The Sony Playstation is now 20 years old. 20 years! PSX as its abbreviation stated. I never learned what the X stood for and I’m too lazy right now to take the 10 seconds it’d require to find the answer. So we’re instead gonna use its other abbreviation, the PS. Eventually they released a PSOne console, then a PS2, resulting in the geriatric console to be re-nicknamed PS1. Does this qualify for the least interesting or entertaining paragraph I’ve written in this project thus far? My vote goes to yes.
If my memory is in working order (doubtful), when it debuted back in NZ the original cost was around $1000. I find this absurd now and kind of hard to believe, thus the doubt over my own memory. I do however recall an ad campaign when the price was brought down to a mere $700 (the ad involved a computer animated T-Rex, thus its freshness in my head), so $1000 isn’t entirely out of the bounds of possibility. A thousand dollars. Holy shit. You could’ve travelled overseas for that cost. 30 kg of cereal marshmallows? Think of the boundless fun. It didn’t stay that way. The cost gradually depreciated over the years. Eventually it got so low they were practically trying to give them away. I’m surprised McDonalds never threw them in as Happy Meal toys along with large CRT screens. Now they seem the kind of thing your grandmother would pull out for the kids in an attempt to be hip. Actually, that is kind of cool. Like the time my aunt pulled out a working Colecovision many many years after the technology was redundant. As a sub-10 year old kid, the weird 80s James Bond remote and stilted animations were still a blast to play with.
I originally thought the Playstation was a flash in the pan. Sony was a music company, what business did it have in video games? Nintendo and Sega ruled the roost and anyone trying to encroach on their territory best well’ve been steppin’ before Sonic cut a bitch. Sorry, I’m terrible at ebonics. I also listen to Belle and Sebastian occasionally. Anyway, I knew a thing or two about video games. Controller buttons should be named after letters or else have a D pad. None of this square or triangle baloney. What the hell was an L2? I remember trying to read my friend some cheat codes for the PS version of Doom. We were talking over the phone and I’d never seen one of the consoles before. “Um, god mode is left 2 times, square, right once, triangle, triangle, circle then right? Wait, but why is it putting “right” after it’s just put “R1″? Shouldn’t that be two rights?”
I got my own Playstation for my barmitzvah. Coming from a non console household, this was mindblowing. I’d spent my child obsessed with video games and coveted every single console my friends owned. Getting one to cherish and hold and lose my formative teen years to, well that was a different story altogether. In fact, I kind of spelled it out in that latter sentence. I had Final Fantasy VIII and played the thing to completion. Getting every little secret I could. Hundreds of hours logged on that game alone. I moved around the various Final Fantasy games and other JRPGs. Anything that would give me an excuse to retract into the digital world for hours at a time. I don’t know what I was escaping from, but I made sure I had somewhere to escape to. I say this as if I was a recluse. In reality, all of my friends were gamers, so while I was drifting away from the material plane, I wasn’t unaccompanied. When we didn’t play games, we’d talk about them. We’d pour over and devour any information we could in an attempt to best each other. It may not have been considered a “cool” pastime, but I’ve never used that gauge to measure myself and I’m not gonna retroactively deign it important now.
Happy Birthday PSX, PS, PSOne or PS1. Game on, bud. Game on.