By: Steve Zachmann, contributor
To celebrate the PS1’s 20th anniversary Chris listed his 20 favorite PS1 games, and I was tempted to list my top 5 here, but in the end I thought that might a bit repetitive. What I am going to do is tell you about my 5 favorite PlayStation memories. They might be moments from games, they might not, they’re just things that the PS1 burned into my mind the most.
5. Being awestruck by Gran Turismo.
It might be kind of a quaint idea to be so awestruck by GT1 at this point, given how outstandingly good racing games look these days and how terrible that game looks by comparison. At the time though, Gran Turismo was utterly astounding to me. And not only was it astounding graphically, but the amount of content that was in that game felt massive. I’ve never been much of a car guy, and to be honest, most of what I know about cars today comes from what I picked up swapping parts in and out in GT1.
4. Magazines and demo discs.
I’m very much a creature of the digital age. Sure, I read while I’m in the bathroom, but these days it’s on my iPad, not a physical magazine. For the most part, I’m ok with that, but I still miss holding a magazine in my hand once in a while. It used to be so great to read a review for a game before you bought it, or even a good month before it was out. I remember my anticipation for Metal Gear Solid after I read the review. The wait was painful, sure, but knowing that it was going to be worth it made it, well, worth it.
Of course, magazines weren’t necessarily unique to PlayStation but demo discs sure were (at least from a console perspective). I never saw a magazine with a demo N64 cart taped inside. The joy of popping in the demo disc and trying out whatever new and fantastic games were just around the corner was incredible. In fact, I remember playing the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater demo about as much as I played the actual game. I played that first stage over and over as I waited for the actual release.
3. Growing up.
The PlayStation came into my life when I was just getting into high school so it felt like I grew up just as games did. I went from the SNES and the Genesis, who’s libraries were largely aimed at kids, to playing games like Metal Gear Solid. Final Fantasy VII taught me the joys of deep RPGs. As I mentioned before, Gran Turismo taught me about cars. And of course Tomb Raider taught me about polygonal anatomy. In hindsight the N64 was a great system, but at the time I found the PS1 to be my preference. I was far less interested in listening to Navi than I was shooting terrorists.
2. Couch Multiplayer.
Chris and I spent endless nights playing games like Twisted Metal 2 together. Again, it’s not like the PS1 was the only console with couch multiplayer, but the PlayStation seemed to feature more games that lended themselves well to that style of play. Chris and I spent hours upon hours playing just about anything we could get our hands on. We’d play competitively, co-operatively, we didn’t care which. We’d laugh and joke and fight and it was all so glorious. It should be mentioned that we did spend a fair bit of time playing Goldeneye on the N64, but honestly, I don’t think that single N64 experience compared with what we had on the PS1
1. It just felt right.
In a way it’s hard to explain what I loved most about the PlayStation. It was kind of everything. I know that’s a bit of a cop out but that’s how I feel. I’ll try to explain with a quick story. When I was in high school I loved wrestling. When WWF Warzone came out I was in love with it. The wrestlers moved like they did on screen, their theme songs played (and sounded real), the moves looked crisp, everything about that game hit the perfect notes for me at the time, and that’s basically how that entire console felt to me. Whenever I was into something it seemed like the PlayStation had game that fell right in with it. The PS1 is probably not the greatest console of all time, but in many ways I believe it’s my personal favorite, simply because it felt like it was made for me.