Earlier today I decided to fire up five old original PlayStation (PSX) games to see how they would respond on the PS3. I picked a few favorites (or at least ones that I remember as favorites), and I specifically picked some games that I actually wanted to dust off and play again.
Same gamers may laugh, but PSX and PS2 backwards compatibility is important to me for a couple of reasons. First, I have a huge library of old games; I used to be a fairly free spending, even to the extent of not actually playing some of the games I purchased. In short, I always have something for a rainy day. Second, I do not want to have a lot of video game systems in my living room entertainment center. I can go the switch box route, but not only does the clutter not look good, I have no interest in keeping a lot of gaming crap in my main living area. Been there; done that. PS3 backwards compatibility is important, so let’s move on to the test.
- Arcade’s Greatest Hits: The Midway Collection 2. I picked this one because BurgerTime is one of my all time favorite games. Holy crap; I have been completely spoiled with the PS2 Dual Shock analog controls. The basic d-pad controls suck in the one. I need to see if I can find my old arcade stick, or this one will be hopeless. My kids also had a hard time getting things just right, to move up ladders, change directions, etc. We all fared much better with Joust 2. Moon Patrol and Root Beer Tapper were real favorites, and since these games did not require precise controls, they were much easier to manage. All the games played flawless (from a backwards compatibility perspective), including saving to the memory card slot that I created after copying my old game save to the PS3 HDD.
- Lode Runner. This game was one of my favorites on the C64 (along with Elite and Seven Cities of Gold), and even with the d-pad digital controls, it still plays well. My oldest son really enjoyed this one; nice way to introduce him to the puzzle genera. Backwards compatibility was flawless.
- Destruction Derby. Back in the day, this game was one of the reasons I picked up the PlayStation. I still remember the running demo at Media Play before the PlayStation was released; this game was just too darn cool. This was the first game of the three I played today that really made me appreciate current generation graphics. I expected Lode Runner and Midway Classics to be dated; they are old games. I was surprised how Destruction Derby’s graphics and interface seemed awfully old and stale. The gameplay was still a ton of fun, but lack of analog controls is a huge problem; the standard d-pad sucks for racing games. How did we ever survive without analog controls? Destruction Derby is still a ton of fun; nice pickup and play factor. My oldest kid really enjoyed this one. Once again backwards compatibility was flawless.
- Andretti Racing. I have held on to this game for years because it used to be so much fun. This game had it all – stock cars and Indy cars, plenty of tracks, and an entertaining career mode. Another game that does not support analog mode (it actually support the old PSX analog stick controller), but the controls are actually not that bad. The same cannot be said for the graphics. This game is truly dated. I experimented with the various PS3 game scaling options (none, normal, and full) and smoothing options (off and on), but to no avail. There is just nothing to be done to make this game look pleasing to my eyes. I could not find my original save file for this one, but since the first three games did not have memory card problems, I think this one would be fine as well. No backwards compatibility problems to report.
- Colin McRae Rally 2.0. This one was an all time favorite, and while the graphics are dated compared to today’s racing titles, CMR 2.0’s wonderful gameplay is still intact. Thankfully, this game supports analog (steering), and is still a blast to play. While the game does look dated, it is very playable with full upscaling and smoothing turned on. I could not find my save original save file, but I see no reason why the PS3 cannot handle memory management. No backwards compatible issues to report.
The PS3 went 100% in my backwards compatibility tests. This was a fun experiment, because it has been a while since I played these games. I feel a little deflated about Andritti Racing (did it really look so bad back in the day), but I have a feeling that CMR 2.0 will see some time in my game rotation, Lode Runner is going to be a favorite of my oldest son, and Destruction Derby is still an entertaining pickup and play experience. When I have some more time I am going to try to try out some more games, maybe something fairly obscure, to see how it responds to the PS3. So far so pleased.