Lessons & Memories From Playing The Original PlayStation

Growing up, we’ve all had our first consoles that introduced us to the world of gaming. I’ve heard a lot of people reminisce over the NES and similar games during that time. Sadly, I wasn’t even conceived when those consoles were at its prime. My friends and I grew up in a different generation wherein Sony released their first PlayStation. People online have often criticized us for not being “real” gamers, simply because we haven’t played consoles from the older generation and we couldn’t understand some pop culture references. I always replied: “Yeah, it’s our fault we didn’t choose our birth date.” While that irks us, I realized that my friends and I have also bashed people who claim to be gamers simply because they chose to play Bejeweled on their Smartphones or Farmville on Facebook.

The truth is: we are all entitled to be gamers in our own right regardless if we grew up with the NES, PlayStation, Nintendo 64, Xbox 360, or even the iPad. We all have our own memories and culture attached to these consoles. Heck, in the future, people will be reminiscing about Farmville and Cut The Rope. So before that happens, let me share with you some of my treasured memories and lessons growing up with the original PlayStation (or as what my friends and I call it: The PS1.)

1.) The Kid With The Analog Stick Controller is The Alpha.

I know that this rule applies to almost every other gamer out there regardless of console played. However, I remember that the issue doesn’t lie solely on who Player 1 is. My friends, cousins and myself would fight over the controller with the two analog sticks. Somehow, other kids would feel ‘lame’ if they had the controller that didn’t have any sticks. It’s probably because the PS1 comes with one of each type and kids started to associate the ‘bigger’ controller to their tiny little egos as well. Consequently, the kid who had enough ability to tell the others that they’ll be Player One with the two analog sticks became the Alpha. Everyone followed suit to whatever they wanted to play and they had no choice but to let them have dibs on Scorpion when everyone else wanted to be him. The Alpha wasn’t always hated, sometimes you admire them for being so cool but there are always kids with the God complex. I’ve had lots of unpleasant memories of cousins rough housing one another and crying to their parents afterwards all because of one controller and the symbolism it presented.

At present, I currently play with the Xbox 360 and the PC so I’m not entirely sure if people still act this way towards the PS3’s controllers. I’ve never seen a controller for PS3 without analog sticks so far, but I could be wrong.

2.) Memory Cards Are Essential

A long time ago, my parents gave me a PlayStation for Christmas. I was extremely overjoyed and I tried it out as soon as I got it with the games that came with it. It was my first time to see and touch a game console, so I was completely taken by it. As I was playing, my mother called me for lunch so I selected the option to “save my game.” However, to my horror, I could not find the memory card in the box. So I told my mother about it and the fact that if I turn the PS1 off, I will lose all my progress so far. To keep my quiet, she told me that she would buy one after she runs her errands. Completely overjoyed, I ardently finished the game the entire day wherein I unlocked all the characters and what not. I was confident that my mother would buy it as promised. Alas, she came home and there was no memory card. At present, it was clear she made that promise to pacify my rowdiness. However, at that time, I felt nothing but disappointment. I was sad at the fact that I was going to lose everything that I worked hard for. I think I even cried.

Now, we don’t even have to worry about that since our consoles can save our progress in their own hard drives. In addition, cloud software can now make our game saves transferrable without any manual work from us.

3.) The Not So Long Wait


I don’t know about you guys, but hearing the sound of the PS1’s starting screen definitely brings a feeling of nostalgia.  The funny thing about this video is the part where the scene with the diamond logo is taking a long time. For PS1 players, this can only mean that the console is having a hard time reading the CD. The longer it stays on the screen, the less chance of it working. If it never transitions, that’s when you know you need to press the restart button or accept the fact your cd is damaged. In reality, the delay isn’t that long. I guess every second turns agonizingly slow, when you’re hoping you could still grind the life out of an old copy of  Metal Gear Solid or Soul Blade.

When I had a PlayStation 2, I know something like that would happen if a CD was damaged. I’m not sure if the PS3 has this kind of occurrence as well.

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  1. I had (up until a couple years ago) one of the first generation PS1 systems. I had two controllers for it, one original, the other after market with an “autofire” function for the buttons. Neither one had a joystick. As a gift with my Metal Gear Solid I also got this little wrap-around converter to go over the directional buttons so you could use it kinda like a joystick. Even had a couple different tops for either thumb control or 2/3-finger control. It was amazing the difference it made even if not very smooth. I also remember my original memory card having 15 slots. Now I regret selling it and my games. Still have an original Resident Evil and Blitz 2000 hiding in an old CD case.

  2. Man the old PS1 now there was a system. Yeah i can recall lack of memory card and basically having to try to beat the games in one sitting. Best game was Twisted Metal 2. Beat that game with ever character on every setting.

  3. The PS1 originally did not have the Dual Shock controller. This “innovation” came a few years later but only AFTER the Nintendo 64 came out with its innovative analog stick. Nintendo has always been a innovator of controllers. They were also the first company to feature the D-Pad (Game & Watch), shoulder buttons (SNES), and force feedback (Rumble Pak, N64). I wrote a paper on this topic in college back when the Wii was still known as the Nintendo Revolution.

  4. I can remember having heated debates with my neighborhood friend over N64 os PS1 being the better system. I was an N64 kid.

    PS1 had the better audio and full motion video, N64 had the smoother graphics.

  5. Damn you original Playstation!! You killed Sega and introduced us to those stupid shapes on the controller. Except you kept X and put it in a different spot. Talk about a mind f**k when your trying to learn a how to play a game and you’ve been working with Nintendo and Segas for a decade.
    That being said Metal Gear Solid, Crash Bandicoot, Driver, FF7 and Twisted Metal 1 and 2 were all amazing. 989 studios sucked though.

  6. Atari 2600 master race reporting in. You kids will never be real gamers having not experienced the joy of playing Pong with paddle controllers that only had a wheel and a single button on them! Mwa-hah-ha! NEVAAAR! Real gamers only need a wheel and a single button! No seriously, to the guy who thinks the N64 with all 5 of it’s good games was in any way, shape, or form on the level of the PS1, this is all I have to say about that:


    Now the SNES, THAT was a beast in it’s day.

  7. You know I’ve been wanting to get these old consoles you guys have mentioned. I’ve played Pong, that Duck Shooting game and several others through emulators.

    Funny thing is: I have ‘hipster’ friends who buy these consoles for decoration since it looks vintage. They never actually play it. What a waste.

  8. The PS1 was my first game system, unless you count the original Game Boy. Tekken, JetMoto, 2XTreme, Crash Bandicoot, Final Fantasy VII-IX (and Tactics!), early Madden, Tomb Raider…so many memories! I still have dozens of those CDs, too.

  9. @Frank

    Firstly…I think you’ll find that Sega where the first games developer to introduce force feedback. Their 1976 “Moto-Cross” (or “Fonz”) was the first game to feature Haptic Technology…the controls would vibrate when a collision occurred. In actual fact, Sega, Konami, Namco etc had all incorporated this exact technology into their arcade games long before the N64 was released. Another point I would make is that the N64’s “rumble pack” was a very crude example of this technology and while Sony introduced their “dualshock” technology a couple of years after Nintendo, they certainly did a better job…despite it being on a system with less than half the recources of the 64.

    Secondly…the “D-Pad” was also around long before Nintendo introduced their’s. In the lates 70s and early 80s there were a number of arcade machines that featured the 4 directional buttons as opposed to a joystick. UPL’s Blackade and SNK’s Vanguard for example. The first release of a D-Pad on a home console however was introduced by Mattel in their Intellvision, released in 1980. Atari had also toyed with the idea of releasing the 2600 with a D-Pad but eventually favoured their now classic jostick. Nintendo “created” the restrcitive 4 way d-pad for their early game & watch tiles in the early 80s and brought it to the wider audience with their Japenese release of the Famicom. So, while they may have brought the technology to prominance, they certainly didnt create it.

    There is a common misconception with Nintendo that they are the suposed kings of innovation but that’s not technically true. You can go through the Nintendo back catalogue and for almost each and every “innovation” they’ve created, there will have been a previous version of that technology released by another company who didnt necessarily have the scope or recources to bring it to the wider audience. What you will also tend to find is that their “innovations” tend to be very poor, cheap versions of what the technology is capable of. Opening the door to other developers to come in afterwards and do it properly. Another example of this would be their Wii Motion Controllers which in comparison the the PS3’s move, feels like you’re waving around two lumps of meat at a box full of smiley faces and jagged polygons…and yet another supposed Nintendo innovation that was created elsewhere!!

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