25 years of PlayStation – Looking back at the games and memories
I’ll still take on anyone in Tekken 3.
On December 3, 1994, a fresh new video game console was unveiled to the world. It wasn’t from Nintendo or Sega. It was from an entertainment conglomerate named Sony that wasn’t quite a household name.
The console? The PlayStation and its laundry list of classic video series have left an impact on gamers around the world. Now on the silver anniversary of the PlayStation, the brand is now arguably one of the heaviest hitters in the gaming world. But, it’s always important to go back to your roots and show respect to what made it great.
There’s a lot to write about when it comes to looking back at the PlayStation, like how the DualShock is influential to controller design. But the most memorable feature of any console was, is, of course, the games.
And the PlayStation has those in droves.
A look back at the PlayStation’s various games and genres
There are 1,300 PS1 games in North America. While it would be amazing to look back at all of them, I want to focus on the quintessential titles. The ones that made the console a standout and gave it its identity.
There are Sony-owned franchises like Gran Turismo, Jet Moto, Twisted Metal, Cool Boarders, MediEvil. The two big ones from them were Spyro the Dragon and Crash Bandicoot. Thanks to their latest remasters, both Crash and Spyro are back in the spotlight.
A ton of other genres became more in-demand with gamers through the PlayStation. Survival horror was popularized with Resident Evil and Silent Hill. Other game categories like stealth (headlined by the incomparable Metal Gear Solid) and “cinematic platformers” like OddWorld rounded out an already impressive library.
Arguably the biggest genre to became more well-known through the PlayStation is the console RPG. Final Fantasy VII found its home to the PlayStation after a much-publicized spat with Nintendo. Several other JRPGs found a home on the console and soon after, it was no longer a niche genre. Where are my Wild Arms fans at!?
Final Fantasy wasn’t the only classic franchise that received a breath of fresh air in the fifth-generation of home consoles. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night serves as a renaissance for the long-running series about killin’ Dracula.
For anyone who is curious, my top ten personal favorite PS1 games in no particular order: Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage, Crash Bandicoot 2, Tekken 3, Metal Gear Solid, Mega Man 8, Resident Evil 2, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Strider 2, Final Fantasy Tactics, and WWF SmackDown! 2.
My personal history with the iconic console
It is Christmas 1997. Titanic is still the highest-grossing movie of all-time. Elton John’s Candle in the Wind 1997 made everyone cry. And Bill Clinton is still in the Oval Office.
And a five-year-old me finds a thin, squared box wrapped from Santa. I opened it and it was a video game.
The game in question? Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back. I remember the commercials of the character screwing around with Nintendo. My family and I spent the majority of that day trying to beat the first few levels. We also spent some time playing NHL Faceoff and NBA Live. With the PlayStation as a new sort-of centerpiece in our family room, my family started having family game nights with an obscure motorcycle racing game creatively titled Moto Racer and all the Crash Bandicoot sequels and spin-offs.
There are other great memories I have with the console, such as experiencing Metal Gear Solid for the first time (that opening song STILL gives me goosebumps!), sleeping over a friend’s house to complete Spyro 2, and beating my neighborhood in Crash Team Racing.
A big memory that will always stand out to me is with Tekken 3. Now, Tekken 3 is a phenomenal fighting game and probably the best in the series. It also marked the first time my two younger brothers and I poured all of our free time into a video game. There were weekends where we would try and trade-off secrets about hidden characters and moves. Most importantly, we all worked together to beat the game to 100% by unlocking every character, ending, mode, etc.
To this day, I don’t think there is another video game console that has introduced me to so much stuff in gaming that I love now. Franchises like Mega Man, Castlevania, and Metal Gear rank among my all-time favorites.
Happy 25 PlayStation!
Jim Ryan, the current President & CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment, released a blog giving his own perspective on how the brand has grown. While that sounds typical to what a corporate manager would do, Ryan is actually a long-time employee of Sony who joined the year the PlayStation was released.
As I was helping set up the business in Europe, I remember having to start from scratch with many things, from hiring employees to ordering furniture. Back then, we focused on catering to local markets to ensure that a gamer in Poland would feel a part of the broader PlayStation community just as much as someone in the UK, or Japan, or the U.S.
Ryan goes on to continuously thank the fans of PlayStation in a sincere manner, showing how proud to be part of something this awesome.
And I think myself, Mr. Ryan, and several million gamers out there want to give our thanks to this console.
GG, Sony. GG.
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