Hello again, readers! This is the third issue of GBAtemp’s new “Memory Lane” article series, where I write about influential and nostalgic games and hardware that have reached an anniversary milestone. This time, we’ll be taking a look at something that shaped the entire gaming industry, changing it forever. How a failed partnership between two companies eventually created a titan. 23 years ago to this day, our subject, the Sony PlayStation released in North America. It look nine months for the historic console to make its way out of Japan, and a further 20 days after the American release for it to hit shores in Europe. When it released, it would become a direct competitor to the floundering Sega Saturn, and the monumental Nintendo 64.
Sony’s success story started here, with this very system. At this point, they had little to no experience with developing video games, causing them to seek out other major developers and sign contracts with them to secure that the PlayStation would have a vast library. Thanks to this, and the PlayStation’s new CD-based technology, we’d see companies like Capcom and Square, who had been working together with Nintendo for ages suddenly jump ship for what Sony offered. 32-bit hardware coupled with impressive at the time 3D visuals made for a “next gen” experience that surpassed what the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis could offer.
Though it was critically and commercially a success on the market, and heavily praised after it launched, there were not that many killer apps at the time. Ridge Racer, NBA Jam, Battle Arena Toshinden, and Rayman were some of the titles you could play on your PlayStation, and while they were all fairly enjoyed by gamers, there was a distinct lack of games that could put the PS1 in a league of its own.
Those would come later on. 1996 would bring about games like Crash Bandicoot, Resident Evil, and Tomb Raider, which defined the PlayStation as a mature console, but still one that could appeal to all ages as well. The following year would see two of the most beloved games of all time release; Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, and Final Fantasy VII. One was a peak of its genre, and the other defined how Japanese RPGs would be treated and compared to in the west for years to come.
If that wasn’t enough, Sony would go on to create the Dual Analog Controller, which was the first controller to popularize having two joysticks, and would later go on to be refined into Sony’s flagship controller, the DualShock. Now, dual-analogs have become the standard for video game controllers. Memory cards, too, were popularized on this console, as well as helping push forward an era of disc-based game releases. Many of the innovations made thanks to Sony's PlayStation helped influence future gaming trends, and its effects are still seen to this day.
More than two decades have passed since the PlayStation 1. From 3D platformers to JRPGs, a ton of varying games existed, kicking off long-running franchises, and revolutionizing older ones. Classics like Suikoden, Spyro, Valkyrie Profile, Crash, Final Fantasy, Resident Evil, Metal Gear Solid, and dozens more left lasting memories with players. Now, its successors, the PlayStation 2 and 3 have come and gone, and we have the PlayStation 4, which is making lasting memories with gamers, once more. With the advancements of the PlayStation, the world of gaming was forever changed, and it all started 23 years ago, on September 9, 1995.
Did you own a PlayStation at launch? Was it a console you grew up with? Are there any fond memories you have with playing the library of games? Let us know by sharing your experiences in the comments below!
If you liked this article, and would like to see more of these anniversary celebrations in the future, be sure to comment and let us know what gaming anniversary you'd like to see featured in future threads!