting to shine for me. There are all sorts of awesome experience previously limited to PCs. I can play old titles dating back to the mid 90’s with some of these offerings. I really wish PS4 had PS1 Classics native support, but until then I have releases of games like Final Fantasy 7 and Grim Fandango to hold me over. I have indies like Octodad or Transistor. We’re seeing a bunch of last-gen PSN gems coming forward with Bastion, Journey, and Unfinished Swan. PS3 games are getting remastered and updated like Grand Theft Auto 4. All of this is releasing while new PS4 games are being created like Drawn to Death, Bloodborne, and Street Fighter 5. It’s doing EVERYTHING. It’s appealing to a TON of demographics. From the content of their games, to the dates of the games, and the size of the games. You have free to play, PSN budget games, and full retain games. It’s slowly but surely building a massive archive of instantly accessible classics, quirky oddballs, AAA, and artistic gems. I really believe that 5 years from now, the PS4 library could possibly be the greatest variance of games available on single console at this rate. Yes, PC’s will reign supreme with being able to always rely on a massive catalog dating back as far as time can tell… For folks like me though, I welcome this open mindset Sony is laying out for the PS4. I’ve never played Grim Fandango and thanks to this initiative of keeping old games alive (even if the naysayers just think of it as padding) – I’ll get to play the game I missed out on years ago.