Many gamers already know the story: at 1991’s Consumer Electronics Show, Sony unveiled a device called the “Play Station.” The product was the result of a three-year collaboration with Nintendo, and was designed as a CD-based add-on for the SNES. Later, the deal between Nintendo and Sony fell apart. Nintendo went on to forge an ill-fated partnership with Phillips, while Sony decided to push ahead and release the console as a standalone effort.
The original PlayStation came out in Japan on December 3, 1994. While the PlayStation wasn’t the first console to use CD-ROM discs, it was the first that leveraged the technology effectively, and third-party developers took notice. Many publishers shifted their priorities from Nintendo’s platforms to Sony’s. Others jumped ship entirely. Over time, the PlayStation crushed the Nintendo 64 in the marketplace, ending Nintendo’s decade-long dominance over the video game industry. They’ve never recovered.
Now, after three successors (including the best-selling video game console of all time), two handheld spin-offs, and hundreds of critically acclaimed titles, the PlayStation brand is finally entering its twenties. To celebrate the PlayStation’s upcoming birthday, Sony’s launched PlayStation 20. The website’s all in Japanese (after all, the North American anniversary isn’t until next September), but the accompanying video should make sense to anyone with fond memories of gaming on a PlayStation console.
The video evokes last year’s PlayStation Memories trailers, showcasing both players and the PlayStation’s stunning collection of games. Obviously, this is a promotional movie, and the PlayStation 4 gets more screen time than its predecessors (although the Vita makes out pretty well, too). Still, many classic PlayStation franchises make an appearance. Final Fantasy, Metal Gear Solid, Resident Evil; they’re all there.
Over the years, the PlayStation family of consoles has had so many great games, it’d be impossible to include them all, and gamers will probably notice a few omissions. Vintage franchises like Crash Bandicoot or Ratchet & Clank, as well as more modern exclusives like LittleBigPlanet or MLB: The Show, fail to show up.
And yes, it’s strange that 2013’s The Last of Us, a PlayStation exclusive and one of the best games of the year, gets less attention than multi-platform titles like The Witcher 3 and Grand Theft Auto V. However, these exclusions are less snubs than they are regional issues. Simply put, many of the games listed above have a bigger audience in North America and Europe than they do in Japan. When Sony releases a western version of this trailer roughly a year from now, they’ll be there. Count on it.
What is your lasting memory of the PlayStation family of consoles and handhelds? Were you around for the initial launch, or was it another console that opened your eyes to the wonderful world of gaming?