It's time once again for Defunct Games' 33 Consoles of Christmas, your 33 part guide to the best and worst system designs of all time. Join Cyril Lachel and Chad Reinhardt as they judge 33 different game consoles based on what they think of the look. Forget about actual hardware and software, the only thing these guys care about is talking about their exterior design. Join us every day between November 23 and December 25 for a new console review!
When video game historians look back at the game consoles that changed everything two different systems spring to mind. The first system you think of is probably the Nintendo Entertainment System, the console that managed to revitalize the entire industry after a great game crash. Ten years later we would see another important system, the one console that managed to break down the idea that games were for kids and that it could never be a mass market product. Sony's 32-bit console was the first console to really connect with adults in a major way; with its wide variety of games and emphasis on 3D graphics, the PlayStation had something for just about everybody. And it wasn't just about the hardware, the PlayStation managed to make role-playing games cool in the United States and the software was cheap enough that a lot of smaller companies were willing to bring over games we would have otherwise never seen. With its huge list of amazing games, the PlayStation is still considered one of the greatest consoles of all time.
Final Fantasy VII, Tekken 3, Gran Turismo 2, Bushido Blade, Jumping Flash, Metal Gear Solid, Final Fantasy VII, Parappa the Rapper, Tobal 2, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2, Final Fantasy Tactics, X-Com, Resident Evil, Chrono Cross, and many, many more!
I can already hear it now: "Cyril, if you hated the look of the Sega Saturn then how could you possibly like the Sony PlayStation?" Well, my imaginary friend, it's all because of the size of the CD tray. When you open the PlayStation you really know you have it open, almost the entire top of the system opens up to say "ahh." You may remember me saying that the Saturn's CD flap makes the system look larger; well the same is true with the PlayStation ... but only in reverse. Once you've put a game into Sony's 32-bit system you can't help but think the system is smaller than it actually is. Along with the CD trap, I also like the placement of the two memory card slots. There's just something about Sony's small memory cards that I prefer to Sega's enormous memory cartridge. And then there's the shape of the system, the thing is very distinct, when you see a PlayStation you know exactly what you're looking at. I like the large circle on the front, I like the two cuts going down the system, I even like the pokey edges on each side of the console. It's also worth mentioning that the PlayStation was one of the first console that didn't look like a "toy". When you first saw the system you knew it wasn't meant for young kids, it felt like the system was aimed at an older demographic. Sadly I can't say the same thing about the Saturn or Nintendo 64, and perhaps that's why the PlayStation is the system that is credited for ushering in a new generation of gamers. It's certainly not the best looking console on the market, but it's unique and easy on the eyes.
Sony was as scrappy a newcomer as was possible, with their ultra-aggressive "You Are Not Ready" slogan and dark, edgy commercials. I was originally very put off by the whole production; the fact that this new kid so boldly stepped up to challenge Sega and Nintendo made me kind of mad. The system itself isn't very visually appealing to me. The fact that many of the first systems had to be propped up on their sides ushered in a now common trend of first gen systems not working properly. Aside from the fan, there was little to worry about as far as malfunction was concerned, and it does look a great deal different than the other two consoles. The buttons on the front of the console fit nicely, but the light grey color made it seem less intimidating and a little more sterile than the boisterous commercials. I liked the smaller, later incarnation more, but the classic design was acceptable.