PlayStation’s 20th Anniversary

by Benny

My greatest of life choices was always going to be; N64 or PlayStation?

With some of my greatest childhood gaming memories being moments spent with my sister and cousins playing SNES on a 32cm television, a progression to Nintendo 64 was almost a given. My greatest of life choices was always going to be; N64 or PlayStation?; and it was going to be a very tough choice indeed.

Cut to another day at my cousin’s place and he’s just brought home a brand new N64 console along with Mario 64. Amazing. Surely I would be getting a new Nintendo. But wait, what was this? A newcomer? Sony PlayStation? Huh. Sony was a good brand. Trusted, and in less than a week, my role-model cousin had returned his Nintendo and brought back this grey box in its stead.

Suddenly everyone around me had this new console and its franchise-starting games. Driver. Crash Bandicoot. Gran Turismo. Resident Evil. Metal Gear Solid. Syphon Filter. Croc. Jackie Chan’s Stuntmaster – well okay, maybe that one wasn’t a franchise starter but it was still very enjoyable.

GTA. Whoa. My parents were never going to let me buy that one, so I played a burned copy at my friend’s place whenever I had the chance. All of these great titles I had the pleasure of playing at their inception, and a grand console inception, it was too.

Sony had swept up everyone I knew into its path and I cannot remember a single mate that owned a 64, and in turn, no one to lend me games if I had purchased the Nintendo console. A Sony PlayStation heading my way was looking to be a certain thing – then came the deciding factor.

I was having a threeway call on the landline with two friends when one invited me around to see an ‘awesome new game.’ That night I skipped out on listening to and recording Ugly Phil’s Hot30 to cassette tape and instead rode my bike a few blocks over to see this said title.

Now here was an interesting game, Final Fantasy VII, not just because of the visuals – which were incredible for its day by the way – but because of the length. Never before had I seen a game that required forty, fifty plus hours to complete. And to be enthralled for every single one of those hours. Shortly after that night, I went and bought FFVII before I had even owned the console.

FFVII changed me. I changed Cloud to Benny and Tifa to the name of a girl I had had a crush on at the time. This was me putting myself into a game – turning it into a life experience, of sorts. A life I really wanted to be in and literally be a part of. Imprinted memories of characters and environments were hard pressed into my head, along with scenes that I cannot forget to this day. Rarely does that happen to me whilst gaming these days.