As part of PlayStation’s 20th anniversary, a number of game developers as well as some of Sony’s own people have spoken out on their favorite PSOne games.
Some of the picks might surprise you, while some are fairly obvious (Symphony of the Night is in!). Here are some of the picks from Sony first-party devs and execs:
President, World Wide Studios
Note: There are so many amazing games on the original PlayStation, I’ve decided to choose games that I personally worked on, so this is my very personal favorite PSone games.
Ape Escape: This title was the game I was most involved in the creative aspects of the development among the games I produced during the original PlayStation era. Designed only to work with DualShock, it was fun to come up with many gadgets that took advantage of the twin sticks like Sky Flyer, Dash Hoop and Monkey Rader. The game became very popular among kids in Japan, and we were so happy the game got critical acclaim outside Japan.
Gran Turismo: As the studio head, I helped the team led by Kazunori Yamauchi to develop this game that has changed the racing game genre forever. I could not believe what I was seeing when I first saw the reflection mapping on beautifully modelled cars in the game. This game was the start of Kaz’s long history in developing a close collaboration with the car industry, bridging the two industries. I’m very happy to see Gran Turismo celebrate its 17th anniversary this year as PlayStation celebrates its 20th.
Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped: I was the producer of the Crash Bandicoot series for the Japanese market from Crash 1 through Crash Team Racing. Crash 1 was an important game for me as it was the very first game that I ever produced, but Crash 3 was the apex of the series in terms of variety of gameplay that you can enjoy in the game. Naughty Dog put “Crash Dance” in the game, which we originally created for the Japanese TV commercial for Crash 1. Crash 3 sold over one million units in Japan, a phenomenal achievement by a non- Japanese game.
Creative Director, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
Metal Gear Solid: One of my favorite games of all time, Metal Gear Solid redefined what it meant for a game to be cinematic. So many memorable, surprising characters, gameplay moments, story turns. The Psycho Mantis boss fight will go down as one of the most creative combinations of story, gameplay, and hardware.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night: I grew up on the original Castlevania games on the NES. I loved the connected world of Simon’s Quest along with its RPG elements; Symphony of the Night was a true “next-gen” version of that idea. A massive, sprawling world filled with a myriad of monsters, weapons, and secrets. Beautiful 2D graphics and solid platforming/fighting mechanics solidified its classic status. Easily the best of all the “Metroidvania” games.
Resident Evil: The granddaddy of survival horror. Resident Evil was oozing with atmosphere and mood (and cheesy dialog). At the time it was the most immersive game I had ever played. Who can forget the zombie-dogs jumping through the windows?
President and CEO, Sony Computer Entertainment America
Tekken: The first PlayStation launched in Japan on December 3rd, 1994. I was working for Sony in Tokyo when the original PlayStation launched, and we received an early version of the hardware. With it came two of the most iconic PlayStation titles of all time: Ridge Racer and Tekken. And while I played the devil out of both titles, I must say that Tekken is the one that captured the majority of my time. A near pixel-perfect rendition of the game center version of the game, PlayStation really did bring the arcade into your living room. The speed, the action, the unforgettable characters, and the humor of the cut scenes were frankly remarkable. And my go to fighter? Marshall Law, of course. Bruce Lee brought back to life.
Tomb Raider: This was a great leap forward for gaming. The scale and scope of the story, the natural feel of the control scheme even in third-person 3D space, and the strong female protagonist made this an unforgettable title for me. It recalled a bit of Prince of Persia on the Mac (my first true obsession) as it required buy-in to the story, technique, and puzzle solving. The full package. I spent hours at a stretch absorbed in the adventures of one Ms Croft.
Formula One: Perhaps an unexpected choice from an American, I worked with the production team localizing the title for the Japanese market at the time. Going into it I really did not know much about this particular motorsport (thought they really looked like Indy Cars) but over the course of the project I really got to love it and understood why the Japanese market was so enthralled. The title was developed by Bizarre Creations (out of Liverpool) and in its accuracy it was quite unforgiving in the handling. But that’s the nature of that sport!
Happy 20th PlayStation. You’re looking better than ever.
Here are some of the picks from third-party developers:
CEO, DoubleFine Productions
Tomb Raider: A lot of endangered gorillas died so that I could explore those tombs in peace, but it was worth it.
Final Fantasy VII: Pretty original, right? I’ll bet I’m the only person who likes this.
PaRappa the Rapper: Kick, punch, it’s all in the mind! STILL. Every single song, still stuck in my mind. And I love it.
Resident Evil (aka “Biohazard”): This game was an epic title that changed “a game” into “the experience.” This gaming experience was made possible only with the specs of PlayStation. Many people at Capcom at the time, including myself, couldn’t quite understand the entertainment of this game right away. But oh god, it was so scary…
Silent Hill: I never thought that there would be a game scarier than Resident Evil…but obviously I was wrong. Silent Hill. The overall atmosphere and the world of insanity that this game illustrated was just amazing. It was a great game with a strong scenario and story. This game really pushed out the boundaries of a true “gaming experience” for me.
PaRappa the Rapper: This game truly changed the idea of gaming for me. The character design and innovative game systems may seem ordinary today, but it was a true surprise to me back in the day. The “OTOGEE” (“sound game” in Japanese) brought a new sensation and changed the definition of gaming all together. This made videogames more stylish than ever.
What would your top PSOne picks be? For me, it’d be Symphony of the Night, Metal Gear Solid and either Resident Evil or Final Fantasy VII.
[Source: PlayStation Blog]