The PlayStation One Launched 25 Years Ago Today
On September 9, 1995, the original PlayStation left Asia and began its colonisation of the gaming world.
We’re all itching to get our hands on the next generation of gaming, whether you reside in the church of Sony or Microsoft. Soon, the PS5 will arrive in homes, the fifth chapter of a long, life-defining journey for millions across the globe.
The PS1 was first released in Japan on December 3, 1994. More than eight months later, the console plotted its course to North America, before expanding to Europe and Australia soon after. Its release, competing against the Sega Saturn and Nintendo 64, made history.
Immediately, people went crazy for the console. With an intense focus on 3D, aimed at people between the ages of 12 and 24 and retailing at an attractive $299 with 17 games available at launch, stores across the US were quickly running out. With the festive season on the horizon, they flew off shelves faster than you could say PlayStation.
Ars Technica’s Lee Hutchinson, a former Babbage’s employee who worked during the console’s launch, recalled:
When September 1995 arrived and Sony’s PlayStation roared out of the gate, things immediately felt different than they did with the Saturn launch earlier that year.
Sega dropped the Saturn $100 to match the PlayStation’s $299 debut price, but sales weren’t even close – PlayStations flew out the door as fast as we could get them in stock… it steamrolled its way through Christmas. For months and months, we never had more than a few extra systems in stock.
Nine years after its launch, it was the first computer entertainment platform to sell more than 100 million units (later eclipsed by its follow-up, the PS2). It spawned a smaller, redesigned version called the PSone, which even came with a portable five-inch LCD screen in some combos. It’s still one of my dream items to own, but good luck finding one for a decent price.
I was born after the PlayStation’s release date, so I wasn’t around for the mania. However, my parents got one for the house in the late 90s, igniting my love for the PS1 quickly and fiercely.
Nostalgia, it’s delicate but potent. However, there’s no rose tint in remembering the euphoria of the console’s opening theme; the twinkly, bass-layered intro, transforming from orchestral into something far more experimental. For those 15 seconds, reality fades into the synth.
My specific PS1 gaming memories are generally quite scattered, full of random vignettes rather than fully-fledged adventures. Though there is one exception: MediEvil, Sir Daniel Fortesque’s treacherous, sword-slashing journey through a Burtonian land of witchcraft and zombies. When the PS4 remake was announced, I have no shame in admitting being quite emotional about it.
Memories of the PS1 are still potent though: soaring across what felt like a mile of cars to OPM’s Heaven is a Halfpipe in MTV Sports: Skateboarding, as well as smashing through the warehouse glass panels in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater.
Slaloming around the car park in Driver’s notorious tutorial, web-slinging across New York City in Spider-Man, shoving the butler in the freezer and raiding tombs in Tomb Raider, fuelling a life of nightmares in Silent Hill’s fog, going to war on the seas in Overboard, solving puzzles with anthropomorphic blocks in Breakout and best of all, wandering around Andy’s home in Toy Story 2: Buzz Lightyear to the Rescue.
As of 2007, 7,918 software titles had been released worldwide for the PlayStation, with 962 million units shipped. There’s so many incredible games, too many to list here.
Notable mentions must go out to the Resident Evils, Oddworld: Abe’s Odyssey, Final Fantasy VII, Gran Turismo 2, Crash Bandicoot and Crash Team Racing, Spyro the Dragon, Tenchu, Wipeout, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Metal Gear Solid, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver and the original Grand Theft Autos, to name just a few.
Sure, they all look a bit dated now. However, only a few years ago, I managed to pick up an original console in pristine condition, with a few games to boot. Let me tell you, the joy came flooding back as soon as I heard that startup, like a child with no worries all over again.
Obsession with the medium grew with the PS2. But for me, and many others, my love affair with gaming began with the PS1. Happy anniversary, old friend.
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