Landmark anniversaries can really sneak up on you in the video game industry, particularly when you forget sometimes that consoles once often launched a year or more earlier in other regions than the one you call home. Consider Sony's original PlayStation which landed in North America in 1995, but released in Japan on this day in 1994, so it's time to celebrate the console's twenty-fifth anniversary (and I'm sure we'll do it all again next year for the American date). Game Informer has a massive cover story by Jeff Cork chronicling the life and times of the PS1 and beyond as remembered by the people who were there at the time. It's an absolute must-read for fans of the industry itself, not just Sony products.
KEN KUTARAGI [Former Honorary Chairman, Sony Computer Entertainment]: There was a fair amount of resistance within Sony for devoting precious resources toward the creation of “children’s playthings.” However, we were convinced that the technological and business prowess required to position ourselves at the apex of a new entertainment age existed within our walls. Hence, I went straight to Mr. Ohga, the president of Sony at that time, who possessed the necessary knowledge and experience in both the software and hardware fields. I believe his dream at the time was to build Sony’s next big business domain from the ground up. At the executive meeting slated to decide the future of the PlayStation project, I voiced my passion to Mr. Ohga directly, to which he responded, “If you believe you can do it, then do it!” Those decisive words still echo in my mind like it was yesterday.
As a teenager, I skipped out on the entire PS1 era. I was a Nintendo guy, so while Sony's initial console was launching stateside in 1995, I was eagerly anticipating Donkey Kong Country 2 for my Super NES, and then a year later Super Mario 64 and the Nintendo 64 arrived, so for many years I never looked back. I did look from side to side sometimes though as my favorite franchises such as Mega Man and Castlevania skipped out on traditional side-scrolling adventures on the N64 in favor of Mega Man 8 and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night for the PS1. I continued on solely with Nintendo consoles until the summer before the Wii era arrived, and with Nintendo's GameCube wrapping up and development moved on to the next still-unreleased thing, the company and its partners weren't publishing enough games to meet my needs. I ended up with a free copy of Street Fighter Alpha Collection to review for the PlayStation 2 in 2006 and figured, hey, why not? I bought a new PS2 from Best Buy, picked up a few of the most popular games including Ratchet & Clank and Grand Theft Auto III, and indulged. I continued buying Nintendo consoles and handhelds as the years have gone on, but that PS2 led two years later to buying a PlayStation 3, and then a used PlayStation Portable off of eBay, and then a new PlayStation Vita, and then a new PlayStation 4, and then a PSVR unit, and next year most likely a PlayStation 5. Who could've guessed that Street Fighter would be a gateway drug?
As for the PS1, I never really did circle back around to buy one. Thanks to the PS2 and PS3 supporting classic PS1 discs, I picked up used disc copies of Mega Man 8 and Mega Man X5 to play prior to those games re-releasing digitally on the PlayStation Store where I bought them again, and of course today both are available in various collections that I also own. I bought a few choice PS1 digital titles such as Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon to experience those for the first time on my PS3. Earlier this year I caved and bought the lackluster PS1 Classic at its get-it-out-0f-here price of $30 and have yet to open the box. Who has time when there are so many new games to play?
I've logged a lot of hours with PlayStation products in the past decade and change, and while I'll forever be a Super Mario man at heart, there's always something special happening on PlayStation consoles.