15 Years Of PlayStation Memories

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The global PlayStation family is celebrating a very special birthday this September. On 29 September, 1995, the original PlayStation console launched across Europe with games likes Ridge Racer and WipEout.

Celebrating 15 years of PlayStation

That’s 15 years of amazing games, new consoles, E3 bombshells, midnight launches, all-nighters, achy thumbs, annoyed girlfriends, rage quitting, wiping discs with sleeves, converting friends, swearing at enemies, eyes clenched with concentration and the satisfaction of finally seeing the end credits.
To mark the occasion, I emailed the people that have been working here at SCEE since the very beginning and asked for their favourite memories; here are my 15 favourites. I’m also aware that many of loyal readers will also have been with us from the very beginning, so please add to this piece by sharing your fondest memories in the comments.

Ray Maguire, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, SCE UK
So much has changed over the last 15 years. My daughter was one when we launched the PlayStation and now she’s studying for her A-levels and has a boyfriend. There were no social networks; no High Definition and people watched TV as the primary source of entertainment.
Not only was the original PlayStation console new, so was the company. Although most of us came from the games industry, Sony had no credentials in video games and the pundits thought we would fail. As a start up, we had the chance to ‘do it another way’.
The early years were about establishing PlayStation as a brand and although the business today is very different, it’s as much fun and as rewarding as it ever was.

Dave Parkinson, Director of First Party QA, SCEE
The original PlayStation was just under 12 months away from European release when I joined the company and it was clear to everyone, even then, that this machine was going to change the gaming landscape with arcade quality gameplay, coupled with an exceptional line up of launch titles.
PlayStation became a household name soon after, which made you feel proud to be a part of that organisation going through such tremendous growth.

Paul Holman, Vice President of Research & Development, SCEE
Back in 1995, a typical console game could be made in 12 to 28 months by a few dozen people at most. We communicated with them via a cutting-edge BBS Bulletin Board System, which was basically a 486-based PC with a number of modem cards next to my desk. The CD was a new and expensive novelty that we kept in fridges during the ramp up to the original PlayStation’s launch.
Flip forward to 2010 and games need Blu-ray Discs to hold all their content, while teams range from 70 to 100 people, to a tiny crew working on a PSN game.

Steve O’Neill, Graphic Designer, SCEE
I began working for PlayStation in the summer of 1995, just before the launch of the first PlayStation. At that time, marketing operated out of a small office in 13 Great Marlborough Street. We were all squashed in together – 2 designers, a copywriter, a couple of product managers and several others. It’s amazing to look back and think how few people there were in the company at the launch of PlayStation.
We knew we were at the cutting-edge and that what we were working towards would change the face of the games industry and keep on changing it. At the end of the week, Chris Deering, our then Vice President, would take us all down to the pub. For most of us, it was a completely new experience, and that made it fun because it felt more like an adventure than a job.
Something inevitably gets lost when a company grows to our size. Despite that, I still feel as proud to say I work for Sony PlayStation today as I did back in 1995.

Mark Pittam, Head of Network Platform Format QA, SCEE
Back in 1995, we thought that Ridge Racer and Jumping Flash were outstanding 3D titles, and then Final Fantasy VII and PaRappa the Rapper come along and change all that. PaRappa the Rapper created a new genre overnight and look where we are now – we have titles such as Rock Band, SingStar and Guitar Hero.

Nadim Othman, Director of Creative Services, SCEE
I won’t ever forget the first zombie appearing in the first Resident Evil. A group of us playing it in the office after work one evening and we went into a state of near hysteria. It was a fantastic moment.

Mark Pittam
A great memory is going to Japan in 2001 to collect an award on behalf of SCEE Format QA, and then being taken on a tour of the fabrication plant that was manufacturing the PS2 chips. And, of course, being photographed accepting the award from Ken Kutaragi.

Nadim Othman
I’d say that the most unexpected experience was watching some of our senior management performing as the Spice Girls at a company conference in Greece. One of them (nameless) was dressed as Baby Spice, wearing a nappy! I really didn’t expect that!

Patrick Inskip, Senior Vice President of Operations, SCEE
Logistically, the launch of PlayStation 2 was one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced. There were no consoles in Europe until 10 days before launch, when the first of 21 Russian Antonov air freighters landed with 20,000 units on a high security, bitterly cold air field in Maastricht.

Mike Haigh, Senior Director, London Studio
Around eight or nine years ago I was given the opportunity to work with Rick Marks and a small, talented team on a product on the development of a camera peripheral.
Initially, we thought it would be no more than a quirky one-off; more than 19 games later, EyeToy has become synonymous with the growth of social gaming.

Dave Parkinson
The industry has changed radically, in many ways, since I joined the organisation in 1994, but it’s still an entertainment industry with many of the same core values. I think the corporate aspect of the industry has matured significantly over this period as it has increasingly become more credible and integrated into popular culture.
The transition from single player to massively multiplayer networked games and, more recently, the advent of social networking and community development has been interesting to witness as an insider. The broadening demographic of our consumers has been profound and the emergence of social/casual games is a hugely positive trend that is certain to continue.

Mark Pittam
Prior to PlayStation 2 going online, I was helping run a small online project that consisted of a Net Yaroze and a set-top box called an Electron Micro Operating System. This small project involved simple e-mail, games and Internet Chat [IRC] all based round a web interface run by the set-top box. We didn’t know at the time that this was the beginning of something so much bigger.
The advent of Online Gaming for PlayStation is something I am very proud to be a part of. The first online PlayStation 2 game we tested was Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4. I’d hate to admit it but this title caught us with our pants down. We simply were not set up for online gaming. After running around like headless chickens we managed to test the game and a new department was created to test all future online titles.

Nadim Othman
Networked products, and what they mean to consumers and the business, have been a standout change. There is also a much larger female audience now and more products aimed at them.
In terms of creativity, we work across more products and services than we ever have – it’s great to be involved in such varied work.

Mike Haigh
The biggest change I’ve seen in my time is the size of the teams. The first product I worked on was developed by 3 people – I was the art and design team! But also the rate of adoption in gaming in recent years and the importance of PlayStation in the mass market phenomenon have been incredible.

Dave Parkinson
15 years from now? I’m sure PlayStation as a brand will still exist but perhaps not in ways we’re currently accustomed to. Human interfaces, cloud computing, enhanced 3D, virtual reality and holographic gaming experiences across networks are all possible in this timeframe. Will PlayStation 5 even be a physical device?
As long as PlayStation continues to innovate and deliver experiences that adapt to changing market conditions and needs, then I think we can look forward to the next 15 years with optimism.

If you want to continue with the nostalgia, check out this timeline of PlayStation releases and this feature on the innovations of the last 15 years at eu.playstation.com.

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  • Where are the special 15th anniversary special offers?

  • That is something a celebration like this needs.
    Congratulations Playstation. (Wonder when that PS in my cabinet was bougth, to long ago, and I can not remember)

  • Hapy euro-birthday Playstation!

  • Oh you did remember your birthday after all SCEE fancy that but what we getting just memories No content.
    I‘m older then PS i got memories to, memories are good but Content even better, & no Store team in the post poor them. :D wonder why.

  • are we not getting some offers like the US?
    or is our anniversary not as important as keeping the yanks happy?

  • Come on, this SCEE…they’re tighter than a duck’s butt.
    We’re not going to get any offers.

  • Great article guys, great to hear all your memories. My first memory of the Playstation brand was in a childrens’ hospital in Dublin, where my sister was being treated for her first dose of leukaemia. I went to the activity room in the cancer ward while she was getting a check-up, and played the first Spyro the Dragon. My mind was blown, and now 12 years later, I am a proud owner of a still working launch 60GB PS3, my sister got the all clear in August and I am, and forever will be, a proud and loyal Sony customer!
    Here’s to another 15 years, and beyond of the wonder of the Playstation brand!

  • No special items to celebrate????????????????? Oh i forgot we come under SCEE so we get left out as usual!!!!!!!!!

  • what do we get for supporting sony for 15 years! atleast i done
    50% discount this year? on everything?
    more usefull things? our do we need to wait till its 20 years anniversary
    come on 15 years time to show people playstation is no1
    i wait till my present is here!

  • Happy Birthday Playstation! Had every Playstation through my life and probably will never change! Many for thanks over the years for such good times and memories! :D
    Question though James, are we getting any gear for this celebration on home or themes? I hope so! ;)

  • Come on guys give us some offers :) I still have all my Playstation systems and proud of it PS Gamer 4 life!!!

  • My best memory is probably when I first got the original PS and then watching my mum jump into holes on Crash Bandicoot
    There’s quite a lot of good memories with PS

  • well done sony, much thanks for all the enjoyment you have given me thes past 15 years, hope you can go another 15 years.

  • Might have to dust off my old PS1 and play a couple of games on it. But yeah some offers would be nice to celebrate.

  • Nice reading memories i highlight just 2 that says it all.
    I won’t ever forget the first zombie appearing in the first Resident Evil. A group of us playing it in the office after work one evening and we went into a state of near hysteria. It was a fantastic moment.
    & continue: “but Now we haveing trouble releaseing Resident evil series onto our EU-store I‘m not very Happy”.
    “As long as PlayStation continues to innovate and deliver experiences that adapt to changing market conditions and needs, then I think we can look forward to the next 15 years with optimism”.
    Pfft Yes waiting for 15 years to catch up We use to that us EU ppl. :D

  • Oh dear, a collection of dreary quotes from people nobody has heard of to celebrate.
    You really managed to capture the fun & excitement of 15 years of PlayStation.
    It only does everything…apart from fun birthday celebrations…

  • How about just the free theme & avatar that the U.S got?

  • I have been there all 15 years as a proud playstation fanboy.
    But I am surprised there are no items on the playstation store to promote the event.

  • 14 years here, doesn’t seems that long, but it has been so many great years, drove almost 1000 Km to buy the PS2 when it was released (bought it in Denmark but was living in the northern Sweden), pre-ordered the PS3 and took 2 days of work to play Motorstorm and Resistance: Fall of Man, there has been so many good memories, like when I had to teach my girlfriend to fly/hoover with Spyro, playing so many games and so many hours.
    Today we have 4 PS3s – 1 of the original 60GBs that unfortunatly has YLoD and then 3 80GBs, one for me and 1 for each of the children and 1 they have at their fathers house.
    Today I couldn’t imagine a life without my playstation and even the rest of the entertainment system is today from SONY.
    I will be a loyal SONY PS fan to the end and even I (almost ashaned to admit it) do own a X360, it has been played a total of 5 hours since I bought it a year ago.

  • Congratulations and Happy Birthday Playstation! I have many, many great memories from each of the three generations. Here’s to many more! :-)

  • Happy Birthday SCEE, just a shame we get left out on special offers unlike the US. Happy 15th though

  • Wow this is quite disappointing. Expected some cool actions and promotions for this special day. It’s like you forgot your own birthday and quickly made a simple blog post!
    The US got some pretty cool things to celebrate this memorable event.
    When will you learn SCEE? Time after time you disappoint your loyal fans.

  • Been with PlayStation all my life when It first released when I was 4 years old. I still play PSone games reguarly. Mostly my first videogame ever, Crash Bandicoot.

  • Coming home from summer camp as an eleven year old (this is 1998) and getting the good news the parents have finally give in to me and my brothers cries: there’s a PlayStation under the telly.
    Getting the controller shoved in your hands by your elder brother telling you to check this game out he bought: a nice little one called Resident Evil.
    Playing it for five minutes until the dogs come crashing trough the windows and dropping the controller in utter fright.
    That’s my first memory of the PlayStation. It’s twelve years later now for me, and although I only played Resident Evil again when the fourth came out on PS2, I never gave up on the brand or gaming. Thanks you guys, for all those beautifull gaming experiences troughout the years!

  • Happy Birthday PlayStation! I’m not bothered about there not being any special offers to celebrate your birthday, after all, as its PlayStation’s birthday shouldn’t we all be buying PlayStation presents instead of the other way around?
    I got my PlayStation 1 when I was just two years old and have been a PlayStation gamer ever since. I own an original PS1, Slim PS1, original PS2, Slim PS2, original PS3, Slim PS3, original PSP, Slim PSP and PSPgo. I just need to buy a Pocket PlayStation, PSX and PSP-3000 to complete my collection!
    Thank you for a great 15 years and I hope Sony will stay in the gaming industry for many, many, many more years to come! Also, thanks James for a great post, I loved reading through it!

  • instead off memories i want content who cares about memories if the whole US can play all those memories you remember all the good old ps1 games we are still waiting at

  • after 15 years it all turns 2 crap now well 2 bad was good while it lasted

  • Hey just got 2 say about my memories well at the age of 5 me n my bro’s collected some money when we celebrated Eid ul fitr (Muslim Event). When our money was full we bought da ps1 played 4 some long time had fun fights cry’s n much more then we came 2 ps2 and had more intense fun n excitment then we thought of buying something portable like psp and we bought tht eventually and had more fascinating fun with some dram and action lol. Then it was da time 4 da main thing ”PS3” we all wanted 2 buy it it was quite expensive at 1st but after um 1 said it correct wen u desire 4 something and put ur full effort on it u’ll get it eventually and we got it….but i jus got 2 ask after all its ps 15 anniversary y didn’t they give anything free in playstation store i mean come on this is not fair THEY HAVE TO GIVE US A TREAT RITE GUYZ?

  • Congratulations PlayStation!

  • Please! Do Playstation Store for Hungary! We need it! This is a birthday, or isn’t?

  • 15 years, how time flies when you’re having fun!
    I remember the first zombie in Resi Evil too, not to mention the zombie dogs through the windows – absolutely terrifying at the time and even though it was one of the first PSX games I played I remember it as if it was yesterday (I don’t think many games would leave that much of an impression on me nowadays!).
    Mind you if you look back at clips of it today it’s amazing how bad the graphics are and how utterly terrible the voice acting was – trees aren’t as wooden as these guys were! Still at the time you thought you were playing the best horror movie ever made (made all the more tense by the fact I didn’t have a memory card first time I played it – got to the garden/water puzzle before dying)!

  • Happy birthday SCEE here to a other 15 years i hope in the 15 years of past you learn by your mistake, i grow up with sony i should know.
    can‘t tell you my age but i‘m older i let you guess how old i am, in old Ps1 we had games never played well i did I got mine chiped i played lunar 1 & 2 & others that EU never had.
    then i had a Ps2 that was Never chiped wish i F‘ing did, got PSP as well.
    upto date i‘m playing writing this post useing a Ps3, when the ps3 1st started never got it but got it later knowing it has Online compatible i surely knew we will have games across the board.
    as the Ps3 is free region you can buy uk to usa, usa to uk etc to play great games but not from other stores.
    so I‘m a loyal critic FAN i have played the dreamcast & others but i have to Go.
    maybe sooner then 15 years sony next 2 babies PSP-2 & PS4 ;) with universal store mandatory.

  • @ Hutton1993, You are also missing the Yaroze :)

  • I remember when my dad bought the PS1 and being obsessed with Spyro and Croc.
    15 years on I still love the playstation!
    Congratz SCEE!

  • Congatulations Sony!Best PS1 games:Tenchu 1 and 2,Silent hill,Resident evil,Metal gear Solid Best PS2 games:Project Zero(Fatal Frame) 1,2 and 3 Tenchu Wrath Of Heaven, Tenchu Fatal Shadows,Shadow of colossus,Jack 2,Warriors Orochi,Dynasty warriors(all) and samurai warriors(all) Best PS3 games:Uncharted 1,2 God of war 3,Little big planet,Siren blood curse,heavy rain and More!!!Make Playstation Better!=) Congatulations again Sony!Playsttaion The Game is just the Start!

  • SCEE add the content the US got like the theme and avatar and I want to show I’m proud Playstation has reached it’s 15th yeah. It’s a shame that our region always seems to miss out on these great things. Happy Birthday Playstation.

  • Nice memories. I was kind of poor when PS1 came out, so I had to sell my consoles and games just to buy one… lol
    Anyway, where’s the Home items that US got a few weeks ago, Sony?

  • Where’s the Euro PSN offers!? US PSN got them!

  • Bring back Ken Kutaragi! :)

  • Im surprised SCEE remembered about this. :P

  • Congrats to PlayStation for reaching this milestone!!
    I downloaded the theme off the US store last week, it’s pretty cool. Hopefully the next few years will give us more great exclusives to remember the PS3 by. Oh and I can’t wait for the next iteration of the PSP as well!

  • So now do we get cross game chat?

  • Will you take this occasion to make the PSN officially available for Moroccan PS3 gamers at last ?

  • Guys its been a great 15 years and I am very proud to have been there since the start, the PS1 changed everything! Here’s to another 15 years! Happy Birthday Playstation.

  • lol @ 44
    Anyways, Happy Anniversary Sony.. Seen as its your birthday, im gunna buy the jailbreak for my PS3 – Maybe that way SCEE might be useful for something.

  • please re-release parapper again…..

  • 15 years…. it’s still hard to believe we’ve gone through the enhancements of Gran Turismo to Gran Turismo 5 and Metal Gear Solid to Metal Gear Solid 4 in such a short time.
    It’s even harder to imagine Sony have been in the gaming industry since 1989… and have gone from publishing, mostly, rubbish licenced games to being one of the most respected publishers of all time.

  • I still remember that day when I was 7 years old. We are at some kind of street mall thingy. My dad was holding the playstation, and my brother and I were squabbling over who got to hold the games, one of which was the original Crash Bandicoot.
    Awesome stuff Sony. Playstation was my childhood, PS2 was my teens. And now I’m loving the awesome games we have for the PS3. Great, great stuff.

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