E.13 – Sony PlayStation (Console Retrospective)

Before Sony’s name ever appeared in front of the word “PlayStation,” it was nearly Nintendo’s that did. But if the Console Wars meant anything to you growing up, then you already know how that story ends. What proves harder to recall is how it all began, and its significance to the gaming industry today.

In celebration of its forthcoming 25th anniversary, Alex Koval & I revisit the serendipity that propelled the Sony PlayStation to becoming a household name. Combined with some of the most iconic branding in entertainment, an innovative design, subversive marketing and a critically-acclaimed games library, the gaming console would prove to have a quarter-century-long ripple effect.

Without the Sony PlayStation, our most cherished gaming memories may have never occurred. Tune in as we retrace its path to our childhood living rooms – and stumble upon the hidden gems that decorate its enduring legacy.

Additional Credits & Notes

  • Alex Koval – my co-host – is a full-stack developer, aspiring radio theater producer, and lifelong fan of the horror genre. He currently resides in Pittsburgh, PA. Some of his favorite games include Resident EvilFinal Fantasy TacticsBaldur’s Gate II: Shadows of AmnBloodborne, and Banjo-Kazooie.
  • Music bookending today’s episode was courtesy of their respective producers: Mikel, Orchard HiClips, and Lzls. Additional music was sourced from each video game’s respective OST.
  • References throughout our discussion include the Nintendo “Play Station” prototype, designs of the logo, controller, and the console itself.

Engadget Feature – Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy

Key artists from Vicarious Visions walked me through their approach to remastering Naughty Dog’s iconic PlayStation trilogy, and how they handled inheriting a legacy with millions of nostalgic fans. You can read the full-length feature on Engadget.

As a lifelong fan of Crash Bandicoot, and I am incredibly grateful to have told this story. Within it are in-depth interviews with art & design leads who oversaw the remasters, as well as exclusive behind-the-scenes looks at their process and even some of Naughty Dog’s original concept art. What stood out to me as I worked on this were the philosophical aspects of VV’s approach, and the pressure they placed on themselves in striking a balance between their vision and Naughty Dog’s (circa 1996).

Special thanks to Aaron Soupporis at Engadget for his mentorship, collaborative spirit and going the extra mile on the layout, as well as Jessica Conditt for connecting us. Nicholas Ruepp, Kara Massie, Cory Turner, Curtis Orr, Leo Zuniga and Wiebke Vallentin at VV & Activision were all extremely helpful in coordinating the interviews and art assets we needed, even on the eve of the game’s release date.

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