Today marks the 20th anniversary of the PlayStation, and boy do I remember it fondly. Sony was a newcomer to the console market. Super Nintendo was the dominating console in my home, seconded by the NES, and the lowly Sega Genesis just sat there and collected dust. This new PlayStation thingy had promise, but it was $300 at launch and my meager bus boy job did not allow me to buy this console right away. However, I saved like a boss and three months after its launch, I acquired this mythical new console…from Funcoland. Yeah…let that sink in for just a moment.
Over the past 20 years—God I feel old now—I have played countless games on the Sony platform. I raced an obscene amount of hours in Destruction Derby. Crash Bandicoot filled me with glee. There was also that first moment I jumped into the original Tomb Raider and felt completely blown away and awe struck. Oh, and let’s not forget that I would race home from school, throw any homework I had to do on the floor, and jumped into Final Fantasy VII. Finally, there was the original dual shock controller, which became a necessity for playing Gran Tourismo.
I have so much love for the PlayStation. It ushered in a new era of gaming when some of us thought that cartridge games were the only way to go. The analog stick was a revolution when it came to home consoles. The music was no longer chip tunes, but full blown CD quality orchestral greatness. The cinematic cutscenes for games drew me in as though I were watching something only the Lawnmower Man could come up with. I was able to just take a small memory card to a friend’s house to show off my kick-ass Tekken skillz…with a z for emphasis on my greatness. We finally saw arcade quality games coming to our obscenely large CRT televisions planted in the living room at home. It was nothing short of epic, and immensely exciting.
Like all things technology, the PSX would soon become a retro console, replaced by the PS2, then the PS3, and now the PS4. All of these consoles have provided me great memories, but the PSOne was the first console to pry me away from my beloved SNES, which was no easy task. While it now feels like new consoles are just an evolution opposed to a revolution, twenty years ago it felt like games just leaped forward into some fabled future and we had no idea where that future would take us. With that, I raise my beer to you PlayStation. Thank you for the countless memories and god knows how many lost hours of traversing the virtual worlds you have provided me!