PlayStation Memories

Well, its only a couple of weeks until the PlayStation’s tenth anniversary in the US. Of course it already had its anniversary last year in the holiday season (commemorated by the release of the PSP) in Japan.

Its hard to believe we’re approaching the third iteration of the PlayStation when ten years ago, Sony was hardly even a presence in the video game industry.

It is also rather extraordinary to think how Sony acheived dominance with two generations of machines that were along the weaker end of the generation’s hardware performance. Though I guess it says something about the breadth of their success that often times that many of the best looking games of last generation were the PSX’s and despite the Gamecube and Xbox’s greater power, many PS2 games can hold their own with extraordinary visual design (Kingdom Hearts 2, Silent Hill, Zone of the Enders: Anubis).

I remember one of the first things I was impressed with on Sony’s hardware was their sound chip. Obviously some of it had to do with the move to CDs, but there were something about the original PlayStation’s sound hardware that sounds unique when you go back to listen to games like Final Fantasy Tactics and The Misadventures of Tron Bonne. Same thing with their color pallette, when you play games like Rockman X4, FFT (again), Legend of Mana, Vandal Hearts, Resident Evil, you got used to a certain “PlayStation color scheme.” (In Japan, there was even an extremely common font used in RPGs, effectionately known as the PlayStation RPG font, because it appeared unaltered in a ridiculous amount of games.)

Sony’s pre-eminence in the console arena brought about so many changes it was almost dizzying. Of course the one that had the most effect is the way they treated the developers. The original PlayStation was easier to develop for than the other two, with approaches to ease of development that Sega and Nintendo had never tried before (though it resulted in some samey looking game assets among lazy developers) and to the point where Sony encouraged indie developer like crazy (especially in Japan) with their Net Yarouze development console. Other than the bizarre wreaked on several 2D properties, Sony treated developers like kings and they responded in kind. Lower priced media, lower barriers to entry, better relations, no required censorship (beside the no p0rn rule) gave developers all sorts of avenues to promote and resulted in a console with such a huge, huge range of software in so many areas, I’m still catching up and playing new games for the original.

I purchased a PlayStation on its first day of release and it was the first console I’d ever bought with my own money (I bought Tekken and Ridge Racer). I bought the PlayStation 2 in 2001 when I returned to Japan in the autumn, from getting addicted to Blitzball in FFX in the summer. My first game for it was Devil May Cry (followed up soon by MGS2, Shadow Hearts, Shadow of Destiny and Ridge Racer V). I received a complimentary PSP a few weeks after it launched and my first game for it was Ridge Racers and Metal Gear Ac!d.

Though the Japanese first year was reeeeally different than the US first year (instead of Twisted Metal, Warhawk, Wipeout and Destruction Derby, it was filled with Crime Crackers, Arc the Lad and such) I got to experience a lot of US gaming when I lived in the US for a couple of years during the PlayStation first generation and got a new modded US version when the 1st Japanese conked out. (Ah, another tradition!)

When I think PlayStation, what first comes to mind are Sony’s excellent commercials and how that style filtered on through to 3rd parties. From the classic U R not (red) “e” and Twisted Metal and Ratchet & Clank commercials in the US, to the awesome commercials for the original Ape Escape game or the Wild Arms ones, or the Invasion of the Body Snatcher style, “Has everyone got their PS2 yet?” ads to the highly memorable Devil May Cry commercial in Japan. (Unfortunately no long-running joke in PS commercials is quite as good as Segata Sanshiro.)

As the release of the PlayStation also coincided with the advent of SNK’s King of Fighters series which will forever be remembered by me as the fighter that got me into fighting games, the PSX for me, is more about fighting games than any other genre. From several actually very nice translations of SNK fighting games to the Darkstalkers series to oddities like Cyberbots and Pocket Fighter, to rather interesting new takes on fighting like Dead or Alive, Bloody Roar, Psychic Force, Destrega, Sangoku Musou and Ergheiz to the really awesome eternally fun fighters like Tekken 2, Soul Edge, Street Fighter Alpha 3, Rival Schools and Tobal 2. It of course continued into the PlayStation 2, making the PSX probably the best fighting game system ever, playing host to just about every fighting game worth playing, from Mark of the Wolves to Street Fighter III, Guilty Gear XX, Virtua Fighter 4 and Soul Calibur II.

The PlayStation 2 on the other hand, strikes me as the action game pedigree. After Devil May Cry, ZOE, Mark of Kri and Onimusha there was no looking back: the 3rd person action game was back with the a vengeance and the PS2 plays host to the most screamingly awesome lineup of such games available: the three Ratchet & Clank games, Maximo 1 & 2, the Onimusha series, Oz, Sengoku Basara, Drag-on Dragoon 1 & 2, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Rygar, Devil May 1 & 3, Viewtiful Joe 1 & 2, Alien Hominid, every single Metal Slug game, the Shin Sangoku Musou series, Crimson Sea 2, Bujingai, Swords of Destiny, Castlevania: Lament of Innocence, Genji, Armored Core series, Samurai series, Shinsengumi, Story of Hero Yoshitsune, Shinobi, Kunoichi, Dororo, there’s just no stopping it, a taste for everyone, a twist everywhere!

Despite the fact that 3D graphics and the advances brought by disc media have progressed significantly since the PlayStation first debuted, since its the console that dominated my playtime as I’ve grown up, I find it easier to tolerate its graphics these days than other people do and find the blocky characters and shimmery polygons more nostalgic and homely than ugly.

Due to the fact that I’ve had nothing but hundreds upon hundreds of good experiences with the PlayStation, I’m not certainly not going to hesitate to make the PS3 my primary gaming platform again next generation, as there’s little doubt that Sony will be able to strike gold a third time. It ought to be interesting to see them with the most powerful console this time around as well.

Long live Sony and their PlayStation line!

-Kitsune

Dave Long needs to counter with a Nintendo love writeup, quick! There’s no time.

Also, good write up Kitsune.

I did not get a PS on the day it came out, but soon after if I recall. I bought it Lemmings 3D and the 929 hockey game. The playstation died on me real fast, so I had to return it. I returned it only to get home and realize I had left my hockey game in it. I called Software Etc. and the nice workers stayed there untill I arrived and passed me my game under the fence. That playstation did not break and I had lots of good times on it. (The Sabres were the shit in that game. Pat LaFontaine and Alexander Mogilny -they shoot, they score!)

I was a little dissapointed at first with my purchase. 3D this, 3D that. It is is ugly and blocky I thought. But it did have X-Com out on it. And a mouse you could buy. I did not buy them, (I had a computer to play that on) but the fact that those were out there made me smile.

Then Final Fantasy 7 and Tekken 2/Tomb Raider came out (I am not real good on timelines - these are probably well after release of the ps) With Final Fantasy 7 i was at some typical drunken HS/college party and it was all of a sudden cool to talk about a video game. “How many hours have you played?”, shit like that. Just a complete change of focus I guess. Videos game had always been cool, but RPGS? haha)

Then there was my younger sister unlocking everyone in Tekken 2, and just loving Tomb Raider. and Oddworld (my favorite as well - go 2d!)

Oh fuck. Girls like these things as well.

I don’t know. I just typed this out and realized what I liked best about the ps was other peoples reaction to it. I guess what I liked best about it was the mainstream validation it brought to video games.

They are fun.

It’s hard to believe the whole U R NOT [color=red]E[/color] thing was ten years ago. I bought a PlayStation on launch day along with Rayman, Raiden Project, Warhawk and Ridge Racer if I recall correctly. I then proceeded to break the Rayman disc RIGHT IN HALF when I was trying to get it out of the case. Oh the agony!

Luckily I bought it from a local retailer who was more than forgiving of my ineptitude. I’ve never done that before or since.

I had Tekken, Toshinden, Wipeout as soon as it shipped… I played them all. I found myself still enjoying Sega’s games more on Sega Saturn, even with the lower level of support so eventually the PSX got the heave-ho and I repurchased a Neo Geo with the dough. When Gran Turismo shipped along with the Dual Shock, they got me to pony up and buy one again. That one I have to this day. So basically Sony got two PlayStations out of me. :)

I have a reasonably large collection of PSX games and some are certainly classic. I was definitely more of a Sega fan though and still am. I’ve owned two N64’s as well. I still have my launch day Sega Saturn though, which is already ten years old as of May of this year.

–Dave

EDIT! I didn’t remember correctly. I bought Battle Arena Toshinden on launch day and not Warhawk. Warhawk didn’t ship until November. Wikipedia had this link to the oldest running PSX site on the net where I found the info on releases…

http://www.vidgames.com/

As another recognition, I figure, why not post my PS2 game history (if I did my PSX one, we’d be here all day and note, some of these games I don’t own any more)? I challenge you any of you to just try and beat mine:

Fighters

Street Fighter 3
King of Fighters 2000
King of Fighters 2001
King of Fighters 2002
King of Fighters 2003
King of Fighters Neowave
King of Fighters '94 Rebout
King of Fighters Maximum Impact (think I like KOF enough? :D)
Samurai Shodown Zero
The Rumblefish
Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution
Soul Calibur II
Tekken Tag Tournament
Tekken 4
Tekken 5
Guilty Gear XX: The Midnight Carnival
Dead or Alive 2: Hardcore
Bloody Roar 3
Fighting Vipers
Virtua Fighter 2
Garou: Mark of the Wolves
Kengo 2
Kengo 3
Darkstalkers Collection
Capcom vs. SNK 2
Marvel vs. Capcom 2
SNK vs. Capcom

Arcade Translations

Metal Slug 3
Metal Slug 4
Metal Slug 5
Raging Bless
Initial D Arcade Stage
Twinkle Star Sprites: La Petite Princess
Psikyo Shooting Collection 1
Psikyo Shooting Collection 2
Psikyo Shooting Collection 3
Taito Memories
Taiko no Tatsujin
Vampire Night
Ninja Assault
Time Crisis 3
DoDonPachi Daioujou
Psyvariar
Shikigami no Shiro 2
Giga Wing Generations
Federation Vs. Zeon DX

Sports

Winning Eleven 7
Winning Eleven IX
Powerful Pro Baseball 9
Powerful Pro Baseball 10
Let’s Create a Pro Soccer Team 2004

Racing

Ridge Racer V
Kaido Battle
Kaido Battle 2: Chain Reaction
WRC 2
Tokyo Xtreme Racer 3

Action

Devil May Cry
Devil May Cry 3
Bujingai
Dororo
Kunoichi
Spy Fiction
Shinobi
Swords of Destiny
Castlevania: Lament of Innocence
Rockman X7
Rockman X8
Gradius III & IV
Gradius V
R-Type Final
Shin Sangoku Musou
Shin Sangoku Musou 2 (w/ Moushouden)
Shin Sangoku Musou 3 (w/ Moushouden and Empires)
Shin Sangoku Musou 4
Sengoku Musou (w/ Moushouden)
Drag-on Dragoon
Drag-on Dragoon 2
Maken X
Sengoku Basara
Genji
Oz
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Maximo
Maximo 2
Ratchet & Clank
Ratchet & Clank 2
Ratchet & Clank 3
Mark of Kri
Rygar
Story of Hero Yoshitsune
Shinsengumi
Samurai
Way of the Samurai 2
Samurai Western
Gladiator: Road to Freedom
Tenchu 3
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty

Adventure

Onimusha
Onimusha 2
Onimusha 3
Dual Hearts
Ico
Shadow of Destiny
Broken Sword 3
Bumpy Trot
Sakuragake Fire Department
Zettai Zetsumei Toshi
Detective Jinguji Saburou: Kind of Blue
Echo Night: Nebula
Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World
Third-Year B Class Kinpachi-Sensei
The Earth Defense Force
-U- Underwater Unit

Survival Horror

Rei
Rei 2: Crimson Butterfly
Rei 3
Siren
Resident Evil Outbreak
Resident Evil Outbreak File 2
Silent Hill 2
Silent Hill 4
Hungry Ghosts

RPG

Sagashi ni Ikou yo! (Let’s Go Searching)
Boku to Maou (Me and the Devil)
Evergrace 2
Shadow Hearts
Shadow Hearts 2 Director’s Cut
Wild Arms: Advanced 3rd
Wild Arms: Alter Code F
Wild Arms: The Fourth Detonator
Suikoden III
Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter
The Strange Incidents at the Turn of the Century
Atelier Lily
Atelier Judie
Atelier Violet
Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana 2
Monster Hunter
.hack Part 1
.hack Part 2
.hack Part 3
.hack Part 4 (I played through them all at a friends, but bought them because they make great, short mindless dungeon hacking breaks)
Nightmare of Druaga
Torneko 3
Dragon Quest V: The Bride of Heaven
Dragon Quest VIII: The Sky, the Sea, the Earth and the Cursed Princess
Fullmetal Alchemist
Fullmetal Alchemist 2
Star Ocean 3: Till the End of Time Director’s Cut
Radiata Stories
Metal Saga
Unlimited Saga
Romancing Saga: Minstrel Song
Final Fantasy X
Z’ill Oll Infinite
Grandia Xtreme
Grandia II
Grandia III
Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance 2
Dark Cloud
Dark Chronicle
Ys: The Ark of Napishtm
Ys 1 & 2: Eternal Story
Ys III
The Rhapsody of Zephyr
Twelve Kingdoms
Busin: Wizardry Alternative
Busin 0
Shadow Tower Abyss
King’s Field 4
Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne Maniax
Digital Devil Saga
Digital Devil Saga II
Tales of Destiny II
Tales of Rebirth
Seven
Venus & Braves
Zwei!
Reiselied: Ephemeral Phantasia
Houshin Engi 2
Graffiti Kingdom
Monster Farm 4
Wizardy X

Strategy

Gegege no Kitaro
Front Mission 4
La Pucelle
Disgaea
Tokyo Necromantics School
Summon Night 3
Daisenryaku 1941
Berwick Saga
Spectral Souls 2
Black/Matrix 2
Phantom Brave
Phantom Kingdom
Stella Deus
PTO IV
Akudaikan (Bad Magistrate)
Akudaikan 2
Namco X Capcom
Giren’s Ambition
Hanjuku Hero vs. 3D
Hanjuku Hero and the Seven Heroes
Dynasty Tactics

Board

Momotaro Dentetsu 8
Momotaro Dentetsu USA
Final Fantasy & Dragon Quest in Itadaki Street Special
Itadaki Street 3
Culdcept Second Expansion
Dokapon DX
EX Jinsei Game II
Explosive Roads! The NOVA Rabbit is Looking at You on the Road of Life!
(Believe it or not, this is one extremely fun game.)
Gacharoku 2

Simulation

Let’s Create a School! 2
Let’s Make a Home! 2
Sangokushi X
Taiko Risshiden V
Princess Maker 2
Air/Land/Force
The Agents of Happiness
Kessen 3
I Want to be a Pilot! 2
I Want to be a Fireworks Choreographer! 2
The Convenience Store 3
Let’s Go by the A-Train! Perfect Set

Platformer

Jak & Daxter
Herdy Gerdy
Sly Cooper
Klonoa 2
Ape Escape 2
Ape Escape 3
I am Small!
The Adventures of Cookies & Cream
Chain Dive

Miscellaneous/Weird

Word Puzzle: Moji Pittan
Photographer Boy
Rez
Katamari Damacy
We Love Katamari Damacy
Mojib Ribbon
Toro and His Vacation
Toro and the Shooting Star
Doko Demo Issho: My Picture Book
My Summer Vacation 2!
Everblue
Everblue 2
Chulip
Kenran Butousai
Bravo Music
Ka
Flipnic
Otostaz
PipoSaru 2001
Sky Odyssey
Technic Beat
Gitaroo Man

And I think that’s about it.

-Kitsune

I could probably beat that if 90% of my multiplatform games weren’t Xbox versions.

“I Want To Be A Fireworks Choreographer! 2”? There are no words.

Speaking of obscure Japanese simulation/weird games, are there any good cooking games for the PS2? Something on the level of Boku no Cooking, maybe?

Games with a Starting W that sold the system to me:
Any Wipeout,
Warhawk,
That wacky bunny hopping shooting game.

I got my first PS2 in November of 2004. I’m loving the rpgs like Shadow Hearts, SMT:Nocturne, Disgaea, Makai Kingdom and Xenogears.

Damn, that’s 256 PS2 games Kitsune – roughly a new one every week! Did you finish most of those, or do you just like to dabble?

Notice that I said PlayStation 2 history, not collection. Since in Japan, you can’t rent games, a lot of people buy games, play them for a little while and then sell them back, because the used market here is frighteningly enormous, and you’re never in danger of getting a dud. So, going through the list again:

Bloody Roar 3 - don’t own anymore
Dead or Alive 2: Hardcore - don’t own anymore
Kengo 2 - don’t own anymore
Shikigami no Shiro 2 - don’t own anymore
Initial D Arcade Stage - don’t own anymore
Federation vs. Zeon DX - sold about a year ago
Kaido Battle - sold about a year ago
WRC 2 - sold about a year ago
Swords of Destiny - don’t own anymore
Shin Sangoku Musou - sold about a year ago
Maken X - don’t own anymore
Echo Night: Nebula - don’t own anymore
Resident Evil Outbreak File 2 - don’t own anymore
Boku to Maou - sold about a year ago
Atelier Lily - sold about a year ago
Fullmetal Alchemist - don’t own anymore
Fullmetal Alchemist 2 - don’t own anymore
Twelve Kingdoms - don’t own anymore
Zwei! - don’t own anymore
Houshin Engi 2 - don’t own anymore
Spectral Souls 2 - don’t own anymore
Akudaikan - sold about a year ago
Itadaki Street 3 - sold about a year ago
EX Jinsei Game II - sold recently
Air/Land/Force - sold about a year ago
The Adventures of Cookies & Cream - don’t own anymore
Jak & Daxter - don’t own anymore
Toro and His Vacation - don’t own anymore
Doko Demo Issho: My Picture Book - don’t own anymore
Piposaru 2001 - don’t own anymore

I just realized it would be easier to just do it like this. Don’t laugh, I’m tired:

don’t own anymore

SNK vs. Capcom
Psyvariar
Genji
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Gladiator: Road to Freedom
Onimusha
The Earth Defense Force
Dark Cloud
Gegege no Kitarou
Black/Matrix 2
Let’s Make a Home! 2
Kessen 3
The Convenience Store 3
Photographer Boy
Bravo Music
Ka
Otostaz

The ones marked don’t own anymore, are games I sold after only a few days or weeks, but liked well enough. Some of them I won, some of them I didn’t. The ones marked sold, I don’t own anymore due to a purge I made of games that weren’t hooking me much.

As for games I haven’t won, just Grandia III, Metal Saga, Winning Eleven IX and Twinkle Star Sprites: La Petite Princess. That’s because they all released this summer.

The only RPG or strategy on the list on the list I’ve played through more than twice are the Dragon Quest titles, Suikoden III and Phantom Brave, BTW. (Excluding easy to win games like fighters, racers, shmups, board games, simulations and the like.)

I mostly play enough of a game to win it, and do so very thoroughly. But a lot of those games just don’t take very long to win. Most games I play again, but not usually to win. I play up to a certain point, am satisified and delete the save file. The games on the list I’ve played the most are Dragon Quest VIII, Virtua Fighter 4, Phantom Brave, The King of Fighters 2002, Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest in Itadaki Street Special, Ridge Racer V, Suikoden III, Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne, Word Puzzle: Mojipittan, Ratchet & Clank, Kunoichi, Devil May Cry and Torneko 3. All the others have more normal play periods where I play them a lot when I first have them, and then it steadily peters out from there.

Incidentally I hardly ever play one game for long stretches. Those stories about playing a game all day just don’t apply to me. The most is 4 or 5 hours at a time. I usually play 15-20 games at a time, especially RPGs. I have a Tales of Destiny II and La Pucelle replay from earlier this year, that I dabble in an hour or two at a time throughout the entire year for instance. This probably has something to do with how busy I am with school, friends, part time jobs, volunteering, drawing, reading, music, practicing instruments, participating in sports, etc. But I find that’s just my style, I play lots of games in smaller chunks of time for variety’s sake.

Keep in mind however, that if I own it, I’ve ever played it pretty significantly (for unending games) or won it. I’m not one of those people with the massive backlog of games they never win or play seriously. It’d be a waste of money. Though it really isn’t hard, considering the bulk of games I own can be won in under 10 hours.

-Kitsune

Do you do anything but play video games, though?

This happens to be essentially my experience, too, almost exactly. Maybe I got mine a few months before? Almost the same games on my list, too.

On the contrary, Ergo, games are what I tend to do when I can’t do anything else. I’m much more interested in other things, but I like to have a broad selection whenever I do play them.

Miramon, if you’re tasting the creme de la creme of the PlayStation RPG crop, have you yet tried Valkyrie Profile and Vagrant Story? No PlayStation RPG collection is truly complete without them!

-Kitsune

What was the name of the Contra-esque platformer/shooter that released during the launch window in Japan again? I kept trying to convince myself to import a PSX around that time after eagerly analyzing screenshots and writeups in various publications. That and Arc the Lad almost made me do it, until subpar impressions and reviews(single player only?) convinced me otherwise and I just waited nearly a year for the US launch.

I never did import that game though, and now I can’t even remember the name.

Never heard of those two, but I’ll look them up now.

In fact, Kitsune, since you love making lists so much, I’d like to see your list* of “best PS2 games, 2003 and before” – I mostly buy these games on the basis of current buzz and their presence on the game store rack, and I don’t see a lot of pre-2004 games, epsecially the less-widely distributed Japanese imports, on the used racks at the local stores.

*short list please – I play a lot of games, but not as many as you :)

Jumping Flash! - oh how I love thee. It breaks my heart to know my disc decides to quit working whenever I’m on the last boss. Still, it’s hard to stay mad at it.

Kitsune, your list needs more GGXX#Reload.

Still impressive, though.

Gunners Heaven was the title if it’s the one I think you’re talking about. It was a Gunstar Heroes rip-off.

Here’s a link with some screens.

http://www.kidfenris.com/gheaven.html

I was pretty excited when I saw the game the first time too. The Gamefan review, which I think was pretty mediocre, was what turned me off the game IIRC. It just wasn’t that good and if Gamefan was saying that, that really was a huge black mark on the game.

–Dave

Jumping Flash! - oh how I love thee. It breaks my heart to know my disc decides to quit working whenever I’m on the last boss. Still, it’s hard to stay mad at it.[/quote]

That game was awesome. Just opened up the third dimension, and did it with style.

A massive list of PS2 games there Kitsune, although its interesting you dont have many of what are the usual top selling western titles. No GTAs, Tony Hawks, Tiger Woods, disney and movie franchises, etc. Missing (a) Gran Turismo and God of War too (!!!)