The PlayStation Classic was not received well. It was/is overpriced, lacks good games, and some games are the PAL versions so they run noticeably slower. It does, however, look the part and is a very well built piece of plastic. And for $30 you bet I got myself one.
The PlayStation 1 was the first console I got when I came to Canada. It is not my favourite console by a long shot (PlayStation 2 ftw), but I still have a lot of great memories of the original PlayStation.
Can We Fix It? Maybe We Can…
With a couple of modifications (nothing physical if you’re not familiar with soldering), you can make the PS1 Classic slightly better. All you need is a compatible USB drive (this one worked perfectly for me), basic computer knowledge, the free AutoBleem or BleemSync software (and possibly RetroArch), and access to LEGAL copies of your own game ROMS. You may also need a powered USB 2.0 hub if your USB drive is not compatible.
If you’re looking for guides, there’s plenty of them online.
… But Not By Much
In the end, even with better games and software, the PS1 Classic is still disappointing. The difficulty of trying to get games to work with gamepads with analog sticks is one such disappointment. It should’ve come with Dual Shock controllers…
The main disappointment, however, is that the early polygonal era of gaming just does not look good when re-examined today. The 8 and 16-bit eras of gaming still look aesthetically pleasing, and they tend to remain enjoyable to interact with and play. The early PlayStation 1-era polygonal games are just not pretty to look at, nor are they fun to control or play. This is why the NES and SNES Classics were so successful.
My advice is to use emulators which can make these games look better, or hold out for remakes or remasters like the recently released Spiro Reignited Trilogy, or the recent Resident Evil 2 Remake. These are better ways to return to your childhood than frustrating yourself trying to play fugly games that were probably not that good to begin with. Nostalgia is dangerous.