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Weekend Hot Topic, part 1: PS1 25th anniversary memories

GameCentral readers celebrate 25 years of the PlayStation and old school games like Crash Bandicoot and WipEout.

With the PlayStation 1 celebrating its 25th anniversary this month, the subject for this week’s Hot Topic asked about your fondest memories of Sony’s first console. Did you own a PS1 when it first came out and why did you choose it over the alternatives? What was the first game you played on it and what did you think of it?

Many recalled the original console with great fondness, even as they admitted that most of the games had not stood the test of time – at least in terms of graphics.

 

Everything but the games
The PS1 arrived at the perfect time for me. Having grown up with Sega and Nintendo, when PS1 launched in the UK I was 17 years old and a prime target audience for this groundbreaking machine. With an advertising campaign that embraced counterculture and placed games machines in nightclubs (of all things!) Sony’s entry into the world of gaming was truly disruptive. It helped that games were delivered via compact disc and the jump from 2D to 3D was truly revolutionary and opened up new possibilities for developers.

Unfortunately, I don’t look back on the actual games with anything like the level of fondness as the systems prior or since. The graphics, controls, and frame rates of many of the early 3D era games are virtually unplayable today, or at least, not very enjoyable. I think this can be seen with the response to the PlayStation Classic, which struggled to build up any consumer enthusiasm pre-release and then died on arrival through poor game selection and emulation.

Whilst the significance of the console and Sony’s first foray into gaming is unquestionable, it’s legacy, for me, lies more in what followed rather than what it still offers today.

(Honourable gaming mention though for Final Fantasy 7 – my first Japanese role-playing game. It blew my mind with the scale and scope of what games could achieve. Can’t wait for the remake.)
ProEvoSan78 (PSN ID)

 

Second time lucky
I remember initially backing the wrong horse for the 32-bit generation. I think it was Christmas ’96, I got a Sega Saturn with Virtua Fighter 2, WipEout, and Sega Rally. This was coming off my SNES, the experience was transcendent, just seeing the Saturn logo animation convinced me this was the future and it was one of the best days of my life – I was 15.

I never really cared about the PlayStation as the Saturn was too busy blowing my mind with games like NiGHTS, Marvel Super Heroes (which was superior to the PS version), and Panzer Dragoon Saga, but after a couple of years the writing was on the wall for the Saturn and the games went from a trickle to a drought…

Flash forward to Christmas ’98 (I think) and this time I find a PlayStation under the tree (Christmases in the ‘90s were the best). While it didn’t have the wow factor of moving from 16-bit to 32-bit that I had with the Saturn, I could see why the PlayStation was so successful. Playing Gran Turismo and Metal Gear Solid on Christmas morning was a profound experience. Curiously I didn’t actually move to the PlayStation 2, I got a GameCube (first console I bought myself) – which remains the best console ever made.
Rangersingh (PSN ID)

 

All-nighter
My fondest memory of the PS1 is staying up literally all night to earn enough credits for the Impreza rally car on Gran Turismo 1.

I wasn’t terribly good at Gran Turismo early on, so spent the whole night repeatedly doing the Sunday Cup championship and selling the car you got for winning it repeatedly.

It took hours, and the reason for the overnight session was that I didn’t own a memory card at the time, so no saving. Anyway, I managed it and claimed my pride. Did a couple of laps in it and then my brothers woke up and came downstairs. I needed sleep badly, so may have threatened them with violence if they dared turn the PS1 off before I had woken up.

Loved that game though. Still play it occasionally using the very same copy and console from that long, long night.
OldMiley

 

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Trendy console
Due to being a huge Nintendo fan and fully supporting the SNES and N64, I never owned or felt the urge to own a PlayStation 1. I appreciate the impact it had on the market with a huge back library of great games. My memories world be going around to my friend’s house (after he taped the then WWF on videotape!) to play on his console.

He’d regularly invest in the latest games and I thoroughly enjoyed Gran Turismo, Resident Evil, and Tomb Raider 1 and 2. The quirky nature of Oddworld and Hogs Of War were unique, as well as the countless hours of fun on the earliest WWF SmackDown! games (although nothing compares to THQ’s WWF No Mercy on N64).
I never owned a Sony console until the PlayStation 3, and then a PS Vita and PlayStation 4, but was intrigued by the PlayStation Classic. Sadly this console didn’t do the brand any justice, and although the console has its fair share of iconic and classic games, many seen extremely blocky, dated, and unplayable now.

Can’t dispute the huge impact the PlayStation 1 made on the market, but I’ll always be a firm believer that the N64, although it may not have been so cool or trendy, had software with superior gameplay, that has aged better, standing the test of time.

An unpopular opinion which didn’t bode well with all the kids at school!
Steve Derricourt

 

Cheap as chips
I can’t say I have fond memories of the PS1. I went with the N64 that generation, and I generally felt that the games that shaped the future of gaming mostly came out on Nintendo’s console.

Although the N64 controller wasn’t particularly ergonomic, I never really felt the PlayStation controllers were comfy in the slightest. In fact, it’s only the DualShock 4 that I’ve found comfortable to use, and I had a PlayStation 2!

I will admit to being very jealous of the cheaper price of PS1 games, compared to N64. My friends would regularly pick up games for their PlayStation but I’d have to wait for my birthday or Xmas, generally. I also recall the commonplace practice of ‘chipping’ the PlayStation, which allowed copies of games to be used, which led to many friends playing all the newest games for practically no cost.

My grandparents bought me and my cousins a PS1 in its final years, and I can’t really recall enjoying anything I played.

It certainly was the cooler of the consoles, something that Nintendo consoles never really are – and I’m fine with that. Sony’s treatment of third party developers also set the foundations for the domination of the PlayStation 2.

I would say though, that the lukewarm response to the PlayStation Classic demonstrates that there really weren’t that many truly great games that have held up. The recent MediEvil remake also lends supports to this. Maybe I just wasn’t into the kind of games that were popular on PlayStation.
Matt

 

Triple jump
Like many, I expect, I have very fond memories of the PS1 back in the day. It felt like such an amazing step up from the Mega Drive it was like it had jumped two or three generations in one go. Games like Crash Bandicoot, WipEout, and Tekken were amazing to me then.

Playing them now though… not so much. The originals are so bad looking they’re almost recognisable to me and yet there are good modern versions of all three so really you can still play the essence of what they were then but with modern graphics. Best of both worlds.
Denty

 

Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here

 

Not actual gameplay
I bought my first PlayStation at the end of 1997. I knew precious little about home-gaming and had taken no interest in it or arcade games since I’d last played Space Invaders in a Welsh pub whilst on a college field trip in 1980.

It was, I think, a late night extended promotional PlayStation TV advert for Colony Wars: Vengeance that grabbed my attention. The game looked so good I almost couldn’t believe that they had developed to that level. Of course, they had not. I’d been hoodwinked by FMV.

But the next week, probably in the same TV slot, they showed some real in-game footage of Riven: the sequel to Myst. It looked amazing, still does for its time, but I was too naive to realise that the game in almost every way was unrepresentative of the PlayStation. However, I was hooked and about a month later I was at Dixons paying for a PlayStation and four games bundle; both those games already mentioned plus Command & Conquer and Tekken 3.

The disappointment of what Colony Wars: Vengeance actually looked like was real and the gameplay so hard for a games noob I almost gave up on it. And Riven, once I’d got over how it looked, frustrated the hell out of me. I did not understand Command & Conquer and Tekken 3, whilst an amazing looking game, likewise.

I thought I’d made a big mistake but I went along to my local Electronics Boutique (before it became GAME) hoping to find something that would justify the PlayStation purchase. I knew nothing about either but I bought Tomb Raider and Tenchu on a whim.

Tomb Raider was exactly what I’d been hoping for. I loved it, every new area was a surprise and delight, it was big, explorable, exciting, frustrating, confusing, and satisfying. But most of all it was involving, at its best, in ways no other form of entertainment matches. Tenchu followed with its often open levels and classic stealth gameplay cementing both games and their genres as favourites to this day.

But if it had not been for the PlayStation and Tomb Raider in particular I would not be here and I would not have had a hobby that over 20 years on still has the power to excite me. Happy birthday PlayStation and thanks.
Malcolm Lawn

 

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