It's the battle of the gaming consoles. With the release of Sony's PlayStation 4 and Microsoft's Xbox One just months away, our friends at ReadWrite share how the PS 4 is getting them back to their gaming roots.
By Taylor Hatmaker
My, what a difference a generation makes.
A console generation, in the case of Sony's PlayStation 4. After a well-crafted press event at E3, Sony's console has even Xbox diehards peering over the fence — and me too. It took Sony's bold offensive approach to the future of gaming to make me remember, but it all came crashing back.
I'm a PlayStation fangirl. And until this week, I had altogether forgotten myself.
A Simpler, More Pixelated Time
Back when life was simpler and populated by considerably fewer bits, I owned a PlayStation. It wasn't my first console — my dad bought me a Nintendo for making straight As in the first grade; later, the Sega Genesis and I had more than a casual dalliance — but it became my special portal into the sprawling fantasy worlds that absorbed my attention in a way that a then-understimulating environment seldom did.
In 1995, Sony's new console was a cutting edge slab of hardware. My first games were terrible and few. I spent a disproportionate amount of time playing kind of awful titles, but it didn't matter, ESPN Extreme Games and its jerky control system had me occupied for months.
Worse, I may be the only person to have ever played Bubsy 3D — a perennial favorite on "worst video games ever made" lists — to completion, which inspired in me both a feeling of closure and a vast relief that I'd never have to look at the jagged platforms of its awkward 3D hellworld ever again.
But with the PlayStation's hardware chops, 3D worlds were immersive in an entirely new way. Bubsy 3D was a particularly cruel embodiment of the growing pains from side-scrolling 2D gaming to 3D gaming, but something about moving around on that extra axis gripped me nonetheless.
In 1999, my mind was blown again. On a whim, I rented Final Fantasy VIII from the gas station that I could walk to at the front of my neighborhood. And as anyone who's ever played a Final Fantasy title knows, it isn't the kind of game you rent. After a bleary-eyed 48 hours with my new PlayStation gem, I reluctantly pushed it into the returns slot.
That day, my love of gaming turned a new, more mature leaf — one with more side quests and sleepless nights. From that point on, the PlayStation became synonymous with the open-world gaming that made my imagination itch.
A Gaming Dark Age — And A Renaissance
My love of gaming flourished for a while, but the summer before I started high school, I quit playing cold turkey. Video games didn't seem like a thing that girls did — straight ones, anyway — so I tried to reinvest my energies elsewhere, like shuffling listlessly around the mall. That seemed more socially acceptable than obsessing over plain text online RPG strategy guides and flawlessly executed boss battles.
So I did normal girl stuff, casting sidelong, apologetic glances at my trusty PlayStation, quietly collecting dust on the shelf it rested on for years.
Read on for how a New York Winter brought back the gaming passion.