The nineties were a simpler time, a happier time. If you couldn’t show your face outside because your parents could only afford to buy you 2 stripe clothes instead of actual Addidas stuff, then you pretty much only had video game friends to turn to. They wouldn’t judge you for your shitty parents, after all.
Thankfully, the PlayStation became such a wild success we were eventually able to replace all our real-life friends with fictional ones, who were better and more polygonal than little Jimmy Jones down the road. He couldn’t even do a double jump body slam. What a nerd. These guys knew what was up, and still hold a special place in many kids memories.
This wiley little bandicoot was originally meant to go head-to-head with the likes of Sonic and Mario, but kinda vanished after Crash of the Titans bombed. Despite fading into the shadows after Mario and Sonic have gone on to such dizzying success (well, maybe Mario has..) Crash embedded himself into an entire generation’s memories to become something of a cult favourite. Whether he was serving it to Dr. Neo Cortex, drifting round a corner on his sweet Harley or jumping on shit with his pogo stick in Crash Bash, this guy got the job done. Naughty Dog seriously need to think about a remake for Crash Bandicoot. Who wouldn’t buy it?
Spyro the Dragon
Okay, I’m being a little biased here, ass I always preferred Spyro to Crash. Sue me. Dabbling in Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage before absolutely falling in love with Year of the Dragon, the full 3D worlds of Spyro are still some of the fondest memories of my childhood. Unlike Crash, Spyro is still knocking about these days, but he’s not the same. Seeing him in Skylanders just feels wrong and makes me pine for the good old days. It’s Spyro, Jim, but not as we know it.
Lara Croft was like a polygonal girlfriend for kids who struggled to say a full sentence to girls in real life. Confident, independent and capable of plugging baddies full of lead at the drop of a hat, she was in some ways, the dream girlfriend. While Tomb Raider 1- 5 were all featured on the original PlayStation with varying degrees of success, the franchise kind of died a death between 2000 and 2013, when Square Enix successfully rebooted the series. Nothing will ever beat locking the god forsaken butler in the freezer to stop him following you around with a tray. Plus the noises he would make have haunted my dreams for years.
Metal Gear Solid was one of the first franchises to make kids realise games could be more than just a bit of fun and distraction. It made us realise that games could tell a compelling story, as well as having heart-stopping gameplay. Hideo Kojima sucked us into the world of Solid Snake, a rookie secret agent tasked with rescuing a chap called Grey Fox and continuing his mission to stop the construction of Metal Gear. After more twists and turns than a game of snakes and ladders, the Metal Gear Solid franchise is now greater than the sum of its parts. It may not have started on the PlayStation 1, and it certainly didn’t finish there, Solid Snake was still an absolute hero. Also fuck Raiden in Metal Gear Solid 2. The dweeb.
Fucked if I know what Rayman is or what his story was about, but it didn’t matter, because the original Rayman game was class. One of the original release titles for PlayStation, Rayman was a hero for all the kids with disembodied hands and feet who were searching for a place to belong. The vibrant, colourful worlds were like an acid trip and a fever dream rolled into one. Riding giant mosquitos, chasing a cloaked bandit through an ice-cream tundra, using giant bongos to jump. Shit was trippy, but it was infinitely better than all that Rabbids business.