Psygnosis, dev Playstations, SCEA of Europe, logos, Wipeout and LSD
May 11, 2011 9:53 PM   Subscribe

jscott brings us a tale of the early days of the Playstation.
posted by JHarris (69 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
Great read. The music Tim Wright (aka Cold Storage) produced for Wipeout is still in my playlist rotation. Yes, I am still in awe of the Designer's Republic.

Psygnosis tapped into something incredible with that game.
posted by Kikkoman at 10:08 PM on May 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


Wow, that's a crazy and interesting story. I just hope big bad Sony doesn't try to sue the guy for his blog post, I can't see anything good coming out of it from Sony unless they just ignore it (which perhaps they might do if it was true and they didn't want it to blow up in their faces. Allegedly.).
posted by 1000monkeys at 10:13 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Um, I have a stupid question: So, you soak the blotter paper in LSD and then....what? You stick it in your mouth?
posted by jcreigh at 10:16 PM on May 11, 2011


So, I am not the only one who bought an extra card for Diablo and wondered why.
posted by clavdivs at 10:20 PM on May 11, 2011


The blotter paper is already soaked in LSD and then it dissolves in the mouth (you can swallow it). Actually, the "light cardboard" makes me kind of doubtful that it was actually blotter paper, because that seems too thick.
posted by Gnatcho at 10:22 PM on May 11, 2011


Um, I have a stupid question: So, you soak the blotter paper in LSD and then....what? You stick it in your mouth?

yes. usually the blotter paper is perforated into about 100 little tear-off tabs, maybe a quarter of the size of a postage stamp. one "dose" is one of these little tabs, which the user puts on or under their tongue and lets sit there for about 15 minutes. the drug's effects usually kick in within an hour.
posted by Jon_Evil at 10:22 PM on May 11, 2011


This seems like something that could only have exploded massively in everybody's faces if followed through.
posted by kafziel at 10:24 PM on May 11, 2011


kafziel-- actually, blotter paper usually uses copyrighted logos and characters anyway, so...
posted by shii at 10:32 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


jscott is a digital historian and he makes documentaries.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:42 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Blotter paper? Boy, jscott must have been tripping when he thought of that. (Somehow, I doubt it was going to be used that way.)
posted by dhartung at 10:44 PM on May 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think the idea was pre cut roaches for joints, not blotter acid.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 10:53 PM on May 11, 2011


Here's a Readability link just in case you don't want to deal with that color scheme.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 11:09 PM on May 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: I think the idea was pre cut roaches for joints
posted by finite at 11:09 PM on May 11, 2011


CitrusFreak12, Thank you for the link. I've been trying to do something about that for half an hour.
posted by coolxcool=rad at 11:28 PM on May 11, 2011


Fun read. Wipeout and Autechre were my first introductions to tDR.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:29 PM on May 11, 2011


I think the idea was pre cut roaches

Is that actually - honest question here - a thing? Every single last person I have ever watched roll one has used a little piece of magazine card, if they were going to put in a crutch. Maybe a bit of matchbook or something.
posted by brennen at 11:34 PM on May 11, 2011


Um, I have a stupid question: So, you soak the blotter paper in LSD and then....what? You stick it in your mouth?

I think you're asking what you are supposed to do with the blotter paper, and the answer is nothing, it's just a joke, it's a fake sheet of LSD. Whoever is distributing the LSD would usually put it on perforated blotter paper to sell and then be stuck in the mouth.

And it's not a stupid question because LSD is pretty uncommon nowadays. There's been a real drought of the drug since they busted a couple of guys who were making 95 percent of the North American supply way back in 2000. Since LSD is very difficult to manufacture and isn't addictive there isn't a big monetary incentive for anyone to fill the void.
posted by bobo123 at 11:39 PM on May 11, 2011


...but anyway, I have no idea if it the blotter paper thing is plausible or not, but that was a great read.

It's weird to realize that the PlayStation was kind of important for me. I never actually owned one, but it was The Platform of its era, if you weren't more into the PC, and I can't even begin to guess how many cumulative months I must have killed in front of one.
posted by brennen at 11:39 PM on May 11, 2011


Slightly off topic, but Radiohead have included branded blotter paper with their recent album.
posted by panaceanot at 11:41 PM on May 11, 2011


Eh, it wouldn't be the first time someone has used fake "blotter" as a marketing device or random promotional object. A few bands have done it. I think there's been a few books and magazines that have included collectible "blotter art" sheets, too. I've also seen concert/rave fliers that have used it as well.

It would surprise me at all to see it used as an internal test marketing piece, or simply something they gave to the early adopting cool kids at clubs.

This is actually just proof to me that the high weirdness index has receded considerably since the early to mid 90s, proven by the indicator that people might think that this is somehow shocking. The 90s, in retrospect, were actually kind of weird. For better or worse we actually had people like Rudy Rucker and Jaron Lanier (and every day joes) rollerblading around in shiny holographic clothes, strapping on weird technological artifacts or consuming strange things like "smart drugs" and "energy drinks" and sometimes simply just "recreational drugs" and actually attempting to explore and/or explode not just the state of the art of hedonism but the human condition.

Sure, 90% of it was crap, but think about how commonplace it is today to buy an energy drink at any corner store that isn't just caffeine and sugar. Or playing video games in 3D "virtual reality". Or using highly mobile, network-centric computing devices that are now breaking into augmented reality territory. These phones people are carrying around now are, more or less, wearable computers. Or how firmly entrenched into culture the whole concept of what a rave is, how people now regularly go out to nightclubs and boogie down for a while intentionally to have a bit of a trance or transcendental experience without the pretense of actually being at a disco simply to get drunk and/or laid.

Or just the basic concept of the human body, brain and experience as a hackable thing that readily lends itself to optimization for the express purposes of optimal experiences and SCIENCE! and all that.

Problem was is it never seemed to get weird enough to break free of the framework of capitalism. The corporate boardrooms of the 90s were of an age to remember the 60s and were all too willing to buy and sell whatever the kids in the 90s wanted to buy and sell, and to seize radicalism and revolutionary ideas as marketable products. See: Red Bull. Wired Magazine. Apple.

So the culture vultures swooped in with savvy, readily aided by the gatekeepers and they tried to make the most money they could from what was seen to be a rapidly fragmenting, dynamic market that was increasingly difficult to sell things to. This was a technologically adept generation where it was common for the consumer to know more about the product being sold than the people in charge of marketing it.

Anyway. Yeah, someone at Sony or Psygnosis (especially Psygnosis) probably did this. It's not actually surprising - especially considering Wipeout was less a racing game and more like a precursor to music+visuals games like Audiosurfer. A lot of information/technology companies were doing weird stuff like this in the 90s. Before the 90s IT stuff was still really in the realm of nerds and stuffy accountants, not culture jammers who adopted technology like a lifestyle and drank weird smoothies at raves - and a lot of companies desperately wanted to sell to that segment of technophiles because many of them had lots of disposable income and time, often being childless, childlike and upwardly mobile.

It isn't weird that this happened. What's weird is how people would think it's weird 15-20 years later (and 50 years after the 60s) - especially when we're already living in some version of that past future where it's now somewhat abnormal to not have a computer and/or miniature phone in your pocket.

The future isn't, as they say, what it used to be.
posted by loquacious at 11:50 PM on May 11, 2011 [36 favorites]


This future sucks, I want the one with drug glands.
posted by Meatbomb at 12:18 AM on May 12, 2011 [8 favorites]


Brennen : it's a thing. Almost everyone does use ripped flyer or magazine or rolling paper packet. In the 90s I remember seeing quite a few flyers intentionally perforated for that purpose. Especially in the uk at the time, marijuana wasn't as strong, and it was always mixed with tobacco, so joints were often very long, rolled in special purpose 6 inch or so papers. Some people I knew were quite the craftsmen, and a pre cut roach could give you an almost imperceptible edge in making a long, straight, crisply rolled numbed. Nothing wrong with the ripped up ones, though.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 12:38 AM on May 12, 2011


I think the idea was pre cut roaches for joints

I remember that idea being floated at the time which seemed the most plausible explanation even though I hadn't really known this to be 'a thing' either - but the card was coincidentally about as thick as a rizla packet so it likely wouldn't have worked as blotter paper.
posted by robself at 12:46 AM on May 12, 2011


It wasn't just a drawing-board thing. The UK market had the perforated card distributed here. I got one in Wired or something. And they weren't squares, they were definitely small rectangles, ideal for the British roach. People were pretty astonished.
posted by imperium at 12:55 AM on May 12, 2011


But what I heard, and this is hearsay, was that if the Playstation had tanked, pulled a 3DO or perhaps a TI-994/a to be exact, it would have SUNK SONY [bold emphasis mine]. They’d survive, of course – those monstrous places always do. But they’d be completely wrecked as a force in the world. People would be losing jobs by the boatloads. It would have been a shadow, until outside investment or some other angel force helped them out of the hole. I’m just saying they had a lot riding on the Playstation.

Okay, I simply don't believe this. Period. If jscott had said that the Playstation's failure would have killed Sony Entertainment, I could buy that. But the entire corporation -- complete with its other lines of consumer electronics and all the money they brought in -- would have required an outside force to become relevant again?
posted by UrineSoakedRube at 12:59 AM on May 12, 2011


There's something kinda depressing about seeing someone with the exact same birthday as me doing so much more with their time & love of video games.
posted by ShutterBun at 1:46 AM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


My favorite rolling paper back in the day had a wire built in. As you smoked the joint it basically grew it's own holder. Is that still a thing? I'd guess not.
posted by Splunge at 2:09 AM on May 12, 2011


Yep, definitely roach card. I was doing some comms consulting work at the time for SCEE and off the record they were very open about the 'piss off the parents to impress 14 years olds' strategy. They thought the roach card was hilarious. Also dabbled with a couple of other druggie references at the time, like the snowboarding game with the 'I crave powder' strapline.
posted by bifter at 2:30 AM on May 12, 2011


Additionally, and this again is probably not too well known, Sony was banking everything on the Playstation – they had to pull back the 8mb RAM to 2 for this reason, as they were losing money on every console

At least back then they had the decency to remove functionality from their consoles before they sold them, I guess.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:23 AM on May 12, 2011 [7 favorites]


Count me among those who bought a PS immediately after playing Wipeout for the first time. It hit every pleasure spot I had, and some I didn't know I had. I went bonkers for The Designers Republic, and desperately wanted a "My other car is a Feisar" bumper ticker (still do, really). If I fire up some Cold Storage, I'm taken right back to my buddy's techno freakout attic music/gaming room where it all began.
posted by schoolgirl report at 3:29 AM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Cold Storage website has a whole bunch of free music worth checking out to tingle your nostalgia senses.

Coming from the world of cartridge-based console gaming, it was so cool that you could take the game CD, and play the soundtrack on your CD player. I misplaced the disk several times when it got mixed in with my music CDs, but the black underside made it easy to spot.

Wipeout was also the best game to use the neGcon controller on. The natural inclination to tip your controller during racing games worked really well with the twisting steering mechanism, and being able to use the analogue shoulder buttons for the airbrakes let you easily finesse the tricky corners. It helped me get gold in all but the hardest levels.
posted by WhackyparseThis at 3:50 AM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Anything Lemmings-related is pertinent to my interests.
posted by jfuller at 4:10 AM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Are roaches uncommon in the US, then?

My brother once used a copy of the Watchtower as a roach. Apparently it burns well.
posted by mippy at 4:22 AM on May 12, 2011


Oh god, WIPEOUT.
Back in the post-college, early-med school days, I was living large: had my own place (goodbye closet-of-a-dorm-room!), had disposable income (take big student loans? Why not?), and a still-developing intelligence that made using student loan money, investing in AMD, and selling profits to buy a big TV and a PlayStation make sense.

So I got Final Fantasy 7. That was great. I skipped classes and stayed awake for days on end to play the damn game. Skipping classes was ok, cuz we had a note system, and could read the lecture notes instead of going to lecture. It was like the whole tape recorder scene from Real Genius ("I'm falling, falling--" which, by the way, is by the Comsat Angels, whose bassist is KEVIN BACON! But apparently not THE Kevin Bacon), except, you know, we didn't have reel-to-reels, and the fucking gunners of the class were a-plenty, and still attending. As if physically being present in class gave you extra points on exams. But I digress.

The second game I got for the PlayStation was Wipeout XL. For a boy who listened to indie pop and hung out with the yearbook staff and put together a very staid international relations journal, Wipeout XL was like a depthcharge to my mind.

First: you've got the Designers Republic, whose design work was like nothing I saw. Super cool, it was, like, totally from the future! Then you've got the music: yeah, I knew Firestarter, but the only other thing I knew was that FSOL was a band the weird-but-totally-hot Art History/Organic Chem, 1972 MGB GT-driving, taking-a-totally-awkward-geek-to-pizza-after-OChem-lab-out-to-pizza, splattered-paint overall-wearing girl listened to. I loved the game before I'd even played it.

Lastly: Wipeout XL was one of those games where you learned to earnestly believe in correlation does indeed cause causation. It was also one of those games where you learned the button sequence to reset the track and start over to get the perfect launch. You had to choose the RIGHT song for the RIGHT racetrack to get the best time. And for me, it was FSOL's Landmass. The first thirty seconds are burned into my brain, and every time I hear it, I can feel my whole body go slack.

A pal of mine-- we'll call him Perfect Tommy-- came to visit from out of state. I hadn't seen him in a while, and we had a lot of things planned, including, but not limited to: chopping felled trees for firewood for a cookout (there are no woods where I live, but he brought an axe anyway), crashing local poetry readings (we were young, and angry, and believed the key to improving society was Fine literature and making other people feel bad), and going out to chess clubs to pick up chicks (there were no local chess clubs, and, well, nevermind). The point is, he's the kind of guy who, when I'd come and visit, would take me out to the great outdoors and embrace nature n shit, or hike 25k blocks around NYC or SFO just to see everything I'd already seen, and engage in conversations about everything and nothing. I'd always come home with muscle cramps, foot pain, and a greater sense of understanding about the universe.

So anyway, he came to visit me. He showed up with a bright black-and-yellow motorcycle jacket and a carryall, and we were going to head for dinner after his shower. After showering and while getting ready to head out, he asked: "hey, so what's this?" Oh, it's a PlayStation. "Cool, cool. Let's check it out real quick?" Ok.

I popped in Wipeout. And then we missed dinner. And we started drinking. And then we stopped drinking. And then we stopped snacking, cuz Cheeto dust on fingertips affected grip on the controls. And then we stopped talking to each other. We'd set lower and lower laptimes over the course of the evening for each other to beat. We learned how finicky the control mechanisms were for the ships, and how get the perfect, boosted start, how to massage the buttons in such a way that the ships would always glide over the track, never scraping the edges or the ground after a jump. We learned which songs were our favorite songs-- the songs whose music our brainwaves would sync to. We quickly learned the button sequences that reset the track after a crappy start.

We learned how to clear our minds. How to stop cursing, because cursing was wasted breath. We learned how tilting our bodies and controllers didn't really do anything to move the ship around, and sat upright in lotus position to play the game. Economy of motion. We learned, in essence, how to be like Special Forces snipers: controlled breathing, detachment from the world at large, intense but singularly focused. We felt total a total melding of mind and body and set lower and lower laptimes, still. Ok, we were nothing like snipers.

It got late. 2AM. No food, no whisky, no sleep. I went and got some bigbites at 7-11, and went to sleep. I could hear the first seconds of Landmass lay over and over again, and then I heard nothing at all as I fell asleep.

I woke up. The sun was rising. Robins were singing cheerio, cheeriup! I walked out to the living room, and there was Perfect Tommy, still playing Wipeout. Still playing the game. He didn't even acknowledge my presence. His eyes were glued to the TV. The only thing that indicated he wasn't paralyzed or catatonic or dead was that his fingers were moving over the controller and his eyes flitted a bit back and forth.

"Tommy?" No response. "Tom?" ... "I'm gonna get some food, want anything?" Nothing. "I TOOK A BIG DUMP BUT I CLOSED THE DOOR. I DON'T THINK THE MATCHES HELPED, AND THE AIR INTAKE FOR THE HEAT PUMP IS IN THE WALL TO THE BATHROOM BEHIND THE TV AND THE ODOR MIGHT WAFT IN SHOULD I TURN ON THE A/C?" Nope. No go. No response.

Went back to try to sleep summore, and when I was halfway there, I heard a great noise that sounded like it was coming from a man who came from the desert after many days who came upon a fresh water oasis, 5000 naked women, Hot Pockets and a microwave. Dusty, at first, it sounded like this:
"...geeegggggrruurggleeeeeeyyeaaaAAAAAAAASSSSSSSSSSS!"

I run out, make sure he's ok. He's still sitting upright, but his head was tilted forward and the controllers were in his hands. He looked like he could've been crying. He looked up at me with the most peaceful, beatific smile, and whispered, "point two."

He'd beaten my laptime, which I had set shortly before 2AM, by 0.2 seconds.

Then he says, "Ok. Let's go get breakfast."
I said I gotta do summin first.
"What's that?"

And I sat down to the game, selected Landmass, and my whole body, half-awake and post-doodoo, became the most relaxed it had ever been since I'd been in a womb, as my heart synced to the music. I beat his laptime by another 0.1 second.

"I hate you."
Let's go get breakfast?
"Fuck that. I'm going to sleep. God, it smells like ass here. Is that you or me?"
posted by herrdoktor at 5:15 AM on May 12, 2011 [53 favorites]


My favorite rolling paper back in the day had a wire built in. As you smoked the joint it basically grew it's own holder. Is that still a thing? I'd guess not.
You're talking about Randy's Wired Rolling Papers. I made a commercial for them in my intro to video production class.
got an A
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 5:39 AM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


This was a better idea than the Dreamcast marketing team advertising on inside snuff tins.
posted by drezdn at 5:42 AM on May 12, 2011


That's pretty fascinating. Thank GOD for my Readable bookmarklet though.
posted by antifuse at 5:49 AM on May 12, 2011


Ecstasy tablets bearing the PlayStation logo were a common sight in the late 90's/early 00's too. Ahem, or so I've been told. I doubt they were a product of Sony's marketing department though.
posted by anagrama at 5:54 AM on May 12, 2011


After staring at that page I came back here and the colors were all wonky. I had to look for the "make it stop" button.

Great read, though. I love that there's someone like jscott doing the sort of thing jscott does.
posted by bondcliff at 6:08 AM on May 12, 2011


Personally, I love green on black. Did you people never use an Apple II or an IBM PC?
posted by BeerFilter at 6:37 AM on May 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


Personally, I love green on black. Did you people never use an Apple II or an IBM PC?

Sure, the retro look is fun. Bugs my eyes very quickly though, when everything else I read all day is black on white or grey.
posted by antifuse at 6:44 AM on May 12, 2011


Wow, this actually makes me feel old. Wipeout? That's "back in the day" now? Really?

Hey kids - true fact - you had to turn the machine upside-down after a few hours to help it read the disc.
posted by odinsdream at 6:54 AM on May 12, 2011


Oh man, nothing makes me smile like a jscott post. Especially one about WipEout and that incredible CoLD SToRAGE soundtrack. I still listen to it today, too. Actually I was a Sega Saturn kid and that version of the game had a slightly different playlist, with some additional tracks from Rob Lord and Mark Bandola — also very good. You could put the game disc right into a CD player and play it like an album, or rip MP3s from it on your computer. That's one thing I miss from that era and really wish would've caught on.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 7:33 AM on May 12, 2011


Did anybody else have the PC version of Wipeout, or was that only me?
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 7:33 AM on May 12, 2011


Wow, this actually makes me feel old. Wipeout? That's "back in the day" now? Really?

Sixteen years ago, man. In just two years, kids who were born the same years as Wipeout came out, will be legal adults.
posted by Tomorrowful at 7:40 AM on May 12, 2011


Sure, the retro look is fun. Bugs my eyes very quickly though, when everything else I read all day is black on white or grey.

Uh... everything?

Also, it's a scientific fact that light text on a dark background is more relaxing for the eyes. That's why those old monitors used those color schemes. I don't think you want full contrast, older monitors weren't as bright as today's. And maybe white on black text is more of a problem when all you have is a blurry CRT.

Anyway, the 'professional white background' thing is annoying.
posted by delmoi at 8:13 AM on May 12, 2011


Wow, this actually makes me feel old. Wipeout? That's "back in the day" now? Really?

Okay, fine then: "TEN PINTS"

Feel better now?

This is officially the single most obscure reference I've ever made on MetaFilter, I feel... odd. Also, I have a strange craving for a Roger Dean poster and some chill MOD files.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 8:23 AM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


I didn’t keep it; I just put it back in the pile.

Heh.
posted by humannaire at 8:30 AM on May 12, 2011


Okay, fine then: "TEN PINTS"

Feel better now?


Absolutely. I have no idea what that is.
posted by odinsdream at 8:36 AM on May 12, 2011


Hint.... It's a cheat code.
posted by jscott at 8:59 AM on May 12, 2011


Pretty sure it was "TWO PINTS", but I'm probably misremembering.

Didn't make the game any easier, though!
posted by Dr-Baa at 9:03 AM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Uh... everything?

Yup, I use the "plain" Metafilter theme, not the traditional blue. It makes it less obvious to my boss when I'm spending all KINDS of time lurking MeFi threads. :)
posted by antifuse at 9:04 AM on May 12, 2011


Nope, on a quick search it was TEN PINTS. I was a million miles away!
posted by Dr-Baa at 9:04 AM on May 12, 2011


When I bought F-Zero GX, I discovered that my dormmate was a huge Wipeout fan. At first he was happy to just claim how much better it was than GX, and that I was somehow uncultured for liking this. But GX is a much faster, harder game. So in typical Zack fashion, he decides to show me how much better than me he is. Long story short that game lasted the bulk of a semester.

He came back from Christmas break with his original Wipeout from home and started playing it, I guess in an attempt to educate me. But it's ruined now. Wipeout is so much slower, and much of the challenge is in whether the AI attacks you and how much it cheats. So I guess I'm forced to call it MarioKart on LSD.

Anyways, I'm not sure what the point of that story was, other than I wish they'd release a new F-Zero.
posted by pwnguin at 9:16 AM on May 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


The Wipeout soundtracks are important parts of game music history. It was one of the first times that video game music crossed over to commercial music in a way that sound both copies of the games and copies of albums. Also they're awesome collections of electronica of the time.

In related news, Sony is in the business of destroying their online gaming business with their inability to recover from the hack. PlayStation Network has been down 21 days now and Sony Online Entertainment has been down for 10 days. And no end of the outage in site. Playstations are still mostly usable without the online component, but the MMOs like Everquest, Everquest 2, and DC Universe Online are 100% unplayable. It's an open question whether they'll be able to recover.
posted by Nelson at 9:51 AM on May 12, 2011


I got a bit of spending money right before PSN went down and I decided I wanted to buy Burnout Paradise. I've been waiting for three weeks now to get onto the online store so I can download the stupid thing. I can't help but wonder how much revenue developers have been losing from other gamers in my position during this outage. Zero sales in 21 days has got to be a huge hit.

I'm also very annoyed that I can't play online Portal 2 co-op; a huge component of this game is useless to me, just because I got the PS3 version. The other biggie is Hulu Plus, a service my wife and I pay for to use exclusively on PS3 as an alternative to cable or satellite, is also non-functional. For some reason it "needs" PSN connectivity to work, while Netflix plays just fine without it. I don't want to read too much into why that might be, but it's a little strange. Hulu credited all its PlayStation customers with a free week but that's only a minor fraction of the outage so far. :-(

Anyway, WipEout was the perfect futuristic racing game. It may not be the fastest, but it just felt right. The controls and physics were perfect. The soundtrack was just the icing on the cake. Too bad it (the first game) was single-player only.

If you want a FAST futuristic racer, in my opinion it doesn't get any better than Star Wars: Episode 1 Racer. It's probably the only good thing to come out of the whole prequel disaster. Of course you need the Dreamcast version to really appreciate it. You'll be hard-pressed to find a more white-knuckled experience than flooring it through the gravity tubes in Vengeance. So good!
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 10:47 AM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


It was, after all, the thing that made you buy a Playstation.

No. Wipeout was pretty good, but BAT, Tekken 3, and Twisted Metal were the games we actually played that first year of PS1.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:57 AM on May 12, 2011


I got a bit of spending money right before PSN went down and I decided I wanted to buy Burnout Paradise. I've been waiting for three weeks now to get onto the online store so I can download the stupid thing.

I know this seems silly... But there are other places you can buy the game. :)
posted by antifuse at 12:15 PM on May 12, 2011


Also, I'm kinda sad that I missed the whole Playstation *thing*... I was a PC gamer pretty much exclusively from the end of the Genesis days until I picked up my first XBox. Now that I've got a 2 year old at home, my 360 and PS3 AND Wii are gathering dust as well. :/
posted by antifuse at 12:17 PM on May 12, 2011


there are other places you can buy the game

Don't I feel like an idiot! I'd seen it in the PlayStation Store before it went down, and just assumed it was download-only. Should've done my homework. Guess I'll swing by the store and pick it up tonight! (Thanks!)
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 12:22 PM on May 12, 2011


When I bought F-Zero GX, I discovered that my dormmate was a huge Wipeout fan. At first he was happy to just claim how much better it was than GX, and that I was somehow uncultured for liking this. But GX is a much faster, harder game.

I was chuckling until I noticed you were talking about GX. Wow, that right there might be hardest game on the Gamecube! It's amazingly difficult, and kind of a dirty trick to play on your friend, heh. You can thank the AV people at Sega, the people who made Super Monkey Ball, for that!

I'd like to like GX, but the difficult is really too high. X is better balanced, and if you get good enough eventually has random tracks to play! Both are solid at 60 frames per second.
posted by JHarris at 12:24 PM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just about any EBGames or Gamestop should have it used, I would think. It's doubtful that you'll find a new copy anywhere though, since it came out quite a while ago :)
posted by antifuse at 12:26 PM on May 12, 2011


Um, the Playstation came out in '95 (in NA) and Tekken 3 in '98.
posted by neuromodulator at 12:55 PM on May 12, 2011


I'm also very annoyed that I can't play online Portal 2 co-op; a huge component of this game is useless to me, just because I got the PS3 version.

Once you've purchased the PS3 version of the game you get the PC/Mac version for free.
posted by grubi at 2:24 PM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Once you've purchased the PS3 version of the game you get the PC/Mac version for free.

Yeah, as soon as you activate it... over the PlayStation Network...
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 2:51 PM on May 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


I can't help but wonder how much revenue developers have been losing from other gamers in my position during this outage. Zero sales in 21 days has got to be a huge hit.

Capcom says hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions.

Just about any EBGames or Gamestop should have it used, I would think. It's doubtful that you'll find a new copy anywhere though, since it came out quite a while ago :)

If at all possible, try to buy the Ultimate Box version -- Paradise has a TON of post-release content, most of which is free, and some of it is really substantial. It's all there to download, but without PSN, the Ultimate Box has a few of the updates already included.
posted by Amanojaku at 3:31 PM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Um, the Playstation came out in '95 (in NA) and Tekken 3 in '98

Sorry, one too many DDTs from Armor King has my brain muddled ... You are correct. It was Tekken 2. (We played a lot of Tekken 3 later as well, but I always hated the Eddy/Tiger character--too much button mashing (suppose you could say that about the game in general tho ...))
posted by mrgrimm at 3:37 PM on May 12, 2011


It was, after all, the thing that made you buy a Playstation.

No. Wipeout was pretty good, but BAT, Tekken 3, and Twisted Metal were the games we actually played that first year of PS1.


Final Fantasy 7 and Twisted Metal for me.
PS2 is my favorite Playstation console though.

speaking of soundtracks on racing games I'm still annoyed at how badly Burnout 3's was. I like emo and earnest pop punk and whiny stuff like that but not when I'm racing a car at 150MPH trying to make everyone else crash and explode.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:26 PM on May 12, 2011


The link is appreciated, JHarris.

When I sat down to write this quick essay, it was to get some of my videogame company experiences down. But I was a very tiny observer in a somewhat large bunch of events, so I knew the chances of some facts being either misinterpreted by me or my not getting the full story were quite great. So I took certain steps.

Since everyone I knew at Psygnosis US is quite alive and around, I copied the URL to them on facebook or otherwise, if I knew how to. I also pointedly did not put names up in this, so nobody would show up on search engines saying X or Y. It's been 15 years but for some that may not have been enough.

It is entirely possible that the perforated squares were for roaches, not to put acid on. I don't know my drugs that well - the sales guy with me thought it was acid blotter and so did I. Luckily, thanks to the attention this got, a few people have come forward who say they have this exact item in their collection, so when I update the article, it might come with pictures, too. Regardless if it was acid or roaches, the fundamental thesis that Sony was marketing to drug usage to get itself all club culture edgy remains, so I'm glad that's held up so far.

Love reading the comments and memories, just want to address one comment:

Okay, I simply don't believe this. Period. If jscott had said that the Playstation's failure would have killed Sony Entertainment, I could buy that. But the entire corporation -- complete with its other lines of consumer electronics and all the money they brought in -- would have required an outside force to become relevant again?

Even though the whole essay comes off as light and conversational, I was carefully choosing my words in a few places, and also made sure to invite people to send in corrections based on better knowledge. This particular factoid (sony sunk if playstation failed) came from two different conversations I had at the time at Psygnosis US, with other employees of same. As the Psygnosis US office was basically a starved branch office of both Sony and Psygnosis (I'll likely do further stories about the life there), there were a few guys in there who made it their personal goals and hobby to learn and infiltrate everything in the Sony upper echelon, to know the financials, the conflicts, the winners and losers, and most importantly, where the wind was blowing at any given time. I consider stuff they were pulling out for amusing discussion at lunch as "hearsay". It's from these guys that I got the "sunk sony" allegation, and I was under the impression they meant Sony, not Sony Entertainment, which was, of course, a MUCH smaller division. As I pointed out, it's possible for something to wreck the beast without the beast dying - and the beast just can never race or battle the way it once did. I think that's what the people I'd had conversations with, meant - Sony basically bet its cash reserves on this, meaning they'd be in huge, huge trouble if it'd tanked.
posted by jscott at 10:13 AM on May 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


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