In 1994, two mega competitors duked it out to see which of their consoles will remain standing. The SEGA Genesis was on it’s last legs going into ’95 with many failed add-ons that would attempt to make the console live on and out-perform the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Going into 1995, the SNES had basically no competition, and the company was ready to smash another home run with it’s new console nicknamed the Ultra 64. Little did Nintendo know, their former allies would soon become their greatest competitor.
In September of 1995, the Sony PlayStation was released with a bang showing off stellar graphics and new complicated control schemes. The PlayStation had games that were printed on full size CD’s, something that had not been seen before on a major home console.800,000 units were sold by the end of ’95 in North America despite the somewhat lackluster games that were available to purchase at launch. Sony tried to play it safe with their beginning titles, just in case the system was an utter failure. What the system lacked in launch games, they gained in marketing and presentation. The 3D graphics were unlike anything anyone had ever seen before, and it boasted some impressive presentation with what the console was putting on the screen. Consumers at the time were getting tired of their 2D counterpart systems and were looking for something innovative, and they didn’t have to look further that Sony’s addition to the video game market.
As I said, the games that were initially released at launch with the PlayStation were definitely games that had been done before. However, as time went on, some of the greatest games to ever be released were on the PlayStation. Metal Gear Solid is heralded today as one of the best, if not the best, action-espionage game ever created. I have played MGS and not only does it hold up today, but it is one of the most heart-racing games that I have played and the story is beyond it’s time. Gran Turismo was one of the first games to boast realistic car movements and also have various cars that were used in real-life racing. Silent Hill was a horror game that trail blazed the genre with an eerie atmosphere and overall great gameplay. Final Fantasy’s definitive entry is a PlayStation exclusive. I could go on and on about how great these games were and how we are getting more installations and remakes of PlayStation franchises such as Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon.
What I find fascinating about the marketing is that it was a console that was marketed to teenagers and adults. The SNES and Genesis were definitely seen as children’s toys, but with the introduction of Sony’s PlayStation the idea of who video games were meant for took a drastic change that can still be seen today. Some of the current best-sellers are M rated titles and are incredibly violent and gory, opposed to early 90’s best-sellers like Super Mario World and Sonic the Hedgehog. This wasn’t something that your baby cousin could play, no, this is a “grown-up” system.
Today, many people forget about the system due to Sony’s future consoles. Sony did try to replicate the nostalgia that Nintendo did with their NES and SNES Classics, but were met with critical and commercial failure. PlayStations are incredibly cheap these days and so are the games that go with it. I was able to pick my system up for $25 at a used game store that came with a controller and all the cords necessary. Systems can be even cheaper online as I have seen systems being sold with 5+ games for around $45. I highly suggest that anyone who hasn’t gotten a hold of this piece of gaming history pick one up and enjoy what ’95 had to offer.