The PlayStation Turns 20 In The US Today — What’s Your Favourite Memory?

The PlayStation Turns 20 In The US Today — What’s Your Favourite Memory?

As incredible as this sounds, PlayStation is 20 years old today in America. (It launched in Japan back in September 1994). My first encounter with the original PlayStation wasn’t on launch day, but rather, the machine’s first Christmas. It was nearly a total disaster, too, with two kids on the verge of tears for hours.

I was 9-years-old at the time. For years, I’d convinced my brother to “combine” gifts so our parents could buy something more expensive. This was my backdoor channel into getting more game consoles, as my 7-year-old brother was, for the moment, interested in whatever his brother was interested in. (This did not last.) My latest gambit involved us getting a PlayStation.

It’s hard for me to remember what games I used to try and illustrate why this was a really good deal for him. Maybe it was a better version of Mortal Kombat, since Mortal Kombat 3 had come out in arcades earlier that year, and PlayStation was promised to get the best version of the game (exclusively) later that year.

Whatever the case, when we travelled to grandma’s that December, there weren’t many presents underneath the tree. Our younger cousins had seemingly hundreds of wrapped goodies, but there were only a handful for the two of us. Of course, I already knew what it was. What else could it be, really?

The PlayStation was unwrapped, surprise was feigned, and excitement set in. We couldn’t wait to play NFL GameDay and Warhawk — both damn good games for their time — but as we took everything out of the box, panic began to set in.

What we didn’t anticipate was how old my grandma’s TV was. See, not all TVs back then had the ability to accept AV inputs (aka those red, yellow, and white cords), which meant purchasing an RF adaptor to convert the signal into something that could be screwed into the same spot where your cable would go.

My parents didn’t realise this, so they didn’t buy an RF adaptor for the PlayStation. Thus, this expensive gift was basically useless — there was no way to play it. It being Christmas and all, everything was closed, so it wasn’t like you could run down to the local Radio Shack and hope the cable was still in stock.

The PlayStation Turns 20 In The US Today — What’s Your Favourite Memory?

We both started to get upset, and my parents felt awful. Hours were spent calling different stores, hoping one would be open long enough for us to beg for a solution. I believe my dad actually ended up leaving the house, hoping to stumble upon something at the mall down the street. But there was nothing.

Then, as I was futzing around with my grandma’s TV, inspiration struck. While we didn’t have an RF adaptor made for the PlayStation, she did have a VCR that connected to the TV that way. What did this VCR also happen to have? AV inputs! It was common for people to use VCRs to relay various video signals to their TVs back then, and it became clear we could do that with the PlayStation.

And lo, the PlayStation came alive. Christmas was saved!

I can’t be the only one with strong memories here. Christmas or launch day, what do you remember about the early days of the original PlayStation?


  • Was a PC gamer at the time, then I played Resident Evil 2 on my mate’s PlayStation. “Holy shit!”

    Went out and bought one for myself a few days later, and never looked back.

    • I remember when I didn’t have a memory card and a friend was sleeping over, we left the playstation on all night and turned the TV off so we could resume from where we left off in the morning 😡

  • I remember it costing $1000 on launch. Then it slowly dropped down to $800. People baulk at some of the prices of consoles today but they easily forget that in the mid90s the original PS was $1000.

    Memories of chipping it ourselves to play pirated games but NTSC games were black and white.

    Blowing on the lens because it sometimes crashed and failed to read the disc.

    Countless hours spent on Tekken 3, Bushido Blade and of course FFVII

    • Do you mean PS3? I’m pretty sure the PS1 was around $199-299 on release.

      *I remember the first gen PS3 console was $1000 on release but I’m certain my old PSX box has a A$199 sticker on it.

      • The funny thing is if you had a mint condition never been opened PS1 and a few sealed games you’d be looking at a $1000 plus id say

        • No doubt, but what kid seriously bought a PSX mid 90s and said, ‘this is staying sealed in the box for the next twenty years – it’ll be worth a mint!’ Ha! Not this kid.

          • And even then its like holding onto something for 20 years for less then $1000 in profit doesn’t sound like a good investment 😉

            But yes I do remember that the PS1 was as one stage just as expensive as the PS3 was.

      • Original PS1 was definitely near the $1000 range. I used that price point as an argument for when people complained the PS3 was that price.

        Don’t forget, the PS1 had a few versions over the years and the PSOne branded one probably was $200. But the PS2 would have been on the horizon or out at that stage.

        Edit: It appears that it was USD$299 at launch. This is the mid 90s. Exchange rate and Australia tax would have pushed it near $1000 easily.

        • No offence, but what part of Australia were you buying it from? The middle of the outback?

          The PS1 was $699 on launch – I remember saving up for it, only for it to drop to $599 the very next day (my awesome mum saved the day, took it back in tears and got it for $599)

          But $1000? Never happened

          • Yeah, it was $699. I remember a rich kid I knew getting one and going over to his house and watching him play Gex and thinking “man this is definitely not any better than my SNES”.

          • Again, no offence but this is a rubbish calculation – you cant retroactively change a price due to inflation or say “it would cost that much if adjusted for inflation if you bought it today”. I didnt buy it today, I bought my console in 1996 and I paid $699 for it (then returned it the next day and paid $599) – it was real money at that time. When I bought it I wasnt thinking ahead 50 years and saying “wow that cost me $3,965”

            You can use whatever RBA calculator you want – but in 1996 the price in AU for launch of the PS1 was $699, not $1,140.71 because thats the price I would pay due to inflation in 2015.

            LOL – so the house I bought in 2011 for $367,000 Actually cost me $392,138 according to your calculation, or my $14,500 car in 2004 actually cost me $19,035

            See how silly that really sounds?

            Even better, in 1995 when I bought MK2 on my SNES for $129 actually cost me $220!!!

          • When comparing prices, it’s common sense (and common practice) to adjust for inflation. Pretty much any serious article comparing prices (or any other dollar amounts) over time will do so in dollars of a particular year.

            Saying that cars were cheap in 1950 because you could get one for $2210 ignores the fact that average income was (in USD) $3319; cars are now much cheaper, because you don’t have to work as much in order to buy one. In the same way, the PS3 WAS pricey – a bit more than the inflation-adjusted price of a PS1 – but the PS4 was effectively pretty cheap, because buying one only requires half the purchasing power.

            You’re right in saying that you paid $699 for your console in 1996. However, if you’re going to compare with the price in a different year, you have to adjust for how much your dollar will buy you; it’s basically an exchange rate, but over time rather than over space. In a very real sense, an item bought for $800 in 2015 is cheaper than an item bought for $600 in 1995; that $800 can now be earned more quickly, but will buy less actual stuff, than the $600 would have in 1995.

            It may sound silly, but it’s profoundly sensible; you want to compare the actual price of things, being the amount of stuff that you have to give up at a particular time in order to gain a particular item; otherwise known as the opportunity cost. The real value of a thing is not measured in dollars – which are fundamentally valueless scraps of paper or plastic – but in the value of the things you must forgo to gain that thing.

            Just be thankful we’re now well out of the era of the 1980s and early 1990s when double-digit inflation was the norm.

          • But it’s not sensible in this scenario at all. We were talking about how much we paid for the psone in 1996 using 1996 money, not 2014 money. Someone came along and chimed in they paid almost 1000 when it first came out. It’s factually incorrect unless they bought it second hand from some unscrupulous reseller or from a retailer adding a 44ish% markup on the rrp. Inflation doesn’t change the fact I paid 699 (599) for it, and doesn’t change the fact that 699 was it’s actual cost, just like it cost my old man 8000 to buy his house in the early 70s.

  • 100% my first ever game, the original Ape Escape. i was so amazed at the use of the dual sticks at the time. Haven’t found a game like it since.

  • Sadly I grew up in a pretty humble household where we were a few generations behind on the console front when the ps1 hit the shelves I was still rocking the Master System 2 but I do remember going round to richer mates houses and being blown away by the graphics about 6 months later I managed to get a hand me down mega drive which was fun but yea would always be envious of my PS friends. A stroke of luck came in my auntie winning lotto and she took me and my brother down to the shops and we both could choose a top of the line console I actually ended up getting a N64 as they had just hit the shelves but my brother got a PS which was fine as we would swap consoles and enjoy games on both systems.

  • Demo discs….used to love buying (or having my parents buy me) the latest copy of PlayStation magazine and then sitting for hours playing through the (playable) demos, over and over again.

    • I remember Sony used to send demo discs out in the mail occasionally if you had sent in the registration card that came with your console. That was kind of cool when every now and again you’d come home and look in the mailbox and find you had a brand new demo disc in there that you weren’t expecting.

    • Had a metric buttload of PS1 demo discs when I was a kid, unfortunately left them at a friends house who moved to another country. 🙁

  • Stumbling across it around the year 2000 when I was young, at a parent’s friends place and not wanting to leave! Hook that Crash Bandicoot straight into my veins! Now I play them on my Vita.

  • Bought one for my 18th birthday along with Wild Arms, the only game I’ve actually finished on that console.

    • What a game!!

      One of my fondest memories was playing countless hours of Crash Bandicoot.
      I also remember a puzzle game where you rolled a beach ball around a maze type level but I can’t for the life of me remember what it was called.

      Also Metal Gear was the first game my parents decided I needed to start having a limit on my playtime haha

  • ahh the Playstation 🙂 still my favourite system to this date 🙂 i still collect for the old PS1 lol 🙂 and yeah our tv didnt have AV input as a kid so it was plugged into the VCR lmao.

  • Renting Digimon world from video 2000, not returning it for 6 months because i had to collect every evolution, ultimately ending telling them i lost it and paying $160 for it…. but i still have it 😛

    3. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2
    4. Bust a groove 1 & 2 (Jap Version)
    5. Crash Bandicoot
    6. Street Fighter Alpha 3
    7. Tekken 3
    8. WWF SmackDown

    And many many more good memories. Good times man

  • The Playstation launched in Japan on Dec 3 1994, not September, not sure where you got that from.

    I distinctly remember the tv ads – the slogan was ‘1-2-3-4’ because it was 12-3-(9)4 as in Dec 3rd ’94.

  • Playing CastleVania: SotN for the first time. I had to use a mates PSX, because I purchased a PAL copy without an actual PSX to play it on. Because CastleVania.

    Other than that, WipEout 2097 blew my socks off at first play. That game, along with the first WipEout (I had it on the Saturn) changed my idea of what video games were.

    I missed out on the PSX because I had a Saturn, and only got into it well after the PS2 came out. Great console!

    EDIT: Oh, and copious amounts of Bust A Groove two player mode with my cousins 🙂

  • Die Hard Trilogy and Tekken were my first experiences round my mate’s house. I remember thinking ‘this is an arcade in a bedroom, I want’. The first Medal Of Honor, rose tinted glasses but it was fantastic, Metal Gear Solid of course, Final Fantasies, Gran Turismo. So many big titles I just poured hours into with no end.

  • The original Tomb Raider, no question. I spent a good 5 minutes just sitting there on the title screen listening to the music and then the next month playing pretty much nothing else.

    Oh and playing Gran Turismo, winning like a madman with my souped up racing spec Mazda Demio (AKA: the Super-Pizza-Delivery-Van) and marvelling at the subtleties of the vibration from the then new dual shock as the wheels hit the red & white strips on the edges of the roads.

    Given how much I loved the PS1 and was rather a fan of the PS3 & 4, it’s still kind of weird to me that I never got the PS2, especially given how many unique games I’ve missed out on. If only we needed backwards compatibility…

  • When my sister and I managed to fully complete Spyro: Year of the Dragon.
    Took us ages to find the last 25 gems to get into the Super Bonus Round.

  • Realising that after a year or two when my console stopped reading discs all I had to do was turn it upside down and it would keep working forever.

  • Rapid Reload, best launch title ever.

    I remember when my friend hired out Blaze and Blades, we played the shit out of that game.

    Even though the Elf’s Shining Spell kinda broke the game. You could just bind it to quick spell and it would just freeze the boss in place and slowly kill it. We would have put over 100 hours into that game. Still have my memory card with my lvl 130 Elf on it 🙂

  • Found a partially broken PS1 on a junk heap along with a bunch of games including a copy of Metal Gear Solid. Booted it up, walked in the snow towards the facility, quickly back-tracked seeing an incoming guard and freaked out when the guard *knew* I was there and followed my footsteps.

    It just seemed so human and natural and having made a tangible change on both the environment and an enemies AI was kind of mind blowing to me (I never really played any games prior to this, apart from N when it was a flash game), and that moment was the moment I really understood what games were and could be; that’s the very reason I play games today.

  • My brothers and I also did the shared-present deal to get a PSX and Tombi! for chrissie one year. Still one of my favourite games to this day, I just dug out the disc and started playing it again last week.

    That Christmas was pretty similar to the authors, except we went straight through the VCR because seriously, who fiddles around with the RF cable all the way at the back? Nobody, that’s who.

    For years afterwards my Grandma complained that we’d “done something” to her TV and that even when the TV was unplugged the screen mysteriously glowed from that day forth.

    • Man Tombi was the shit, my brothers and I got it out from the video rental place about 10 weeks in a row. Tombi 2 was my jam though, countless hours spent on it, I think I can 100% it in about 8 hours. Memories 🙂

      • I didn’t even know Tombi 2 existed until a couple of years back. I gave it a go, got stuck on the mine cart section. I should try again.

  • I’m surprised it came out so long ago, I still have my PS1 in box which I got in Christmas 99 and it was my first console that didn’t necessarily belong to the whole family.

    Resident Evil 1, 2 and 3
    Metal Gear Solid
    Gran Turismo
    Crash Bandicoot 1, 2 and 3 and Crash Team Racing (not quite Mario Kart!)
    Tony Hawks 1 & 2
    Dave Mirra BMX

    Plus so many more.. ahh right in the nostalgia

  • Bringing my music CD collection over to my now wifes house and trying to see what creatures we can produce on monster rancher 🙂 who would have thought we would get married a few years later and have 4 kids 🙂

  • I bought a PS1 after buying Final Fantasy VII for PC and finding the control scheme was pretty much unplayable. Essentially they used the numeric keypad as a replacement for the D-pad (and it came on… 7 CDs?) That would have been around 1998, well after the original release.

    As for favourite game, probably FF7 or Jade Cocoon; the latter had a sequel (on PS2, I think) but as far as I know there wasn’t a subsequent sequel.

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