Coming Home: My PlayStation Story

 My PlayStation story is one of love at first sight, betrayal, and a happy reunion. This epic tale spans almost two decades—80% of my life.

     In the mid-90s, my mom bought my siblings and I our first PlayStation right after it was released I was too young at the time to really know what it was, so naturally I thought that it was just a new Nintendo. We had both an original Nintendo and Super Nintendo at the time so it made sense. It wasn’t until I was able to play games like Croc: Legend of the Gobbos, Cool Boarders, Spyro the Dragon, and Crash Bandicoot that I realized that the PlayStation was a much better piece of gaming hardware. The games looked so “real” to me back then. I remember feeling like I was actually in the games, or at least controlling characters in a movie. I was in love. I wanted to play our PlayStation all the time and never leave it alone. This caused my brother, sister, and I to fight over whose turn it was to play more than we had ever fought before. It was also the first sign that I would end up being a hardcore gaming nerd.

     I was able to get my hands on the PlayStation 2 soon after it released in 2000 through my silver tongue by convincing my family I deserved one for Christmas. I remember how excited I was when I finally got it because I considered the PS2 to be more of “my console” than my sibling’s. My sister was moving out to college so she didn’t need it, my little brother was just a little brat so he didn’t matter, and I was now the oldest child of the house. This was MYPlayStation 2. I was able to talk my grandpa into buying me games like Grand Theft Auto III, Jak and Daxter, Dark Cloud, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, and many more. I was expanding my gaming beyond the simple platform genre that I had grown so used to on the original PlayStation and Nintendo consoles. I was playing games that were too mature for me and learned about relationships, sex, drugs, and alcohol. I didn’t need to have the birds and the bees talk. I didn’t need sex education. I didn’t need to learn about drunks from a class or anything like that. Games like Grand Theft Auto on the PS2 taught me everything I needed to know about being an adult. I can completely thank Sony for teaching me these things long before I had to go through all of the awkward talks and classes later on. I loved my PlayStation 2 more than anything. I would go stay the weekend at a friend’s house and would pack it up with all my games so that we could play all weekend long. I remember staying up all night with my buddies playing games like Ratchet & Clank, Kingdom Hearts, and Star Wars: Battlefront. My relationship with my PlayStation 2 grew stronger and stronger over those years. But the love I had for my PlayStation 2 would not last forever, however, as our relationship had dark times on the horizon.

     The beginning of the end came early in 2006 when my sister began dating a guy from a city over two hours from where I lived. I had no idea at the time, but this single moment would destroy my relationship with the PlayStation franchise for the many years following. Everything was fine in the Osborn household until the day my sister decided to bring her boyfriend home for the weekend. I met the guy and thought nothing of it; he actually seemed really cool and even said that he was into gaming just like me. I thought, “Wow, she actually picked a cool guy!” He decided to show me his video games, but instead of pulling out a PS2 and all of his cool games on it, he pulled out a white console that I had never seen before; the Xbox 360. You see, at this time I was in high school, so I was starting to worry more about sports, grades, and girls than I was about gaming. I was blown away by how cool the 360 looked. I hadn’t even had a chance to play it yet and knew it was way cooler than my old PS2. He then decided to show me a game that he said even my sister played – The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. This marked the moment I betrayed the PlayStation series. Once I was able to watch him play Oblivion I knew I had to have a 360. I was able to play Oblivion that weekend a little bit, and it changed me.

     For some reason I now hated Sony, I hated the PlayStation, and I hated everything that I had loved for the previous decade. I don’t know how it happened so fast. I betrayed my PlayStation brethren that I had fought hand-in-hand with for years to save worlds. I sold my PlayStation 2 to someone and used the little bit of money I got from it to help convince my grandpa to buy me a brand new Xbox 360 just weeks after my first experience with one. I never looked back. For the next six years I could be labeled an “X-Bot”. I was the biggest Microsoft fanboy around. After the PlayStation 3’s horrible launch later in 2006, there was no way I was going to give it a try. I talked crap on the PlayStation 3 all the time to my friends. Games like Halo, Fable, Mass Effect, and Elder Scrolls were all amazing on the Xbox 360 so I had no reason to ever consider the PlayStation 3. So what if my 360 got the “Red Ring of Death” just about every year and forced me to buy a new one? I wasn’t the one buying them! My grandpa paid for them so I didn’t care. The 360 was still the most superior console out there in my (very biased) opinion. But as the saying goes, “all good things must come to an end.”

     Whoever came up with that saying couldn’t have been more right. What I thought was going to be a marriage that lasted forever, ended up becoming a stale relationship without me even realizing it. Once I began college, I started to play video games much more due to all of the free time; I was no longer in any sports, clubs, or even had a job. This allowed me to truly see what kind of games were on the market. I started renting games through GameFly and would beat them at an incredibly fast pace. After beating every major Microsoft exclusive I was interested in, I started to play third party games like Dragon Age, Assassin’s Creed, Borderlands, etc., but I quickly started to run out of interesting third party games as well. With few games left to play, I would have to make a huge decision in my personal gaming history. Me and a friend turned back to World of Warcraft, something we had given up years before. We were going through a time when we were both extremely busy and didn’t keep in contact as much as we used to, so it was hard to convince him. During the month that I was working on convincing him, another one of my friends whom I work with decided to buy a PlayStation 3. I bet you can guess what happened next.

     All it took was my buddy mentioning that he bought a new PS3 for the seed to be planted in my head. I started obsessing over whether or not I should spend the money on a PS3. Was it worth it? I would have to spend almost a whole month’s paycheck on it since I had just started a part time job. This seemed to be too steep of a price because I was also in school and trying to pay for rent and groceries. But nonetheless I began constantly researching the PS3, finding prices online, and asking my friend about his. After about two weeks I decided that I would try and find a backwards compatible PS3 so that I could play all of my beloved PlayStation 2 games that I had shunned several years before. I searched Craigslist every single day for another two weeks to find a low priced backwards compatible PS3 before I finally found one for $150, and I jumped on it.

     It took six years, but I finally came back to the light side. Gone were the days of being an “X-Bot”. I was reunited with my first love once again; I was home. All of the memories started rushing back; Crash, Spyro, Ratchet, Dark Cloud, etc. How could I have ever left these franchises? Why did I think it was such a good idea to switch to the dark side (Microsoft)? I then realized that since I was six years late to the PlayStation 3 party, I had missed out on several first party exclusives and a myriad of JRPGs that were only localized for PlayStation. I restarted up my GameFly and went to work adding every major PS3 game that I thought looked interesting; and believe me, there were a lot. All of this took place about a year and a half ago.

     So what about the PlayStation 4 you ask? Well, it was announced a mere 8 months after I bought my first PlayStation 3. Of course everyone expected this announcement to come sooner or later, but for it to happen so soon after I had just got a new console was crazy to me. This meant that I needed to hurry up and play every Sony exclusive before the next gen release! From that moment in February, I became more serious about my gaming habits. I started beating games on a weekend basis; playing games all day and allowing myself just enough time to shower, go to the bathroom, eat, and sleep. I knew the PlayStation 4 was coming but had no idea when it was going to be released. There was no release date announced at E3, but they did say that it was going to be later this year. The day after the Sony E3 press conference I decided that I would not preorder the PS4 and just wait it out; this decision lasted a whole four hours. In that four hour window I had somehow talked myself into preordering the PS4 because I didn’t want to miss out on the experience of release night. So my buddy and I left work on a “lunch break” and drove up to our local GameStop and preordered one each. The interesting part is that the PS4 preorder had only been available for 3 hours prior to when we arrived, but there were only 8 left to be claimed.

     I would then have to move on to beating the rest of the PS3 games I wanted, so I dedicated the summer to knocking out every game I could before school started again. I ended up beating 27 games in the matter of three months, all while holding a job so that I could pay rent. Too many games you say? You’re right, that was probably too many. I didn’t do anything exciting this past summer and instead spent all of my time gaming, but some of those are memories I would never want to give back. I was able to experience the great stories of The Last of Us, BioShock Infinite, Uncharted, Dishonored, and many more.

     Finally on August 20, 2013 the release date for the PlayStation 4 was announced: November 15, 2013. At last we had a tangible date that we could look forward to! I immediately decided that I wanted to make a countdown calendar at work for my PlayStation brother and me to use, so I made an 87 day countdown calendar. Every day since then we have been peeling off days one by one in anticipation. At first 87 days seemed like forever, but the closer we got the more real the date felt.

     It is no longer a dream anymore. We now sit here just a few days away from the official release of the PlayStation 4. I have never been this excited for a video game or console in my entire life. My decision to buy a PlayStation 3 was the best decision of my gaming life. I have never been happier playing video games. Sony knows how to deliver with its first party games. Developers like Naughty Dog, Insomniac, Guerilla Games, Sucker Punch, and Santa Monica have changed the way I view storytelling and video games as a whole.

     My six year affair with the Xbox 360 was fun while it lasted, but was ultimately destined to end. I grew up with PlayStation consoles so they were my first love. All of the major points in my life can be related back to what I was playing on PlayStation at the time. There are no memories of when I was young that didn’t somehow include the PS1 or PS2. The last two years of my life have been spent getting reacquainted with the PlayStation 3, and now in a few days I will be introduced to the PlayStation 4.  Be sure and check back every day until the release for at LEAST one new PlayStation related blog!  

     The time is finally upon us everyone. You can bet I will be at GameStop early on November 14th waiting in line anxiously. I hope everyone that decides to switch to the PlayStation 4 from the Xbox 360 will be as pleased as I think they will. For everyone who is continuing the tradition by going from the PS3 to PS4; stay awesome! My PlayStation story is not over, not by a long shot. This is a love story that I hope lasts a lifetime. I have finally come home.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s