Release Date: 7/7/2000
MSRP: $99.99 (PSOne) $129.99 (LCD Unit) $199.99 (Combo Pack)
It took many years to acquire, but the PSOne with a screen attachment has been one of my top must-have consoles since it came out. Growing up as a kid, my parents didn’t have the $100 for the console and $130 for the screen add-on. The Combo Pack was released for $200 and seemed insane, but the PS2 was out and cost $300 at the time of release. $130 for a 5″ TFT LCD screen might seem like a lot, but this did more than just display games. It had an amazing brightness range, clear stereo speakers that could be quite loud when turned up all the way. It also easily screwed onto the back of the unit and had a headphone jack, AV in, and even AV Out so you can just plug it up to your TV without taking the screen off. The power cable also plugs directly into the screen, so there was a lot of foresight on Sony’s part.
What makes the screen so awesome compared to any other console out there is that you can take it with you. Using a 7.5v car adapter, bringing it into your bedroom, or on the go, allows you to make playing the PS1 a more immersive and personal experience. The LCD screen makes the games look better than they do on current or older TVs. It’s like Sony found a perfect balance and knew how the PS1 would render and output, so they made the perfect screen for it. All the games display clear and sharp and the screen is quite vivid, so I can easily see the $130 price point during release.
As for the system itself, what can I say? It’s the PlayStation 1! While the system’s first iterations had many flaws such as overheating, cheap laser assemblies, and various other issues, the PSOne is sleek, slim, and just the basic unit which is all we need. Sony went for a rounded style with this system and it looks great. The only downside is that you can use most wireless controllers as the receivers are too large and can’t fit a memory card on top. The system is lightweight, even with the screen attached, and would easily fit into a backpack. The PS1 has an amazing library, probably some of the best out there. The PS1 wiped the floor with Nintendo 64 due to just a more diverse and massive library. The Nintendo 64 has some memorable games, but the overall experience just couldn’t top the PS1. With pre-rendered and live-action cutscenes, thanks to the CD format, it was a whole new experience. From the classic start-up jingle to the amazing feeling of the DualShock controller, and even down to the black underside of the discs, the PS1 was a behemoth and was unstoppable.
Would I recommend the current going price for a full PSOne Combo Pack at $100? Yes, go out and get it now. If you’re a PlayStation fan or just want to check out the classic library, this is the perfect unit to pick up. For some advice, make sure when you buy the unit you make sure the power and tray buttons work. These are large buttons and can easily be stuck or get grime down inside. Also, make sure the hinges on the screen aren’t loose. Many units have cracked hinges with screens that won’t stay up, and most importantly, make sure the LCD backlight isn’t dead. I bought a unit from a local store only to have the backlight die on me the second I turned it on when I got home. Of course, make sure both speakers are working and there isn’t any rattling or distortion. Make sure to ask the sellers these questions, or look for this if you find one in person.