PlayStation One (1994-2000)
Seems this is when people started saying ‘next-gen’ in re: consoles. Magazines were extremely glossy, had pictures of games that were trying to be ‘gritty’ + futuristic. Cousin gave me a full-page artwork from some gaming magazine depicting the characters of Final Fantasy VII. The disc-based PlayStation [now clarified with a ‘one’ in general parlance to avoid confusion with later PlayStation generations, not to be confused with mid-generation ‘slimlined’ model called ‘PSone’] might have had a lot of great games on it.
Then again, it might not have. One time in theater school my teacher was talking about, like, how art + history sort of operate together in a cyclical chronology, like it starts with a ‘dark ages’ followed by a ‘renaissance’ then a ‘high classical’ period which as the period of time that best benefits from the renaissance forms a ‘peak’, to some extent. Then everything sort of gets status quo and commercialized and starts to suck, there is some kind of cultural denouement. Apparently this era structure can be applied to pretty much anything – there is nothing and something’s needed so something rapidly appears and is embraced, something becomes perfected, something becomes stale something falls off. As of ‘press time’ the Antoine Dodson Meme has just passed its high classical period, we are heading toward a Bed Intruder Dark Age, for example.
The original PlayStation probably falls somewhere in between the video game console ‘renaissance’ and ‘high classical’ periods. But it emerged onto the scene in an era of massive saturation and decline for video game mascot characters. Sonic the Hedgehog was a video game mascot character renaissance, but then a whole bunch of ‘edgy’ animals with spiky fur trying to be zany arrived. They were still skateboarding to wailing guitars long after that had stopped being okay to do.
These days, when Sonic the Hedgehog is wondering what to do on a Thursday night and gets a text message it is probably from Conker, Gex, Croc, Banjo, Kazooie, Crash Bandicoot, Ty, a kangaroo with boxing gloves, a parrot with a mohawk, an earthworm wearing a jet pack or something [I need to state here that I know these are not all PlayStation characters so that nobody goes crying on a forum ‘THOSE WERE N64 GAMES & THIS IS WHY WOMEN SHOULD NOT WRITE ABOUT VIDEOGAMES.’]
Sonic goes to the bro bar because they all told him Rock Band Night was ‘seriously just a bunch of fucking chill people’, but it is totes awkward and people are just kind of talking to each other and ignoring him and finally Sonic throws his plastic cup at no one in particular and yells out “I’M SONIC THE FUCKING HEDGEHOG AND NONE OF YOUR ASSES WOULD EVEN BE HERE WITHOUT ME,” then he storms out. Tails is all “should I text him” and Knuckles is like “nah man just let him be.”
This might have been the fate of the PlayStation platform; millions of culturally-degrading animal platformer mascots dancing on the PlayStation’s laser eye like angels on the head of a pin if it weren’t for Final Fantasy VII. Approximately zillions of teenagers saw anime FMV and knew that they were playing pretty much the best game in the universe. Approx 8 months before the game launched, after viewing several trailers I remember trying to draw the hero Cloud Strife on the white board in science class before class started one day. I was not ‘cool’ in high school.
Seems like Final Fantasy VII was also the point at which critics and fans decided that ‘a video game should make you cry’ in order to qualify as being good/’relevant’/mature et al. A lot of teenagers cried when Aeris died [when I write that I figure someone will go to the comments and ‘ironically’ write SPOILER, or possibly ‘LOLZ SPOILARS’ since that is no longer a real ‘spoiler’ to anyone who plays video games any more than ‘everyone in LOST was asleep or someshit’ is a spoiler anymore.]
Friends used to come home from school with me and I would play for them the ‘opening movies’ of a variety of popular games developed in Japan, including but not limited to Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VII and, Chrono Cross, usually while saying things to the effect of ‘dude, just watch this – look at that, that’s awesome,’ and while having chills. Seems like the ‘movies’ were more important than the game part, establishing a dangerous trend that would lead gamers ‘of today’ to constantly bitch about ‘cut scenes’ and be unable to sit still for thirty seconds to receive information without pressing a button.
I played the PlayStation until the ‘laser sled’ [hardware part with the ‘eye’ on it that moves back and forth on some kind of ‘track’] wore a groove in the ‘track’ and began to be misaligned. Tried to repair it myself by ‘bracing’ the track with a sliver cut out of the metal part of a Macintosh computer disk and some superglue but it failed, had to buy a new one in order to finish Final Fantasy VII. That game was totally worth buying a new PlayStation to finish.