Previously on My Gaming History…
Sony’s first attempt at a home video console came during the fifth generation in home console history. The original PlayStation released on Japan in December of 1994. It didn’t hit US soil until September of the following year.
Personally, I didn’t get my hands on one until around May of 1998. That’s because I went to my senior prom after party where I won $100 in some kind of drawing where all sorts of prizes were being given away. That’s right, I skipped the prom and walked away from the after prom party with an extra hundred bucks. Not too shabby if you ask me.
By this point the Sony PlayStation had been on the market for nearly three years and I was intrigued by the games I had seen playable on the system. The fact that all of the games were on CDs was a foreign notion to me, since, at the time, my most advanced home gaming console was the Super Nintendo which still utilized cartridges. I saw CD games as some sort of super advanced technology.
At this point in life, I didn’t have a lot of friends that I would visit outside of school. So I really don’t know who had decided to make the jump from Sega or Nintendo over to Sony when the PlayStation was introduced. I don’t think I got my hands on a PlayStation controller until early in my senior year of high school when a kid from the church I’d just started going to brought his console to a youth group activity. The first PlayStation game I ever played was Frogger.
That’s right… Here I had my hands on this super advanced piece of technology and my first game on it was from the early 1980s. Right… no… this Frogger was obviously an updated version with 3D looking graphics and so many more stages that just trying to get a frog to cross a street and a stream. Still… for what the PlayStation had to offer, Frogger paled in comparison.
Anyway, as I mentioned, I won $100 from the after prom party and decided to put that toward getting a PlayStation of my very own. I’ve been a Sony guy ever since.
I mean… sure… I’ve returned to the Nintendo here and there over the years. Because you never forget your first love. But I’ve never been lured away from a PlayStation for the technological wiles of a Microsoft X-Box.
The first game I remember owning for the PlayStation was WCW Nitro. Yeah… a wrestling game. Hey, shut up! I was going through a pretty serious wrestling phase in my last couple of years of high school. It gave me and Dad an excuse to get interested in something together as we watched Hulk Hogan become “Hollywood” Hogan and saw the NWO become the bad guys while Sting would drop down from the ceiling with a baseball bat every week. Good times.
Okay, I didn’t think the game was that great. But it wasn’t long before I found one that was and would go on to be one of my favorite games of all time: Metal Gear Solid. This game wasn’t the first in the Metal Gear franchise, yet it felt like this game kicked off the franchise properly. You control a spy called Solid Snake and you have to infiltrate this secret military base in Alaska. And you have to do so undetected. Well… as undetected as possible. I played this game over and over again, trying to perfect my espionage maneuvers. If I had known about this game before I bought my PlayStation, it would have been the reason I bought a PlayStation. It’s that good.
I also decided to check out the much hyped Final Fantasy VII. Before I got the console, I remember seeing commercials for FF7 and thinking, “How can they be at seven when the most recent Final Fantasy game for the Super Nintendo was Final Fantasy III?” Honestly, that confused me for a lot years. But if seven is where we’re at, let’s go with it. So I bought Final Fantasy VII and I was promptly overwhelmed. This game came on three discs. Three of ’em. That meant it was a HUGE game.
Confession… I never even made it past the first disc. To this day, I’ve never beaten the original version of Final Fantasy VII. I’ll get around to it. One of my bucket list things is to play and beat every mainline Final Fantasy game. Next up for me is five… but I digress.
I remember playing the original Resident Evil and having the crap scared right outta me. And while I was never a big fan of racing games (outside of a Mario Kart), I did feel a draw to Gran Turismo, which was just spectacular. I know that with every gaming generation, the graphics just keep improving. But playing that game and seeing the cars rendered on the screen just made it seem like it couldn’t get any better.
Another game that has gone on to be considered one of the best of all time was Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. What a great title! Anyway, I may be wrong, but I’m pretty sure this is what turned Castlevania into something far beyond just a side scrolling hack and slash video game. In many ways it is similar to the Metroid series because you have to guide your protagonist throughout different sections of the castle to collect power ups and useful items so you can access other areas of the castle before finally going on to face Dracula in the end. Because of this and Metroid, we have the subgenre, “Metroidvania.”
The last game I’ll take time to mention here is Grand Theft Auto 2. I never played the original game but when I was a sophomore in college, I got my hands on this one. It’s so different from the GTA games we know today that one could hardly be blamed for trying to put it in another franchise or gaming category altogether. But it’s the first game I played that made it fun to be the bad guy. No… that’s not true either. There was another game that made it fun to be the bad guy but that’s a story that needs to wait for another post.
GTA 2 was mostly fun for me because of the roommates I had during that sophomore year. One of those roommates was on a path to become a police officer. And to watch him get his hands on the controller when Grand Theft Auto was being played was almost priceless to watch. That dude had the greatest time being a criminal. I’m sure today, he’s a fantastic cop. State trooper, actually…
Other than sports games (which continually get more and more realistic with each passing year), nothing else sticks out in my memory from the original PlayStation. I had a great time with the system and knew that, once the PlayStation 2 was announced, I would be getting my hands on that one, too.
But what did you think about the old school PlayStation? Did you have one yourself? What games did you love to play? What have I left out? Let me know your thoughts down in the comments!