Roundtable: PlayStation memories

September 22, 2010

This month marks the 15 year anniversary of the US release of the PlayStation. Since its release, it has gone on to become the top selling video game system ever. To celebrate the occasion, our staff shares their favorite memories of gaming on the PlayStation and what it meant to them.

Justin Last: I did not get a PlayStation until well after the PS2 was released. When I picked up my PS2 I came home with Red Faction and two PSX games: Final Fantasy Tactics and Front Mission 3. Red Faction sat unplayed for about six months because I was too wrapped up in these old SRPGs. My eyes were opened to whole new genres. After the SRPG I picked up Final Fantasy VIII and fell in love with the JRPG. And then the 3D platformer with Spyro. And then the Metroidvania with Symphony of the Night. By the time I owned my PS2 for a year I easily had five times as many PSX games as PS2 games. I may not have played them brand new, but Sony and the PSX are largely responsible for my eclectic taste, and I thank them for that. Now, if you’ll excuse me I have Valkyria Chronicles, Burnout Paradise, and Uncharted 2 waiting to be played in the other room.

Andrew Passafiume: The original PlayStation was the system that got me back into console gaming after my parents had sold a lot of my older games. It was definitely not the worst system choice to go with, especially with the first game I played being Final Fantasy VII. Despite how poorly it has aged, FFVII was a landmark achievement in cinematic presentation and RPG game design. This was only the first of many games that we would see on Sony’s first console.

The second big one, for me at least, was Metal Gear Solid. It brought video game cinematics to a whole new level and presented the player with a very well written and compelling storyline, something I had not seen too often in games before it. For me, the PS1 was an RPG goldmine, with many classic titles and buried treasures to explore. It was also the king of third party support and exclusives, with many games that just were not available anywhere else. I can say, without a doubt, that I would not be nearly as invested in video games, their development and the culture surrounding them without the PlayStation.

Chris Rasco: The PS1 was a great console because it marked the beginning of the console wars between Sony and Nintendo that has really drove the industry forward. Unfortunately, the PS1 was never my primary gaming system. In fact, I hardly had any games at all for it. The 2 most notable titles I had were Tenchu and Street Sk8er. The only reason I picked up Street Sk8er was because I was obsessed with the Top Skater arcade game. Browsing the list of 2000+ titles available for the PS1, it’s almost mind blowing to see all the great franchises that got their start there and all the amazing games that I flat out missed out on.

Looking back, the most amazing thing to me about the PS1 really was the chain of events that led to its creation and to see what Sony has been able to do with that foundation and how they’ve built on that technology.

Graham Russell: When I was a kid, my friends and I could really afford just one system, but we wanted to play everything, so we worked it out to get different ones. (The guy that bought the Saturn is still pretty mad at the rest of us.) Anyway, my memories of the original PlayStation are rather warm ones, and they’re almost completely about multiplayer. There was a lot of Twisted Metal, a lot of Tony Hawk and the occasional random rental we found.

Now, though, the ones I look back on most fondly are the single-player experiences, and it’s funny, because those carry no nostalgia with me. I’m talking Final Fantasy Tactics, Suikoden and Rayman. On the other hand, the games I play now are influenced heavily by those multiplayer sessions in the late ’90s.

Shawn Vermette: I’ve been into games, at least a little bit, ever since my parents brought home Super Mario Brothers and Duck Hunt. However, the PlayStation is the console that turned me into a full-fledged gamer and greatly broadened my gaming horizons. Before the PlayStation, all I played were Mario games and arcadey sports games. After the PlayStation came out, though, I was into RPGs, strategy games, realistic sports games, and racing games. The first game that really opened my eyes was, like Andrew, Final Fantasy VII. I discovered this game when my neighbors were playing an imported Japanese version of the game. I couldn’t understand a thing that was happening, but the cutscenes blew me away. When the US version arrived, I was once again, spending every day after school hanging out with my neighbors, playing through it with them. I was swept away with the story and the graphics and the cutscenes. I’d never seen such a thing from a video game before and I was hooked.

Later on, I managed to get a PlayStation of my own, and once again was enraptured by a Squaresoft RPG- Chrono Cross. It did once again for me, and this time for my brothers, what Final Fantasy VII had done for me years earlier. I had ‘fallen’ off the gaming path, and Chrono Cross brought it all back for me. The amazingly convoluted, yet so addictive, story, the cinematics, the graphics, everything brought back to me why I had loved games. Since then, I’ve never stopped gaming, and because of that, I’ll always fondly remember Final Fantasy VII and Chrono Cross, and the system that made them possible- the PlayStation.