If you're anything like us, PlayStation has been a part of your life for almost as long as you can remember. We have some very fond memories of Sony's original gray box, and thought it would be fun to share them with you as the brand celebrates its 25th anniversary this week. But it's not just from us: we want to hear your best PSone stories in the comments section below.
Sammy Barker, editor
As a shy 7 year old boy, I remember accompanying my father and brother to an event in Birmingham. I think it was in the upper part of an HMV, but it could have been an electronics store. It was the first time I had seen a PSone in person, as onlookers in attendance screamed and screamed at a projected screen running Ridge Racer.
I didn't really understand the importance of the games presented that day; my mom and sister had separated from us and I knew they were going to Toys R Us to look at the Transformers action figures. I was hoping for Optimus Prime for my birthday, you see. I also managed to spill one of the free Pepsi bottles on the mat; I don't think I've ever admitted to making this mess before. Sorry!
My brother would later buy his own PSone and we would buy 50p CD-ROMs from one of my dad's work colleagues. Back then, you had to tape the disk platter to run pirated software, which appealed to me. I obviously remember all the classics like Crash Bandicoot and Metal Gear Solid, but at that time Adidas Power Soccer was a favorite of my brother and me.
Designed to advertise the sporting giant's famous Predator boots, the arcade football title let you perform special moves where you could kick the ball so hard it set fire and literally pushed the keeper over the line and in purpose. I have fond memories of those early days, where the game felt a bit more like the Wild West, and you're never sure what you were getting.
Robert Ramsey, Associate Editor
The PSone was the console that basically introduced me to video games. When I was a kid I had friends who liked Nintendo and SEGA's offerings, but I never felt compelled to pick up a controller until I saw Tekken 2 running on my uncle's awesome TV (at era). My cousin and her boyfriend had brought their PSone to show it off, and I was immediately hooked.
That Christmas, I made myself a psone – with Crash Bandicoot and, finally, The Lost World: Jurassic Park because I was obsessed with dinosaurs. One of those games was way better than the other, but at that point I just couldn't stop my new favorite hobby.
Years later in the life of PSone, I discovered my love for role-playing games with Final Fantasy VII, VIII and IX. I can't really remember which movie I played first, but these titles showed me what storytelling could be in video games. Up until then, I had enjoyed mashing buttons in Tekken and watching Crash leap and smash his way to victory. Suddenly the medium seemed to offer so much more, and I was truly mesmerized.
The PSone was a magical little console. Classics like Final Fantasy IX, Crash Bandicoot 3 Warped, Crash Team Racing, and Tekken 3 all helped set my expectations for games to come, and looking back now, it's easy to see why I stuck around for so long. Playstation.
Stephen Tailby, Associate Editor
My first memory of the original PlayStation is my cousin trying to explain it to me. At the time, my family owned a SEGA Mega Drive and I enjoyed playing Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Ristar, and Streets of Rage, among other things. I don't know if my cousin's explanation of Sony's flashy new console was poor, or if I just didn't understand what he was saying, but I remember being confused by what a Playstation. Was this a place you go? I remember I never thought it was a game console.
Some time later, I came home one day to see my dad playing the Actua Golf demo on the machine's brilliant software, Demo 1. That's when it all started to click. He started the Crash Bandicoot demo and handed me this alien controller, and that was it. I have great memories of games like Spyro the Dragon, Driver 2, Tombi and many more. I remember being flabbergasted by WipEout's tight controls, swapping the controller with my sisters as we tackled Croc: Legend of the Gobbos, and honing my gun skills at cutting edge weapons. technology in Time Crisis. We got a PSone a bit later than launch and I missed out on some of the real classics, but was enthralled with what I was playing anyway.
One feeling that I will never get back from those early days is how much I loved video games. I knew I liked the Mega Drive, but the PSone was the machine to really spark my interest. Being in my formative years, playing these incredible titles and soaking up all the excitement surrounding that gray brick under the TV – that was far too powerful a combination. My fate was sealed.
Graham Banas, critic
I started liking video games at an early age. For the first few years, I only really played on a computer, except at a friend's house. That's when I noticed that I really wanted to play on PSone. So I started begging and begging my mom all the time. During months. Eventually she relented and we made the trip to GameStop to pick up a used game as well as a few of the games I really wanted: MediEvil, Medal of Honor, and the Mortal Kombat Trilogy.
What I didn't know at the time was that while I quite enjoyed PC gaming, this magical little console would ignite a passion for gaming that burns brighter than a thousand suns and shows no signs of slow-down. Ever since I became PSone, my love for games has never wavered and I have been passionately passionate about these games since every moment of my life. What if I'm the only person on the planet who has never had a PS2? So what if my mom totally kicks me in Mortal Kombat and to this day I'm better at fighting than I am.
What is important is that PSone arouses in me a great passion and that I joined the PlayStation family at the end of the PS3 period, this beginning of activity was magical and had such an impact that I could not even manage not to describe its importance. That's why, fast-forwarding around 20 years or so, getting those same feelings from things like the true rise of VR or emotionally resonant experiences like The Last of Us often gives me the tear in the eye. It all started with number one.
Jacob Hull, critic
I was late to the party with PlayStation. I was still playing my trusty old SEGA Mega Drive until 1997. We weren't exactly a wealthy family, so it took a lot for my parents to invest money in a games console. We finally got one in late 1997, but it was probably more for my dad than me.
With Final Fantasy VII hitting stores recently and the release of Metal Gear Solid Western around the corner (already released in Japan and making a splash in the pages of Official PlayStation Magazine), it was around the time my dad started playing games.
For months after receiving the PSone, me, 7 years old, still stuck in his tracks, continued with the Mega Drive. I had been scarred by the nightmares caused by the distant howls of the T-Rex in The Lost World. The PlayStation was the scariest console, and I had been sent several times to give Sonic the Hedgehog a warm hug before switching to the Sony console. I remember my mum pointing out, “He doesn't seem to like the PlayStation much – what a waste of money!” My dad, of course, sipping on the joys of Resident Evil, reassured himself, “He'll come. "
And I did, finally. It was the V-Rally that attracted me the most: those 3D graphics were to die for. And even though the game seemed impossible to play as a kid – those cars swinging like waltzers at the fair – I kept coming back for more. The boarders are the same.
I think one of the best things about this era and this console for me is how it became a shared bonding experience for me and my dad. We were playing Tomb Raider together – one of us with the controller, the other with the Prima solution, directing the other.
To this day, these are some of my favorite memories and I am so grateful for them.
Although we are at the antipodes of the country, my father and I still share this common hobby. We mostly play solo, but we often talk about the games we play, what we like and what we don't like. My childhood simply wouldn't have been the same without PlayStation.
Jamie O'Neill, critic
Thinking back to Christmas 1995 and first playing on a PlayStation console, I remember the good times spent with friends. We had been playing together for years – I remember going to the California Games on the Commodore 64 in the 1980s – and we had met at my friend's house for my first real 32-bit gaming experience.
However, I had played a demo 3DO console in the store, and the year before, in 1994, I had spent too much money on the technically beautiful new Ridge-Racer arcade cabinet with the same group of d on holiday in Cornwall. I was also excited to read magazines like EDGE and Ultimate Future Games during the next 32-bit era, but during the holiday season of 1995, nothing prepared me to play Ridge Racer on my new PlayStation. friend.
My expectations were high for SEGA's Saturn, but the new PlayStation felt like an underdog at the start of the 32-bit era. SEGA and Nintendo were the big names in console gaming, not Sony. Still, I couldn't believe that one of the most technically impressive arcade racing games I've ever seen was now running on a console in my mate's living room, just a year after the release of the room.
Compared to Virtua Racing on Mega Drive or Stunt Race FX on SNES, the technical leap made in Ridge Racer on the original PlayStation hit the mark. As the PS4 passes the torch to the PS5 in 2020, I doubt a generational leap as dramatic as the shift from 2D to 3D graphics from the 16-bit to 32-bit era will happen again. Oddly enough, if you asked my friends to tell them about their memories of that time, they'd probably respond by telling stories about playing Worms in multiplayer, not Ridge Racer. There were so many memorable Worms clashes with exploding sheep and banana bombs this Christmas
John McCormick, critique
Our school trip in 1995 was to Lightwater Valley, which is the best theme park in North East England, being the only theme park in North East England. I remember this trip very well. First, I was convinced I was going to fall from the pirate ship and encounter a creepy, albeit hilarious, extremity impaled on the jolly roger novelty pole below. Second, after that very real brush with death, I missed out and threw a handful of twenty cents into a life-changing arcade cabinet: Tekken.
I spent hours playing Tekken. I had never played anything like it. And so, when it came time for a family outing to our local big game store to buy a new console, we opted for a PlayStation instead of a Saturn when we still had SEGA systems. We took the console, two tablets, Tekken, WWF arcade game Wrestlemania and, of course, Demo 1. I'd love to know how long I spent tinkering with this dinosaur thing in Demo 1. Probably a few days.
Anyway, I have so many fond memories of my time with the original PlayStation. Join Avalanche and stop Sephiroth. Searching for my daughter in Silent Hill. Solve the murder of an elderly Frenchman and uncover a global conspiracy in Broken Sword. Playing the Metal Gear Solid demo again and again to see if I missed anything. Holding my finger on the taser button until the bad guys catch fire in Siphon Filter. Gran Turismo takes up all fifteen slots on your memory card when you want to save. All fifteen. Ridiculous.
Hats off to the PlayStation; undoubtedly one of the most beautiful consoles of all time. Oh, and classic PSone on PS5 with Trophies, yes? Do it yourself, cowards.
Ken Talbot, critic
At the end of 1996, my mother was kind enough to ask Santa Claus what I wanted. We didn't have a lot of money and we both knew that if I asked what I was going to ask for, I probably wouldn't get it. I asked anyway. This month's magazine content was my secret weapon, which contained a detailed analysis of an exciting new horror game called Resident Evil. I assured my mom that having the console with this game would teach me to “think laterally” because it has tricky puzzles and logic puzzles. I didn't know what lateral thinking was, I just liked video games and horror. She gave in and made a significant financial sacrifice for which I will always be grateful.
Collecting pocket money and trading in all my cartridge games, I was playing all the biggest PSone titles. The console began my long love affair with cinematic storytelling (Metal Gear Solid), JRPGs (Final Fantasy VII, VII and IX), simulation racing (Gran Turismo) and quirky puzzle games (Kurushi , Kula World). The original PlayStation is a gray box full of happy memories and I can't wait for number five.
Lloyd Coombes, critique
I remember going to a friend's house from school (circa 1997) and turning on the PlayStation for him. I had seen the SEGA Mega Drive before, but that little gray box had so much mystique: where did the cartridge go? What were these shapes on the buttons for? Who is Sony?
We've been playing Crash Bandicoot 2 for a while, and with every slide animation, every close encounter with an enemy, and with every claimed Wumpa fruit, I've fallen in love with the game a little more - and, by extension, the console.
This Christmas, this particular little box was at the top of my Christmas list, but it never came. Luckily, on Boxing Day, my parents and grandparents revealed that they were saving up for it. It came with Batman & Robin (based on the Clooney movie), and whatever F1 was going that year, but I spent two weeks playing instead of Disney's Hercules demo. Finally, when my birthday came two weeks later, I unboxed the first Crash Bandicoot – I was proud of my deep passion for PlayStation and for Naughty Dog.
Nat Eker, critic
I remember playing for the first time on a PlayStation at my cousin's house, around nine years old. Our only consoles were our archaic Game Boy colors. Seeing this monster in action, with its 3D graphics and groundbreaking voices, was breathtaking.
This was actually my uncle's system, and was therefore strictly prohibited. So one evening, we tempted fate. While the adults were having dinner, we snuck into the living room, carefully unplugged the gorgeous gray box, and hooked it up to my cousin's tiny TV. We had never heard of the game contained in the disc player: Resident Evil. Huh. We assumed it must be an exciting game for adults only. So you can bet we started it.
The dark room was illuminated by a wave of red, followed by some really disturbing music. I took control of Chris Redfield and, having no idea what to do, wandered aimlessly around the mansion. Then we saw it. That rotting, gray head and those sunken eyes, looking at us. He was eating something. We screamed, horrified by the sight of our first zombie. In a wave of panic, we smashed all the buttons, scraping the controller, failing to defend ourselves in any way. We could only watch helplessly, as our character was being devoured by the undead.
Although the first Resident Evil is now considered a campy pastiche of cheesy '70s horror movies, it was the scariest thing in the world. The only thing we knew? We had to have a PlayStation.
Nicole Hall, critic
I'll never forget the day my mom first sat me down in front of the tiny TV in her bedroom and slipped the PSone pad into my even slimmer, 8-year-old hands. After watching her and my dad immerse themselves in a steady stream of video games over the years, I felt like the company was finally set to take the reins on its own. I was scared – excited. I soon found myself stranded on N.Sanity Beach and with a quick look at the controls I was off.
Many gamers started their video game antics with Crash Bandicoot and my younger generation is no exception. I will always be grateful for the title that paved the way for my playing life. That said, while Crash may be the cornerstone of my love for the platforming genre, my fondest PSone moments lie in the memories of evenings spent under a blanket with my mom, teaming up with Baron Dante in Croc: Legend of the Gobbos.
It was the first time I remembered my relationship with a game. I fell in love with the colorful level design, comical enemies, and little Gobbos (naturally). Even the soundtrack gave me chills and I vividly remember humming the charming schoolyard tunes. I replayed the same levels over and over again looking for secrets I missed in hopes of finding ways to savor the experience even more.
Looking back with more mature eyes that have sampled many matches since, it's all too easy to understand his questionable camera work and general clumsiness. However, I will always be attached to the charm and sincerity that he practically oozed and fell head over heels in love with.
These are our favorite PSone memories, but we want to hear yours in the comments section below. When did you get your hands on Sony's magic gray box? What was your favorite game at that time? Let us know in the comments section below.