20 Years of Play – My PlayStation Memories


December 3rd 1994. East 17 were number one in the UK singles chart with Stay Another Day, Blackburn Rovers sat at the top of the Premier League table and yours truly was just 10 years old. It was also a Saturday, but that’s not what this article is about. It’s about a special day in gaming history. Yes, that’s right. On Saturday December 3rd in 1994, Sony launched the PlayStation in Japan. The rest, as they say, is history.

Now, I’m not going to go into historical detail on the PlayStation came about. If you want that, just head on over to the Wikipedia page. Besides, I think most of us know about the thing with Nintendo and Ken Kutaragi. Hell, even SEGA were involved at one point, but what we eventually got was Sony’s PlayStation. At the end of the day, that’s what matters. It’s certainly what matters to me, and that’s exactly what I’m going to delve into. My PlayStation journey, with memories and highlights aplenty.

Most of you know me as the guy who gets everything gaming related as and when it’s released, but back in the 90s that wasn’t the case. Obviously, I was a lot younger and not earning a living myself, plus we had recently moved to London (from Manchester) and my parents were working hard to keep a roof over the family’s head. Being just 10 years old at the time of the PlayStation’s launch, that didn’t stop me asking about getting Sony’s new console at every opportunity I got. I was working hard at school, doing all my chores and generally behaving, so I thought I deserved it. However, the Japanese launch on December 3rd went by, and nothing. I’d go into my local CEX with my mum, hinting, but it was just too expensive (imported) and she said no. It was a matter of then waiting for the European launch, September 29th 1995. A couple of weeks after my birthday, so I thought I would definitely get one. The hints were very strong by this point, but still nothing. I was disappointed, obviously, but I understood why. It was just hard to see all the adverts and hear about how much my friends were enjoying their sexy grey boxes. God, I sound like a brat, but I assure you I didn’t moan to my parents and just got on with it. Like I said, I understood.

Skip forward a few years, and we’re into 1998. I was still into gaming, mostly playing my good old SNES, but yearning for that PlayStation. Apart from gaming, football was my thing and was into it in a big way. I played regularly and supported Manchester United like they were my own family. It was hardcore. I’m going somewhere with this, stay with me. At that time, in the Premier League, the Arsenal-Manchester United rivalry was hotting up. The Gunners were emerging as a real force, testing us and making a real challenge for the title. Fast forward to March 14th 1998, the day the title was pretty much decided. Arsenal came to Old Trafford and won thanks to a Marc Overmars goal. I was gutted. Actually, no, I was devastated. I was home alone, watching it, as my family were out shopping. My mum called me, asked me what happened because she could hear I was upset and I told her. It was just a sport she said (blasphemy) and finished by telling me they’d be home soon.

Coming home around 5pm-ish, my mum walked into with a massive GAME branded bag and said “here, you’ve earned this.” 13 year old me was in a dazed state. It was an out of body experience. Sounds dramatic, but it was. Anyway, I grabbed the bag and emptied the contents like you wouldn’t believe. I was greeted by a brand new PlayStation, Crash Bandicoot, an extra controller and memory card. At that moment, I was sure I was the happiest kid alive on planet earth. It’s cheesy as hell, but it was my PlayStation moment. It’s something I will never forget.

Looking back, getting the PlayStation played a massive role in getting me where I am now. You know, doing what I do now. Running websites, writing reviews, covering events, meeting developers and everything else. It ignited a passion for gaming in me that burns strong to this very day. From the moment I turned on the PlayStation and heard the boot up music, I was taken. Games like Crash Bandicoot, Silent Hill, Resident Evil, Resident Evil 2, Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VII, Gran Turismo, Tekken 3, Driver and PaRappa The Rapper just kept hooked and going for ages. They also brought out the creative side of me, making me wanting to get involved in the industry. Well, those games helped, but it was one that pushed me over the edge. Metal Gear Solid. I still remember trading in all the games I owned and pissing off my mum in the process just so I could have that game. Reading magazines had got me hyped, I just had to have it by any means necessary. If you’re ready this mum… Sorry but no sorry. For me, everything about that game defined what the PlayStation was about. Hideo Kojima (or God as I call him) pushed the boundaries of what was possible then, producing an amazingly cinematic game that was littered with jaw-dropping, out of the box design moments. Brilliant. Just brilliant.

From then on, I was hooked on PlayStation. The PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3 I got on launch as I was earning money for myself, with the former being my favourite console of all time (so far anyway). Again, Metal Gear Solid kind of defined Sony’s second console for me as well. Sons of Liberty, I must’ve played that demo like a million times. The opening, on the tanker, truly special. Then there’s Snake Eater, probably my favourite game of all time. Introducing Big Boss to the masses, with sumptuous gameplay and an ending that will stay with me forever. Another Konami game I played forever on the PlayStation 2 was PES (Pro Evolution Soccer). I remember it came out the same day as Silent Hill 2 (another favourite of mine) and I couldn’t  find it my local store. Gutted. I had to make the trip the next day to another two stores just to get a copy, but it was worth it. I got into that series so deeply, investing over 50 season in Master League on PES 3 and countless of hours of local in local multiplayer with friends. Master League battles via teams on memory cards were a regular thing. Even during its last hurrah the PlayStation 2 delivered excellence, with the likes of God of War II and Shadow of the Colossus. The latter… Oh man, it’s just spectacular. I will never EVER forget taking on the first colossi. A completely unforgettable gaming moment.

With the PlayStation 3, I’ll be honest and say it wasn’t my main gaming console. It played second fiddle to the Xbox 360, but I still spent countless of hours on it and was delivered some of the best experiences of the last generation. It surpassed Microsoft’s system in terms of exclusives, a clear step or two ahead. Once again, Metal Gear Solid carved out another mark in my memory thanks to Guns of the Patriots. Kojima-san’s PlayStation 3 exclusive wrapped up Solid Snake’s story nicely, with some genuinely emotional moments. That said, two Sony published titles made the biggest impression on me with their third console. Uncharted 2 and Journey, two incredible games. 10/10 games, I don’t care what anyone else thinks. Utterly fantastic from start to finish. With Uncharted 2, it’s the way Naughty Dog stepped up from the original to this, creating a story-driven title with blockbuster, set piece moments nudging it along at a steady pace. Then, at the other end of the scale, you have Journey. A downloadable, indie game that blew pretty much anyone who played it away, especially me. Simple mechanics and no real dialogue, but incredibly deep it its execution. Oh and the music courtesy of the talented Austin Wintory, my god. I will never forget that moment where you first “meet” your companion. Actually, I lied. Add The Last of Us to that list. I mean, how could I leave this masterpiece out. Another Naughty Dog title, story driven with excellent, visceral gameplay. I never thought a game could make me cry, but how wrong was I. How wrong was I. A game that stayed with me weeks after the credits rolled.

And there’s more to come with the PlayStation 4. Sony is far from done yet. Their latest console is only a year old, and doing so well already. It’s debatable if it has any must-have games yet, but with the likes of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, The Order: 1886, Uncharted 4, No Man’s Sky, Batman: Arkham Knight and plenty more on the way in 2015… Yeah, Sony is far from done yet. Expect plenty more PlayStation moments and memories. I’ve had loads already, and can’t wait to see what Sony has in coming up next. Here’s to another 20 years of PlayStation. Mwah.

Got any PlayStation memories of your own? Please feel free to share in the comments.

Joint Editor-in-Chief of this wonderful place. Over 10 years of games industry experience on all sides of the fence and more! Huge Metal Gear fan and all-round geek.


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