Games were simple in the early days; run, jump, shoot rinse and repeat. In its infancy, Pong and Asteroids gave us a pass time, and it wasn't until Atari's Adventure that we started to see that games wanted to do more than just give us that-- Games wanted us to enter a world, and tell us a story, that prior to games itself, could only be told through movies and novels. Adventure, Zork, and many others wanted to give the community something more than just a game that could be played for a moment or a couple hours, it wanted to keep us playing and have us enter a different world much different than our own.
Storytelling in video games was at its prime in the early 90s with the Super Nintendo and the Sega Genesis. Japanese Role Playing games allowed us to assume the role of the often times silent Protagonist, woken up in a World consumed by evil, equipped with his sword and magical abilities and the helm, but whose true power lied within the comradery that he/she had molded from fellow companions and love interests alike. Throughout the adventure, the games gave us relationships; these were not just characters who act as backup, they're people, or often times anthropomorphic beings that relate to the protagonist in some way, and garner a relationship and want to help the Hero based upon a developing relationship that slowly builds up through the course of the story. So where does that actually leave the Playstation, and what impact did it have for gaming?
I received my Playstation around Christmas of 1998. One of the first games that I played via the PS1 was a demo packed in with the console that had a lot of different early PS1 titles, one of which of Metal Gear Solid. The atmosphere was different from the games that I had played on my Gameboy and NES prior. It was dark, the music was chilling, and as an 8-year old kid playing it, I was actually somewhat intimidated by what I was seeing. This is within the first few minutes of the actual game, and the presentation was that of a gritty action flick, ripe with characters unlike the Mario and Sonic that I had grown accustomed to.
I was astonished with the overall atmosphere in the game, and didn't know what I was supposed to do, obviously getting caught by Genome Guards within the first minute of playing. The rumble of my controller shocked me, as if to drop me as close as possible to the game world, and it both frightened and excited me. The Nintendo didn't do that, and my Gameboy sure as hell didn't do that either! Eventually I got better, and was able to beat the demo within less than thirty minutes without getting caught, and wanted more. As most who've played the game know, Metal Gear Solid might as well be a movie in a game, and I loved that aspect (though many others probably would argue that the cutscenes overpower its core gameplay).
I learned through Metal Gear Solid that games could play out as interactive movies, where you don't necessarily just sit and watch the Hero win, you yourself help get him/her there. In essence, it is you who is the Hero, and you are finishing the movie. Metal Gear Solid revolutionized what could be done in video games, with the help of the Playstation, but it does not quite convey exactly what I love about the Playstation as a whole, though it's a major component that helped shape gaming for me. In the early 90's, JRPGs were the staple of the Super Nintendo and Genesis. As I've mentioned before, JRPGs threw us into a world as the hero, or often times as a band of heroes, to dispose the world of a great Evil. Phantasy Star, Breath of Fire, Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger, all games and franchises that appeared both on the Super Nintendo and the Genesis wanted to reach out to the audience the same way that modern cinema still does today, and for the most part succeeded. However, it seemed that gaming was still in a niche category; still for 'kids', or a 'fad'. Getting to the point, the Playstation did in the late 90s what the Nintendo Entertainment System did in the late 80s -- Made gaming evolve in order to save it.
My love for the original Playstation stems from how young I was at the time to how 'grown up' the console made me feel. Metal Gear Solid, Tekken 3, and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater were all games that my older siblings would play, and I felt like I could connect with them through these games, since our ten and fifteen year age gap gave us little else to connect with. The Playstation in my opinion made gaming more 'adult', such as with Metal Gear Solid or other similar titles and I believe that the increase in the demographic of players helped gaming as a whole. Not only did it make me feel grown up, but it helped me grow as well.
As a young kid, I was used to playing games that did not require a thought in my head besides when to push the 'A' button. I didn't read books, and didn't watch too many movies or shows that had deep storylines. Playstation changed that. JRPGs became my novels, action/adventure games like Metal Gear Solid became my R rated movies, and allowed me more control than turning a page or pushing the fast forward button could ever do. To this day, I don't really read books, and I'm no movie buff, mostly because games have become so advanced as to place the components of each respectively into a visual package I can play in the palm of my hands, or on a Television screen.
To conclude, the Playstation was not just a console for me, but an outlet of wonderance for me, that gave me interactive stories to commandeer, and that showed me what gaming was truly and is truly capable of. This adoration for the brand continued with the PS2, but as I've gotten older, I have not felt the same joy with games as I once did with both the PS1/PS2, but rather revisiting Nostalgia land. In short, Playstation helped make me feel a childlike joy that I can only now recall, and though I might not experience quite the same wonderance and joy through gaming as can only be experienced as a child, it is because of Sony and Playstation that I felt that feeling at all, and it was marvelous.