Today is a massive day. It has been exactly 25 years since the original PlayStation was released in Japan. Four major consoles, two handhelds and a virtual reality headset later and the PlayStation brand has created so many classic games that could never have existed without Sony entering the space of gaming. We got together to run through our favourite PlayStation exclusives of all time.
SHANNON – JAK AND DAXTER II & APE ESCAPE
Jak and Daxter II was one of the first games that I remember absolutely obsessing over. It had an open world, it had a wide array of vehicles, it had platforming and a huge variety of guns that were absolutely bad ass. It incorporated all of these things into a fantastic game that I still go back and play from time to time. It was incredibly tough (especially for me as a child), but I persisted through and remember feeling great when I completed the game. It’s definitely no surprise that Naughty Dog is still creating some of the best games today.
Ape Escape will always hold a special place in my heart, and just like Jak, we definitely need a new game in the series. It was the game that showed off the original DualShock controller. It made use of the two analogue stickers superbly and was a perfect blend of platforming and humour. It was incredibly simple in design, but the game had an array of clever Monkey names and memorable characters. The mini games through out all of the games (soccer and the like) were also a tonne of fun to play through.
EWAN – THE LAST OF US & RATCHET AND CLANK: UP YOUR ARSENAL
No game has ever affected me in the same way The Last of Us has. No game has ever made me want to grab non-believers by the shoulders, shake them and scream “look what video games can do!” What the Last of Us was able to achieve late in the PlayStation 3 lifecycle was nothing short of exceptional. This journey across a desolate, dangerous America, plagued by some of the most terrifying enemies gamers have encountered, is the perfect marriage of impeccable writing, game design, character, score and combat that all feels in tune with world’s tense, gritty tone. Career defining performances from both Ashley Johnson and Troy Baker will stick with me forever.
It seems strange to write Up Your Arsenal as an adult; the innuendo alluded me as a youngster playing this game. Whilst it’s hard to pinpoint exactly which Ratchet & Clank appeals to me the most (special shout outs to A Crack in Time and the recent remake), I am particularly attached to the third instalment in the galactic adventures of one Lombax and his robotic companion. Besides the adventure that awaits you in the main game, which in itself is a riot, the Seige multiplayer mode is where I sunk countless hours in my childhood.
BRODIE – UNCHARTED 4
Though it wasn’t the best game in the series, the way A Thief’s End tugs at the heartstrings throughout and ties up most of the series’ loose ends while leaving some wiggle room for the story to live on through the likes of Sam and Cassie is note-perfect. It does a beautiful job of respecting the characters that ride off into the sunset, sending Nate and Elena off in style. Naughty Dog are just a tremendous studio, with their games making up most of the top-tier helpings from Sony’s first-party stocks and for them to propel this cocky, roguish Indiana Jones type-operator through one of gaming’s finest quadrilogies is a marvel in itself.
MATT – GOD OF WAR (PS2)
The game that started it all, I scored a demo for it and was instantly hooked. A great blend of storytelling embedded in Greek mythology with hack and slash combos that felt rewarding, and an epic soundtrack to boot. The latest game may be getting rave reviews, but this was definitely my most memorable.
JAMES – SYPHON FILTER
Syphon Filter. That is all.
KIERON – FINAL FANTASY VIII
With a history of games that’s almost as old as I am, picking a single favourite PlayStation title is like trying to pick just one book to order from Scholastic Book Club – basically impossible. Though many amazing PlayStation games have come along in that time to really blow me away – Spyro, Jak and Daxter, Shadow of the Colossus, Katamari Damacy – there’s one that I can truly say shattered my expectations of what a video game could be and wound up informing my lifelong tastes in games.
When I first saw Final Fantasy VIII featured in a gaming magazine, I couldn’t believe the things I was reading. I hadn’t quite turned ten yet, so most of my gaming experience was in platformers and crappy cartoon tie-ins, and the thought of playing something with an epic story that spanned four whole discs was mind-boggling. It wasn’t until about six months later that I actually managed to get a copy, but I pored over every article and review I could find in the interim. By the time I finally had my hands on it and witnessed that amazing CG intro for the first time I was completely enamoured. The world, the characters, the music (the music!!), all of it will forever occupy a special place in my heart. Final Fantasy VIII might not even be the fan-favourite in the series, but for me it represents a turning point that established just how powerful games and storytelling could be, and continue to be on PlayStation.
JAKE – KILLZONE
One of my fondest Playstation memories is way back in the days of the PS2 and spending entire weekends with my best friend playing Killzone. Launching a split screen multiplayer session with the maximum number of Helgast bots on the hardest difficulty or 1v1 no scope sniping each other for hours on end was just the best. It’s the earliest time and game that I can remember which sparked my love of FPS’s and also had a pretty decent campaign and story.
I’ve been a self-proclaimed mega nerd when it comes to the horror genre for as long as I can remember, as a kid my best friend and I would watch back to back horror movies, soaking up whatever we could from the weekly section of the local video store, for better or worse. Silent Hill on the PlayStation was our very first foray into the world of survival horror games, and despite fancying ourselves as seasoned horror fans, we felt like we were taking a headfirst dive into the deep end with this one.
For months, we would meet every day after primary school, pull the curtains, switch the light off, and commence our journey into the fog enveloped world of Silent Hill, determined to push through until we found Harry’s daughter, Cheryl. After the groundbreaking cinematic cutscenes that introduced us to the game’s lore, I still remember the sheer panic I felt when I encountered a scripted death for the very first time.
We would play for hours on end, holding our breath as we listened to the radio, praying we wouldn’t hear the infamous jingle, letting us know a monster was near. I still feel a little murmur of anxiety in the pit of my stomach when I envision the loading screen. Before loading our save file, a warning; “There are violent and disturbing images in this game,” that we became desensitized entirely to eventually popped up, though the nervousness that followed it never quite subsided. That’s not to say that the whole experience was simply gut-wrenching, Silent Hill also taught me a lot about video games at large.
I learned to check bathroom stalls for loot and usually a corpse or two, that school and hospital levels are terrifying without fail, and that following the blood trail will inevitably lead you to something horrible but that you rarely have another choice, so it’s best to just go with it. I have so many fond memories of PlayStation over the last twenty or so years. Still, Silent Hill remains one of my favourite games of all time, and though my friend doesn’t play video games anymore, she’s moved overseas, and our lives have grown apart since primary school, we still often reminisce about Silent Hill when we chat. Thanks for an incredible 25 years PlayStation.
PlayStation: Metal Gear Solid PlayStation 2: Jak 2 PlayStation 3: The Last of Us PlayStation 4: God of War