The PlayStation brand has always been an integral part of my life. I have vivid memories with each piece of hardware that Sony has produced. Today I want to reminisce on some of my highlights with each of these systems.
The PlayStation 1 was the first-ever gaming device that I was able to call my own. I’m not entirely sure what drove my parents to purchase the system for me, as I never recall asking for it. Christmas morning 1998 was the day that changed my life. Wide-eyed and awestruck, I tore through the wrapping that enveloped a box of never-ending adventures. Another gift contained “Bubsy 3D” and “Rascal,” both of which I learned later in life were terrible games. The PS1 came packaged with a demo disc jam-packed with entertainment. I immediately connected the system to our woodgrain encased television, which was no larger than 20 inches, and took my first steps into a 3D wonderland. The “Interactive CD Sampler – Vol. 8” was carefully screened by my parents to ascertain which titles were appropriate for an 8-year-old to be playing. I specifically recall being barred from playing “Medieval” and “Metal Gear Solid,” which was disappointing. There were so many other great things to play that it hardly mattered. Overall my memories with this console are fond. A time when I thought that triangular, polygonal humanoids were the peak of graphical fidelity and that adding twin sticks to a controller was a technological feat worthy of worldwide recognition.
I had a small portable DVD player that I found in my grandparent’s garage, which I used as my primary monitor for the PS2. The decision to use this was twofold. Firstly, I wasn’t allowed to have a television in my bedroom. I circumnavigated this loophole by utilizing this tiny, portable display and concealing it in my closet. Furthermore, I wanted to play games online, and our family computer was in an inaccessible spot relative to a nearby TV. When I wanted to play Star Wars Battlefront II online, I would carry my setup downstairs, plug ethernet cable in, and try to look inconspicuous. Truthfully, I wasn’t afraid to admit that I was gaming online. I was concerned that my sneaky setup would be discovered and removed. When I wasn’t gaming online, connected my PS2 to the family’s shared TV. My parents assumed it remained here, and I made sure to keep this pretense up by always transporting the console in the cover of night. Looking back, I wish I had spent a bit more time with the PS2. My experiences were a bit limited due to other consoles out at the time, but I cherish the memories I do have.
If there was ever a time that I felt more connected to people with gaming, this was it. I adored my PSP and spent every waking moment of my free time playing it. Socom Fire Team Bravo was my bread and butter for this system. I bought the headset and took my first real steps into an online gaming community. I was fascinated with the idea of joining a clan. These days, I’m not the greatest at shooters, but back during my time with the PSP, I was consistently charting at the top of the leaderboards. I would participate in clan tryouts daily until I finally found the right one. I joined the XMEN clan and became XMEN-Colossus. Back in the PSP era, the idea of a static online pseudonym to identify yourself was still a bit of a foreign concept. It was easy enough for everyone in the clan to have the name designation of an actual XMEN character without losing those precious stats. I made my first friends online through this game; I felt like I knew a lot about my fellow clanmates. It was around this time that MySpace was rising in popularity, and we would interact there outside of the game. I owned the Darth Vader themed PSP and still regret selling it. I don’t know what I used the money on, but I doubt it was worth it. I have toyed with the idea of purchasing a PSP Go. I’ve wanted one for quite some time, but they are too expensive for what they are worth. I fear that the lack of a UMD slot would prove problematic. With the shutdown of Socom FTB’s servers, it’s probably best that I leave the memories of my favorite game preserved in their current, pristine condition.
The PS3 was the first-ever console release that I obtained at launch. After traveling to every Walmart and GameStop in town, my desperation led me to try one last place. Luckily for me, Sam’s Club did indeed have a pre-order available, and it was the only one. Not the only one left, mind you, the only one at all. I waited alone outside the store until midnight. I sat in my lawnchair, bundled in blankets with frequent visits from friends and family, to check up on my wellbeing. Lucky for me, I had my PSP in tow, so the time passed quickly. Six hundred dollars poorer, and one awkward midnight transaction with a lonesome Sam’s employee later, I had my precious console. Resistance: Fall of Man was the star of the show for the launch line up. I stayed up all night playing the campaign. The PS3 was truthfully the first home console I was able to enjoy and explore in its entirety. I was finally able to fund my hobby, thanks to my part-time job. I quickly realized that working to purchase games cut into my free time, which was a double-edged sword I still haven’t come to accept to this day. I enjoyed thousands of hours with this beautiful device. It outlasted every single one of my high school relationships. I used to joke that the PS3 was my longest-standing relationship to date; in fact, that’s still true. I’m currently enjoying two “new to me” PS3 titles (Tokyo Jungle & Trails of Cold Steel) and might revisit the Mass Effect trilogy soon.
The most important thing that the PS Vita did was introduce me to the Persona series. I’m sure that many Vita owners have fond memories with this game, as it is the game to own for the system. The PS Vita was there for me at one of the hardest, darkest points in my life. It’s not an exaggeration for me to say that the characters in that game felt like my friends. In a way that I’ve never felt before with a piece of media. This game singlehandedly kept me from falling into some of the darkest parts of dispair, and I will never understand how this masterwork fell into my lap at the precisely correct time. I have many other opinions on the system, mostly regarding its failure and Sony’s abandonment. It was there for me when no one and nothing else was, and that supersedes any critisism or negativity.
We have arrived in the current era. I purchased my PS4 on launch day in mid-November of 2013. I’m not quite at a point in my life where I’m ready to reflect upon this generation of PlayStation. Maybe in a few years, I’ll be able to look back and focus on some standout highlights. There are still so many games on this system that I want to experience and many more releasing every day.
I hope you enjoyed reliving some of my favorite memories with me. The PlayStation brand has been an integral part of my life over these last 25 years, and it’s easy to see that it will continue far into my future.