by Adi Stein
It's a big day in gaming. One of the most important video game consoles of all time turns 20. Happy birthday to the Playstation.
Two decades. Wow. Time really does fly when you're having fun, which I suppose is the sole reason that the Playstation existed for many people.
Now, as you may or may not know, I'm a pretty big fan of the Sony line of video gaming hardware. While my first gaming experiences were on the Gameboy, my first console was a PS2. From there I went on to my now current state of owning a PS Vita, PS3, and PS4. That's a lot of PS's for something that's right in the middle of an essay. Some of my first gaming memories, though, were from the original Playstation.
You see, my cousins had one and it would eventually grow to become the bane of their existence. Whenever we'd get together I would torture them into playing with me. The game of choice? Crash Team Racing. That's right. The knock-off of Mario Kart, based on the knock-off of Mario. But damn was CTR fun! We spent countless hours speeding, bumping, and laughing. And it wasn't just the kids! My aunt and uncle got into it as well, and that was unheard of for me. A "grown up" being into video games? What the hell?
But ultimately that was what was so important about the Playstation. It brought people together. Sure, it wasn't bringing together families in the same way the Wii later would, but still. Between the graphical capabilities and the practical ones (I mean, the damn thing could play CDs so you know it was a big deal), there was something in that tiny grey rectangle to impress everyone.
Time and time again Sony has defined the physical format of the media we consume, whether it was the CD with the Playstation, the DVD with the PS2, or the Blu-ray with the PS3. But more than that, for me, it has come to define hanging out with friends and family. The hours I've spent burning rubber in CTR on the Playstation. The days I've spent jamming out with my family in the original Guitar Hero for the PS2. I've leapt across countless platforms with my roommates in LittleBigPlanet! Even more recently, I've spent full days duking it out with my greatest friends in match after match of Towerfall on my PS4.
For many people gaming is a solitary experience. I, too, enjoy getting lost in the worlds that video games create. I love a well told story or a fully realized world. But more and more I find myself looking for experiences that bring me closer to the people I care about. I look forward to game days where four or five people come over to eat, drink, and play video games. After rehearsals I look forward to afternoons spent decimating demons in Diablo III or getting my ass kicked in a round or ten of Rocket League. Gaming has become the primary way in which I interact with my friends and none of that would be possible without the original Playstation.
So happy birthday, Playstation. Here is to all of the memories you've created and all of the memories still to come.