The PlayStation Edition of the Totes Mathematical Top Ten Game List for Every Console Ever!

This entry is part 1 of 15 in the series Console Lists

The history of the Sony Playstation is fascinating. It almost has a comic book story whereby had Sony, not been spurned by Nintendo, it very well may never have existed in the form we all know it, and certainly it wouldn’t have spawned an entire billion dollar line of consoles. Gasp in amazement if you’ve never seen this.

Wait, what?

Wait, what?

That there is for all intents and purposes the Nintendo Playstation or SNES-CD. Or at least one of many prototype versions of it. Yes, Nintendo was primed and ready to go all Genesis. Which actually isn’t all that unusual for Nintendo…in Japan. In Japan they had modems, downloadable games, a floppy disk system, microphones inside of controllers. The list goes on! But they never released any of the add-ons in North America. Still, they thought they’d do some research into it and maybe give it a try.

Nintendo partnered with Sony to make a system which would play both SNES games and the new SNES-CD format games they were preparing. However, there was a lot of arguing among the tech giants about licensing rights. The arguments got heated enough that Nintendo opted to cut a deal with Sony rival Philips to produce a system in a similar vein. An ill fated, poorly designed, and all around pile of crap called the Philips CD-I. Sony was eventually left with nothing but a large almost complete game system, which…actually that’s not a bad thing is it? A few tweaks and Sony suddenly found themselves with a fully functional stand alone video game system which was easy to program for, fast as hell, and was super cheap to print and distribute games for. So many games came from this system that I had to make a little honorable mention list at the end of this article. But before we get into the games let’s delve a bit. Not into the prehistory of the system, but what happened after Sony decided to throw in.

The Sony Playstation
Released: 1994 (1995 in the USA)
Generation of Home Consoles: Fifth
Color Depth: 32 Bit
Rating: Awesomely Revolutionary.

Live in the real world. Play in here.

Live in the real world. Play in here.

So similar to at least one plot per year in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer universe, Nintendo spurned it’s lover and in doing so birthed a brand new rival. A rival which went to a lot of developers which had been working for Nintendo, and was like, “Hey (girl/boy/indeterminate gender friend). You know that Nintendo never treated you right. Limiting your game sales, limiting what games you’re allowed to even make! I would never treat you that way. Lemme buy you dinner and I’ll show you how special you really are.”

And the developers bought the line because Nintendo really was like an abusive lover. They constantly threatened developers with all sorts of shit a lot of which boiled down to, “Do it the Nintendo way, or we’ll make every store in America take your games off the shelves.” Frankly, certain companies were tired of that noise. So Sony got a bunch of developers on board and launched the system in December of 1994 and then 9 months later in the U.S. It was an instant success. Sony sold the thing for a mere $299 dollars, didn’t even include a pack in game (Which was unheard of at the time) but because of a dope line up of 3rd party titles, sold millions and millions of units. In fact it was the first console to sell over 10 Million!

Critics praised the system for the incredible graphics and players, desperate for something new and different, embraced the thing HARD. And it had a CD player too! Plus the games. Oh the games! The reason you came to this here article. I won’t make you wait anymore. I could. There’s a LOT more to the story, but no matter. I present to you the list which the Excel algorithm bestowed upon me. Drink of its essence, share, and enjoy!

10. PaRappa the Rapper. 1996. (NanaOn-Sha)Parappa Rapper
And we’re starting off a bit weird. For the time. And we start with Kick! Punch! It’s all in the Mind! If you want to test me? I’m sure you’ll find that…oh. Sorry. Force of habit. So PaRappa the Rapper was a rhythm game where you play a dog who needs to become a rap hero in order to win the heart of a flower girl. To do this you rap along to the rhythm of the game by hitting buttons at the correct time when they flash across the screen. Does this sound familiar? It wasn’t familiar at the time, but yikes. This genre got pretty big a few years later with Rock Band and Guitar Hero and such. This game won a lot of awards for interactive design, graphics, and yes, music. It’s a testament to Sony’s willingness to try out new things and for its gameplay and legacy, its well deserving of the number 10 slot.

9. Spyro: Year of the Dragon. 2000. (Insomniac Games)Spyro Year of Dragon
It cannot be expressed enough how important the 3D aspect of Sony Playstation games were to the success of the system. Sony put most of its efforts there and encouraged their game developers to do the same. Thus titles like this. This game was the third in the platforming series and it was around this time when companies were really starting to find their groove around camera positions and various elements which could really take advantage of the polygon rendering power of the system. You play as Spyro. A small purple dragon who gathers gems and you fly and zoom around making friends and fighting a Sorceress and a bunny. It was colorful and whimsical and Year of the Dragon really made the most out of the Spyro concept.

8. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2. 2000. (Neversoft)Tony Hawk 2
Following along the same path, sequels were also critical to the success of the system and the delight of the game developers. With everything being on CD, it was very easy to take a game engine which you had developed and refine it while also adding new features. You could get very quick feedback about your previous game and worry just about that feature instead of making a new game from the ground up. Thus games like Pro Skater 2. Easily one of the best games of all time, let alone sports title, let alone skateboarding title. You had a broad and open world in which to do all the tricks that were possible to do on a skateboard, (Or in a lot of cases, completely impossible to do.) Skate around, get cash, grind and take the coveted number 8 spot for all your troubles.

7. Tomb Raider. 1996. (Core Design/Eidos)Tomb Raider 1
Ah Tomb Raider. Revolutionary graphics, inventive puzzles, and innovative game play. You play as Lara Croft, a tough as nails treasure hunter in the Indiana Jones style of “Archeologist.” Though at least Lara didn’t pretend she was doing things for altruistic reasons. The protagonist of the series ended up as one of the first true “sex symbols” in video gaming. Which the publishers really pushed. And I get that. They wanted to sell games and good god did they do that. The game made Lara Croft a celebrity. She was on magazines, comic books, movies, and everywhere really. This was very much by design. Literal character design because the developers had her running around in hot pants, gun holsters and a tank top which tightly covered her huge breasts. Apparently sex sells, and the success of a wonderful game is very much intertwined with the marketing of Lara herself.

6. Crash Bandicoot: Warped. 1998. (Naughty Dog)Crash Bandicoot Warped
Crash is an interesting character. Playstation didn’t have a marketable mascot like Sonic or Mario. Crash originally marketed itself as the Playstation version of the other two. He was not that at all, but Playstation went along with the marketing, figuring “why not?” And it worked! The original game sold like hot cakes as did the sequels including this third entry into the platforming series. You play as a crazy bandicoot who needs to collect all of the crystals you collected from the previous games, before your previous selves do. Time traveling, ridiculously fun game play and the best reviews of the series netted Warped the 6 slot.

5. Metal Gear Solid. 1998. (Konami)Metal Gear Solid 1
Well, we knew this was going to show up somewhere. Arguably the reason why the “Stealth” genre of games exists was this little number. You play as Solid Snake, a soldier and legendary saboteur. You sneak around and infiltrate a nuclear weapons factory to neutralize the terrorist organization FOXHOUND. Stealth wasn’t super huge as a concept at the time. So the game really did require a whole new way of thinking about how to navigate a level. Just running at a bunch of enemies will mostly get you killed. You had to sneak. You had to hide. You had to occasionally be inside of a cardboard box. Great game and could have easily taken any of the top five spots on the list.

4. Resident Evil. 1996. (Capcom)REsident Evil 1
Ah the horror genre! Another staple of Playstation games which hadn’t really been delved into before the fifth generation. Here you play a sort of general soldier type who fights a bunch of zombies which were accidentally/not accidentally invented by one of the most inept companies to grace the Earth, the Umbrella Corporation. A company whose business model remains one of the most convoluted documents in existence. If it existed. There’s been like ten games of fighting zombies and monsters and I still don’t know what the end goal is for Umbrella, but hey. That’s the business world for you. Fun game though. Maybe I don’t need to look to deep into it. This game and its sequel were almost a tie for best game in the series, but the original edged out the rest for the number 4 spot.

3. Tekken 3. 1998. (Namco)Tekken 3
It’s Tekken 3! The third installment of the extremely popular fighting series. I’m sure this won’t be the last time you see Tekken on a top ten list in some form or another. This probably is one of the best games of not just the series, but of the whole genre and the fifth best selling Playstation game of all time. Not a lot is really different from previous installments. The basic gameplay is the same, but the graphics saw a nice improvement, there was a hugely increased roster of fighters, the music was pretty good and the fighting was a bit more fluid and less choppy. This game is well loved and the epitome of fighting games on the system.

2. Final Fantasy VII. 1997. (Square)Final Fantasy 7
Whew! This game was originally developed for Nintendo, (As were all previous entries to the series) but when it was apparent that a cartridge wasn’t going to come anywhere close to containing the game, Square was forced/lured into the CD based Playstation. It was the first 3D game in series and pushed about as many boundaries of storytelling, graphics, and game play mechanics as an RPG of the time had ever pushed. Sony had a HUGE coup in getting this game for the system and while it wasn’t exactly a killer app, it came about as close as you could get in the modern era and helped sell a LOT of systems all over the world. It was released almost twenty years ago and people STILL play it and have been begging Square for an updated version for years which will also no doubt sell millions of copies. Widely considered to be one of the greatest games of all time and deservedly so.

But now here we are! The number one slot goes to…

1. Gran Turismo. 1997. (Sony)

Gran Turismo
Many years ago, some Sony guys got together over drinks and decided to make a racing game. And when the engineers asked what they should put into the game, the answer which came down from corporate was “Everything. Just put everything in it.” Five years of development later, they presented this to the world. Gran Turismo was the best selling video game of the system of all time and had an aggregate score of about 95% across all ratings sites. To say that it was universally praised barely does it justice. It had the best graphics of any racing game that had ever been released to that point. It had the best music, it did an incredible amount of justice to the 140 cars which you could race, won almost every award it could possibly win and whenever there’s a greatest games of all time list, it finds its way there for all of the reasons mentioned. Seems to be worth the five years of development, no? So there you go, Gran Turismo. Number 1 slot and yet another award to dump into the award cave you no doubt have.

So there you have it! The top ten games. As I said above, it was incredibly close up in the top 30. I also had to choose the best in each series that came up, or the top ten would have been nothing but Final Fantasy and Resident Evil sequels. Special shout outs all go to the following because of that; Final Fantasy 8, 9, & Tactics, Resident Evil 2, and Tomb Raider II. Did I miss something? Send a tweet to @Whentheicebreak and let me know all about it!

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Philippe L.

About Philippe L.

When not out exploring the stars with his good friend Hotblack Desiato, he makes his living here on Earth keeping other people's money safe from the hands of thieves and spinning the occasional yarn. He enjoys beer and coffee very much, but unfortunately he can't eat shellfish or tomatoes.

2 Comments

  1. Personally, I would choose Syphon Filter 2 over Metal Gear Solid.

  2. Pingback: The Totes Mathematical Top Ten Game List for Every Console Ever! Sega Saturn Edition – The Chaotic Neutral

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