Strange to think I’ve been a PlayStation gamer for 20 years now. That’s two decades of my life having owned a Sony console. It’s not been an exclusive relationship of course; I’ve been in an even longer arrangement with Nintendo and have flirted with SEGA and Microsoft in the past.
Who knows? Had it not been for the acrimonious split with me and my 360 over a red ring of death and £40 postage just so they could ‘assess’ my console, I might still be an Xbox owner today.
The PlayStation will always have a special place in my heart as it was the first console I saved up for and bought myself. In fact, it was the first console I owned at all. My parents had flatly refused during the NES era and the ban continued into my teenage years when the SNES and Mega Drive were in their pomp. I did, however, manage to secure a concession by way of a Game Boy for which I am still grateful for today. Despite the wonders of the handheld there had always been something magical about gathering around a screen at a friend’s house, passing the controller around and watching adventures unfold. So as soon as could afford a console, I did.
I splurged the majority of the first pay-cheque from my student job on a PlayStation. God knows how many pints I had to pull to earn the £300 or so that I needed but it was more than worth it.
That small, grey box was incredibly well made and I have so many fond memories of it. I was in a house-share at the time I bought it so went all-in on the multiplayer side, picking up a bundle that included the v-shaped four player ‘Multitap’ adapter, a copy of International Track & Field and Micro Machines V3. To this day I still consider the former to be one of the best competitive couch-multiplayer titles ever made.
A series of broken controllers would no doubt beg to differ.
It wasn’t just multiplayer as the single-player library is arguably one of the greatest out there. Final Fantasy VIII remains my absolute favourite game on the system, closely followed by Vagrant Story. I still revisit both regularly on the Vita as the gameplay still holds up as well today as it did back then. But there were so many other great experiences too – catching apes with a DualShock controller was a revelation, as was sneaking through the snow on Shadow Moses. You could zip through futuristic WipeOut racetracks at full pelt with The Chemical Brothers blasting out from the TV before changing the pace and playing a full Test Match in Brian Lara Cricket. Brilliant.
The PlayStation was the console that laid the foundations for today’s booming market and modern successes owe a lot to Sony’s great, grey machine. That first pay-cheque was money well spent indeed.
How about you? What are your memories of the PlayStation, or are you discovering some of those great games today?