The third annual PlayStation Experience is imminent. Tomorrow, a plethora of fans and enthusiasts of one of the biggest names in gaming will be at the Anaheim Convention Center to celebrate their favorite platform by playing the latest and greatest games the console has to offer. With games like Horizon: Zero Dawn, Persona 5, Resident Evil 7, and Nioh, as well as panels from Guerrilla Games, Kinda Funny, and industry leader Hideo Kojima, there is no reason why gamers should not be excited. To celebrate the event, I wanted to share my first experiences with the PlayStation brand. Every PlayStation player has a story to share about how Sony’s game console became their way to play the games they love. My personal relationship with the brand was a bit rocky until three years ago, and that may have been due to the my first experience with the console and its traumatizing effects it had on me 19 years ago.
The year was 1996. Sony’s inaugural gaming console, the PlayStation, had been out for the past year with praise; or my 5 year year old self thought it was praised due to my Uncle’s ecstatic reception of it. Either way, people loved it. Near the holiday season, my uncle received the newest game that would revolutionize the industry for years to come. That game was Tomb Raider. For the uninitiated, Tomb Raider is a 3D action-adventure game developed by Core Design and published by Eidos Interactive that revolutionized the games of the same genre, especially the critically acclaimed PlayStation franchise Uncharted. I watched my uncle explore as the iconic female archaeologist, Lara Croft, as he ventured through cavernous landscapes, fought fierce wild life, and solved strenuous environmental puzzles. It provided me with immense entertainment; that is, until the worst thing happened.
There are sections in the game in which you must guide Lara through enclosed corridors as she swims for every last breath. The longer you take to get from point A to point B, the lower your breath meter falls. One particular moment, my uncle failed to get to point B and drowned the iconic protagonist. For no particular reason, this filled me with immense sadness. I cried and ran away to my room. Why did Lara have this effect on me? Why did my uncle drown her? Did she do something wrong? Regardless of the reason, I never watched my uncle play the game again. I couldn’t watch another death like that again.
Let’s fast forward a month later. I get over my uncle brutally murdering Lara Croft as I watch him put in a new disc. That disc is none other than the critically lauded survival horror game Resident Evil. Resident Evil is another one of those titles that revolutionized gaming. The horror games you know and love would not be around if Resident Evil never saw the light of day. Now, you would think I would cry the second the first zombie showed up due to last month’s mishap, but I had watched so many movies not suited for five year olds that the grotesque zombie didn’t bother me. Watching my uncle kill zombies was nothing compared to watching Lara die. But then the dogs showed up.
There are plenty of atrocities in the Resident Evil franchise. From Nemesis to that chainsaw guy with the bag over his head, the series prided itself on the obscure nature of these creatures. However, none of them have frightened me more than the zombie dogs. In Resident Evil, there is a point where zombie dogs start to chase you. It’s incredibly startling at first considering how fast they move and how slow Chris and Jill move. It turned out, the dogs were faster than my uncle’s reflexes and they got the best of them. Chris Redfield died, I cried and hid in my room again. Unlike last time, the reason for my crying was sound. The dogs were horrifying creatures. Additionally, no one should be murdered by a dog. Needless to say, that was the last time I watched my uncle play single-player games again.
The PlayStation brand has garnered so much praise the past 21 years. Its release was a leap in gaming technology. Without it, we wouldn’t have games like Crash Bandicoot, Ratchet and Clank, inFamous, and Uncharted. We wouldn’t have disc based games. Lastly, we wouldn’t have fond memories like the ones I shared. While mine were a bit negative, it began my journey with Sony’s console, and it’s one I will never forget. That was my first PlayStation Experience.
PlayStation Experience will be at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California. The show begins with the PlayStation Showcase at 10 a.m. PT. If you aren’t going to the show this year, you can watch the conference from your home at live.playstation.com. Check back for more previews and announcements from PlayStation Experience 2016 this weekend.