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Playing your classic games on modern-day consoles

If you're the proud owner of a new video game console, odds are you have a library of games from an old machine lining your shelf.

While Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo all promise that their newest machines can run these classics in some way, it varies by console -- some are as easy as popping in an older disc; others involve repurchasing "classic" remakes.

Don't despair, though: Reliving your glory days on Halo, Zelda, Grand Theft Auto or even Ms. Pac-Man is very possible. Here's how to do it.

Sony's PlayStation 4: Think of the classics as ports

I'll get the bad news out of the way. Sony's PlayStation 4 -- the most popular current-generation game machine -- will not play discs from any of its three earlier iterations. Sony does, however, allow you to stream select PlayStation 3 titles through its PlayStation Now cloud gaming service, PlayStation Now. Think of it like streaming a Netflix or YouTube video -- but it's a fully interactive, playable game (so long as you have a rock-solid superfast broadband service).

 

Getting PS2 games on your PS4

Sony also sells digital-only versions of PlayStation 2 titles that you can download from the PlayStation Store to your PS4's hard drive. Here you also get a few bonuses, including full support for HDTVs with up to 1,080p resolution, trophies from in-game achievements and the option of broadcasting your gameplay live over the Internet. Popular titles like Grand Theft Auto IIIMax Payne and Star Wars Bounty Hunter are among those PS2 titles currently available, retailing anywhere from $10 to $35 depending on the title. (Pro tip: Wait for one of Sony's frequent "flash sales," when these PS2 titles are often discounted.)

 

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