On December 3rd, 1994, Sony released the very first PlayStation console in Japan for 39,800 yen ($360 for the US). Nine months later, the home console launched in North America and Europe, followed by an Australian release in November. That, my friends, means today is the twenty-fifth birthday of the beloved Sony child. Sort of scary how fast time goes, huh?
Releasing into the fifth-generation of video game consoles, PlayStation (also known as PS1, or PSX) entered in the running to top rivals, Nintendo 64, and the Sega Saturn. However, despite the vast popularity of all three contenders, Sony managed to steal the show and poach millions of players worldwide with their groundbreaking technology. Nine years later, Sony would go on to ship over 100 million units and become the first-ever computer entertainment platform to reach such heights. But, we’re probably getting a little ahead of ourselves here. So, let us take a step back to Christmas 1994 and walk through Sony’s breakthrough success; one baby step at a time.
PlayStation, or more locally known as the PS1, released a total of six original games on launch day. Now, these games weren’t exactly phenomenal, but they were seminal enough to encourage gamers to invest in the brand for later years. With titles such as Mahjong, A-Train, Crime Crackers, and TAMA, PlayStation initially focused on porting popular arcade titles onto the home system as a taster for what was to come. Then, after the first year of release, developers looked to expand the catalog and produce more well-defined games for wider audiences.
By the first quarter of 1996, titles such as Tekken, Ridge Racer, and Rapid Reload dropped in and quickly drew the hearts of gamers worldwide. Third-party developers stepped up and thrived on producing greater content for Sony consumers, and because of that, the world looked to Sony like a stranded deserter would thirst for an oasis. Everybody had to own a PlayStation. Everybody had to get in line and break a leg just to lay a finger on a clean copy. And, while Nintendo struggled to keep up with the CD-ROM tech Sony were expanding on, the Nintendo 64 fell behind with old cartridges that possessed no room for improvement. PlayStation marched forward, and old rivals from both Nintendo and Sega fell victim to a good old thrashing in style.
Moving forward to the turn of the new Millenium, Sony looked to release a slimmed-down version of the console. With the same features but on a more pocket-sized scale, Sony introduced the PSOne on July 7th, 2000. It was believed that Sony wanted to create the PSOne to avoid confusion with the new release of the PlayStation 2 released in March of the same year. However, with the legitimate reason set aside, fans felt that the original console was running its course. And, that with the turn of the new page, Sony would soon look to abandon the first-born in exchange for more quality time with its successor.
Selling over 102 million copies around the world and releasing 1,300 individual titles, the original PlayStation managed to contain the hearts of fellow gamers for an incredible ten years on the market. And, to this day the original PlayStation is still considered to be one of the greatest, most influential home consoles of all-time. It still holds a place upon millions of shelves around the world and continues to sit as an emblem to nostalgic gaming. It is always referred to when discussing iconic franchises and is still a party-starter to any fellow nerd gathering. All it takes is a couple of cheap Dualshock controllers and a copy of Tekken. Yes, those days are still very much alive in some parts of the world, alright.
The original PlayStation home console ran from December 3rd, 1994 to July 20th, 2005. The final licensed game in North America was, in fact, FIFA 2005. As for 2006 onwards, well, the 1,441 PlayStation 3 games pretty much describes the success of that phase. And, to be fair, we don’t need to go too much further in-depth with that at all. Who knows, perhaps that’ll be a story to share for another time. And the same goes for the PlayStation 4 era, too. Again, these will be celebratory stories for future milestones. But, for today, we want to devote our time to the rise of the original kid on the block. This one is for the eldest of the PlayStation family. This one is for the PSX.
As for the remainder of Sony’s rather impressive resume, we sort of know where to look and what to drool over. Sony has indeed treated us with more games and experiences than we could shake a stick at. And, while we tend not to talk a great deal about the PS1 anymore, it is still very much alive and beating in our chests. It created more childhood memories for some nineties kids than anything in this current day and age has pushed out. That’s something I don’t think we, as gamers, will ever forget or lose sight of.
Sony will continue to march on as they climb to the highest peaks of the tallest mountains. With a whole team of loyal followers and a field of technology that forever seems to be expanding beyond belief, it is almost guaranteed that the next decade or two will see the summit of future gaming. But, that’s an article for twenty-five years, my friends. As for now, we should happily bask amongst the current titles and cherished memories of the past while we keep the Sony brand cradled like a friend warming for an embrace. Or something like that.
Congratulations, Sony. Here’s to the next twenty-five years of otherworldly gaming.
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