Sunday, 24 November 2013

Computer Games History Part 3 - The time when Sony whooped everyone else's butt

I think it's quite obvious just by my title that I'm a fan of the Playstation and just Sony in general. But like a lot of the big consoles developers in gaming today, Sony found its origins back in the 90s when gamers were treated to new consoles which had superior graphics, hardware and gameplay to anything anyone had seen before.

The 1990s tends to be remembered for its production of far too many not so good consoles that ended up at the back of the shelf, and a large amount of add-ons which pushed other hardware of almost the exact same style out into gaming heaven. The two big players which struck up a rivalry right at the beginning of the 90s were Nintendo and Sega. Both boasted superior hardware to all other systems trying to grab a spot at the top at an affordable price, and even today Nintendo's SNES is considered by some one of the best consoles ever made, probably due to most of the competition at the time, such as the Commodore 64 Games System, not even coming close to its capabilities. But even though both were doing so well, and practically dominated the market, Sony plonked itself right at the top with it's incredible new console the Playstation.

Commodore (1990) Commodore 64 Games System [Online Image]. Available from:

Sony (1994) PlayStation [Online Image]. Available from:

There was a quick change to CD-ROM discs once they had gained popularity through music and the like, and so games started to head towards the same format, which may have added to Sony's success. Not only did a CD-ROM have a good audio and graphics storage potential, but its wide spread use at the time made it cost effective to use, and completely shifted the way games were produced. 3D graphics and voice acting were just a couple of things which went from being rarely used within games to being a integral part. This meant the 90s became the most technologically diverse decade ever, with some games still stuck in an arcade format, and others rising up to become similar to the 3D emersive experiences we see today.

The main thing the Playstation got oh so right was its diverse range of games. They used the contacts they had got whilst working to manufacture a sound chip for SNES console, and managed to get 400 game developers to produce a title for their console. Not only that but the Playstation was powerful, cheap and easy to programme for, so game developers were more than happy to produce titles for the system.

Examples of some of my personal favourite Playstation games just to give a brief view of the type of games the system offered -

Sony (2000) Crash Bash [Online Image]. Available from:

Sony (2000) Spyro: Year Of The Dragon [Online Image]. Available from:

Electronic Arts (2000) 007 The World Is Not Enough [Online Image]. Available from:

I believe it's clear today to see just how much influence Playstation had. The fact we're now onto the Playstation 4 in itself shows just how successful it really was and how much of an important part of gaming history it was. It literally went from zero to hero, and I just love an underdog don't you? I also think it's interesting to point out that the market will always be open to an underdog taking over. Microsoft did a similar thing when creating the Xbox and making it such a commercial success as to now having kept up with Playstation and are now releasing their Xbox one. So perhaps, one day there will be a new company which makes its way up into the ranks of the big three which we have now, and goes from zero to hero just like the Playstation did. It's always possible.

Bibliography -

Games Radar (2013) Chasing Phantoms - The History Of Failed Consoles [Online] Games Radar. Available from: [Accessed 22/11/13]

Video Game Console Library Sony PlayStation - DW FACTS [Online] Video Game Console Library. Available from: [Accessed 22/11/13]

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