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Sony PlayStation Console
Price Range:$258.99 to $460.00
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368 Reviews from Epinions.com
May 22, 2001
A true milestone in the video gaming industry.
Pros: Amazing selection of games; great sound; good graphics; wonderful controllers.
Cons: Slow load time due to CD Rom unit; starting to look dated now.
The Bottom Line:
One of the best gaming systems ever developed. Sure, it's aging, but it's still a heck of a lot of fun.
I'm convinced there are a few gaming machines that will be regarded as systems that had an almost incalculable impact on the industry. Take the Atari 2600, for example. That little system truly gave folks the ability to play quality video games at home. Then, there's the Nintendo NES. When the video gaming industry seemed to be controlled by computers, that little system showed up and got people interested in consoles again. The Sega Genesis pushed graphics, sound and game complexity up to a level that was incredible at the time.
Add the Sony Playstation to that list of "revolutionary" systems. This little unit made three-dimensional, complex games with dazzling graphics and sound common. Sure, there were competitors that had capable systems (Sega Saturn, Neo-Geo and Atari Jaguar, to name a few), but Sony just beat them all to death with great marketing and massive support from third-party game developers. The result of all of Sony's marketing and development is a system that gives owners the key to an amazing selection of games.
So, what's so great about this system? First of all, breaking console game manufacturers out of the habit of making cartridges is a move for which we can all be thankful. Thanks to Sony, cartridges look prehistoric because they're bulky, expensive to make, and can't hold as much information as a disc without cranking up the manufacturing costs. On the Playstation, the games load slower than on cartridge-based systems, but that's never bothered me all that much. I typically have five or 10 seconds to kill while a game loads, anyway.
The controller is also great when compared with systems from competitors. That thing has enough buttons to add all sorts of complexity and control to games, and everything is within reach. Compare that to the Nintendo 64 controller, which was evidently designed for someone with three hands. While a lot of Playstation games require extensive use of those buttons, it's nice to have everything within easy reach.
Add the Dual Shock, analog controller to this machine, and things just get better. That has two analog sticks and a "rumbling" feature that gives great control and jars the hell out of the player's hands when drving a race car off a road, getting smacked around by an alien or whatever. That's a nice touch.
The selection of games is also a benefit. Developers for Sony have this wacky idea that adults like video games, too. That means there are plenty of things for the kids, but their parents can find plenty of entertainment on the Playstation, too. Not to pick on the Nintendo 64 too much (okay, I hate that system so very, very much, but others like it and that's just fine with me), but so many games for it are geared toward kids. Hell, Nintendo seems to have given up even trying to convince adults they might like the N-64 and holler a lot about Pokemon and such like in marketing campaigns. I appreciate the fact that the folks at Sony realize that folks like me who grew up with the old Atari 2600 might want a modern system.
While plenty of folks gripe about the "junk" titles out there for the Playstation, I can't think of one hugely-successful game system that didn't have a lot of garbage made for it. With the Playstation, it's nice to have a varied selection available so that we owners can pick and choose with caution. That beats the alternative -- few games available, even if they're high-quality pieces of software.
Sadly, the Playstation's days are numbered. This fact was made clear to even those in denial when Sony came out with the Playstation 2 last year. When compared with the Playstation 2 and the wonderful (but unsuccessful Sega Dreamcast), the old Playstation pales in terms of capability. The graphics aren't as good, the games aren't as fast and the sound isn't quite as impressive. Still, this system is good enough for me, and I don't see myself replacing it anytime soon.
The major complaint I have about the Playstation involves it's outdated 32-bit processor when the system is trying to fight through those high-framerate, graphically-intensive games that users demand these days. There are times when the poor little CPU just lags when handling a lot of action on the screen, and that gets old in a hurry. Sure, the system handles three-dimensional graphics and a lot of on-screen movement well enough, but it just can't hack a lot of the games people want these days. I don't care about that, really, as my sports simulations and racing games come out just fine (yes, those are all older games, for the most part).
In spite of its limitations and problems of the Playstation, this is still a system that deserves its legendary status. The system is aging, but it helped spawn a gaming revolution and is responsible with a lot of complex features we take for granted in games these days. I wish I had some of the time back I spent messing with this system so I could do something constructive with it, but that's just the way things go.
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