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PlayStation at 25: it put video games at the centre of life

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September 29, 2020 at 11:50AM

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When the UK version launched, it was like a door opening on a new dimension of astonishing cinematic clarity and thrilling new worlds to explore

There was a sense of fundamental cultural change in the air – or that’s how I remember it. Nineteen ninety-five was the year I started out in video game journalism, as a writer for Edge magazine, the most forward-looking gaming publication in the world at the time. My introduction to the industry was booting up a brand new PlayStation and scorching through the UK launch titles. The machine had been available for several months in Japan, and Edge staff had played all the key games in their original NTSC format. They wanted me to catch up. At that time, Edge was on the top floor of Future Publishing’s Beaufort House office, a converted pub, just off Queen’s Square in Bath. While the older legacy publications – Total, Games Master, Sega Power – were crammed in on the ground floor, Edge shared upstairs with the brand new Official PlayStation Magazine. It felt like exactly the right place to be.

When thinking about PlayStation, especially today on the 25th anniversary of its UK launch, it’s easy to trot out the technological advances the machine made. Following the 16bit consoles – the SNES and Mega Drive – PlayStation was among the first generation to prioritise 3D visuals, its powerful graphics co-processors able to throw 200,000 polygons a second around the screen in a dazzling display of graphics wizardry. When you played Ridge Racer or fighting game Toh Shin Den for the first time, when games such as Tomb Raider and Resident Evil arrived, you almost couldn’t believe the lifelike cinematic clarity, the swirling cameras, the depiction of real, explorable environments. It was like a dimensional doorway opening.

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