Way back in September of 1995 Sony launched a risky new product: the PlayStation console.
Originally conceived as a console known as the SNES-CD in collaboration with Nintendo, Sony was left high and dry when Nintendo pulled out of the deal. Instead, Sony decided to create their own games console, and the PlayStation was born.
Fast forward to 2015 and players are now enjoying games on the fourth iteration of the console. To celebrate, or rather to hold a long palaver in the office, we’ve compiled a list of 20 stand out moments from PlayStations 20 year history.
These aren’t the most important moments, or the most exciting, and the list isn’t even in any particular order, but they are what we associate most closely with the PlayStation.
1. The iconic Playstation 1 start up sound
This single chime is something of a clarion call of everyone who has ever pressed a button or twiddled a joystick. When we were younger, less cynical and more impressionable, we had no idea that this little sound would soon introduce us to creatures and characters that would impact our lives for years to come. Solid Snake, Crash Bandicoot, Spyro and many others were hiding just behind this single sound, ready to go on adventures with us.
2. The strange and unsettling adverts
We’re very tempted to leave this video here without context, and just let you experience the bizarre world of Sony marketing. The first advert does this job adequately: the so-called “Baby Commercial” was used to kick off a a rumoured $150 million dollar campaign to advertise the (then) new PS3. Like we said, watch and be afraid, be very afraid.
Other ridiculous PlayStation commercials:
3. The ship graveyard shoot-out from Uncharted 3
The Uncharted series has always been renowned for high-octane action that rivals the biggest Hollywood blockbusters – but one particular set-piece always shone a little brighter for us.
Without spoiling the how or why, cocky adventurer and sometime tomb-defiler Nathan Drake finds himself fighting off pirates in the floating graveyard of naval vehicles. While we did provide a short video of the longer scene, this is something you need to play to experience the magic: the boats bob and turn while singing a rusty wail, the dreaded pirates are coming in from every angle, every shot you take needs to account for the swaying of your foot holding…
While you play through it, the beautiful level design may take a back seat to your survival instinct. But once the dust settles, you’re likely to marvel at the talent and craft that went into it. It’s gaming at its best. It’s magic.
4. Dying in Demon’s Souls
The now infamous Souls series has made a name for itself for its brutal difficulty and the simple message players read upon failing: ‘You Died”. The importance here is that death is more of a central game mechanic than a failure state, where every death teaches the player important lessons to progress further without repeating mistakes and losing more time and resources. That having been said, even those players who take note of their errors are likely to see this game’s most iconic missive. Over, and over, and over agan…
5. The ridiculous cutscenes in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
One staff writer here at htxt.africa played Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots as not only their first game on the PS3, but their first Metal Gear Solid game. While they did play it to completion, they had a lot of free time to sit and watch the cutscenes and think about the mistakes in their life that had led them to that point.
Here are the raw numbers: MGS4 holds two Guinness World Records; one for “longest cutscene ever in a videogame” at 27 minutes, and one for “longest sequence of cutscenes ever in a videogame” at 71 minutes. All told, the game features eight and a half hours of cutscenes. Wow. Just… wow.
6. Dual thumbsticks
While other companies had used thumbsticks in various configurations over the years, it was Sony with the PS2 that decided to include two of them (one for each thumb) with a full complement of buttons to play your games.
We don’t really have to explain the impact this had; every controller that ships with an Xbox, Wii U or even an Ouya will have some variation on this controller design, as well as the two thumbsticks.
7. Piloting the exoskeleton in Killzone 2
The Killzone series will be remembered for various reasons: solid shooting mechanics, instantly recognisable art design and sound assets and even the extremely fun multiplayer. But for us, it all about the ‘bots, baby.
The LS209 Exoskeleton (which is incorrect, because it’s obviously a mech, not an exoskeleton), is a marvellously brutal apparatus that players piloted in Killzone 2, and we loved every second of it. Stomping around the battlefield crushing space Nazis beneath out metal feet was almost too much fun.
8. The great PlayStation Network (PSN) outage of 2011
We imagine that working at Sony in 2011 must have been a hellish experience. After a security breach in the PSN, around 77 million accounts were compromised and players were stopped from accessing the network. After Sony disguised the downtime as maintenance, they came forward to admit the hack and PSN went down for 23 days.
Once the service was (presumably) safe again and turned back on, Sony had a lot of apologies to make. In the end Sony offered compensation to their users in the form of a “Welcome Back” program which included free access to the premium Playstation Plus service, as well as free games. The image above is of several Sony executives bowing in apology to their customers.
9. Just killing everything in God of War
There are a lot of reasons to love games, but one of the biggest is the medium’s ability to put players into fantastical worlds – like the world of Greek mythology in the God of War series. However, players aren’t put there to go sightseeing or take in the local flavours. Rather, their purpose here is to turn everything into paste.
The premise of the game is that the player-character, Kratos, is a Spartan warrior wronged by the Greek gods, so he does the sensible thing and decides to kill them. All of them. And every man, creature, demigod and physical construct in his way. Bloody, graphic, visceral, glorious.
10. Blatantly ripping off Super Smash Bros. with PlayStation All-Stars
Here’s a fundamental truth in the universe: all the good ideas are already taken. Even though games are a relatively new addition to the universe, the principle still holds true; all game developers can do is remix, remake and redo until they have the game they want to make.
That being said, we still can’t believe that PlayStation All-Stars came into existence. Nintendo came out up with the idea to throw the main characters from several of their IPs into a single game, have them beat each other up, and packaged up as a game called Super Smash Bros. in 1999. Now the series has several entries and is even played as a serious competitive game. Then, in 2012 PlayStation looked at that idea and, well, ripped it off verbatim. Replace Nintendo characters with PlayStation characters, include some backgrounds from PlayStation games for good measure and voilà, you have PlayStation All-Stars.