My personal history with first PlayStation

It started back in the 90s. I don’t remember the year exactly. I think it was 1997. I was a very young boy then. I had some money on me and somehow I decided to get a PlayStation. I had been thinking about buying a moped with this money but as I thought about it my mind changed. I could play for years with this new console and time for moped riding would be over in some years, maybe three years or maybe until I’ll get a car to ride. I don’t recall clearly how this idea of spending my money to a gaming console went but the decision was finally made. I got a PlayStation.

My parents then allowed me to have a television in my room. It was nice. I remember the time when I first picked up the package that was delivered to the nearest post office. And do I remember? Yes I do. I had some games. Gran Turismo was the best of those games that this so called bundle had in it. The package was a used console and I think it had two games. There was two controllers included. The console, games and controllers and a memory card were delivered to me as used. But the console and all things included were in a good condition.

So back then, if you had a Sega Mega Drive, you were just a loser. That system was ten years, practically a bit of an eternity for a thirteen-year-old kid, old. I had my friend teasing me about it. Yeah, I remember I was a bit sad also. I had to pack my Mega Drive and place it somewhere for preserve. I actually took it later and placed it next to some other retro consoles, but back then I really didn’t have so much space for different kinds of consoles. I had to choose one and that was PSX.

I remember so many games. I played Metal Gear Solid, Resident Evil 1, 2 and 3, Gran Turismo, Driver, Colin McRae Rally 1 and 2.0, Final Fantasy VII, Fear Effect, Tony Hawks Pro Skater, Silent Hill and many more. There were loads of games available. More than ever. And then older people, I mean older than a thirteen-year-old, started to get curious about gaming. This was time before the release of Sony PlayStation 2 and Microsoft Xbox. I have to mention also Sega DreamCast here, because that’s the best gaming console that Sega ever released. It was sad that it didn’t survive longer.

So I just played and played and also made my way to High School. I had much fun back then but at the same time I started to get more into studying and that somehow pulled me away from games. I started getting into music production that has been my dear hobby for many years. I finally sold my PS1. All of my games, my controllers, memory cards and the console. I got about 120 euros by selling the whole package. That was it. Or so I thought back then. Could it be that this was my gaming hobby?

Well, it wasn’t. I got into gaming again as I was studying. I was still a young adult. Games were all around and new titles were released. So I first got a PS3, PS4 and then it suddenly got me hooked on again. I bought several new consoles. I bought original Xbox and PSOne. I brought Mega Drive back to my cave, where it belongs. I ordered new stand that could hold all my gaming consoles. It had space for eight devices. I really planned it, but I was surprised when I, after lots of years, started playing Colin McRae Rally 2.0 again with the old controller of PS1. It brought back so many memories. It felt like I had met a friend that I had spent so much time with. And my friend hadn’t changed a bit.

So that is it. This was my story. Today I’m glad I can grab my DualShock any time I want, or anytime my wife isn’t watching telly, and start playing some PS1. I really was away when PS2 made history, but when it comes to playing the first PlayStation nothing in my mind can replace this nostalgic feeling that I get when I have this kind of a session. First PlayStation wasn’t as popular as the second one, but in my scale it’s always going to be first. It made history inside my personal history. And I can keep it that way. Always.

How Halo changed gaming?

First game of Halo series was released in 2001 for Microsofts Xbox console and also on PC. Gamers all over the world had already seen some amazing first person shooters that were made for PC. It was thougt back then that you just couldn’t make such realsitic and accurate shooting game for console since it didn’t even have a mouse on it. Halo changed this situation totally. It was the first really, I mean really, good first person shooter game and the first one that could be played with gamepads that had only thumb sticks.

After the release of Halo there were many to follow its path. Suddenly you just could do it. You could play FPS game with your gaming console instead of your regular PC setup where you had to have keyboard and mouse. We had already witnessed many games that were more than playable on consoles. The first PlayStation had many genres of games. It had racing games, like Gran Turismo, it had fighting games, like Tekken series. Metal Gear Solid was very good on PS1. Who didn’t like to play Tony Hawks Pro Skater? I remember everyone liked it. The point here is that we really had these games that were played on PC and some games that we only played on consoles.

There might be some debate on how you feed your reactions to the system you are playing on. There has to be a streering wheel for a driving game. You have to have joystick for Street Fighter. You can only play FPS with a mouse and a keyboard on professional level eSports. But I think some games are best, and there’s lots of them, played with a good gamepad. I haven’t even tried to compete seriously but it makes sense that you have to have a controller that is capable to sense your reactions effectively. This varies as games are very different. You could play Colin McRae Rally 1 or 2.0 and Gran Turismo with a gamepad. You still wouldn’t seriously try to compete with this method of control. But the point here, once again, is that Halo brought some difference to this matter. FPS games were now able to be played with a gamepad. And theres still exists games that are at their best when played with a gamepad.

I personally just love games that are designed mainly to be played with a gamepad. That has something, propably, to do with that I played lots of Mega Drive and PlayStation as I was growing up. That was the beginning. I was used to play these kinds of games. I didn’t play so much PC back then. Nowadays you can even play real time strategy games with a gamepad. That was once thought to be impossible. Would you play for example Populous, a strategy game released in the end of 1980s, with your Mega Drive or with your PC if you had to choose? I would go for the PC version and I think so would many other gamers. But now you can consider any game to be played with a gamepad. And that’s where we are going. Gamepads have evolved and they will keep evolving. Take a look at Mega Drives gamepad. Then take a look at PS4 gamepad. Now you can see the difference. So, this is how Halo brought this whole FPS genre, and maybe some other genres also, to consoles.

Gaming can be a low budget hobby

Do you think gaming is expensive? My goal in this article is to convince you that you really can have a hobby like this and not have so large budget. In my opinion buying games and concoles isn’t as expensive as you would first think. We go through here some points how you can significantly save money while still having a nice relationship with your dear gaming hobby.

You can save a decent sum of money by going to flee markets. I bought my PSOne, for example, for fifteen euros. Before this self-containment caused by korona-virus I regularly visited some large flee markets here in Finland. I usually went through every single table and it took me about half an hour. There was hundreds of self-service tables. I felt excited every time I went through these. You never know what you will find. It is a blessing but I think that’s also a bit of a problem since you don’t know beforehand how much you will spend and what you will find. I recommend to prepare financially. Sometimes you don’t find anything but next time you might find PS1, some big box PC games and some other stuff that you only dreamed about when you were just making your way to local flee market. Typical products you can find almost every time is some PS3 or Xbox 360 game for five euros.

Flee markets provide a cheap way to purchase games and consoles.
You just don’t know for sure what you’ll find. If you are searching for a specific game or console and you know just what you are looking for there is an option. You can check your favourite small-time gaming store. I prefer online shopping but you can always (if there wouldn’t be this korona situation) visit the strore. You can also make your order and just pay and pick it up from the store. You can find many old games and you can also trade your old games, duplicates or the ones you don’t play so much.

The latest is always the most expensive. If you can’t afford PS4 Pro or newest Xbox you can always buy PS3 if you just want a console. PS3 has good quality. I know this because I’ve had this console for over ten years. You can also use your PC or buy a used one. Doing this reduces your gaming expenses greatly. Also remember to keep up with any discounts that you can find. One example that comes to mind was PlaStation Classic. It’s price tag was 130 euros. Since it flopped badly you could buy one for 40 euros. That’s the actual point of keeping up with the lowest prices.

Some advice about roms and emulators. It isn’t right to copy games and not pay for them. But I also think that if you have some game as hard copy you can confidently play it also on emulator. Same advice I have for consoles. If you don’t own the console don’t play it. If you have broken console? Then you can play it. These are just my own opinions and the law might say something different. To play safe don’t copy games at all especially if you don’t have a hard copy.

How Doom changed gaming?

Back in 1993 I was a young kid and I heard some of my class mates talk about this new game that was said to be totally awesome. They kept talking about it. Our crappy PC that our family had wasn’t able to run it. So I played it with my friends computer. And it definitely was something we players hadn’t seen before.

Creators of this game, mainly John Romero and John Carmack, brought to us a game that had never-before-seen graphics and which was also very violent. I remember a long conversation that I had as a kid about does Doom have some kind of a plot in it. You basically walk around and shoot monsters. But there is some kind of a story included though. You are a soldier that is ordered to go to work at Phobos, a moon of Mars, but someone has accidentally opened a teleport to hell. Everyone else is dead. You are figthing monsters from hell all by yourself.

Back in the day graphics were blurry. Just compare the original game to newer Doom released in 2016 and you clearly see the difference. Violence does exist but now graphics tell you more accurately what happens if you for example cut a zombies head off with a chain saw. Some people claimed already in 1993 that games were too violent. This kind of discussion is of course necessary but I think you can not blame solely games for real life violence. My opinion in this issue is that a healthy person can draw a line to what happens in game and how you act in real life. Of course everyone has an opinion but lets not, again, go there.

So how exactly Doom impacted gaming? Well, it certainly brought a 3D experience to larger audience. Makers of Doom had already released Wolfenstein 3D some years earlier. There was this new genre starting to rise its head. It was the birth of a genre called First Person Shooters. And I think Doom is the father of all FPS games that came later. If Doom wouldn’t have been released there wouldn’t be games like Quake, Half-Life, Unreal, Soldier Of Fortune and so on. Doom started it all. This might also be the reason why gaming industry started to grow towards games that included textures and 3D models. Doom was definitely a real pioneer in this formation of gaming that was yet to come even more popular.

Doom started its journey to minds of gamers as a PC game. There was one particularly smart way to release a game that was used by Romero and Carmack. It was called shareware. It worked like this – You could copy the first episode free and if you, or when you, liked the first part, you could purchase the whole game. This was first time that this kind of releasing of a game was used. And it was genious. Doom was also ported to many gaming consoles including Sony PlayStation and Super Nintendo. One of the best versions of Doom could be the one released on Nintendo 64.

Doom made a comeback in 2016 as the game was released to modern gaming systems. There have been numerous Doom games and listing them all would be pointless. You must not forget Doom Eternal that was released just weeks ago. It’s the latest Doom game right now. I think nobody seriously has doubts about how great game this really is. If you still think this game didn’t have impact on the whole gaming industry I will answer that it sure did shape me and some people I know as players of computer and video games.

What exactly is chiptune music?

What means chiptune? Chip reminds of electronic component while tune brings in mind a simple musical melody. This even now popular genre became known when game developers, back in 80s, needed music and sound effects for their games. First very popular system that had decent music was Commodore 64 which came to markets in 1982. It had a chip called SID (“Sound Interface Device”) that was responsible for producing the sound for this system.

You can find chiptune also on NES (“Nintendo Entertainment System”), that was released in 1983. 16-bit systems that were later released also could produce music that would be categorized as chiptune althought they were of higher quality as systems moved from 8-bit to 16-bit. First very popular console that had sound quality very close to CDs was the first Sony PlayStation. You can argue for hours about which has better sound – vinyl or CD, but we are not going to go there. So chiptune was originally popular in video games from 1980s to, I think, 1995.

Today chiptune is still very popular. You can find artists that have been strongly influenced by this type of music. Usually chiptune is strongly associated with retro games or the games that originally had chiptune as their background music. As retro gaming is popular chiptune is alive even today. Some artists are producing chiptune with modern tools such as software synthesizers that are just basically virtual instruments with some presets and the ability to create various sounds, your own presets, and can run inside any kind of DAW (“Digital Audio Workstation”) you can imagine.

Since I started with this topic I have to write also more about so called tracker music that first made its way to home musicians sometime in 1980s. So tracker is simple application that runs on computer that allows you to make music. Amigas computers were first devices that made this functionality available for music production. Inside tracker you can define your songs tempo, basically just how fast the track is flowing, and add drum sounds and melodies that are created using small digital samples of audio. Trackers are used also today but they are not as powerful as music applications such as FL Studio for example. Some now popular trackers are Renoise, a very good one, Mad Tracker and OpenMPT. Some older ones are Scream Tracker, Fast Tracker and Impulse Tracker. You can find many great trackers and please comment and let us know if you have a suggestion for readers of this blog.

You can listen to some chiptune songs for example here:

What makes gaming so addictive?

There are many things that you can have an addiction on. Drugs, such as nicotine, coffeine or heroin, are addictive. But there can be more behind an addiction than just pure chemistry. Fast learning and seeking of reward are some things that are present as you play a video game. Basically what happens as you are playing is that you just concentrate on the game. If we analyze what is happening physically is that you are just pressing the buttons at right time. The controller takes your input and forms a reaction based on your actions.

This is very different from working in real life. In real life you are dealing with your senses and reacting on what you see and hear or feel. Think about it. It is very different to for example carve a piece of wood with a real knife than to do that in a game. How this effects a young person who is growing up and is just beginning to form to become an adult is actually very interesting. There are different phases in growing up and it seems there is something very special about this part of it. I’m talking about persons that are aged between 14 to 16.

How did I became addicted in gaming? Do I play too much? Should I limit the time I spend on playing these games? These are good questions and in my opinion need to be given a thought. We as adults can analyze this but I think a child that is very addicted to some game might not just get the picture. Today there is already limitations created to control what kind of content is presented to for example persons under the age of 16.

You have to have some vision inside gaming to set limits to these young players. And maybe they are themselves somewhat responsible for how they spend their time. Gaming industry should have some responsibility in this matter also. I think they have so much resources that they can have a real research about these issues. All in all I think that we all, gamers and non-gamers, specialists and hobbyists, should have a good conversation as things are not so one sided.

My history in gaming – How it all started

My father ifluenced me as his profession was engineer. I somehow remember as he brought an old personal computer to our home. My mom was a bit concerned but finally agreed that it would be good for me to learn some skills with this piece of technology. So I started with PC.

First games I remember playing were Bubble Bobble, Sierras adventure games and Prince of Persia. When I first started at school being seven years old NES wasn’t the most powerful gaming console anymore. So everybody had Segas Mega Drive and I wanted one also. I think it was 1993 when I finally had saved money to buy this thing. I played Mega Drive for several years. My favourite games were Sonic, Streets Of Rage and NHL 94. It was 1997 when I got myself Sony’s PlayStation.

During PlayStations era gaming was becoming more popular and young adults were getting in to gaming more than ever. Before this gaming was thought to be a bit childish and stereotype of a player was a young child. This changed and when PS2 came out gaming started to be a very common hobby for consumers at every age.

At about 2000 I played Diablo 2 with PC. I enjoyed 3D gaming. I was studying in high school then and a profession inside gaming became a dream job for me. After high school I was living with almost no touch to gaming for some reason or another. 2006 I got original Xbox as a gift from my mom. I started playing it. My girl friend, who is now my wife, also had PS3 back then so I got back to gaming. I missed PS2 and I’m little bit sad that it went like this with my dear hobby.

I played many years with PS3. I then got PS4 maybe in 2014. I bought many classic retro consoles and took my Mega Drive back from my parents house and after moving to another appartment in 2018 I got myself television lever from IKEA and placed 7 differnet consoles to our living room. That was awesome. This is the tip of my gaming hobby. I also worked for half a year in store that was dedicated to gaming.

I have understood that there are lots of games around there. It’s important that you experiment and find the ones you like because there isn’t enough time, in humans living span, to play all of them thoroughly. I find best games to be sometimes retro and sometimes newest ones. But now all games don’t get me excited anymore. I have bought games from game stores and from flee market. I have also a friend who sells used stuff like games so I sometimes buy them from him. I have a nice collection. Some PC games as Big Box. I currently have these consoles, I play all of them, PlayStation Classic, PS3, Super Retro Trio+ HD, PSOne, PS4 and Xbox 360 and of course my PC.

My gaming consoles

PlayStation Classic

I bought my PS Classic for 40 €. The price was so low that I figured I should buy it. This device flopped very sadly. It had only 20 games. Gamepad included has too short cable and it doesn’t have analog sticks. Games included were not so special though it had FFVII and Metal Gear Solid. If you consider buying this think seriously about modding it and don’t pay too much. The price was originally 120 euros.

Retro Trio HD+

This is cool gaming console. It combines NES, SNES and Mega Drive. What that means is that you can play all cartridges that you buy from gaming stores or you might have kept them for a long time. Retro Trios price was 110 € so I think it’s cheap. It also gives HDMI output so the graphics aren’t too messy. If you want play with older retro type television I don’t recommend this. In this case you should get original systems.

PS3

I didn’t really buy this one. It was a gift to my then-girl-friend-now-my-wife. It was expensive as new but now you can pick one, I think, for under 100 euros depending on games or controllers that are included. It has a hard drive. Depended on model the size of hard drive varies. There was also some kind of backward compatibility with PS2 and PS1 games which depends a lot about the spesific model of PS3. So yep, there were multiple models, for example Slim Model and so on.

PSOne

My first true console that brought us the experience of 3D graphics. I bought this one from flea market for as low as 15 euros. It didn’t have controller with it so that effects to the price of course. PS2 controllers are compatible with it so I just played with my PS2 gamepads. It requires memory card so I had to buy one for about 10 euros. Memory cards work with PS2 but PS2 memory cards don’t work with PS1. This is a smaller version of PS1. Very cool product I would say and definitely retro.

Xbox 360

I bought this one from a friend who sold it to me as she didn’t play so much and also her gaming console was becoming old. She hasn’t bought a new console. Not yet at least. I have maybe 30 games for this and I have mainly picked them up from flea markets and gaming shops. I invested 70 euros in this one. I first thought I would play and get all Xbox 360 only games so first games I played and also completed were Alan Wake and Halo 3. I also have Gears Of War, Mass Effect, Fable, Halo, Halo wars and so on. This system has backwards compatibility on some original Xbox games but not all. The list can be found Googling.

PS4

I bought my PS4 as my birthday present in 2014. That was also a moment I turned 30 years old. It cost me about 500 euros and I had Tomb Raider with it. So the game and console summed to this amount of euros. I didn’t really like this one so much. It had no backwards compatibiltity, I didn’t like so many of games that were released to it. It was a bit of a disapponitment. It had some good games. Games I played most were NBA2K14, Dirt Rally and Diablo 3. When companies like Sony keep coming up with new devices every six years or so I am currently thinking not buying fifth PlayStation but don’t you just follow me. Make that decision yourself.

PC

Personal computer was my first gaming device. It will always be there. I might play old retro games or the most new one. Provides large collection of controllers so you can pick your favourite USB gamepad. Easiest one to modify also if you want to upgrade your hardware or software. Much love to PC.

broken

– original Xbox

Yeah, so I broke my Xbox. I’m not going to buy a new used one to replace it. I now just have a large collection of games that aren’t supported on Xbox 360. So they lay now inside my dungeon and in my closet buried there. I’m not planing to sell them. Maybe some day we see Xbox Classic?

– PS2

This is sad one. It started to malfuction so I opened it up carefully. I tried to clean it. Finally I decided to try to fix it by replacing its optical drive. That didn’t go well as I had a wrong replacement part. So I just screwed back some screws and now it’s in condition that it starts up but you cannot boot a disc. So it’s useless. Maybe I buy a new used one or wait for PS2 Classsics release if there is one coming to us ever.

What kinds of games can you play with PC?

Besides newest games you can play also retro games with PC. There is lots of DOS and also retro console games available. For this purpose I would prefer Windows but Linux has also some potential. In this article the focus is on games you can play with Windows.

Let’s start our journey into PC gaming of today by introducing some DOS classics. I’m talking games like Bubble Bobble, Blues Brothers, Doom, Command And Conquer, Dune, Golden Axe, Lemmings, Mortal Kombat, NHL 97, Populous, Theme Park. This list isn’t in any way complete but I can recommend all these games. With DOSBox you can also run old apps such as Impulse Tracker, which is a music production app. Instructions on installing DOSBox can be found by Googling. I recommend GUI and I use D-Fend Reloaded for this purpose.

There is also a possibility to play old retro games with many different kinds of emulators. Almost every system has it’s own emulator and PC is good platform to experiment these. You can also choose to mod a device like original Xbox or use system like Raspberry Pi. In any case be sure to use a good USB connected controller that suits retro gaming. I myself have lots of different gamepads. My favourite for PC is Xbox One Elite Pad.

Of course you can play modern games also. There is a large collection of games found on Steam and online game stores like GOG. So when it’s possible, buy the game, because gaming industry really needs your support. You will support production of some quality games. Be sure also to check your local flea market as I have found many great older games from there and the price definitely is as low as can be.

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