We've run a lot of competitions at Kotaku, but I don't think I've ever seen entries like this. I asked you all to tell the story of your first PlayStation experience. I didn't expect some of these stories. Onions. People chopping onions everywhere.
It took me the best part of three hours to go through the incredible amount of entries we had for this competition. I should have expected it considering the prize: a 20th Anniversary Limited Edition PlayStation 4. This thing isn't even in stores. Only 12,300 have been actually made. Also: it's bloody gorgeous.
Entries were a mix of the regular, the irregular, the weird, the hilarious and truly tragic. Here are a few of my favourite entries that came close, but didn't quite win.
My first-time Playstation Haiku. You will find it to be EXACTLY 500 words and BOY-O-BOY did it ever take a while. haha Best of luck, everyone.
Anniversary Time has come for reflection Playstation, the first
It was a long time Before my first time playing Generation next
It was never mine But rather at a friend’s house That my eyes opened
There sat the future Grey, plastic, and whimsical My palms grew sweaty
But only few games Were to be found with his prize Expedition time
At half walk, half run To blockbuster, we quested No map to guide us
Six games we would rent We would play on borrowed time Pocket money, gone
That night we played long No time for breaks or sleeping Dinner, informal
But what to play first? Shuffled, held behind my back “Left or right- choose wise”
Disc goes in, lid down The start-up, that sound so crisp The sound of our hope
Not even playing But so soon to be transfixed My heart starts pounding
Oh, Gran Turismo. My eyes don’t believe the sight Photorealism
Thinking back right now The older me laughs aloud Naïve innocence
We played for some time Head to head, muscle for rank We were both winners
Celebrations short Time to switch things up a bit Zombies need killing
Resident evil HOLY CRAP! WHAT WAS THAT NOISE?! Numerous bricks shat
We need to calm down Alien trilogy next Numerous bricks shat
Seriously, man We’re going to have nightmares What else is around?
Hey, this one looks good Lara Croft, the Tomb Raider Indi in tank top
This game is so cool Climbing, shooting, exploring Mostly zoomed on chest
I think we should stop Have weirdest boner right now Good dreams, after all
It’s 7pm Still all the time in the world Oh snap! It’s Star Wars!
The Star Wars brawler Masters of Teras kasi Let the Wookie win
Vader versus Luke What could be better than this? Hey, let’s try Tekken!
OH MY GOD, CHECK IT! IS THAT A FREAKIN CHEETAH?! Select King to win
This game is perfect And no cheap distanced spam moves Oh look, there’s more boobs
Ok, you win, mate Can’t beat Marshall Law’s flip kicks But I’m still the King
It was getting late But we were high on sugar Party keeps rolling
Crash bandicoot,huh? This looks like a game for kids Blink, then 2am
Wow, how time sure flies We should probably get rest But i'm no quitter
Hit the road, stylin’ Check out this Ferrari, dude! Got the need for speed
4am, what the?!... My thumbs feel worn to the bone Eyes getting bleary
I can’t keep this up But one games left in the pile Man up, little boy
So… Twisted metal? Guns and cars sounds good to me In heaven, a match
Dangerous madmen On the brink of destruction Sweet tooth, bad temper
Woah, best game ever What’s a missile between friends? Sweet pyrotechnics
Oh no, it’s the folks 6am, still no sleep yet No debating. BED!
Up at 8am Bleary eyed yet keen for more Unlimited joy
A weekend well spent Playstation, the best thing since Refrigerators
Looking back as an adult, I realise how emotionally abusive my mother was. She wanted absolute control over everything I did. I wasn't even allowed to read any books unless mum read them first – and she didn't read much. I was allowed a small black and white TV in my room that could only barely pick up one of the three TV channels available (it was Tasmania). I had no stimulation aside from homework and keeping my mother happy. Dad would sneak me out at night to play PC games with him, but we eventually got caught. That was banned, and the PC was locked.
I constantly saved my money with the idea of getting a few books to sneak in. One day I spotted a PS1 at the local store. My jaw dropped. This was the thing, the escape I needed. I was anxious about ‘breaking the rules’ (not asking mum first) but I knew she would say no, and this…this was the thing that could bring me some joy in a pretty sad life.
The next day I came back into the store with an old schoolbag of mine. I bought that PS1 with ALL of my savings. I unboxed it then and there, and packed it into the schoolbag. It went into the cupboard for two months, while I saved up for a game. Two months later, I asked the game store guy for the best, longest game he had.
He handed me something called “Final Fantasy VII”.
I set up my PS1 in the middle of the night. I played that game until the break of dawn, and then turned it off and packed it up. I hadn't even bought a memory card yet! I didn't leave the Shinra Reactor for five weeks. I still played every night.
This was my rebellion. I had done this – alone – the first thing in my life that I did without begging for permission.
Eventually mum caught me and confiscated it. Dad stood up for me (he was jack of her at this stage) and he got it back to me. I remember him sitting down on the bed and watching me play. The next game I got was a golf game and a second controller – dad would come to my room and we would play for hours.
Now my wife and I unwind on Minecraft, I got my First Class Honours in Media studying morality engines (ME1/2, Fallout 3 and Fable), I have a great relationship with dad, and I write as a hobby due to the amazing stories the PS1 introduced me to.
I've missed out on the other generations as I've been studying, then a single income family raising a kid, then medical problems. But the PS1 set me on a good path for the rest of my life. Come to think of it, I owe the PS1 and FF7 my current life.
Thank you, PlayStation (and Cloud!), you probably saved my life.
My first experience with a Playstation console was the original Playstation. I grew up in a small country town where everyone knew everyone's business and more often than not they all knew I was in trouble before I even knew it.
Although this small town mentality can be worrying at times it also has its benefits.My locally owned and operated grocery shop was running a raffle to win the original Playstation which was a big thing for the shop as it didn't usually run things of this nature. Throughout the year my Grandfather was quickly declining in health and eventually loosing his battle around the end of the shop's competition. Which made no matter to me at the time I was 9 years old and had lost my Grand Father, I was beyond inconsolable. None the less coming from the small town community, the center had 'drawn' our ticket as the winning one, clearly a 'coincidence' and they also threw in some groceries to help us during that tough time. I'm not using this sad story as a an entry point but this is legitimately my first memory of Playstation, in any matter or form. A small town supporting us by gifting the children of my family with the console by means of keeping us entertained as the adults took care of their respective responsibilities. I will forever be thankful, not for the gift but the generosity and concern shown by my small town.
That's a fairly easy one to remember due to the content of the story. It's a bit long, but hopefully it gets read.
It was 1997 and my step dad had worked out that an effective way of bonding with me was through video games. We'd hired out a Sega Saturn from our local Video Ezy and played Virtua Fighter until we had calluses on our calluses. It was an amazing game. I'd never played a 3D game up to that point, so I was in awe of the graphics. I couldn't get enough.
We'd become good friends from the sessions we had playing together. He was the first fatherly figure I'd ever had after my mum left my real father when I was barely born. I'd heard stories of my father from my mum but I always felt like chunks of her tales were being left out. I planned on contacting him when I was older to get in touch, I needed to hear things from him.
We didn't have a great deal of money at that point in my life but I was still beyond excited when my step dad hired out a Playstation for my 12th birthday. Think a 4.5 on the N64-kid scale. He never got me a birthday card, but who cares, Playstation! He'd also hired Battle Arena Toshinden. What a game. I found it to be so much more in-depth than what Vitua Fighter was, and those textures, wow. It wasn't long before we had started to get the hang of our chosen fighters. Mine being Fo. "Ya ya ya ya ya ya!", those plasma balls were hilarious.
It wasn't an hour in to playing when the phone rang. We ignored it and my mum answered. We kept on playing. I found the Playstation controller so much nicer to hold than the Saturn controller and it felt kinder on the thumbs. After several minutes I notice my mum crying as she hangs up the phone, and she asks me to come in to my bedroom. That was the moment I found out my real father was killed in a car accident exactly 1 year before.
I didn't want to do anything other than sleep for the next few weeks. If I didn't have school that's all I would have done. I just needed to be alone. Any hope I had of meeting my father was gone. It was too hard to bear, to say very little on the matter.
Several weeks went by. I came home from school one Friday afternoon to find my step dad playing a Playstation and casually making his way through single player Toshinden. I'd hadn't had any interest in gaming since the phone call but I figured he was making an effort to cheer me up so the least I could do is sit with him and play a few rounds. "Here's the birthday card I forgot to give you", as he hands me an envelope. As I open it I notice the envelope feels a lot emptier than how you'd expect an envelope holding a card to feel. Out falls a receipt from Kmart proving the purchase of a Playstation and Battle Arena Toshinden. I may have cried a little at the time and sure it didn't patch the hole my heart I was still suffering from, but it helped ease the pain.
Thanks for organising this competition, not just for the chance to win a PS4 for giving everyone the chance to read some heartwarming stories of gaming.
Wow ok, story time. My father has had a crazy interesting life and is one of those people that tells these incredible stories where you are left wondering if any of it is true. If he wasn't my father, and I didn't know the other people around at the time, I wouldn't believe a word. To set the scene for this particular story, dad is in his mid 30's, travelled the world and was always getting himself into various situations, some fun, some not. At this point in his life, he finds himself jumping feet first onto the first ship that will take him out of a US port and out of the country. He had in fact, just bartered his way out of jail, after having a run in with some local mobsters who had paid off the local cops to put him in jail until their boss got into town (this is mid 70's btw). He boarded the ship with the clothes on his back, a handful of dollars and an old ham radio.
He then discovers the ship is heading to Japan, much to his alarm as the mobsters had 'connections' there. While he is on the ship, he uses the ham radio to send out a message out asking for help from anyone that will answer. Eventually, a Japanese man replies, who happens to be studying English. They converse for a while and he finally says he can stay at his place while he sorts everything out. Fast forward a decade until I was born, and that is how my god father is a Japanese Buddhist monk living in Tokyo!
How does this relate to a PlayStation? Well! My parents where reasonably strict on encouraging me to play sport and do 'outdoors' stuff (even though mum was an IT Teacher!), so computer games and the like were a definite no no when I was young. Then, around my 10th birthday, Bucky my Japanese monk god father, sends me a package. Much to my parents horror it is a PlayStation. I was CRAZY stoked, and I knew my parents couldn't take it off me without offending Bucky, so I was golden. It was a profound moment for me, even that young and I attribute that to setting my life direction where I ended up completing a degree in games design and animation and now work in a senior position within the ICT industry.
My parents separated when I was 3. My mother, who we stayed with most, had no real idea about video games but my father appreciated how much my brother and I were in to video games, and the day he brought a Super Nintendo home I sat on that thing, determined to not let my brother ‘have a turn’. I was so determined, so adamant (and so selfish) that right there, in the lounge room, I let the warm embrace of human excrement kiss my inner thigh and trail off down my leg and into the carpet. Such was the want for me, in those days, to have it all – to be better than my almost-2-years-younger brother at video games that I would actually rather piss myself and take the verbal scalding than hand a corn-chip-dusted SNES controller to my own flesh and blood.
When the PlayStation was released, I remember the two of us constantly asking our Dad for one. We only stayed with him every second weekend in those days, and I truly treasured that time because it came with a chance to not only see Dad, but to play on his consoles too. Before long, we either were convincing or downright annoying enough to get Dad to get us our first PlayStation.
I remember the purchase clearly – it wasn’t at one of the now-prominent specialist game stores but, in fact, it was in the electronics section of a major retailer. The walls weren’t lined with flatscreens playing FROZEN on repeat for the doe-eyed children that wandered their linoleum floors, nor were the latest iPads sitting shackled to desks, finger and tongue prints all over their reflective screens. No, this was an electronics department in the 90’s where jewel cases lined the shelves, TV screens flickered in and out of colour and, somehow, somewhere, for some reason… somebody was buying a discman.
Importantly, my Dad certainly didn’t have the money to be buying the console and more than one game. So what would we choose? I knew the “older kids” liked Crash Bandicoot and I implored Dad and my brother that this was THE game to have. No other would suffice. My brother complained, surely knowing that a repeat of The Human Waste Incident would occur if we bought a 1-player game, and offered up the idea of purchasing Space Jam.
As in, The Video Game based on the movie in which Michael Jordan is pulled down a magic hole in a golf course and is roped in to playing a basketball game against interstellar mutant aliens, who have captured the talents of five NBA players (again, magic), to ensure that Bugs Bunny and his friends don’t have to work in an alien amusement park. That Space Jam.
Dad (I love you) in his infinite wisdom (I really love you) got caught up in this idea that we could both play at once – likely because he was the one that cleaned up the mess the last time we had a new console – and with that Michael Jordan’s Space Jam was the first PS game that ever came home with us. I was infuriated. “DAD, SPACE JAM? WHY? DAD WE NEED CRASH BANDICOOT!” I was devastated. Until I got home.
To this day, I love the PS1 video game ‘Space Jam’ based on the movie of the same name. My brother and I hardly speak to each other anymore and we had a lot of rough times together as we grew up, but I will never forget sitting on Dad’s floor playing Space Jam with the little guy. My first PlayStation experience isn’t just a fond memory, it is a window into a relationship that I often regret not fostering and a time where things were much simpler. Brothers only argued about who would get more time on their video games. I love you little brother, if you’re reading this. Sorry I pissed myself to get more game time.
Congrats to the winner and thanks to everyone who entered.