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Useful Notes / PlayStation
aka: Playstation

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From top to bottom: the model 1 PlayStation; the model 2 PlayStation
"ENOS Lives: U R Not E" note 

So basically, Nintendo didn't think through a contract with Sony by Hiroshi Yamauchi, then-president of Nintendo. The contract gave Sony all profits for a potential CD-ROM add-on for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System which was being developed by Ken Kutaragi (and according to some sources, perpetual rights to Nintendo's creations). Yamauchi didn't like the deal, but instead of telling Sony that and drawing up a new contract, he instead went with Phillips to develop an alternative CD-ROM add-on for the SNES... a deal which also imploded, and caused Nintendo to spurn optical media for several years. note 

Sony, feeling insulted by Nintendo's actions (particularly because Phillips was a Dutch company, not a Japanese one, and that Nintendo chose to make the announcement in front of a public audience at CES, where the CEO of Sony and Ken Kutaragi were also at note ) then moved on to attempting to woo the other hot video game company of the time (well, hot in America, at least), Sega. They sent Olaf Olafsson, Sony Electronic Publishing president, and Micky Schulhof, president of Sony America, to meet with Tom Kalinske, president of Sega of America, with the logic that both companies had a common enemy in Nintendo. The proposal of partnering up with Sony intrigued Kalinske, who met up with Kutaragi, similarly bullish over the concept; the hardware, which both companies agreed had to be CD-based, would likely be sold at a loss, and the partnership could mean Sega and Sony could split the losses across the two companies. Kalinske then brought the idea to the attention of his Japanese counterpart, Hayao Nakayama, and the Board of Directors. They promptly shot it down, claiming, "That's a stupid idea, Sony doesn't know how to make hardware. They don't know how to make software either. Why would we want to do this?" note 


Having potential partnerships shut down with both halves of the major video game hardware industry left Sony reluctant to get into gaming, but that move ended up losing its face; Sony had to get into gaming to reclaim its honor.

Thus the PlayStation as we know it was conceived. Sony redesigned the "PlayStation X" from a fancy CD drive for the SNES and the technical specs from their project with Sega into a full-fledged console. Developers were getting excited by 3D gaming, so Kutaragi designed the system with that in mind. He also made sure it was easy to develop for, so programmers could get their 3D system right out the gate. Sony's developers license had a "Come One, Come All" approach — if you could develop a game, you could put it on the PlayStation. That meant it published games like Resident Evil and Silent Hill, which Nintendo and Sega would never have done. Thus began two generations of PlayStation dominance. The hardware was also adopted (often in modified form) for numerous Arcade Games by major companies such as Namco, Capcom, 8ing/Raizing, Taito and Tecmo. This had the benefit of making arcade ports much easier, since they could actually be ports, rather than total conversions (essentially re-making the game from the ground up for drastically different hardware), which had previously been the norm.


In Japan, the PlayStation had a smooth start, but the pickup was still slower than a new console from the established brands. The platform was also not initially popular for RPG titles, as despite debuting in Japan in 1994 the console did not have many RPG titles released for it until Square released Final Fantasy VII for it in 1997. Indeed, Square’s biggest rival, Enix, chose to release Star Ocean on the SNES instead of the PlayStation, as did Namco with Tales of Phantasia. It wasn’t until the deafeningly loud positive response the public has for FFVII that the other major RPG developers were finally convinced to get on board.

In North America, however, the PlayStation had a rocky start. Sony hired Bernie Stolar as head of Sony Computer Entertainment America, the North American arm responsible for licensing content and developers for the PlayStation. Stolar's policies, specifically his "Five-Star Policy", which he used to veto 2D games and JRPG localization releases for the PlayStation in North America and prioritize sports titles, almost led to the console failing in the market. The Japanese arm caught on, and following Stolar's removal, the PlayStation began to thrive in the US. With the release of killer apps like Resident Evil, Tomb Raider, Final Fantasy VII, and Metal Gear Solid, the rest was history.

Meanwhile, back at Sega, Kalinske left the company, and Stolar, fresh from being kicked out from Sony, took his job and enacted the same brain-dead policy that got him fired from Sony in the first place... and we all know how that turned out.

Incidentally, only the smaller redesigned models usually display the words "PS1"/"PS one" given that they were released late in the console's lifespan with its successor, the PlayStation 2, on the horizon, thus there was a need to differentiate it from its impending successor. Though Sony has kept the PS one designation for its downloadable "PS one Classics" line.

Don't confuse it with the actual PSX console, even though it was common before the announcement of the PS2 to abbreviate PlayStation as "PSX" after its original in-development name of "PlayStation X". note 

While acclaimed for introducing many to 3D consoles and a large library that mostly took full advantage of the CD media, the console had some infamous hardware issues. Many games had Loads and Loads of Loading, that at times reached two minutes, and the console was prone to overheating, which was a huge problem when early models of the console put the optical lens right next to the power supply (it was later moved to a less dangerous position in a later revision). The first batches even had a reputation for CD drive problems, as the fully plastic tray over time moved the laser into a position where it was no longer parallel with the CD surface. However, none of this stopped the PlayStation from becoming the highest-selling video game console in the world at the time; the only consoles today that have beaten the PlayStation's record was, amusingly enough, two of its own successors note . Aside from the inevitable deluge of 90s kids with fond memories of Sony's 32-bit bombshell, the PlayStation also lives on among the audiophile community due to its audio quality allegedly being significantly better than many dedicated CD players.

In September 2018, Sony announced their own miniature console: the PlayStation Classic, in an attempt to ride off Nintendo's runaway success with their similarly-named mini-consoles. It was released on December 3, 2018 (exactly 24 years after the original PlayStation's release in Japan) and contained 20 built-in games.Western List (exclusives in bold) Japanese List (exclusives in bold)  While many had high hopes that it would be a worthy competitor to Nintendo's offerings, the final product was met with disappointment from critics and fans, many considering the game selection questionable at best even after licensing issues for some of the more popular titles is considered. The console also came with the original joystickless controllers as well, making some games way more difficult to play than intended, and despite the fact that the PlayStation has been readily emulatable for more than two decades, the console was plagued with performance issues and inaccuracies, and even more puzzling, some of the games had the inferior PAL versions included. This not only means owners had to put up with the lower 50 Hz refresh rate, it doesn't play well with 60 Hz displays as it introduces a lot of microstutter. Finally, the console was considered quite lacking in the feature department, with a bare-bones UI, no graphical filtering options, no save-states, and perhaps most notably, it used an open-source emulator one could readily install on a Raspberry Pi without having to buy an official device. Word spread of the device's cheap quality very quickly, and retailers had so much trouble selling the device that the price was slashed mere weeks after launch from 99 USD to 59 USD, and even that wasn't enough to get rid of the mountains of unsold stock retailers were stuck with. Much of the problems with the device have been attributed to it having been Christmas Rushed.



  • A MIPS R3000-A 32-bit RISC CPU at 33.8688 MHz.
  • A Vector Unit called the "Geometry Transformation Engine," built inside the CPU.
  • A GPU. Although the CPU/GTE rotates and translates the polygons; the GPU rasterizes and shades them.


  • 2 MB main Random Access Memory, and 1 MB Video RAM. Bandwidth has a maximum of 130 MB.
  • 512 KB of SRAM memory for sound with BBR compression.
  • 32 KB CD buffer, used for commonly accessed sectors of the disk.
  • 128 KB (or 15 "block") memory cards.
  • Games comes on standard CD-ROMs, holding up to 650MB each. Several games were released on two discs, and a handful (23 in total) come on three or more. The largest game by total file size is the five-disc Tokimeki Memorial 2, at approximately 2.18GB.


  • Theoretical polygon count is 1,000,000... but that's assuming the processor is making nothing else, so it isn't helpful. In real-time games, the count would be around 100,000 to 120,000. A few games reached 150,000 polygons a second, which comes out to around 3,500 polygons per frame at 30 fps. As a comparison, this is about 1% of what the PS3 can push.
  • But polygon count is only part of it:
    • The graphics processor is a strictly 2D affair. It has no concept of depth. All 3D math had to be handled and converted into 2D graphics by the CPU.
    • Textures could be high quality for the time if they were programmed correctly, and could have quite a bit of detail. Unfortunately, the system lacked filtering for the textures, which meant that high-contrast textures would look blocky up close.
    • Nor was it able to do texture mapping well; due to the use of affine texture mapping (no accounting for perspective or depth) textures generally appear to warp and twitch when the camera moves when they were used on triangles because the graphics processor does not process depth information which is required to properly apply a texture map to a triangle. Textures that were applied only to quadrilaterals were correctly processed because the locations of a quadrilateral's corners provide enough information to properly texture a quadrilateral, unlike triangles. Some developers came up with tricks to minimize these effects, but it was just something that PlayStation owners got used to. This was made worse because most 3D modeling tools are based on triangles as their only primitives, so converting objects to use quadrilaterals instead of triangles to make texture mapping work properly was extra work.
    • The graphics processor can perform Goraud shading on triangles where the lighting and color assigned to a non-textured triangle's vertices are smoothly blended throughout the triangle. If the triangle has a texture map, only the lighting can be smoothly blended through a triangle. Unfortunately, the graphics processor can only apply flat shading to a quadrilateral, meaning that a quadrilateral without a texture had one color and amount of light throughout it, and a textured quadrilateral had one shade of light applied throughout the whole quadrilateral. Developers were forced to choose good shading or good texture mapping, but not both.
    • Furthermore, because the graphics processor does not process depth at all, it requires the CPU to sort polygons from the back to the front, and this processor draws them in this order. Since no perfect system to do so can exist especially if some polygons go through others, objects that are behind other opaque objects sometimes are shown when they should have been hidden.
    • Finally, despite both the vector unit and rasterizer working with fixed-point mathematics (not as good as an FPU, but much better than nothing), only integers could be passed between the two, leading to the slightly stilted movement of polygons that typify PlayStation graphics (Watch any slow-moving object and you'll notice how the polygons seem to "snap" to each new position, rather than moving smoothly.)
  • The "Motion Decoder," a hardware decompressor for JPEG-like image data. This could be used for still images, but its main purpose was to decode a video format similar to Motion JPEG. This made it feasible to mix FMV and polygon graphics, although most games only used it for cutscenes. Sega Saturn and Nintendo 64, by contrast, used software decoding for FMV (though the Saturn had two CPUs and an optional hardware MPEG decoder, while the N64's typically 8-64 Mb carts mostly precluded the use of FMVs.)
  • The system supported standard composite cables, S-video cables, and an RF Modulator for coaxial, all via the AV Multi Out port. However, very early models also had regular composite ports (with the very first model also including an S-video port) like a VCR, a very unique feature since most consoles used proprietary AV ports. These AV Direct Out ports delivered superior audio quality than the AV Multi Out ports, making the early models popular among audiophiles for use as CD players. The AV Direct Out ports were removed starting with the SCPH-55XX revision.


  • DualShock: Since the PlayStation was developed as a 3D system from the start, having three-dimensional control in its games would be vital, so the original PlayStation controller design featured not one, but two pairs of shoulder buttons for three-dimensional movement. Eventually, however, Sony responded to the Nintendo 64's analog controller and rumble feature by incorporating force feedback and dual analog sticks into the new controller. This controller design would later serve as the basis of all Sony first-party gamepad controllers, ranging from the PlayStation 2's DualShock 2 (with analog, pressure-sensitive face buttons) to the PS3's Sixaxis and DualShock 3 (the former of which added motion-sensing abilities at the cost of force feedback, and the latter of which brought rumble back while still using the motion sensor).
    • In the US, Nintendo tried to sue Sony for adding vibration and analog capabilities to the controller. Nintendo lost the case because this didn't violate its patents. Immersion later did successfully sue them because it did violate their patents.
    • Dual Analog: Actually preceding the DualShock, the Dual Analog controller shared the same button placement as its successors but distinguished itself with its longer grips, concave sticks, ridged shoulder buttons and an additional compatibility setting for games that supported the little-known analog joysticknote . It also lacked rumble outside of Japan.
  • Link Cable: A peripheral allowing for playing games with multiplayer modes without the need of Split Screen. However, it has two issues — 1) a set of 2 TVs, 2 PlayStation units, and 2 copies of the game are required, and 2) the cable isn't compatible with the redesigned PS one. About 30 games are compatible with the Link Cable, among which are the Armored Core series, the Wipeout series, TOCA 2 Touring Cars, and Final Doom.
  • Net Yaroze: Sony's gift to bedroom programmers all over the world, the Net Yaroze (Yaroze being Gratuitous Japanese for "Let's do it") was a one-of-a-kind development kit marketed to computer hobbyists as a chance to create their own PlayStation games. The $750 package included a special region-free black PlayStation console, manuals, instruction books, and software to get users started, although users had to supply their own computers and programming skills to create software for it. Usually, these games could be submitted to Sony to be published on the demo discs of Official PlayStation Magazine. While most of the games produced with the Net Yaroze were fairly amateurish clones of commercial games such as Doom, Puzzle Bobble and Pac-Man (one Doom clone going so far as to hang a lampshade on it by calling itself Clone), some of them were surprisingly ambitious (such as the Zelda-like RPG Terra Incognita). Although future Sony consoles have not featured similar in-depth homebrew options, it's possible to run distributions of Linux on both the PlayStation 2 and, until a firmware update released after the redesigned model, the PlayStation 3, and the demo disc that comes with the PlayStation 2 features a YABasic programming tool.
  • PlayStation Mouse: A peripheral designed for games with mouse-friendly (or required) interfaces, such as Real-Time Strategy games (Command & Conquer series), Point & Click Adventure games (Broken Sword, Clock Tower, Discworld), or FPS games (Final Doom, Quake II). About 50 games, a number of which being Japan-only, are compatible with the PlayStation Mouse. A Tokimeki Memorial-themed mouse was issued as one of the goods of the Tokimeki Memorial 1 Limited Edition Box.
  • PocketStation: The PocketStation was Sony's first handheld gaming system, despite it not even being its own console. Instead, it was sold as a memory card peripheral with a Tamagotchi-like design, featuring a small monochrome screen, a directional pad and an action button, which could be used to play small minigames transferred to the system from its parent console. The system itself never saw release outside of Japan, but some globally-released PocketStation-compatible games retained their compatibility with the system, including Final Fantasy VIII, where the PocketStation game Chocobo World was included as a bonus in the PC port. On the original game, Chocobo World could still be played if you had imported a PocketStation from Japan.
  • SCPH-131 LCD Screen: A small, speaker-equipped LCD screen for the PS one. Released as a bundle with the PS1, the screen attaches to the back of the console via two large bolts (typically screwed on with a coin), essentially turning the PS one into a portable game system (if you can commandeer a power outlet, anyway). The screen also had ports in the back to allow for full AV pass-through to a television, meaning the screen could remain attached indefinitely.

Notable Games/Series:

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The PlayStation provides examples of:

  • Advertising Campaigns: Urnote (with the "e" colored red — thus, "You are not ready"). It was big the first couple years of the console's life.
  • Blipvert: Some of those early Urnote ads had images on the screen for only a couple frames. Notably, the intro sequences on the first few Interactive CD Samplers had cheat codes flash on the screen that were impossible to read without recording the footage with a VCR and pausing it.
  • Dada Ad: The ad for Tomb Raider, which had a narrator asking, "What makes you sweat? Is it passion? (brief shot of a couple making love) Or is it heat? (shot of a snake slithering on the sand) What about not knowing if the very next breath will be your last? (shot of a guy trapped in a room, presumably without air) What about all three?" It's only after this that we see Tomb Raider footage.
  • Easter Egg: One of the cool things about the system was that in many games that used Red Book/Compact Disc Digital Audio, it loaded the level data into the RAM, allowing the laser to read the soundtrack data on the CD. So, if you pop open the CD lid, take the game disc out, and insert a music CD, you can play the game with different music (at least, until the next time the game has to load more game data). Believe it or not, that was pretty nifty at the time.
    • The Interactive CD Samplers had this; if you pressed the shoulder buttons on certain tiles, they would have three-button codes on the backside when they flipped. Insert the code and you would get a static screen of codes, or a hidden video or playable demo.
  • FMV: A staple of many PS1 games, especially early on. FMV had existed before on the Sega CD and CD-i, but it's arguable that the PS1 was the first console to do it right.
  • Magazines: Had a number of official and unofficial magazines dedicated to just the PlayStation throughout its peak years. Also, Sony itself produced PlayStation Underground, a quarterly "magazine" that was a double disc with playable demos, as well as non-interactive items like interviews, behind-the-scenes/the-making-of videos, tips and tricks, cheat codes, and save file downloads.
  • Mascot: The console didn't really have one until Crash Bandicoot debuted in 1996 and was a success; Lara Croft also became a mascot in short order, even though the Tomb Raider games were also being released for PC.
  • No Export for You: Inevitable, given how massive the console's library was. Tons of titles from Japan never saw the light of day in America, although PlayStation Underground subscribers got a small sampling of a few of them, as they often included an Imports section with playable demos on their discs.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: The ability to use link cables was removed from the redesigned PS one console. However, the PS one was designed with portability in mind and actually had an official clip-on LCD panel. If Sony had chosen to retain the link cable capability on the redesigned console, link cable usage could have actually increased as the biggest issue with the link cable on the original PlayStation was that TV sets were too heavy to move around; the link cable, combined with the right Killer App, could have not only have saved link cable games, but also increased sales of the LCD panel.
  • Truncated Theme Tune: When playing a PlayStation game on a PlayStation 2, it omits the first part of the logo animation (with the Sony Computer Entertainment logo), and skips to the PlayStation logo. Conversely, playing a non-NTSC-J game on earlier Japanese units (either by disc swap or mod chip) skips the PlayStation logo entirely.
  • Video Game 3D Leap: The PlayStation was part of the generation where this trend was strongest, most famously hosting the 3D leap of Final Fantasy. As The Angry Video Game Nerd put it:
    Nerd: Mega Man Legends was when the series made the jump to three dimensions. In the late 90's, it was almost like a law: "Every 2D franchise must try 3D."

Alternative Title(s): Playstation


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