So, Sony decided to enter the retro ‘mini’ console craze that has seen the likes of Atari, Intellivision, Colecovision, Commodore, Sega and Nintendo become fun again. They released a mini console replica of the original Playstation console from the nineties. Now, I am not going to go into detail over what games came bundled or how much fun they are (a LOT) but, instead, I want to comment on the design, ease of use and a few nits over what is, otherwise, a decent product. Purists will bitch about it and the gaming press has villified Sony over the console, but, I am not (!) going to do that.
First, let me get my complaints about the console out of the way.
Number 1: No power supply. Yes, this thing ships with ONLY a USB cable for power. Sony assumes you will plug it into your modern television’s USB port. However, that did not work for me. I am not sure why, the set I use it on has a powered USB port, but, the console refused to get its power from there. A normal USB wall wort worked fine.
Number 2: The unit took forever (OK, a few added seconds) to power up. When I plugged it into the wall wort, nothing appeared to happen. But, after a few seconds, the LED lit up an amber color. Pressing the power button turned the LED green and the console came to life. It works fine. So, I tried the USB port on the set again…nada, zero, zilch. Didn’t get power from there. The old Roku, though, did. Odd.
Number 3: The interface is terrible. The circular carousel isn’t the issue, its the quality of the presentation. Yes, I get that it emulates something from the 90s, but, on a larger screen, it’s difficult to read. The HDMI output is greatly appreciated, but, the presentation should match. The games, don’t necessarily have to, but everything else should. And, this leads to Number 4 and 5…
Number 4: Why HDMI only? The set I was going to put it on has bad HDMI inputs (yes, all three ports are dead) so, I wanted to use COMPOSITE, but, no, no composite output.
Number 5: Sony should release more games (as some other company has) for the console. The 20 games included are fun, but, it would be nice to have more.
Number 6: Last, the size of the console is a problem for me. While it is cute, its a bit small (the controllers are, however, full size) and very light…which is the issue. The attached controllers (both are USB and I am grateful for that) and if you move excitedly, you end up pulling the console with you. A minor thing, but, annoying nonetheless.
There is a lot to like about the console. It is unobtrusive (to a fault) and easy to set up. The controllers are familiar, so there is zero learning curve if you have played Playstation at all. The selection of games is nice and, Tekken 3, is the bomb. The games, to me, are faithful enough and seeing the Sony logo is really cool (even though I am not much of a Sony guy) as it reminds me of the fun I had on my PS ONE.
Even with the paltry 20 games that are included, they are good games…but…if you want more from Sony, that is a no go, HOWEVER…if you search on Amazon, you can find a few products that add more games. I ordered one
such device (a USB stick and a four port USB hub) that added 51 fighting gams (most of the Street Fight type) and an additional product that adds another 101 games. So, for under 80 dollars, you can relive the early to mid nineties PlayStation experience.
Even with my six ‘nits’ against the device, it was well worth the forty bucks I paid on Prime Day (it doesn’t cost much more if you shop around) and it even excited my two younger kids, both of which grew up on XBox 360 and Nintendo Wii and Switch. Their initial thoughts…”wow, those are OLD” But, they loved the games. And, really, that’s all that should matter.
The Mini PlayStation is great deal. Contrary to what has been written about it, it comes packed with nostalgia, good games and a nifty little case that is a tad on the small side. You and your kids will love it.