On my twelfth Birthday, I could finally authenticate my legitimacy as a gamer with full ownership over a games console; the PS1. Up until that point I had merely appropriated my fathers neglected systems in order sate my gaming exigency, but they were never truly “mine”. The PS1 was a games console I had coveted from afar, a console of such seminal repute that I was consumed by its ashen rigidity and in such awe of it permissive accessibility, that the idea of claiming possession of it was a salacious vilification of my bigamy with Nintendo, a company that aside from Sega’s plaintive deterioration, was the single biggest luminance in my life. My mother, noting my persistent insistence on retaining the device, finally submitted to my whimpering appeals that hadn’t been this intense since I pleaded for the Power Rangers Megazord a few years prior. This relent was permitted under certain governing conditions though, you know those tenuous stipulations of youth. She insisted I keep my room tidy, as my mum would conduct routine inspections to make sure I was at least attempting to comply. Eat all vegetables that laced my dinners and that my homework schedule was adhered too. Of course the latter I would invariably forge by copying my friends report, though it was important not to replicate word for word. Teachers weren’t as stupid as I’d hoped. All difficult feats for a child of such meagre intelligence, but the PlayStation incentive was robust enough for me to abide by, at least for a provisional elapse of time.
I had up until my Birthday acquired a modest sum of financial subsidies from various family members, as well as conserving the residual revenue I had allocated at Christmas. I had arranged to meet a couple of school friends on the Saturday immediately following my Birthday to dine at the finest establishment we could afford (Mc Donald’s), and designate the applicable dispersal of my newly acquired affluence that would be most congenial for my first ever games console, that I owned. Me! I possessed a little over £50, which at that age was like being a millionaire. It felt as though I was someone of stature. Every time a door was held ajar for me I felt like an eminent dignitary whose renown preceded me, especially when I entered a games store. You’d hold the hollow cases with such delicate admiration that you were deluded into thinking it was some kind of ornate statue or gilded Fabergé egg. That may sound odd, but its kind of demotic expression that’s only really identifiable at that fragile moment of besotted adolescence. Or maybe I was just a strange, sheltered child? In either case, picking suitable titles to expand my blossoming collection from such a comprehensive catalogue displayed, was like presenting an array of cupcakes to a diabetic. But I repressed any deviating perusing’s by purchasing the 2 games I knew I wanted; 40 winks and GTA. The proprietor of this particular gaming store was not averse to my numerical encumbrance (I may have even been wearing novelty badge with the number 12 on it) or my incapacity to reach the counter. He just tallied up the expenses and waved me off.
Though I had previously endeavoured to acquire Resident Evil in concurrence with GTA, the latter of which was by no means the compulsory purchase it is today, I was forced to compromise to a far cheaper alternative that was actually rather good. I’ve gotta say that the PlayStation 1’s enduring notoriety was certified with aplomb that day. I bathed in the hue of vibrancy emitted, as well as the 3 dimensional imagery that was beyond resplendent. Which was made all the more lustrous by the validation that this was mine, vindicated further by years of virtual recompense. Needless to say that I relished every moment gaming with my mates. We played it all evening while devouring a copious array of salted snacks and pilfered Shandy that I had earlier pertained through less than chivalrous means. Before ruefully flaying a defenceless cushion. Yeah, we were off the freakin chain! This narrative was recollected from nothing but the vivid memories that are as clear now as they were then. Its like these events only transpired yesterday, which is surreal considering I can’t even remember what I did yesterday?! And I think that admission, one of such detailed clarity denotes just how prominent Sony’s fledgling system was, not just for me, but for the entire industry. How synonymous the brand and even the PlayStation name has become with computer games, ushered by a wider community indifferent to the medium. Whether your gaming is still informed by Sony’s only lucrative commodity or not is beside the point, because its influence, however considerable or subtle changed the way we play games. So I for one would like to celebrate, applaud and dance naked with a PS1 controller draped around my neck!
Happy 20th Birthday PlayStation!
What are your memories of the PlayStation 1? Let me hear your stories……..And by the way, if a representative of Sony would like to send me one of those gorgeous, beautifully decorated PS1 looking PS4’s, I would be very gracious in accepting such a gift. Just thought.