25 Years Later: 8 Ways the PlayStation Changed Gaming History

December 12, 2019

The original Sony Playstation recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. It came out on December 3, 1994. For gamers, time has certainly flown. Sony is set to unveil the PlayStation 5 by the end of 2020.

That successful series of consoles wouldn’t still be around if not for the success of the original PSX. In fact, the entire gaming landscape would be completely different without the PlayStation.

Here are eight ways the original Playstation changed all of gaming history!

3D Graphics

Before the PlayStation, gaming was largely defined by two-dimensional experiences. Games like Super Mario Bros. served as a template for countless competitors, and it looked like nothing would ever really change.

With the PlayStation, 3D gaming became the norm. And while that low-polygon count may look a little rough to modern gamers, it helped to establish a whole new way to play.

It’s true that 2D games are making a comeback, especially among indie developers. But without Sony, 2D wouldn’t be “retro” — it would be the face of all major games!

The Controller As You Know It

Ever noticed how the PlayStation controller design hasn’t changed much from system to system? There is a reason for that: they got it right the first time.

Previous controllers were hampered by blocky design and limited buttons. They were uncomfortable to hold and even painful at times (just ask anyone who got a blister from a D-pad).

Sony brought in an ergonomic design that was easy to use and easy to hold. And the addition of analog controls gave us new ways to play.

Feel the Vibration

Of course, its design wasn’t the only revolutionary thing about the PlayStation controller. It also brought the joy of vibration to gamers everywhere with the DualShock function.

The most popular use of this function (both then and now) was to help simulate things like enemy bullets and sharp vehicle turns. But developers also found innovative uses for it (such as Naomi “healing” a player’s arm in Metal Gear Solid).

Without Sony’s innovation, gamers would not be enjoying “good vibrations” every time they play.

Hello, Memory Cards

Video game cartridges had a lot of limitations. But one of the built-in benefits was easy memory storage. When Sony ushered in disc-based gaming, they also ushered in memory cards to help store player data.

The memory cards also helped to make games a more social experience. It was now very easy to bring a memory card to a friend’s house and load up your own data before playing.

Later developers would do some wild things with memory cards (especially Dreamcast and their wacky VMUs). But it all started with Sony.

Goodbye, Cartridges

Sony did its best to kill cartridge-based gaming. And while Nintendo remains the lone holdout (the Switch and the 3DS both still rely on cartridges), Sony was largely successful.

This was also revolutionary because it made games bigger and better than ever before. On CDs, gamers could watch FMV cutscenes and enjoy sprawling worlds that put anything cartridge-based to shame.

Don’t believe it? The larger capacity of CDs is the primary reason Final Fantasy VII came out for the PlayStation and not the Nintendo 64.

New Franchises

Game franchises are a double-edged sword. On one hand, gamers love to see their favorite characters come back again and again. On the other hand, consoles can feel like the worst of Hollywood at times when just about everything is a sequel, prequel, or spinoff.

For better or for worse, the original PlayStation ushered in some of gaming’s most influential franchises. Grand Theft Auto, Metal Gear Solid, Resident Evil, Tomb Raider… all of these got their start on PlayStation.

And the sheer popularity of the system brought in legions of new fans to existing franchises (such as the aforementioned Final Fantasy series).

Games As Cultural Phenomenon

Before the PlayStation, video games were thought of as kids’ stuff. The reasons for this can be traced back to the Atari-led video game crash of 1983.

After that crash, it looked like home games would never make a comeback. And the term “video game” was basically synonymous with “failure.” Therefore, Nintendo went in the other direction: whereas Atari advertised their system was “not a toy,” the NES played up the toy angle (complete with toy accessories like guns and a robot).

When the PlayStation became a worldwide phenomenon, no one could pretend that video games were only for kids anymore. This ultimately led to more games for different kinds of gamers, which was good for gaming as a whole.

The Multimedia Device

One thing about the PSX that few people remember: it served as a CD player (and a damn good one). This actually kicked off one of Sony’s trademark moves, and it eventually influenced all home consoles.

When the PSX came out, CD players were relatively expensive. But this made the system more attractive to potential buyers because they were getting both a music player and a game player.

Later, the PS2 would usher in DVD technology and the PS3 would normalize Blu-rays. Eventually, thanks to Sony, all game consoles became multimedia machines. That’s convenient for anyone that doesn’t want to turn their game system off to start watching YouTube or Twitch!

Did you own an original PlayStation? What’s your favorite PlayStation game? Let us know in the comments below!

Category: News

Leave a Reply

Wanna be a part of the team?
Press A to join us!