Tuesday, 6 October 2015

20 YEARS OF THE PLAYSTATION; A personal view

If June 23rd 1996 marked the start of the World Wrestling 'Attitude' era - so that year marked a change in our gameplay.
At the 'King Of The Ring' that year there was a blimp in the arena that advertised the Sega Saturn - we knew about the Sega Megadrive but a Saturn - what was that?

Quite simply there were no magazines as such to tell us about the way consoles were changing. No Playstation magazine - not until 1997 when PSN came out. Today, it is the Playstation Official Magazine.

Even E3 was unknown unlike today when every reveal is met with bated breath. So we were unaware that Sega had announced it's new Saturn and that Sony had entered the market with the cheaper Playstation.

I cannot compare the two consoles because we only saw what the Playstation could do. My son-in-law bought one and the kids loved playing 'Wipeout' and 'Tekken'. No longer was the screen filled with two dimensional characters and scrolling scenery - the console world had brought depth to the field with a three dimensional feel.

I think that we bought our Playstation from the local Virgin Megastore and it didn't cost us an arm and a leg. At the time Lara Croft and Jill Valentine were making their debuts via 'Tomb Raider' and 'Resident Evil'. My sons also went for Acclaim's wrestling game 'Warzone' and (so the story goes) I got hold of 'Ridge Racer'.

The Playstation slimmed down and became the PSOne. However, gamewise those years were dominated by the Tomb Raider, Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Metal Gear Solid, Splinter Cell, Grand Theft Auto and GTA:London, racing and wrestling games. Every game brought something new to get excited about.

And if we weren't on the console then the wife was with her 'Devil Dice' game.

November 2000 saw the launch of the Playstation 2 and we were amongst the lucky few who managed to get hold of one. It was a revolutionary little black box that boasted a DVD player and the ability to play both the PSOne games as well as the new games for the new console. With it came a new franchise in the shape of 'Devil May Cry'. Gameplay and graphics improved and with it came more Tomb Raider games; the underrated 'Resident Evil: Codename Veronica X' - and in our house racing and wrestling games.

In 2015 the slimline Playstation 2 still lives though it is my wife Sandra who plays 'Age Of Empires 2' and 'Devil Dice'.

In 2007 after long delays over problems with the blu-ray system the PS3 arrived on the market. With it came rumours of the 'ring of death'. Hearsay made us doubt the new Playstation so we switched to the new Xbox 360 - by this time the boys had moved on. The eldest son had moved out and only the youngest was around.

When the dust settled I got hold of a PS3 - and with it came the ability to play the games that I wanted to play. 'Gears Of War' or 'Uncharted' ; 'Forza' or ' Killzone' it didn't really matter as I had both consoles. Other games like 'Grand Theft Auto' were across both consoles anyway - but I did begin to 'hate' exclusivity as it felt as though my freedom of choice of console had been taken away.

To get the Day One Playstation 4 with the new 'Killzone' game in 2013 was something else. I didn't rush off to the midnight launch at our local Game - just picked it up the next morning. I had made the decision to stay safe with the Sony Playstation as I had more of  an affinity with those consoles (although I didn't keep the faith with the PS3 at first). Microsoft had suffered bunches of U-turns and seemed unsure what the new Xbox One could or couldn't do with variations on the tense ( would/should etc).

The one thing I knew about the PS4 was that it was, primarily, a games console. The fact that Microsoft released their console a week early made me feel that it was a bit rushed. The PS4 has an inbuilt memory for game saves - the Xbox One doesn't. The 360 had a cloud alternative so that a game can be played on another console - that didn't always work - so I had misgivings about the Xone because it relied on the cloud. But I love 'Forza' and 'Titanfall' so the inevitable happened.

Most of my game time is on the PS4 - and the gaming world has changed visually in both depth and scope. Play the PSOne version of 'Silent Hill' on the PS2 and you can see the differences but the experience is equally enjoyable.

In reality the Playstation has fulfilled it's part in my life - my sons have Playstations as do my grandchildren - it has occupied 20 years of our lives. We have raced, wrestled and shot at each other - or tagged and teamed up against others.

The Playstation, as it stands now, is a great platform for both players and developers.

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