At PlayStation Experience, people from around the world gathered to celebrate the Sony branded console they have known and loved for years. From the middle aged adults who fondly remember revolutionary titles like Chrono Trigger, to the children playing Minecraft on the PS4, every fan and enthusiast of the PlayStation has that first moment they realize their console is more than just an apparatus to play video games; PlayStation Experience is evidence of that. At the event, I talked to some fans, developers, influencers, and our own staff for their first experience with the PlayStation brand, each with a different story, but the same love for the PlayStation.
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My first PlayStation Experience was when I was hanging out with my little brother’s babysitter who was a couple years older than me. I’m not going to say I wasn’t trying to hit on her, but I was probably…. 7 at the time. But whatever, she knew what was up. She had this game called Crash Bandicoot on the PlayStation One. Up until that point I only knew Nintendo and Sega. So I was a Mario kid; Sonic was cool too, but to see this other game I was like, “Who the hell is this guy, right?” And I started playing it, and I realized that while I loved Mario 64, Crash Bandicoot was more similar to the Mario games I grew up with. Like Mario 1, Mario 3, and Mario World where it’s more obstacle focused and to just get to the end of the level. I fell in love with it. I learned that you can love more than one thing, you know? It’s not just Nintendo; there’s this other thing too. I was a PlayStation guy from there on out. PS1, PS2, PSP, PS3, PS Vita, all of it. So here we are today, PlayStation Experience 2016. Get hyped!
The first time I saw a game on PlayStation One that blew me away was Final Fantasy VII. So that was something that felt really revolutionary. Games were never going to be the same after this point on, you know? So you went from a cartridge with limited capacity to disc based games that have cutscenes, a lot of content and of course, the shift to 3-D was massive. So it really created a new generation of gaming and I think that is basically still the generation that we’re in right now, you know? It marked the end of the 2-D era and the beginning of the 3-D one.
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My first experience with PlayStation was when The Last of Us came out. I bought a PS3 two weeks before that just for The Last Of Us. Believe it or not, I wasn’t huge into the PSOne. I didn’t know it existed until the PS3 came out. I didn’t even touch the PS2. That was always a DVD player for my little brother. So, The Last of Us, PS3, my first PlayStation thing ever. Like, I’ve known about PlayStation, but I’ve never played any of those games. I didn’t care about them. But the The Last of Us looked really good so I bought a PS3 just for that. Played the hell out of that. Then I found out that Sony loves JRPGs and the PS3 had dozens of them. So I had been playing JRPG after JRPG on the PS3. And now I have a PS4 playing even more JRPGs, doing a lot of shit, and now I’m at PSX!
Bill Stiernberg, Developer at Zeboyd Games
My first PlayStation experience was Battle Arena Toshinden for PSOne at a Blockbuster test kiosk and I remember being amazed that it looked so much better than Virtua Fighter. Like, I was expecting blocky flat-shaded characters, but it had textures. And you would knock them out and about. The camera was flipping all around and I was just blown away. I don’t even know if that game is actually good. I haven’t in over a decade, but at the time I was like, “Wow, we’re living in the future.”
Max Roberts, Writer at PlayStation Insider
Ten years. It all started when I was seven years old *cue memory lane music*. My brother and I would frequently visit my cousin Jake’s house and he had a PlayStation. Back at my place, all we had was a Nintendo 64 (a fantastic console), so playing on a new system was exciting. The only game I ever remember playing with my him was Frogger 2: Swampy’s Revenge. We never could get past the giant boulder in level two.
Fast forward ten years. During that decade, my family moved to Florida. Jake stayed with us one time in 2010. After spending the day at Universal’s theme parks, we swung by a local game store that specialized in classic games. Our nostalgia kicked in and we searched for Frogger 2. Determined to face our childhood demons, we found it for a whopping $5. We raced back home and put the disc in my PlayStation 2.
Filled with determination, grit, and Red Bull, my brother, cousin, and I all partied like it was the year 2000. We beat that boulder in level two and all the levels that followed, our childhood minds being blown every hop of the way. Finally, we reached the end to see Frogger boldly go where no frog had gone before.
Frogger was in outer space. It was a pretty insane level, but after losing many lives and trading the controller off after each death, we prevailed! The tadpoles were saved, Swampy was defeated, and our childhood honor was regained. It only took ten years and a PlayStation.
Dan Thompson, Writer at PlayStation Insider
This may be a little too on-the-nose (as The Last Guardian is just around the corner), but my first experience with PlayStation was with Fumito Ueda’s masterpiece, Shadow of the Colossus. I had picked up a PS2 at GameStop after trading in a bunch of Nintendo games. It was as if I was being converted into an indoctrinated church of PlayStation. I had enough money left for only one game. Seeing Shadow of the Colossus on the shelf, I chose it based solely on the good word-of-mouth that had been spread around it. What followed were some of the best 3 weeks of my life. As I attempted to defeat every single boss in this epic, I traversed a beautiful yet quiet world that I began to love.
It wasn’t me savoring each boss of the game, or the feeling that the mechanics behind each colossi being challenging and unique that made the title emblematic. It was the emotional gut-punch that was delivered to me at the end of the game. I had never felt such a strong emotional connection to anything presented before me in any work, and it was the first step towards my legitimization of treating interactive entertainment or any entertainment as art.
Shadow of the Colossus showed something that many games that came after it lacked: restraint. And while I haven’t played The Last Guardian — my Amazon package for it arrives tomorrow — I don’t think I’ve ever come into contact with anything else besides Ico that left me so entranced and thought-provoked by what “wasn’t said.” I’m hoping after 10 years of waiting (I was very young when this game was announced), The Last Guardian will, at the very least, subtly connect the design decisions of Ueda’s first two games.
Tim Turi, Associate Brand Manager at Capcom
One of my earliest PlayStation experiences is seeing Resident Evil 1 when I was 11. I saw it for the first time at my cousin’s house and I was way too young to be seeing it. It was 1996 and I have vivid memories of Hunters decapitating Jill and then descending into the lab basement and seeing Tyrant for the first time. I couldn’t go to sleep that night because I was convinced the Tyrant was going to come kill me. Then I realized that he was too big to fit into that house I was in so I was finally able to go to sleep. So yeah, I was basically traumatized into both PlayStation and Resident Evil fandom at the same time.
Logan Moore, Managing Editor at PlayStation Insider
The first time I remember being cognizant of PlayStation was at a Target around 1997 or ’98. Back then, I used to always rush to the video game section and play the demo kiosks at the end of the aisle. It is here that I found a new controller that I had never seen before. I was aware of Sega and Nintendo but needed my father to inform me that this new, foreign controller belonged to a different console called PlayStation. The demo that was on the machine at the time was Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back. To this day, I still vividly remember that it was the snow level of the game filled with penguins and seals that try to attack you. At this point in my life I wasn’t very good at video games and I died time and time again trying to finish the level. Every time I went to that Target though, I was determined to clear that stage. Unfortunately, that never happened and it instead often ended with my dad carrying me away from the demo kiosk while I cried, frustrated and sad.
Later on down the road I ended up getting a PS2 for Christmas in 2000. This is when I was finally brought into the PlayStation family and I have had every console since then. Maybe now that the Crash Bandicoot remaster is coming to PS4 later next year, I’ll be able to finally beat that snow level and put some inner demons to rest.
At this point, PlayStation is a culture and the PlayStation Experience is where its players can not only play their most anticipated games, but where people can meet and share these experiences with each other. I mean, where else can a Wipeout collection be announced and the crowd goes insane? Where else do you see hundreds of PlayStation Vitas in one confined area? Where else can you find the most loyal PlayStation fans from around the world? There is not a single place I have visited that has the energy and fandom that PlayStation Experience had.
So what about you? What’s your first experience with PlayStation? We would love to hear from you so let us know in the comments down below or hit us up on Twitter @psxinsider.