My PS5 hard drive is a bit of a mess. That becomes more and more apparent as more games I actually want to play on the system arrive at a surprisingly steady clip. Big, older games I mean to spend more time with — like Nioh 2, Judgment, and even Days Gone — give me a great excuse with current-gen performance updates. Meanwhile Resident Evil Village, Returnal, and Subnautica: Below Zero are filling my drive from the jump. The problem is that there isn’t much drive to fill. It’s an issue that really slammed into me like a PSN download of Pain when I booted up my PlayStation 3 the other day and saw just how many games I slid into that sucker.
My launch PS3 started with just 60GB of storage. That ballooned sometime in college when I bought a half-terabyte hybrid drive for $80 — a sum so inconceivable by today’s chip-shortage-induced standards that I went and confirmed it on my old Newegg receipt. It’s still hanging in there now. Having just moved into a house for the first time, I suddenly found myself with space to place the old George Foreman grill, and decided to check what’s on that aging HDD.
The answer was a whopping 70 downloadable games. Not including my physical copy of Brave Fencer Musashi still holding steady within, like the little two-disc pogchamp that it is.
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Granted, some of these games were PlayStation and PlayStation 2 Classics: several Suikoden and Fatal Frame titles, and the like. But others were fully fledged PS3 role-playing games, like Demon’s Souls and Tales of Symphonia. My PS5 drive currently fits about a dozen. I’m forced to delete the ones I beat (RIP Resident Evil) even if I’d like to mess with new game plus or something similar. God forbid I play Call of Duty, which just absolutely devours the entire PS5 drive at this point.
The PS5 drive is marketed as a full terabyte. However, you’re left with just over half that after system data. It’s not much bigger than my cheapo PS3 storage straight out of the box. Not to mention you can’t upgrade the internal SSD on a modern PlayStation. Yet. There’s supposedly a “whitelist” of drives that will eventually work with the (unmistakably stellar) load times on PS5. Your best option is to store games on an external drive and copy the data back and forth, waiting to reinstall each time.
By contrast, I’m a fucking moron. Just a huge, single-brain-celled thembo. And I was able to install my “new” PS3 drive with a butter knife. The PS3 was an amazingly open-ended device. It’s still the best thing I own for legally playing PS1 and PS2 games. Not to mention it’s the only thing to play my existing PS3 purchases. It’s odd that so many games from that era now feel cordoned off — forgotten, at least, if not abandoned. So much so that those 70 games felt alien to me. My memory of them, and the person I was when they came out, is hazy at best. It’s as though someone else played Siren: Blood Curse and Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time.
Game sizes are ballooning while computer parts experience an abysmal shortage right now. It’s a bad recipe that’s really not within Sony’s ability to control. But my recent reboot was a stark reminder of how very segmented these two periods feel, just the same. We’ve gotten those load times, ray-tracing, and HDR out of the deal. But I do miss having so many odd, memorable games simply at my fingertips.