It’s hard to believe that there was once a time when the PlayStation didn’t exist – when the gaming market was owned by Nintendo and Sega. Tomorrow, a new era for the PlayStation brand begins as Sony unleashes the fourth installment in their home console line with the PS4.
In order to celebrate this event, I thought it’d be nice to look back on my favorite PlayStation-driven memories and to find out what others’ most memorable thoughts were, too. I asked around on the HDN forum and received a few responses back from some PS fans. I was surprised by the amount of detail that some of the contributors put in to their write-ups, but at the same time, I wasn’t. After all – and this is hard to explain to someone who’s not a gamer – gaming can provide some incredibly memorable moments in your lifetime, whether it’s where you were, who you were with or what time in your life it was.
“There’s far too many moments that I can think of. PlayStation has been a big part of me growing up with memories going back from PlayStation 1 all the way through PS3 and possibly extending to the PS4. I can’t just pick one moment because there are two franchises that are very close to my heart (so to speak). First, FINAL FANTASY VII changed me forever. Perhaps one of the best JRPG of its time, the story, gameplay and characters were simply amazing. To this day, I play the game from beginning to end once every year. It never gets old!
Second, finishing KINGDOM HEARTS II and realizing how complex and incredible the franchise is. The soundtrack and story completely took me by surprise. I have followed the story from Day One and played every single release to date so I don’t miss a single piece of the puzzle.”
I’ll be honest; RPGs were never one of my favorite genres, but I think that’s just because I was too impatient to put 60+ hours into one game. I did enjoy the CHRONO series, though, and I especially enjoyed FINAL FANTASY X. My best friend was/is a diehard RPG fan, so he always kept me up to date on the franchises and their stories. The amount of work that goes into those games – especially the classic ones that appeared on the PSOne and earlier consoles – will always blow my mind.
Next up, Al (HDN forum member adrenaline78) contributed the following:
“So back in the day when I was still in high school, Sony introduced the PlayStation. I enjoyed Nintendo back then and my friends and I played the 3DO a lot, but once I got wind of the PlayStation, I knew I had to have it. I got the launch title NEED FOR SPEED and really played the crap out of it. After a while, I got FINAL FANTASY VII and I was totally blown away! I have never played a game with such a story as I was mainly a sports gamer. FF7 was the first game I have ever beaten the main story on and still remains one of my most fond memories of gaming… except Ruby Weapon. I hated that guy and could never beat him. My favorite titles for that gen were NEED FOR SPEED (I actually still have this game), FF7, TWISTED METAL and GRAND THEFT AUTO II.
Fast forward to the PlayStation 2 release. I was one of the few who was able to get a launch console and I really enjoyed the multipurpose aspect of it as not only was I into movies, but I still loved sports games. I really didn’t play many games other than sports titles on that system and eventually stopped gaming as nothing really piqued my interest. Today, however, it’s still being used as I was able to pass it down to my son who uses it quite a bit to play all sorts of games.
A few years ago, I decided that it was time to upgrade from DVD to Blu-ray and I talked my wife into getting the PS3 for my birthday as it was a dual-purpose console. My son got me LEGO INDIANA JONES 2 and we had a blast playing that game together. It was great, being able to do something that I enjoyed and getting to spend time with my son. So while I wasn’t a huge gamer anymore, my interest was piqued with such a fun game. I then asked around and found out that UNCHARTED 2 was one of the most-liked games around, so I decided to get it. Talk about being blown away! It was such an immersive experience that a game could have such a great story, but is fun to play… and it made you think. After that, I was hooked. I kept searching for games that were amazing as the system had been out for 4-5 years already, so I was in catch-up mode. I have grown fond of the system, but I am eagerly looking forward to what the next gen has to offer! My favorite games on the PS3 are THE LAST OF US, the UNCHARTED series, HEAVY RAIN, PORTAL 2 and I’m sure I’m forgetting some!”
It seems like FINAL FANTASY VII is a common theme among the PlayStation gamers whose passion grew out of the original console. To me, that’s not surprising at all as it’s still probably one of the most talked about PS exclusives of all-time. That was the entry point for a lot of gamers into the PlayStation world and I will always be thankful to Squaresoft for that.
Gaming with loved ones is always a common theme, too. When it comes to gaming experiences, you can generally almost always remember who you were with at the time. I remember playing DUCK HUNT and TETRIS with my parents way back in the day – those were good times. Unfortunately, those were really the only games that they could wrap their minds around, though my Dad did enjoy watching me play NASCAR ’98 on my PSOne.
“Some of my fondest memories as a kid involve a PlayStation and thankfully, due to Sony’s ability to always deliver an amazing gaming platform with fresh and exciting features and console-exclusive games, some of my fondest memories as a teenager and young adult also involve the PS2 and PS3. I look forward to them continuing this trend for me with the PS4, but most importantly, I’m thankful that they’ve been able to keep my interest and passion at a constant high over the years. PlayStation for me is now a major part of my lifestyle – I meet and play with friends through the PlayStation Network on a daily basis and we simply create fun, memorable moments together.”
I left Nick’s entry for last because, as a younger gamer than both Jorge, Al and myself, Nick highlighted the PlayStation Network (PSN). The fact here is that co-op gaming has evolved from something that can only happen in one room to something that can happen anywhere in the world. For the older gamers, this can be a hard pill to swallow – after-all, it’ll be tough to game with your children if there’s no more local two-player games out there. At the same time, though, online gaming has become such a massive phenomenon over this last console cycle that it’d be silly to think that it won’t just continue to grow throughout the years. While it may reduce one-on-one time between gamers and their real-life friends, it’s greatly increasing cultural knowledge and respect in the sense that someone in the United States (for example) could become friends with someone in Germany when they may’ve never met in real life otherwise.
I’ve been a PlayStation gamer since 1998. My love of gaming came from the original Nintendo console that my grandparents bought my siblings and I one year a long time ago, but I didn’t become an avid gamer until I purchased my PlayStation (alongside a horrible choice of games including CRUSADER: NO REMORSE and FANTASTIC FOUR). Yes, I’ve dabbled with other consoles along the way (I’ve owned a Dreamcast, GameCube and various handhelds, and I purchased the original Xbox specifically to play STEEL BATTALION), but for the most part, I’ve always been exclusive to Sony and their PlayStation brand.
It was METAL GEAR SOLID that changed my views on what a game could be – that it could be so much more than just some side-scrolling adventure with chirping as a voice instead of actual dialogue. While the graphics obviously haven’t aged well, the story and performances were like something that could’ve came out of Hollywood and that was an exhilarating experience.
The PS2 was the first and only console that I’ve ever saved up for and pre-ordered for a launch release. I had a little Styrofoam cup and every week, I’d put all my extra dollars into to save up for the next PlayStation. When I first picked up that big blue box from my local game retailer, I couldn’t stop smiling. Alongside it, I purchase TEKKEN TAG TOURNAMENT and RIDGE RACER V – definitely better choices for games this time around.
The PS3, while showcasing some of my favorite games of all time, has probably been my least-favorite PlayStation console to date. Maybe I just have shoddy luck, but in the six years that I’ve owned the PS3, I’ve gone through five separate systems. Nevertheless, when you have games like the UNCHARTED series, GOD OF WAR III, METAL GEAR SOLID 4 and THE LAST OF US, hardware problems are easier to overlook. Plus, I now have an awesome red GOD OF WAR PS3, so that’s pretty cool (though nothing will ever top the original PS3’s piano black finish and chrome linings).
I won’t be purchasing a PS4 at launch, but that’s not to say that I’m not incredibly excited for it; my PS3 backlog is just way too huge at the moment for me to go and buy a new console. I had the opportunity to play KNACK while at the Fan Expo in Toronto this past summer and it was pure fun, so I really hope that system adopters at launch help to support that game.
PlayStation has given me so many fond memories over the last 15 years and I can’t begin to thank Sony enough for all the experiences and memories that they’ve provided. I hope that all you PS fans out there will chime in below with your most memorable times with a PlayStation console.
Thanks again to Jorge, Al and Nick for sharing their memories. The PlayStation 4 arrives tomorrow in North America and November 29th in Europe, Australia and New Zealand. It’ll be released in Japan in early 2014.