In case you weren't aware already, Sony's monumental first foray into the world of video-game consoles (after the botched Super Famicom CD-ROM attachment, of course) made its initial appearance on Japanese store shelves 20 years ago today.
(North Americans didn't get their hands on the system until Sept. 9, 1995, while Europeans had to wait until Sept. 29 of the same year and Australians had to wait until Nov. 15.)
One of my earliest such memories relates to the PlayStation's Japanese launch. I'm pretty sure I wore out the pages of the DieHard GameFan, Electronic Gaming Monthly and other magazines that covered its development and release (as well as the release of the Sega Saturn and the NEC PC-FX). Thanks to those articles, I was all but set to buy a Japanese Saturn from a retailer I can't remember (it was one of the many that advertised within the pages of the above-mentioned publications back then) when I came across screenshots of some of the PlayStation's most newsworthy launch and launch-window titles--Battle Arena Toshinden, Crime Crackers, Jumping Flash! and Ridge Racer.
For whatever reason, the first and last of the above-mentioned games were the ones that nearly prompted me to pick up a Japanese PlayStation rather than a Saturn. Granted, at the time, GameFan's writers, especially, were pushing both of them as being akin to the Second Coming, so don't give me too hard of a time about the fact that I once pined for a game (Battle Arena Toshinden) that later was revealed to be a bit of a turd.
Still, even now it's easy to see why I and others were blown away by the experiences the PlayStation was able to produce. We were coming from the era of the Mega Drive (Genesis), PC Engine (TurboGrafx-16) and Super Famicom (SNES), after all, and we were used to pixels and sprites and two-dimensional games. Seeing three-dimensional games that were produced using polygons was mighty foreign, not to mention thrilling, to most of us--especially those, like me, who tended to ignore PC gaming.
In the end, though, I dropped a boatload of hard-earned cash on a Japanese (gray) Saturn rather than a PlayStation, mainly because I was completely obsessed with two games that were released around the same time as Sega's console: Clockwork Knight and Panzer Dragoon.
Strangely, I can't for the life of me remember when I finally bought a PlayStation. All I know is that the system had been out for some time before I acquired one.
I do remember what pushed me over the edge, though: Final Fantasy Tactics. For whatever reason, although the much-ballyhooed (especially at the time) Final Fantasy 7 left me feeling cold--I rented it and a PlayStation system from the local video joint shortly after its North American release--this tactical spin-off had the opposite effect on me. In fact, I was so gung-ho about it that just one week with it (thanks to the same video store I mentioned a second ago) was all I needed to run out to the nearest big-box store and buy both a PlayStation and a copy of this game.
That ended up being both a blessing and a curse, of course, as I quickly became obsessed with Yasumi Matsuno's masterpiece--to the point where I played it for hours on end, often in lieu of completing my homework.
A number of other PlayStation games also have left an impression on me over the years, of course--games like PaRappa the Rapper, SaGa Frontier and Umihara Kawase Shun, just to name a few--but none of them hit me as hard as the one that forced me to (finally) give Sony and its PlayStation console a chance. Because of that--and a slew of additional reasons--it'll always have a place in my heart.
So, those are just a few of my own "PlayStation memories." What are some of yours? Please feel free share them in the comments section of this post, if you're up for it.