The 10 best PlayStation 1 games – the real classics Part 1

The original PlayStation with two controllers and a bunch of games

Let us face it: the majority of the 20 pre-loaded PlayStation Classic games are far from being real classics. In my recent review I called them a “bizarre selection”, and it is safe to say that such titles are unlikely to impress any younger gamers. For this reason, I am going to show you what the magic grey box was really capable of.

Below are the 10 best PlayStation 1 games ever.

Before getting to the meat, I would like to emphasize that lists are fun to read and bring back pleasant memories, but they are mostly based on opinions and experiences. So, if my picks are not yours, you can politely disagree by leaving a comment. 🙂

Without further ado, let us begin our two-part journey:

(Affiliate Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that – at no additional cost to you – if you click through and make a purchase, I may earn a commission. For more info, please check my affiliate disclosure page.))

10. Silent Hill (Konami 1999)

Silent Hill on the PS1

Harry’s desperate quest to find his missing daughter

Silent Hill is one of the grand series that started on the PS1 and then expanded to numerous sequels and some interesting stories. But as you know, the original always remains the best and it has a lot of charisma attached to it too.

In this game you follow Harry Mason as he tries to find his missing adopted daughter in the town of Silent Hill. As he browses the city he finds a cult that tries to revive a deity. And in doing so, our main character figures out who his adopted daughter really is.

What made Silent Hill so good is its unique focus on breaking the mold and coming up with some creative and very distinctive game ideas. The game is designed to be very intense and does require to push the boundaries.

Playing it again after 20 years perfectly conveys that sense of nostalgia associated with the platform. Plus, the game itself is amazing and despite the older graphics, it still comes with one of the best and also one of the scariest stories in a video game. In 1999, this was a cult hit and unlike anything out there.

9. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (Konami 1997)

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night on the PS1

A horror platformer… Strange, but great!

What really made this game work for me was the great horror theme here. The platforming was very solid and the best part was the combat and enemies. You really had that vampiric vibe that you just cannot find in modern games.

The map was great, and I particularly liked the way the character moved around and how you could interact with the environment. A lot of people find this to be one of the best in the Castlevania series.

For me, this is one of the best platformers of all time and it still holds up years and years after its release. The story is also very intricate and fun to go through. If you want a great PS1 platform game, you cannot go wrong with this one.

8. Gran Turismo 2 (Sony 1999)

Gran Turismo 2 on the PS1

One of a kind, not much to add…

Gran Turismo 2 was and still is one of the best and most iconic racing games. It brought a lot both to the series and to racing games overall. The visuals were astounding, and the interface is something we have in most racing games right now. Also, the realism in this title is staggering to me. The AI was particularly brutal at times, but also fair and you were encouraged to play again and again to learn the tracks and improve your times.

I remember I had to play this game for countless hours until I got to win my first race. My then friends thought that something was definitely wrong with me, as I was by no means a simulation racing gamer. The truth is that Sony hit the jackpot with this one. Top quality goes beyond personal tastes, period.

I believe that Gran Turismo is indeed one of the best racing series of all time. if you love the genre, this game is an absolute must. Even if it might feel a bit dated by modern standards, it packs a punch and looks downright amazing.

Being more passionate about simulation than arcade racing could result in a gaming addiction…

7. Fifa: Road to World Cup 98 (Electronic Arts 1997)

Fifa Road to World Cup 98 on the PS1

Intense and atmospheric… To me, Fifa RTWC was the pinnacle of soccer simulations back in 1997!

If you have read this, you already know that we are talking about my favorite PlayStation 1 soccer game. I pretty much liked everything about it: the visuals were great, the graphics were next level, and – to my 1998 eyes – the gameplay was extremely similar to what you could see on the pitch.

All this without forgetting the amazing AI and the atmospheric World Cup mode. If you are passionate about sports games and especially soccer ones (like me), you should definitely try what is considered one of EA’s best Fifa efforts to date, a real cult classic!

Modern FiFA games improved on this and that really tells a lot about Fifa RTWC 98’s quality and the great features that brought to the table.

6. Final Fantasy VII (Squaresoft 1997)

Final Fantasy VII on the PS1

Cloud and Aerith meet in the church

The fact that this RPG is getting a remake soon clearly shows how popular it still is among gamers. In Final Fantasy VII you follow Cloud Strife, a mercenary that tries to stop a corporation from using the life essence of our planet as an energy resource.

Despite not being the first in the series, FF7 is the most memorable, because – in addition to the return of the veteran staff, along with Hironobu Sakaguchi, the series creator – it introduced new game mechanics, and it is also the first in the series both to be played in 3D, and to have full motion video.

It is easy to see why Final Fantasy VII was revolutionary: it broke the boundaries and did come up with beyond creative ideas. The game did cost a lot to make, but it earned a lot too, and the sheer idea of being able to play a remake does electrify fans.

You know, there are some rights to wrong (Aerith anyone?), and according to sources it should have slight changes from the original…

Playasia - Online Shopping for Digital Codes, Video Games, Toys, Music, Electronics & more

And it’s a wrap for the first part, retro folks! But no worries, our journey is going to resume soon!
Stay tuned!

About Andrew A.

Andrew is the founder and owner of RetroGamingLoft. He considers himself a natural-born gamer and is on a mission to keep our younger gaming years alive through the medium of Retro Stories. His event recount includes hopes, dreams, broken joysticks, magic, nostalgia and another final boss defeated.

10 thoughts on “The 10 best PlayStation 1 games – the real classics Part 1

  1. Daniel

    Hi Andrew, I must say that this article is very helpful and informative. Playstation games can never get old and I am a true gamer when I have free time, especially on the weekends. Silent Hill is definitely my favorite one as I am a big fan of horror games. Just like you said, nostalgia is big but we can play it whenever we want.

    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Daniel and thanks for dropping by again, I am glad you appreciate my post. 🙂
      If you love horror games, Silent Hill is a must. In addition to the PS1, You can grab any PS3 to play it, thanks to its backward compatibility. Unlike PS2 games, Any PS3 model can play PS1 titles.
      The problem is that – at least on eBay – the game in physical format is not that cheap (40 $ on average, shipping excluded), but the good news is that the PlayStation store sells it in digital format for 5,99 $. The supported platforms are the above * PlayStation 3 and the PsP.
      Thanks again for your comment, stay tuned for part 2!

  2. jeremy

    I love reminiscing on some of the original and early gaming platforms, it’s so interesting to think about how things have changed so much! Out of the games you listed, I think I played Gran Turismo 2 the most on PlayStation. I think I tried to get into Final Fantasy VII, but never finished it, and for whatever reason loved with Final Fantasy VIII. Thanks for making me look back and remembering what games there were and pondering how much and how crazy video games have evolved over the years!

    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Jeremy and thanks for dropping by. I am glad to hear that you appreciated my post. Knowing that I was able to make you look back and reflect means a lot to me.

      Yeah, Gran Turismo 2 was a total blast… Never been into racing simulation games, but they call it the exception that proves the rule. 😉 It is one of those games that I would play right here right now!

      I loved Final Fantasy VIII too, there was a time when it was my favourite RPG ever. So who knows? Let us wait for Part 2 and see… 😉 All I can say for now without giving out any spoilers is that its soundtrack is next level, Master Nobuo Uematsu was at his peak. Tracks like Ouverture ,Balamb Garden and Breezy echoed in my mind for years.

      Last but not least, Final Fantasy VII remake is coming, so you will soon have another shot at beating the game!
      Thanks again for your nice words, I hope you become a regular on my blog and stay tuned for my future posts!

  3. janci Lawrence

    I just got a great introduction to gaming. Thanks for the info. I am familiar with some of the games you mentioned for I too am a fan of the horror genre. It gave me a good direction to go. thanks

    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Janci and thanks for leaving a comment on my blog post. 🙂
      I am glad that you found my article useful, if you have any questions, just let me know, I will be more than glad to help you!
      Hope you stay tuned for Part 2!

  4. Brian Perisho - Fireman Marketing

    Thanks for this review… I personally never owned a PlayStation 1.  However, my kids did.  They played it all the time.  They still like to get some of what they call Retro games and play them.  You can find all sorts of games around our area in garage sales.

    I had the first generation of Nintendo when I was in college in the 80’s.  My favorite game was Donkey Kong!!

    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Brian, thanks for stopping by to comment.
      Great to hear garage sales are all the rage in your area now. I could add them to my recent guide about the best ways to buy retro games. 🙂
      I like Donkey Kong too, so no worries, I have not forgotten about Nintendo games. I will rank them soon… 😉
      For now, please stay tuned for the second part of this article!

  5. Angela

    This is really cool!  Do you actually still own these?  I would encourage you to hang on to it because it will become a collectors item.  These are classics!  

    I would like my grandson to see this.  He is a gamer and this is history in the making.  Great article keep up the good work!  

    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Angela and thanks for taking time to comment on my post.
      Yeah, not only do I own these, I also play them! 🙂 There are games or home computers that I have owned for 30+ years, and I just cannot see myself selling them anytime soon!
      Glad to hear your grandson is also a gamer, if he has any questions concerning retro gaming, I encourage him to leave a comment here. I will be more than glad to help him out.
      Till next retro post!


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