Today the worldwide phenomenon known as the Playstation (or psx, or PSone) celebrates its 10th anniversary. And I think I will take a different approach for looking at the system. I am going to take a look back at what I saw and thought of about the system back when it hit US stores back in 1995. I'm not going to give you some kind of history lesson about what the system has accomplished because I am not a history writer. Or Steven Kent for that matter.
10 years ago
In 1995, the only systems that I owned at the time were a Sega Genesis (plus SegaCD and 32X) and an NES. I also wasn’t a hardcore gamer like I am today. A few months before the launch of the Playstation I started to buy GameFan magazines. GameFan right away become one of my favorite gaming magazines of all time. The staff was not only straight to the punch but didn't pull any punches on what they thought about a really bad game. Throughout the issue I mostly saw stuff that was coming out for the Sega Saturn and read stuff about the upcoming Nintendo 64. I saw some stuff on the Sony Playstation but it really didn't interest me at the time.
At the time I was actually more interested in the Saturn. I was quite pleased with my Genesis and Sega CD that maybe someday my folks would invest in a Saturn. Well that never happened. I bought an October issue of Gamefan that year (at least I think it was the October issue) and it had a 7 page look at the new Final Fantasy game. Now while I was still not a hardcore gamer, I was very familiar with the series and was highly interested in the game. Of course my chance of playing it was zilch considering that my folks didn't have the money to get me a new system at the time.
Fast forward the year of 1996. I have lived in America for almost a year (my dad recently retierd from the army and we moved back from Germany) and my folks have subscribed me Game Informer thru a visit to Funcoland (to this day I still am subscribed to that magazine). Game Informer was a very balanced gaming publication and I enjoyed the commentary from the five editors that worked there at the time. To this day only two of those five editors still work at GI with doubled the staff. My first issue of GI was issue #40 which had a review for Mario 64 and had some updates on the newest platforming game Crash Bandicoot. Crash Bandicoot looked like a pretty cool looking platformer at the time and that is where my interest for the Playstation started to slowly rise. At one point I was hoping to get one for Christmas of 96, but instead I got a Nintendo 64.
Super Mario 64 was the pinnacle of platform gaming.
For the next few years I enjoyed my Nintendo 64. I had fun with games like Mario64, Doom64, Mario kart, Star Wars: Shadows of the empire, and Turok series. I really never looked back to other systems because I felt I had the better system. Yes, back in those days I could be described as a fan boy. I loved my N64 and I argued that it was better than any of the other systems. Until that fateful day in 1997. Final Fantasy 7 was released in America. That game took my breathe away. It made me want a Playstation so badly, but again my mom and dad weren't made of money.
The game that took the world by storm
Of course my interests for the Playstation went away after I read that they would port ff7 to the PC the following year. Plus the new Zelda game took my attention away for a long time. But from time to time I found myself looking at the Playstation game section because weather I liked it or not, Sony had more games. The reason for that was because Sony had better 3rd party support. I saw games that I really wanted to play. Games like Tekken, Gran Turismo, Resident Evil, Alundra and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. But that was mostly a dream for me.
Fast forward to 2001, I have been in college for a couple of years and I own a Sega Dreamcast( the first gaming console I have ever bought with my own money) and my foster brother got himself a fancy job as a programmer. For Christmas of that year, my foster brother bought a redesigned PSone for my little brother. This is my first time ever having a PSone at my house. My brother also gets a copy of Final Fantasy 9. I enjoyed playing it. Over the course of a year we get a small collection of PSone games. Me an my little brother had a blast on it with games like WWF Smackdown 2, Gundam Battle, several of the fun RPGs released for the system.
Yep, I finally got one. Minus the phone and the LCD monitor.
As you can most definitely tell, my past had very little to do with owning and playing a Playstation. Of course I have played it several times at either a friend’s house or at an EB Gameworld in the mall. As I look back now, I have always wanted one more than I think I wanted any of the other systems that I owned (besides my Dreamcast of course).
Today the Playstation is the king of consoles. It overran the Sega Saturn as the superior 32bit machine and it stole the market away from Nintendo. Why is this? Well because Sony did something that Nintendo and Sega have yet to really do. Listen to what gamers want. And to this day Sony continues to do this with their newest console the PS3.
Sony was a genius at marketing and they also had the money to back up huge ad campaigns. Once the word got out it was only a matter of time till the money started to roll in for them and the PSone's to start shipping out. And to this day I am amazed by what Sony and Mr. Ken Kutaragi (the father of the Playstation) have done with this wonderful little gaming device.
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