Sprite Nation don their rose-tinted spectacles and cast a beady eye back over the feats of the humble Sony PlayStation and some of its most beloved games…
Ahh the 32bit PlayStation; that ugly, schoolroom grey, bug-eyed machine with its hideous black scratchy McScratchface discs, it’s headache inducing saw tooth jagged visuals and… Awww heck, one look at the fuzzy little PS logo as it boots up with a twinkle and we’re still smitten to this day.
In its own way this console revolutionized gaming; the new kids on the block Sony quickly established themselves as a modern heavyweight in the industry off the back of that slick PlayStation branding (which remains incredibly relevant over 20 years on), tapping into the culture of the mid- to late-90s irresistibly with a whole host of great games which became “must-plays” if you wanted to have any respect in the playground. We strongly suspect that the Sony PlayStation was quite an influence on the childhoods of many of you out there.
Starting with the big rectangular box releasing late in 1994, the PlayStation went on to be known as the PSX once Sony released the PSOne in 2000; a neat, rounded off iteration that offered a fantastic LCD screen accessory to go with it. They advertised it as “fitting in your pocket”, a quite frankly ludicrous claim, until you remember that it was 2000 and everyone was wearing baggy cargo trousers. Well played Sony, well played.
Lifetime sales figures amounted to over 100 million units in all, and the basic, two pronged control pad would later be blessed with two analog sticks and a rumble feature, and endure as a controller for the ages, being updated only slightly in shape (and modern tech, of course) for the launch of the PS4 in 2013. As the console featured only two controller ports, a multi-tap was needed for 4-player shenanigans, adding a giant grey boomerang to the console’s list of peripherals, such as the delightfully solid Time Crisis light gun, that diddy LCD screen, and more dance mats than you could shake a glow stick at.
Over 1000 games were released for the PlayStation, a number far outweighing its contemporaries, but truthfully, thanks mainly to 32bit block-o-vision, only a handful have stood the test of time…
10 nostalgic 90s discs
Gran Turismo 2 – Polyphony Digital
Packed full of real-life cars and tracks and given longevity by the series’ deep career mode, this was the most advanced racing game of its time, and quite a looker for the console, too.
Metal Gear Solid – Konami
Blocky as it may be, Kojima’s pure MGS yarn-spinning was arguably the birth of the stealth genre, and still holds up as a great example to this day.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater – Neversoft
That rarest of gems, a culture defining title which would help shape the music and fashion of a generation, giving a niche sport an almighty boost in the process. Smooth and achingly cool trick skating was most at home on the PS1.
Final Fantasy IX – Squaresoft
Which is the best Final Fantasy game might be one of gaming’s most hotly debated topics; although VII might have seemed the obvious pick, it’s Final Fantasy IX’s endearing cast of characters and enchanting world that wowed us the most and remains one of our favourite RPGs ever.
Pandemonium – Toys for Bob
A wildcard pick that you’re unlikely to find in too many top 10 lists; Pandemonium’s wacky 2d platforming was just too much fun to ignore. Just don’t judge it too hard now, OK? It’s aged worse than a 3 year old cucumber you justfound in the back of your fridge.
Resident Evil 2 – Capcom
Many people’s first real taste of horror gaming involved jumps and scares that left players touching cloth. Capcom used static camera views and CGI video to great effect in order to wow the late 90s crowds and… shit those fucking dogs are coming!
Crash Bandicoot – Naughty Dog
No single character represents the PS1 era better than the beloved mutated bandicoot Crash. Although it might not be the most finely tuned platformer, what it lacks in precision in more than makes up for in humour and 90s childhood nostalgia.
PaRappa The Rapper – NanaOn-Sha
PaRappa the Rapper is a love story. A classic tale of rapping dog meets talking flower, full of passion, heartbreak and, in the end, redemption. Not only does it have a hilarious script but it also set a new standard for the rhythm game genre.
Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee – Oddworld Inhabitants
For us, this is synonymous with the PS1. A dark and quirky platformer that puts you in control of poor old Abe, as he fruitlessly attempts to evade all manner of horrific demises whilst escaping his home, the, err… meat processing factory. “For kids” they said!
Tomb Raider – EIDOS
The idea might seem old hat now, but the action/adventure genre really sprang into life with Eidos’ awkwardly buxom heroine. The likes of the Uncharted games are now the sweet fruits of these early endeavours. We owe you one, PlayStation.