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20 Years of PlayStation - SoS Memories/Celebration Thread

by Alex Connolly » Wed Dec 03, 2014 11:37 am

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If ever there was a shot in the arm, a veritable spike on the console history cardiogram, it would the Sony PlayStation. Released in Japan this very day, December 3rd 1994, it heralded a new age of video gaming. It was flashy, adult-friendly, played to cool consumer demographics like nothing had before. And here we are, many moons down the road, still feeling the reverberations and iterations that rippled and forked from this bottle of lightning.

I figured it would be quite nice to read Squaddies' recollections, thoughts and ideas on the venerable grey slab; first impressions, lasting memories and the time spent with Sony's marvellous machine. Go forth, type and be merry.

Happy birthday, you wonderful thing.
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Re: 20 Years of PlayStation - SoS Memories/Celebration Threa

by Angry Jedi » Wed Dec 03, 2014 7:18 pm

Looking back on nearly 30 years with some sort of input device in my hand (I believe I first became sentient enough to play video games at the age of about 5 or so) it occurs to me that the PlayStation brand and platform has consistently provided me with a significant number of my favourite gaming experiences over the years.

This isn't to knock the experiences that Nintendo and Sega offered in the 8- and 16-bit eras, mind -- though I didn't become a console player until the SNES era, having remained steadfastly an Atari computer gamer prior to that -- but rather, PlayStation marked something of a turning point in my appreciation of games as a medium of entertainment. They stopped being something that was just a distraction -- prior to PlayStation I'd have a certain degree of attention-deficit with regard to the games I played, having a go at one for maybe half an hour tops, then moving on to something completely different, repeat to fade -- and instead became something deep, meaningful and exciting for me.

The PSone era is the age when I started to beat games. There were exceptions prior to that -- I finished Super Mario World several times over, for example, and shorter games like Starfox were easily beatable -- but it wasn't until the PlayStation era that I started specifically trying to see everything a game had to offer. I played Ridge Racer until I had the black car in my grasp; I played Tekken until I'd seen all the ending movies; I spent a summer with my friends playing Final Fantasy VII during which we each finished it several times over, one runthrough of which was spent in a largely alcohol-and-weed-induced haze that prompted some very strange dreams indeed when we both passed out in my living room having been playing it non-stop for 36 hours straight.

We started to see games with ambition beyond being simple... well, games, too. Kojima and Metal Gear Solid are oft-mocked these days, but at the time of its original release MGS provided one of the most movie-like experiences on any platform... outside of those games that were little more than FMV playlists, of course. RPGs, too, tackled complex themes and the improved technology allowed them to be done more justice. It was at this point I became thoroughly enamoured with video games as a means of telling interactive stories -- a trait that I still have today.

The PlayStation 2 continued this trend, with improved technology allowing even more impressive games to show their stuff. The first game I ever played on PlayStation 2 was an early Squad Mission -- Shadow of Memories -- and the fact that a game could make a convincing, compelling and enjoyable experience with no combat or any sort of traditional "conflict" as depicted in past games was just mind-blowing to me.

And as for the PlayStation 3, well, it's currently my second-favourite console behind the Vita in terms of being rammed to the gills with exactly the stuff I want to play. I have confidence that the PlayStation 4 will end up in a similar position, too -- it's not there just yet, but there's enough coming down the pipe to get me interested.

But back to the original grey slab of plastic... yes. A wonderful piece of kit, and one that holds many incredibly strong, happy memories. Of the systems of that generation, too, I feel that its games stand the test of time a lot better than Nintendo's efforts. This isn't to say the N64 didn't have some wonderful games, of course, but those games simply don't -- to me, anyway -- have the enduring relevance that a lot of the PS1 back catalogue still has. Perhaps that's why my game shelves still have a decent selection of PS1 games on them, while my N64 and its games left my life several years ago, and I've been in no hurry to reacquire them.

A very happy birthday to you, PlayStation; here's to the next 20 years.
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Re: 20 Years of PlayStation - SoS Memories/Celebration Threa

by Alex Connolly » Wed Dec 03, 2014 9:52 pm

Thoughts of expedient recuperation go out to the Jedi as he suffers a malady, and thus, I post a link to his esteemed blog and a post centered on the grey box and his favourite software. Behold:

I’m going to present some fake awards for the games that have stuck in my mind ever since I first played them. In some cases, it may have been 15-20 years since I played them, but they still carry significant meaning to me for one reason or another. In many cases, they may not even be among the best games on the platform, but for whatever reason I have remembered them fondly ever since...


Angry Jedi's Picks of the PSX
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Re: 20 Years of PlayStation - SoS Memories/Celebration Threa

by A.I Impaired » Thu Dec 04, 2014 3:23 am

Playstation had one hell of a library for sure. Hell even PC ports were pretty common due to the cd format. Did you know there was even an unreleased port of Baldur's gate made? It was pretty horrible like many of those ports, but at least the playstation was trying. Big hardcore games were sony's business, and business was good. Cinematic quality on your tv went up in a big way. Of course Games like final fantasy vii and metal gear solid blew my mind. I was captivated by sometimes badly translated often over dramatic storytelling/ horrible voice acting (with some exceptions). It was the shit. I remember seeing friends play resident evil 1, and believe it or not that made me want a playstation.
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Re: 20 Years of PlayStation - SoS Memories/Celebration Threa

by Alex Connolly » Thu Dec 04, 2014 12:14 pm

I think it was holding a copy of WipEout in my hands that did it. That Designer's Republic aesthetic, the adult raver soundtrack...it felt like a revolution, and never had a game matched the console experience quite like the WipEout series. Maybe Ridge, but I've always put Psygnosis/Studio Liverpool's work as seminal poster children for the PlayStation ideal - flash, high-tech, fast, futuristic.

But a few of my fondest memories? Hmmm. In no particular order:

BRAHMA Force: The Assault On Beltlogger 9
Just a fantastic battlesuit game set within a stricken space station. Deep, technical and definitely requires a reboot or an homage. The stark, grainy visuals compliment the notion of exploring the innards of a facility within a tin can.

Chase The Express/Covert Ops: Nuclear Dawn
A fine popcorn blend of Resident Evil controls meets Metal Gear/Syphon Filter counter-terrorism aboard a train. Not nearly the production values of the aforementioned games, but it had charm and an interesting premise.

Front Mission 3
Oh, how I wish this series didn't beach itself in the West on the sands of FM4 and Evolved. For all Front Mission 3's exploits and faults, it was still a magnificent slice of Real Robot Geopolitical sabre-rattling. The world is great, the machine designs are fantastic and it gets played at least once every couple of years since release.

Ray Tracers
Chase HQ redux by Taito, all sleek and anime-like, Ray Tracers was high-speed insanity that does feel a bit like Auto Modellista's aesthetic ancestor. Also had a character named Spanker. This name has stayed with me since I first played it, for better or worse.

Nanotek Warrior
A shmup bolted to a 3D pipe. I dunno. Imagine an inverse Tempest at times? No perennial shooter in the vein of Raystorm or anything, but solid as a rock and very engaging.

Bloody Roar 2
I don't need Tekken or DOA or any other fighter, unless it's Bloody Roar. The hilarious and overdone visual flair of this series, particularly the second, is unparalleled outside of something like JoJo. Even then, you're playing with characters who transform into gorillas or moles - and with such gusto, they blast their opponent across the arena. Cannot be topped.

Sentinel Returns
Scored by John Carpenter, this bizarre, oppressive first-person puzzler is as polarising as it gets. Escaping the clutches of the Sentinel was a confusing experience for a young fellow, but I found it such an intoxicating game that perseverance was the only answer.

Jumping Flash
Far more important to 3D platforming than any Mario business in my opinion, Jumping Flash got inertia and first-person jumping absolutely spot-on, rarely repeated all these years on. Whimsical, gorgeous and a massive shame we've not seen a reboot of the series since.

Um Jammer Lammy
The most powerful fu in the strange rhythm games of the era as far as I'm concerned. Sure, we were young and all sorts of substances fed into the experience, but in the triumvirate, Lammy was Caesar to Vib Ribbon and Parappa's Pompey and Crassus. Never use Joe Chin's chains for them...

....

I'll think of more, but strolling down PlayStation memory lane is beaten only by recalling the PSP library. Good times were had.
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Re: 20 Years of PlayStation - SoS Memories/Celebration Threa

by mrgilder » Fri Dec 05, 2014 7:04 pm

When the PS1 came out, I was at a particularly formative part of my life as a lil' proto-gamer. I grew up with an Atari 2600, an NES, and Genesis, and I loved video games - but as a child, I mostly received games as gifts from adults. Sure I knew what I did and did not enjoy, but I had very little hand in deciding what games I actually had access to. When the PS1 arrived on the scene, I was getting old enough to form my own tastes and make my own choices in a more deliberate way. This was the time that I was reading magazines, walking to the rental shops with my friends to scope out the new releases, and actively asking for specific titles that I wanted. Allowance was part of the picture too. I had capital to make my own purchases. This was also when I talked to clerks and others customers in local game shops (remember those!??!?), and learned that there were others who liked this stuff as much as I did. Because of these events, the PS1 also coincided with my discovery of gaming as an identity and a community - as opposed to just another toy that I had for fun.

I very distinctly remember the day I put an add in the newspaper and sold my first Sega Saturn (don't worry I have/love one now) so that I could buy my Playstation. I was tired of listening to all my buddies in the school cafeteria talk about how great this tremendous game called Final Fantasy VII was while I didn't have access to it. It's a dirty little secret of mine that though I consider myself a bit of an RPG aficionado today, I actually didn't discover RPGs until the 32-bit era. So in turn, the PS1 was the MOST pivotal console in forming my gamer identity.

I'm not shy about being a huge fan of the Playstation brand. As AngryJedi mentions - Sony's consoles have consistently been the place where I've found the most entertainment over the years. I have nothing but deep love and respect for Nintendo, Sega, Microsoft, and all of the other manufacturers that have come and gone over the years (huzzah for the Neo-Geo), but I only ever learned to appreciate these other manufacturers products after the PS1 gave me the tools necessary to appreciate the art and design of the industry. For me the PS1 will always be akin to the young gearhead's first car or the fledgling artist's first box of crayons.The spark that lit the fire after the kindling was laid.

There are over 1,000 games in my collection. Well over half of them are for Playstation brand consoles. If that doesn't say it all, I don't know what does.
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Re: 20 Years of PlayStation - SoS Memories/Celebration Threa

by Teryn » Fri Dec 05, 2014 8:01 pm

... I will post, but not really from a point of nostalgia, because I was an N64 teen. Was introduced to the PSX because my partner still had a working PlayStation about, geez... 8-9 years ago now. I guess nearly 10 years is still nostalgic.

I think the first games we played together at his place were Mega Man X4 and Lunar: Silver Star Story. He and I both liked anime to some degree, so the animated cutscenes were what he'd hoped would draw me in, and I immediately regretted not having been able to experience both consoles back then. All the rest of the gameplay and memorable voices helped a lot, too (well... at least Lunar for the voice part, blech.)

Had mostly what we would now call AAA titles or cult favourites in the bunch we started to play. There was one that was pretty obscure, though: Trap Gunner. It's an odd ATLUS title that perhaps even pre-dated their Persona series success story. It's basically a deathmatch, but you use more than guns to fight. You also are able to strategically set invisible traps on the ground, some which have pure damage effects, some that slow you down, some that poison you, and even some that will push you several spaces over, and setting several traps in the path of said trap can almost always guarantee victory.

You are able to defuse traps, but it hampers your ability to move while doing it. Fortunately, it's an easy toggle, so you can check for traps every few visible spaces and then run a few more in a strange musical chairs-like start-stop.

Doesn't hurt that the story is appropriately set in a dystopic future with a megalomaniacal corporation (those were the days...) and has lots of twists and turns, as I've come to expect from ATLUS's excellent writers. It's surprising that a small title with probably only 50 sets of lines can make you laugh and also get chilled to the bone.

And yes, we did play Final Fantasy VII, and, well... even knowing what happens (I don't think 20 years changes spoilers, no one could play everything even back then) doesn't really prepare you for it. It was really in-depth. I can see that FFIV and VI were definitely a run-up to something like this. I think it made the JRPG the go-to game for a lot of people, an Ocarina of Time for the PlayStation (sorry, had to go there ;).

PlayStation did have a significant impact on gaming, moreso than the N64, I have to admit. It was still big N's arrogance as #1 at the time, that they could do anything and make the console as hard to develop for as they liked, that did the N64 in, not the quality of the console itself.

I was, and am, still somewhat happy to know that the PlayStation was a very good console, all the same.
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Re: 20 Years of PlayStation - SoS Memories/Celebration Threa

by mrgilder » Fri Dec 05, 2014 8:53 pm

Teryn wrote:There was one that was pretty obscure, though: Trap Gunner. It's an odd ATLUS title that perhaps even pre-dated their Persona series success story. It's basically a deathmatch, but you use more than guns to fight. You also are able to strategically set invisible traps on the ground, some which have pure damage effects, some that slow you down, some that poison you, and even some that will push you several spaces over, and setting several traps in the path of said trap can almost always guarantee victory.


Trap Gunner is amazing. The music in that game is so great. I still pop the disc in from time to time just to hear the tracks on the amazing intro sequence and character select screen. And to hear the announcer say "Abdoll Relin" because it's awesome to me for some reason.
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Re: 20 Years of PlayStation - SoS Memories/Celebration Threa

by ek6891 » Wed Dec 10, 2014 12:29 pm

It was pure chance that a PlayStation ended-up in our house. Pure chance.

My, now late, Grandmother had entered a competition to win one through a women's magazine. She entered a lot of competitions from women's mags, so she didn't expect to win anything.

But in this instance, she was the winner. The console came with discs for Tomb Raider III and Army Men 3D. The console was given to my younger brother, but he was too young for the games that came with it, so I ended-up playing on it out of curiosity more than anything. I didn't like the games much, so went back to playing on my Gameboy and Pokémon Blue.

It wasn't until I saw Final Fantasy VIII on sale in an Electronics Boutique store before Christmas the same year we got the PlayStation that I realised that maybe there were other games out there. I was given FF VIII for Christmas and... the rest is history.
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