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Useful Notes / PlayStation

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The original PlayStation (top)note  and the redesigned PS one model (bottom)
"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 that 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 and drawing up a new contract, he went with Phillips to develop a different CD-ROM add-on for the SNES, a deal which also imploded and caused Nintendo to spurn optical media for several years. note 

Feeling insulted by Nintendo's actions (particularly because Philips was a Dutch company and that Nintendo chose to make the announcement in front of a public audience at CES, where the Sony CEO and Ken Kutaragi were also at)note , Sony moved on to attempting to woo the other hot video game company of the time (well, hot in America at least): Sega. They sent Sony Electronic Publishing president Olaf Olafsson and Sony Corporation of America president Micky Schulhof to meet with Sega of America president Tom Kalinske, with the logic that both companies had a common enemy in Nintendo. The proposal of partnering 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 splitting the losses. Kalinske then brought the idea to the attention of his Japanese counterpart Hayao Nakayama and the Board of Directors, who 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 when Sony reworked their fancy CD drive for the SNES and the technical specs from their project with Sega into their own full-fledged video game console. Developers were getting excited by 3D gaming, so Kutaragi designed the system with that in mind and also made sure it was easy to develop for so programmers could get their 3D system right out the gate. Sony's developer license had a "come one, come all" approach, which meant that if you could develop a game, you could put it on the PlayStation. This meant that it had games like Resident Evil and Silent Hill, games that Nintendo and Sega would never have published. 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 easier since they could actually be ports rather than total conversions (essentially remaking the game from the ground up for drastically different hardware) or Reformulated Games, 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 initially unpopular for RPG titles, as it did not have any released for it despite debuting in Japan in 1994; that is, until Square released Final Fantasy VII for it in 1997. Indeed, Square's biggest rival Enix chose to release Star Ocean 1 on the SNES instead of the PlayStation, as did Namco with Tales of Phantasia. It wasn't until the deafeningly loud positive response for Final Fantasy VII that other major RPG developers were finally convinced to get on board.

In North America, the PlayStation had a rocky start. Sony hired Bernie Stolar as head of Sony Computer Entertainment America, the arm responsible for licensing content and developers for the PlayStation in North America. Stolar's policies, specifically his "Five-Star Policy" that he used to prevent 2D games and JRPG localization releases from being released in North America and prioritize sports titles, almost led to the console failing in the market. However, the Japanese arm caught on, and following Stolar's removal, the PlayStation began to thrive in the US. Meanwhile, back at Sega, Kalinske left the company and Stolar, fresh from being kicked out of Sony, took his job and enacted the same braindead policy that got him fired from Sony in the first place, exacerbating the already-struggling Sega Saturn into an American commercial catastrophe. With the release of killer apps for the PlayStation like Resident Evil, Tomb Raider, Final Fantasy VII, and Metal Gear Solid, the rest was history.

Although the PlayStation is now often referred to as the "PS1" in order to differentiate it from its long line of successors, only the smaller, redesigned version of the original console, which was released late in its lifespan in 2000, is officially known as the "PS one" and was titled as such to avoid confusion between the original PlayStation and its impending successor, the PlayStation 2. Despite this, written discussion of the console typically uses "PS one" to specifically denote the redesigned models and "PS1" to refer to the PlayStation console in general. That said, Sony has kept the "PS one" designation for its downloadable "PS one Classics" line. Don't confuse it with the latter-day PSX video device, even though it was common before the announcement of the PS2 to abbreviate the original PlayStation as "PSX", referring to its original codename "PlayStation X".note 

While it was acclaimed for introducing many to 3D consoles and harboring a large library that mostly took full advantage of CD media, the console had some infamous hardware issues. Many games had Loads and Loads of Loading that sometimes reached two minutes, and the console was prone to overheating, which was a huge problem when early models 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 moved the laser into a position where it was no longer parallel with the CD surface over time. 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 its record are, 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 sound quality allegedly being significantly better than many dedicated CD players.

In September 2018, Sony announced their own miniature Plug 'n' Play Game 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, who considered its game selection questionable at best, even considering the licensing issues for some of the more popular titles. The console also came with the original joystick-less controllers as well, making some games way more difficult to play than intended, and despite the fact that the PlayStation had been readily emulated for over two decades, the console was plagued with performance issues and inaccuracies (so much so that the NES Classic is considered a better PS1 emulator), and even more puzzling, some games had the inferior PAL versions included instead (likely due to the multilingual support that would make it easier to sell units worldwide). Not only did this mean that owners had to put up with the lower 50 Hz refresh rate, it also didn't play well with 60 Hz displays, as it introduced a lot of microstutter. Finally, the console was considered quite lacking in the feature department, with a bare-bones UI and no graphical filtering options or save states. Perhaps most notably, it used an open-source emulator one could readily install on a PC or Raspberry Pi without having to buy an official device (which is hilariously ironic considering Sony's history of suppressing unofficial emulators like Bleem). Word spread of the device's cheap quality very quickly, and retailers had so much trouble selling it that its price was slashed mere weeks after its launch from USD $99 to USD $59, and even that wasn't enough to get rid of the mountains of unsold stock that 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 came on standard CD-ROMs, holding up to 650MB each. Several games were released on two discs, and a handful (23 in total) came 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 with no concept of depth. All 3D math has 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 if placed on triangles when the camera moves because the graphics processor does not process depth information, which is required to properly apply a texture map to a triangle. Textures applied only to quadrilaterals are correctly processed because the locations of a quadrilateral's corners provide enough information to properly texture it, 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 more smooth meant 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 has one color and amount of light throughout it, and a textured quadrilateral has one shade of light applied throughout the whole shape. 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, the order that the processor draws them in. Since no perfect system to do so can exist, especially if some polygons go through others, objects that are behind other opaque objects are sometimes shown when they should be 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 can be passed between the two with no Z-buffer in place, leading to the Line Boil-esque 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 can be used for still images, but its main purpose is 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. By contrast, the Sega Saturn and Nintendo 64 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 supports 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, which was considered very unique as most consoles used proprietary AV ports. These AV Direct Out ports allegedly 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, in 1997, Sony responded to the Nintendo 64's analog controller and rumble feature by incorporating force feedback and dual analog sticks into the 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 added motion-sensing abilities at the cost of force feedback and the latter brought rumble back while still using the motion sensor).
    • In the US, Nintendo attempted to sue Sony for adding vibration and analog capabilities to the controller, but lost the case because using a different set of technology to produce the same result didn't violate its patents. Later, in 2002, California technology corporation Immersion successfully sued Sony and Microsoft on the same charge, winning in 2006 because the DualShock violated their patents (Immersion would later partner with Nintendo to develop the "HD Rumble" technology used in the Nintendo Switch).
    • 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 joystick note . 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 two TVs, two PlayStation consoles, and two 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.
  • Multitap: Allowed for four controllers to be connected to a single port, as the system otherwise only offered two-player support. Note the use of the word "port", as there was no limitation on using two of these, so the system theoretically could have up to eight controllers connected to it. Unfortunately, due to the barrier to being able to use more than two controllers in place, the console wasn't close to the multiplayer behemoth its main competitor was, in addition to the fact its weaker specs made it less practical to implement. Nonetheless, a small handful of games did support it.
  • 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: 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.

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The PlayStation provides examples of:

  • Advertising Campaigns: "U R Not E" (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 "U R Not E" 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. Vib-Ribbon in particular turned this unintended trick into a full-on gameplay feature, allowing the player to create custom levels simply by swapping out the game disc for a music CD (though track one will always be unplayable, as the Vib Ribbon disc uses that for game data, which translates extremely poorly when converted to audio).
    • 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/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.
  • Overcrank: Used to provide the system startup sound of all things: the PS1 simply runs three different sound clips (a saw wave, windchimes, and a reversed recording of breaking glass) at an incredibly slow speed, leading to the booming, elegiac tune that has since become a hallmark of the console's identity. Additionally, the samples are slightly detuned between sound channels and run through the console's reverb processor, further enhancing the stereo image of the sound. Incidentally, these clips are also how the console ensures that it boots up and loads a disc properly; errors during either process cause the samples to play back improperly, which is what causes error sounds like "Personified Fear" and "Fearful Harmony".
  • 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.
  • Regional Bonus: Initially, the CD player's reverberation effects - and, by extension, the grey tile menu design as a whole - were features exclusive to earlier PlayStation models sold in PAL markets. It was only with the release of the PS one five years later that these features were brought over to Japan and America, albeit slightly modified.
  • 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.
    • The PlayStation Classic. It was lacks a number of famous PS1 games note , the controller was the original model, some of the games were PAL versions that ran slower, the presentation was unimpressive, and it had a high pricetag. To top it off, some of the games chosen are already available as digital downloads on other services note 
  • 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 note . Conversely, playing a non-NTSC-J game on earlier Japanese units (either by disc swap or mod chip) skips the PlayStation logo entirely note .
  • 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 with Final Fantasy VII. As The Angry Video Game Nerd put it:
    "Mega Man Legends was when the [Mega Man] series made the jump to three dimensions. In the late 90's, it was almost like a law: "Every 2D franchise must try 3D.""


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Play Station 1


Sony Playstation

One of the most iconic things from the Playstation console line is the original PSOne load-up screen.

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