The best PS1 games, moments, and franchises that made the console so bloody brilliant.
If the original PlayStation console wasn’t defining enough, there were thousands of memories stored on every disk ready to reshape the industry in the 90s. For many, the PS1 was their first ‘proper’ console, or at least the one that told them what gaming could become in coming years. There are, certainly, hundreds of unsung hero games – titles that slipped past the mainstream but for many hold defining moments in their own way, but that’s a whole other post in itself. Here, we’re looking at the industry defining moments of the PlayStation – the games and scenes that enthralled the mainstream and became part of the Sony community’s shared nostalgia.
- Resident Evil
While the full Resident Evil title was certainly a revelation (geddit) when it was unleashed on PlayStation in 1996, it’s the infamous dog scene that still has people paling today. Controllers were thrown, drinks were spilt, and the neighbours complained of the noise when players were innocently strolling through the mansion they’d just escaped to only to be utterly shellshocked when a zombie Doberman smashed through the window. It’s a moment that lives on in survival horror history and is often cited as ‘the good old days’ by those lamenting the action stance the series began to take in recent years.
- Tomb Raider 2
2016 saw Lara Croft ushered into the Golden Joystick Awards Hall of Fame, as the 20 year anniversary of the architect adventurer presented fans yielded a glorious multiplatform remaster of the original title. It was the sequel however, that cemented Croft into the public mind and proved PlayStation to be a master of the market in the 90s. Setting a new standard for the action adventure genre, Tomb Raider 2 was one of the best selling titles on the console and still remains a firm favourite among fans.
- Tekken 3
When the PlayStation One is brought up in conversation you’d be hard pressed to find a group in which at least one member doesn’t dreamily utter the words ‘ah, Tekken’. It was a figurehead game for the console and the third instalment is still considered one of the greatest fighting titles of all time. With cutting edge visuals and intuitive gameplay, many recognize Tekken 3 as the pinnacle of Namco’s brawling series making it one of the most defining games for the console itself as well as many of its players.
- Metal Gear Solid
Before Uncharted there was Metal Gear Solid. The reason these two games appear in the same, very short, sentence here is their relative mastery of cinematic storytelling. In its time, Metal Gear Solid was one of the greatest narratives to grace a controller, and one of the first to show players that games could tell you a great story while letting the gunshots ring. That’s even before we consider the Psycho Mantis battle that literally took creative gameplay outside the PlayStation box.
- Crash Bandicoot
My no. 2 entry may feel slightly self-indulgent, but i’ll try and forget my undying love for Crash Bandicoot and Naughty Dog for the purposes of representing just how seminal this 3D platformer was in the days of PS1. On its release, GameFan argued that the colourful whimsy of the level design yielded “the best graphics that exist in a game”. Deceptively tricky, Crash Bandicoot immediately appealed to a younger generation of players with its cute title character and cartoon style while catching older eyes with its level of difficulty. It quickly became on the best-selling games for the console, with Crash himself becoming a (if short lived) mascot for Sony itself. Truly demonstrating what both Naughty Dog and Sony could do with the 3D platformer, Crash has earned itself a 3-part remake to release early 2017. With such a lively fan base, it’s obvious that the love for Crash never died even when popularity waned with in later PS2 years.
In 1995, Wipeout stormed onto the scene. A rough and tumble futuristic techno racing game with enough strobe lighting to keep any 90s raver happy, Wipeout was an instant hit and strong classic. Visuals were unparalleled in its day and the speed of the game was dizzying to its audience. With a soundtrack that’s gone down in history as representing some of the best in contemporary British electronica and an unprecedented appeal to a new generation, Wipeout spawned a massive following for the PS1 console itself. It’s no wonder then that it’s consistently heralded as one of the best titles to come out of Sony’s 20 year reign, despite having a relatively low sequel / remake repertoire.