Last week we saw Sony celebrate 25 years of PlayStation, something I’m a little concerned that I can say I’ve been around for from the very beginning. Instead of discussing how the brand changed the gaming world, or going through all of the best franchises that PlayStation has seen over the quarter of a century, I’m going to talk you through some personal stories about each console. Hopefully these stories give you an insight into why I think PlayStation is the best gaming brand around, and why I’m 100 percent a Sony fanboy.
I got the very first PlayStation when I was about four or five years-old. It was a Christmas present from my dad, and I distinctly remember having no idea what a games console was, and being pretty unimpressed as a result. However, once I got home and my mum set me up on Rayman, things changed. I loved playing through the first level, because I was too terrible to get further, and had no idea that you needed a memory card to save. Things picked up when my mum bought me Toy Story 2, the first game I actually made real progress in, though I still never finished it. My favourite memories of this console though are of playing GTA 2 with my mum. Obviously the game was in no way intended for my tiny mind, but my mum just turned the sound off and took turns with me picking up as many stars as we could while we drove around like maniacs. My mum drove like that in real life, and it was such a lovely moment to share with her, even though we were both totally clueless about how to actually progress.
I’d bought a GameCube by the time my friend convinced me to get a PlayStation 2. It too was a Christmas gift, but I didn’t get it until the day before we all went back to school after the holidays because I’d been away. Luckily I got the GTA 3 and Vice City double pack, and played Vice City all night so that the next day was a complete and utter waste. I’d say that this is the console I’ve spent the most time playing on ever, but that’s because it was what me and my best friend did. We played TimeSplitters 2 religiously, unlocking every character, playing through the campaign solo and in co-op, and generally messing around when things got a bit difficult. I will never stop loving TimeSplitters 2 because of the joy it brought me in those days, when school was awful, and sometimes it felt like I only had one friend.
I’ve already told you that I got a Nintendo Wii before a PlayStation 3, but I haven’t told you about why I loved the PS3. The console was again a great way that my best friend and I bonded, but it’s also where I started to think about taking my hobby to a new level, I just didn’t know what that would be. I had a lot of disposable income at the time, working two jobs, so I just played every game that came out, getting through quite a lot of them. This is where my love for the Assassin’s Creed series came from, a love that has never faltered. I spent far too much time on the open seas of Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag on this console, and had the best time with The Last Of Us and the Uncharted series. When it came to starting my first gaming blog, I was playing on the PS3 for most of my experience, building up the skills that would lead me to where I am today.
I didn’t get a PS4 until a year or so after it had been out. I got it just in time for the Destiny Alpha, and that’s where I realised that I loved sci-fi shooter MMOs. I’ve since spent hundreds of hours in the Destiny universe, and I’ll never stop. The PS4 gave me gaming on a level that I’d never experienced before, and it allowed me to stream for the first time, which is both a good and a bad thing. Again, I had the best time with The Last Of Us on this console, but I’ve also had so many more experiences, too many to count, all of which led to me killing the console with overuse. I recently got a PS4 Pro as a replacement, and I’ve played it just as hard as the base version. I honestly don’t think that there’s a better console on the market right now, and I can’t wait to see what Sony do with the PlayStation 5.
Honourable Mentions – PSP and PS Vita
I’ll say it, the PSP was the best handheld console of its time. It has some very weird games, but they were all great for what the console was, one of the most powerful handhelds you could get. I remember playing Metal Gear Acid and Acid 2, two very non-Metal Gear games, and loving them just because they were portable. I completed my first GTA game on the PSP, GTA Liberty City Stories, and spent way too long shooting Storm Troopers in Star Wars Battlefront 2, the original and best version. Sadly I traded the PSP in, for £15 no less! I did it so that I could afford to buy a PS Vita, and have an even better time with portable PlayStation gaming.
The PS Vita was really different, I knew that from its announcement. I remember standing in line at my local GAME, whilst the assistant checked how many pennies they could pay me for the hundreds of PlayStation 2 games I’d plonked in front of him, playing Uncharted Golden Abyss. I loved the way Uncharted had been brought to the console, with some superb climbing mechanics, making real use of the console’s touchscreen, a massively underused feature. There have been some great games on the Vita, and some developers are still releasing games for it, but really it’s long dead. That’s a shame, because it had so much potential. I still remember playing the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection through for the first time on it, awed by how those games had been crammed into the tiny handheld unit, and dipping my toe into Persona 4 Golden before getting pulled under into the JRPG goodness.
I will definitely be buying a PS5, because I know that PlayStation is where I’m happiest. I’ve still got a lot of games to play on PS4, but that’s no reason to miss out on Sony’s next generation offering. The story for this console will probably involve my daughter, as I slowly but surely get her into gaming, like my mum inadvertently did with me.