The PlayStation Classic (opens in new tab) looks great and contains some timeless games, but its performance is sub-standard compared to other retro consoles like the Super Nintendo Classic. Happily, you may be able to improve the console's performance through some newly discovered menus hidden in the system's emulation software.
Originally spotted by Retro Gaming Arts (opens in new tab), these menus can be access by connecting a USB keyboard to the PlayStation Classic. In testing, our own Warren Brown found that the console will only recognize certain keyboards. Brown couldn't connect using a Razer Deathstalker or Apple keyboard, but Corsair's popular Vengeance K70 (opens in new tab) mechanical keyboard came through. (We've also heard the Corsair K65 and K90 will do the job.) However, the keyboard would only connect with the help of a Palm power charger, as the console itself wasn't providing enough power. You'll find screenshots of Brown's setup below.
Once you have a keyboard connected, you can open the PlayStation Classic's hidden menus by pressing Escape. You'll find save state slots and settings, cheat options, and myriad graphics settings from scanlines to frame skip. However, enabling or disabling certain settings could cause irreparable damage to your console, so mod at your own risk and only if you're comfortable doing so. We found that adjusting the video output mode can cause some games to black screen, and that disabling the frame limiter can cause audio glitches. Additionally, initializing (i.e. resetting) the system may not undo these and other problems.
That said, there are a few relatively safe ways to improve your console's performance. I say relatively because we don't yet know what lasting effects these changes may have on the console, so again, mod at your own risk. Anyway, the biggest problem with the PlayStation Classic's emulation is that nine of the console's 20 games default to their PAL versions, which run at 50hz compared to the 60hz NTSC versions. This results in a lower frame rate and choppy visuals. Luckily, you can override this by accessing the aforementioned menus and changing the region setting to NTSC. This will bring the nine PAL games up to 60hz, dramatically improving their performance. For another shot of retro flare, you can also enable scanlines with high brightness to recreate that classic CRT look.
Here are some comparisons of how the #PlayStationClassic hidden emulation menu can be used to tweak in-game graphics.1. No filter (standard)2. Scan lines set 70% brightness3. Scale2x filter 4. Eagle2x filter pic.twitter.com/YYrzuqzTSDDecember 6, 2018
Modders have only just begun to meddle with the guts of the PlayStation Classic, and you can bet more pronounced improvements will be discovered in time. With a little tuning up, the little console may one day deliver the smooth experience its games deserve.
Looking for more nostalgic greatness? Check out our list of the best retro consoles. (opens in new tab)