OPINION: When trying to think of what was the very best Christmas present gift I’ve received, I can’t help but get nostalgic and think back to a time when Santa Claus was still sending me presents.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still very happy with the countless crates of cider I’ve received from my aunty, and I’m always delighted to get new pairs of socks since my current stash is getting worryingly low. But nothing can compete with the knowledge that your present has been gift wrapped in the North Pole and delivered by flying reindeer instead of my local postman.
In fact, I’m still pretty peeved that Santa has stopped sending me gifts now I’m in my 20s. Does he not know that’s age discrimination?
But I digress. The best present Santa Claus ever gave me is undoubtedly the PlayStation One. It’s the first games console I ever owned. Santa must have seen me looking longingly at my dad’s Sega Mega Drive and Nintendo 64 and decided it was about time I got my own console.
Looking back, that grey cuboid looks tacky as hell, but at the time I remember thinking it was a piece of art. Back then, I still used VHS tapes to watch movies, so seeing games on a disk format felt very futuristic.
I also remember thinking the memory cards were surely the peak of technology, allowing me to save my Spyro progress and then take it over to my mate’s house to show off how many dragon eggs I had collected.
Speaking of which, I spent the majority of my time on the PlayStation One playing through the Spyro trilogy, and developed a toxic hatred for Crash Bandicoot, simply because he was the other PlayStation mascot who unjustifiably received more attention.
There was also an abundance of licensed games in the PS1 era. I remember playing Tarzan, Hercules, Toy Story, Rugrats, Casper and Bugs Bunny: Lost in Time, the latter of which was an absolute banger.
Since this was a time before we could check reviews online, finding a new PS1 game simply involved rummaging through the shelves of my local video game store. I was never counting down the days for the next big release, I just played whatever looked most interesting to me at the time.
If online reviews had existed back then, I probably wouldn’t have played oddball titles such as Croc or Sheep, Dog ‘n’ Wolf, but these cult classics have lingered in my memory two decades later, so I’m glad they were part of my childhood.
Is the PS1 the best PlayStation console ever made? I personally don’t think so. The PS3 and PS4 boast such fantastic game libraries that I’d find it impossible to look past them. But the PS1 will always have a special place in my heart as the first console I ever owned.