I make it no secret that I love the Sony Playstation family of consumer video game products. I currently have, in some form or another, every single home console they have ever released. I have already decided I wish to pre-order a PS5 and pick it up on launch day as the excitement of doing so has boiled up to epic proportions.
I hadn’t always been this way. There was a time when I actively hated Playstation. To the point I swore even if I ever did buy one of their machines I would make sure I only bought it used, second hand not from a re-seller like GameStop to guarantee that Sony didn’t get a single penny of my hard earned money. Settle in this is a long road.
But where did that level of animosity come from? How bad did it get? And more importantly, when did it subside being replaced with a new-found passion for the same product line?
I was so anti-Playstation I went out of my way to get an HD-DVD player for everyone I could because I desperately wanted that format to beat Blu Ray Disc. Only reason was because BRD benefited Playstation. Let me be clear. I lost friends, actual friends, over my utter hatred for Playstation. It was a mess. Of course, so was I but that’s a story for another day.
To understand my transformation you have to go back to the very beginning.
The Early Years- Atari clones to Nintendo
My first game console was nothing special. It was just a Coleco Gemini. Basically a knock off Atari 2600 VCS that was made by Coleco. No it was NOT a Coleco Vision with the Atari adapter it could ONLY play Atari 2600 games but it looked nothing like an Atari.
Here is a picture from Google of what the monstrosity looked like.
What this did was introduced me to the world of gaming right away without a notion of brand loyalty. I knew I had an Atari. I knew it played Atari games. I was too young to understand what it actually was or how it came into existence. I didn’t learn that until years later.
Around this time my cousins got a home computer, it was one of those Apple II computers. I have no idea which specific model it was, I didn’t know enough about computers then and my faded memories are not useful.
All I do know is they played really lousy edutainment games because that was all they could get for free basically.
In an effort to condense the rest let me hit some of the highlights. In 1988 we picked up a Nintendo Entertainment System as a family.
I had to share this with my sisters. Of course I had a fondness for Nintendo games but I grew to despise the hardware as mine was like most, never worked as intended. That fueled my disdain for that product line.
The Sega Years
Then in 1994 at age 12 my parents gave me a brand new Sega Genesis Model 2 bundled with Sonic 2 for my birthday. It was the best day ever. I was so happy to have a console that just, worked. I also noticed, quickly, how it had more in common with those old Atari consoles than Nintendo.
At least in terms of aesthetic design, placement of the cartridges even the design of the carts them selves. Not to mention the revelation that the controller ports were the same making them interchangeable.
Yes I tried playing MK2 on my Sega using an actual Atari 2600 joystick. In case you are calling BS because of the above mentioned Gemini.
We got rid of that thing early on shortly after getting the Nintendo and I had picked up a used Atari from a Goodwill store around 1992 or 1993. Anyways I quickly connected Atari and Sega in my mind which facilitated this bond of emotions tying them to my early childhood development.
This is only compounded by my fascination with X-Men which had a strong presence on Sega consoles on top of my absolute love of video arcades. Sega, like Atari before it, had this big arcade following on it so I equated them with the video arcade experience.
Now this is where things get dicey. I was enamored by the luster of the Nintendo 64 so I bought one on launch day. However, I ended up taking it back and using the cash refund to buy a broken drum set and an SNES with a shoe box of games from a pawn shop.
What this did was it reintroduced me to the world of Nintendo while keeping me firmly locked in the 16-bit era slightly longer than most others.
This put me in a weird position where I truly wanted to think the Genesis was better than the SNES but I started falling into the trap of believing the lies the SNES was superior. Later I came to the conclusion they are absolute equals with each having strengths and weaknesses.
Where does Sony fit in all this? As a brand I was loyal to Sony. I had a Walk Man, a Disc Man, a Sony surround sound system, XPlode amplifier and speakers in my car, the works. Even a Trinitron TV. I was all in. Except for one area. Playstation. Now that I have set the stage let me dig into how it turned into a deep hatred.
The hatred begins
Once I realized my passion was for arcade games I started to notice a shift in focus in the gaming magazines. While I was longing for a 32X add on for my Genesis to bring me even more arcade ports to my home and begging my parents to sell my baby sister to buy me a Neo Geo to have arcade perfect ports in the home, the magazines were bragging about this new fangled Playstation.
My first reaction to the name was revulsion. It sounded like a jungle gym or attraction at the county fair. Not a serious game console. This revulsion was exacerbated by my discovery that Nintendo’s success was partially credited to its mascot, Mario, and Sega’s likewise to its mascot, Sonic.
I didn’t see a break out mascot on Playstation and seeing how Atari, Colecovision, Intellivision, Neo Geo, and others had all failed I decided in my teenage mind it had to be the lack of a mascot on those platforms. Never mind the strong mascot of Bonk on TG16 having no impact one way or another, I just figured it was a fact and accepted it.
Then there were the games. Sega and Nintendo had games I knew. Mortal Kombat. Mega Man. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, X-Men, etc. Playstation had, weird games like PO’d, Wipe out and Ridge Racer. Yawn. And that’s just the ones I knew about or can remember off the top of my head.
Then there was the Saturn. Despite my longing for a 32X I still accepted the Saturn was out there and fully expected it to put that Sony machine in its place. After all it would have the strong arcade ports, the mascot games and the recognizable characters like Sonic how could it fail?
Well it didn’t take me long after I bought a Sega Saturn to learn had been duped. Sure it had arcade ports but of lackluster games for the most part. The mascot games sucked, Sonic 3D Blast was a damn Genesis game with CD audio added. No thanks.
And as for the recognizable characters, Shinobi, Vectorman and Ecco the Dolphin were replaced with Bug, Clockwork Knight and Panzer Dragoon. Some quality games slipped in there and Shinobi did get, a game, on the console.
It just wasn’t the same. But I didn’t see all that as a kid. I saw Sony actively bullying Sega into going out of business basically. The day I saw a Sega title sitting on the store shelf in a PS2 package, I cringed. I lost my love for Sega and this compounded my hatred of Sony’s Playstation brand. In my mind Sony killed Sega, and Atari too, and were making it impossible for other companies to step in. I had no choice but to declare my loyalty to Nintendo and dig in.
The shift to Nintendo fanboy
But wait, let’s back it up a second. You see the Dreamcast was discontinued in 2001 basically. I bought my N64 and PS1 on the exact same day, Sept. 7, 2000. Why? Because it was my 18th birthday and I had a paycheck I earned from my very real job at the time. No more saving up allowance or mowing grass for old people.
I was in control of my gaming destiny. So I did buy myself a Playstation 1. But I did it begrudgingly and ensured I had a Nintendo the same day to stave off any chance I would convert. After all PS1 was mostly still 90s X games crap like Tony Hawks and lame Indiana Jones knock off Tomb Raider.
I wasn’t happy to lose Sega in favor of Nintendo but I made the most if it with the absolutely amazing Super Mario 64. There was one more hitch. I bought my stupid N64 late 2000. Roughly 1 year later the Big N had replaced it with the GameCube, or as it was known in the gaming community the Purple Lunchbox.
I fell for it. I sold my PS1 and N64 and took home a Nintendo GameCube. This was, of course, following a couple of years just doubling down on my 16 bit Sega and Nintendo machines I never let go of.
Thus my love of retro stuff was born and it was growing all the time. I kept feeding it. At first it was slow. I grabbed a few retro games for my newly acquired Game Boy Advance. I started with the Super Mario Advance series, a very retro Super Nintendo homage series of games.
Then I picked up Sonic Advance, Altered Beast, Gun Star Super Heroes, Mario Kart Super Circuit and then Metroid Fusion. By this time I was also getting deeper into the world of emulation. This was the time I discovered a passion for retro games that quickly turned into an obsession.
It was this time when my hatred for Playstation was at it’s peak. I despised them because they represented new ideas. New game play concepts and new ways of gaming. I wanted things to be the way they were before.
I doubled down on my Nintendo collecting. I concentrated on amassing a sizable GameCube library, over 60 games at it’s peak. This was a way for me to really cement my connection to retro games.
Even if I bought a new Nintendo game I made sure it had ties to the old stuff. I bought Mario Party, Smash Bros., Zelda, Metroid and Mario Sunshine. I even picked upo Star Fox Adventures and then I loaded up on all the compilations I could from Mega Man to Sonic and Midway down to Namco Museum.
All this time I was telling myself Nintendo represented the good in the world and Sony represented all the evil in the world. I literally convinced myself Sony was evil. Playstation was for sinners and if you were a good Christian you had to play Nintendo games. Between this, blaming Sony for the death of Sega and Atari and my continuing to embrace the 8-bit and 16-bit retro period I saw no merit to the Playstation.
What really fueled my hatred above all else was the anti-Nintendo attitude Playstation gamers held. This was compounded by the anti-Sega attitude die hard Nintendo loyalists harbored. I was an outside.
I grew up with Atari first then Sega so to Nintendo fans I was a poser. I was a Johnny come lately. Which was false. I always had an NES and then an SNES before getting my N64 and Game Cube. I just devoted more time and energy to Sega because, to me at least, they had better games.
How Blu Ray blinded me to the truth
Then things took a turn for the worse. Nintendo released the Wii at the same time Sony was pushing Blu Ray. I had been an audio file and a video file my whole life. I knew quality when I saw it.
I knew the glorious high bit rate 1080p picture quality stored on those 25GB Blu Ray discs produced a vastly superior, not slightly but truly noticeably improved product than the HD-DVD.
Somehow my twisted hatred for Sony was so thorough by this point I adopted HD-DVD and ranted constantly how stupid Blu Ray was and how anyone who bought into it was a sheep being blinded by the Sony marketing machine.
I succeeded in converting one friend to an Xbox gamer as a result, a mistake I now regret as he has become a fanboy of that brand at the expense of Nintendo loyalty.
My other friends continued to hound me to abandon the sinking Nintendo ship and join the Playstation party wagon. I found myself really hearing the hypocrisy and idiocy in my arguments for why the Wii was not just a good system but actually better than PS3 in every way.
Of course I had no problem tearing down the Windows in a Box the PC faithful were buying especially to Nintendo and Playstation gamers, at least we could rally behind that cause.
Remember when I told you I bought a PS1 in 2000. I did so for one game. Final Fantasy 7. That game was enough for me to put aside all the negativity I had towards Playstation and just admit that one game was great.
I eventually conceded sure the Playstation has some good games but it wasn’t the point. The evil was in everything else so I carried on the fight.
In 2009 I woke up one day and noticed my Wii was sitting there in the midst of a stack of games I was determined to use to prove it was just as good, if not better than the PS3.
Reality hit me.
Every. Single. Game. was a PS2 port! All my friends laughed at me for constantly getting excited for this “NEW” game I got on Wii they were quick to say yeah dude we played that already, years ago on Playstation. Around the time I was desperately trying to enjoy Marvel’s Ultimate Alliance on Wii, even convincing myself the game was fun because of not despite the motion controls I had a real revelation.
The tide begins to turn
I was at a friends how and I casually picked up his Xbox 360 controller and started playing Crackdown. My god I was actually having fun playing a video game again! I realized I spent so much energy crusading for Nintendo, which was weird considering I stared out disliking them, instead of just enjoying the games.
The realization was the Wii didn’t have games I enjoyed. I hated the games it had. I hated the motion controls. I hated the Virtual Console charging me money for games I already owned. I was beginning to turn on Nintendo. So I did the unthinkable. Disillusioned I sold my Wii.
This was the time I briefly, from 2010 to 2013, became a die hard PC only gamer. I dug into the world of emulation, combined it with the ever increasing piracy trap of torrents and eventually found myself throwing perfectly good money away at upgrading computers to play a game I could just stick into a console and play without all that hassle.
In 2013 I decided to give Playstation a second chance. I had finally gotten over my hatred. I was convinced I missed out on two full console generations of great games out of a stubborn belief that Nintendo would die if I didn’t convert people from the cult of Playstation to the benevolent society of Nintendo. I was a dupe. No, I was a dope.
I grabbed a PS2 in a trade deal. I took it home picked up a few games I was told were supposed to be good and, my eyes were opened. All those wonderful worlds I missed out on. But the real revelation was this, Playstation WAS Nintendo.
The best of Sega and the best of Nintendo, minus Mario and Zelda, was on Playstation. All those great retro games I grew up with and fell in love with, Final Fantasy, Mega Man, Contra, Double Dragon, Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, Castlevania and the list goes on and on.
Those franchises didn’t die like I had assumed since they were not on the Nintendo console. They were alive and well on Playstation. IN fact many were getting their best entries on the Sony platforms.
Once I discovered the depth of the origins of Playstation being tied to Nintendo I realized the original PS1 was the true successor to the Super Nintendo.
Nostalgia kicks in, discovery begins
I just missed it. Looking back nostalgia began to swell up but this time for Playstation. Not the games I grew up with but the games I missed in the franchises I grew up with. Oh sure I also discovered Mass Effect, God of War Jak and Dexter and even Elder Scrolls along the way the real treasure was discovering the hidden gems that actually felt like Nintendo games. All the Sega, Konami and Capcom games I missed out on.
All those Final Fantasy sequels I ignored in exchange for Crystal Chronicles. Then, things kept improving with Kingdom Hearts and Katamari Damacy.
By this time I shed my hatred for Sony and replaced it with a new found appreciation for how they actually saved not destroyed the traditional gaming I was fond of. I realized all those retro games I loved, those classic fighting games like Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter were STILL fun on Playstation while non existent on Nintendo.
I learned that Sony consistently released the same Super NES inspired controller with minor improvements year after year whereas Nintendo were the ones trying to get me to fall for the odd shaped trident on the N64 that mostly hurt my hands.
Nintendo were the ones trying to convince me gaming wasn’t fun anymore because it was too complicated and I needed to “get back to basics” with overly simplified motion controls based on an obvious throw back to their NES days as a covert way to trick gamers into thinking the glory days of the NES had returned.
It was Sony all a long
What I realized was Sony had preserved the retro gaming I grew up with and allowed it to grow into the modern gaming we have today by naturally evolving with the industry and society. It was Nintendo trying to reinvent the wheel every couple of years in the hopes that people would remember how fun they were and come back.
Instead of seeing how much Nintendo failed to embrace its root they were the ones facilitating unwanted changes on the very people who clung to their brand because it was supposed to be familiar. But it wasn’t.
You had some retro stuff like Mario Kart and Smash Bros. hanging around but even Zelda, Metroid, Kirby, DK and Mario get entirely reinvented every single generation. Sure they throw a familiar New Super Mario game or a Donkey Kong Country Returns to keep you coming back with an NES Remix or Super Mario Maker as a way to trick you into thinking their library has more depth than it really does.
None of this is to say Nintendo doesn’t try new things or they deserve the hate to be shifted to them. What I realized was while Nintendo always had merits I took for granted and over inflated, Playstation likewise had its own merits I was too blind to see.
Once I bought that PS2 it was mere weeks before I bought me a PS3. Less than a year later I had a PS4 and I never looked back. To this day I have logged more hours and had more fun rediscovering games I missed on Playstation than I ever did with Nintendo.
In the end I now see Nintendo and Sony are more alike than they are different. While I can see the good, and not so good, in both, I have come to appreciate that each one brings something special to the table.
They both deserve the praise and admiration they receive from the gaming community as a whole as well as their respective devotees.
Count me as a Playstation, Nintendo, Sega and PC gamer or just call me a gamer in general and I will put those silly fanboy school yard fights in the past, where they belong, while I anxiously wait for the Playstation 5 to whisk me off to new heights of fantastic gaming experiences. In the meantime I will continue to enjoy both the PS4 and Nintendo Switch for what each one offers me. Stay Cool.