Happy 20th Birthday, PlayStation!

by: Randy -
More On: PlayStation

The original PlayStation launched in North America on September 9, 1995. Happy 20th b-day, PS1. Not all of us were there on launch day, but a lot of us have fond memories at one time or another of Sony's first home console.

The PS1 was part of the fifth generation of gaming, going head to head with the Sega Saturn (1995-99) and the Nintendo 64 (1996-2003). The PS1 outlasted both of them, with retail availability lasting until 2006. Tilt one back with us as the staff remenisces on some of its favorite memories.

Sean Cahill, Staff Writer, @seancahill24
When the PS1 came out, I couldn't afford it because I didn't have a job in high school yet. I managed to talk my mother into putting down a $100 deposit and renting out the system for two weeks from our local rental store, M&M Rental. My friends and I rented NBA Shoot Out, the original Resident Evil, Twisted Metal, and whatever sports titles we could get. As Duff mentions below, the dogs crashing through the window was also our first "holy s***" moment when playing Resident Evil. I was hooked on the system and ended up saving up what money I could to buy one myself. I managed to do it pretty quickly, and the system came along with me on any weekend trip to a friend's place. Final Fantasy VII, in and of itself, requires a moment of reflection. FF7 remains one of the crown jewels for me, as it is still one of the most deeply satisfying titles I've ever played. I played the game over at a friend's house to show him what role-playing games were like, and he got hooked on it, even though he was not an RPG guy at all. After watching that game, everyone that saw it wanted to play it.

Sean Colleli, Staff Writer, @scolleli
I never had a PS1 as a kid—N64 all the way—but I was always intrigued by the console that I perceived as flatter, less colorful, and generally "less fun" as a 12-year-old. My brother's friend had one, and I recall him messing with the guards in Metal Gear Solid. He'd put on the cardboard box, sneak up to the snoozing soldiers, plant a C4 charge, and then knock on the wall. The guard would dumbly look around for a second, then get back to his nap. My friend did this several times until there were at least five C4 charges right at the guard's feet. As you can imagine, it didn't end well for that Foxhound terrorist.

Jeremy Duff, Senior Staff Writer, @Duff3c
While I never owned the original PlayStation until the end of its life cycle, I have fond memories of playing the original Resident Evil with my best friend in his basement. We used to have to take breaks and go upstairs for light because we refused to play with the lights on. Needless to say, we needed a nice, long break after the dogs crashed through the windows for the first time. The other memory that stands out for me was when me and another friend rented the console for the launch of Mortal Kombat 3. It was the first MK game that truly looked exactly like the arcade; the problem was, the store only rented Japanese systems, so we had to do a "disc-swap trick" to get the game to work. Plus, it froze up every hour or so, therefore, we would have to do the trick again, and it always took a couple of tries before it took. We spent more time trying to get it to work then we did playing that weekend.

Travis Huinker, Staff Writer, @travishuinker
While my console of choice was a N64 as a kid, I would always sneak onto my brother's PlayStation to play the mature games, such as Metal Gear Solid and Grand Theft Auto III. As well, I remember being excited when we went to Pizza Hut and picked up the latest demo disc for the PlayStation.

Randy Kalista, Staff Writer, @RandyKalista
I remember warm-ish San Diego nights, several floors up in the U.S. Navy barracks. This was years after the PlayStation launch, somewhere around 2000, 2001. My buddy and I would be rubbing the salt out of our eyes each morning because, inevitably, we'd been up until 2:00 or 3:00 a.m., mixing instrumentals on the MTV Music Generator. I've never seen a simpler, more fun beat maker before or since. To this day, my buddy is still rapping and mixing beats (in a studio now, not on a PlayStation), but that was our genesis.

Rob Larkin, Staff Writer, @Rob_GN
The first thing that jumps out when thinking back to PS1 was some groundbreaking games that really moved certain genres, and gaming in general, forward. Games like Final Fantasy VII, Metal Gear Solid, and Resident Evil defined the generation. But really, the lasting legacy of PS1 for me is the controller. Others are free to disagree, but the PlayStation controller is the best one in gaming, in my opinion. It has evolved somewhat over the years, but considering some of the awkward mess of boxes with buttons that came before it, the PS1 controller was a revelation.

Matt Mirkovich, Staff Writer, @Stillmywords
I remember the Christmas day when I got my PlayStation, packed with a demo disk that contained stuff like Jumping Flash, Battle Arena Toshinden, and a few videos, I was convinced that this was the future. I made that demo disk bleed for months while I saved up for my first real game, Darkstalkers, which I was so excited to play because the Aladdin's Castle at the nearby mall had it and they had recently shut down.

John Yan, Senior Hardware Editor, @TheJohnYan
My favorite memory is in college, bringing home the PlayStation. I was big into fighting games, and Battle Arena Toshinden looked incredible. It looked like Virtua Fighter with weapons. That alone sold me on the console. I also had to have it for NHL FaceOff. As a couple of guys who played a ton of EA's NHL games on the PC and Sega system, we were all anxious for FaceOff because of how incredible it looked at the time. Those two games really sold me on the PlayStation, and we lost a ton school hours to those two games.