Where to buy a Playstation – a couple of funny tales from the Summer of ’96 PART 2

First PlayStation ever released

Here is the second part of our gaming adventures from that Summer.

After our first failed attempt at Christian’s house to see a PlayStation from a playing distance, we did not lose heart.

We started fancying buying one ourselves, having joint possession of it in rotation. Mission Impossible, we were young and broke.
We next began to stop by every electronic store in the city asking for prices, special discounts, pre-owned PS and what not.

Zero luck to put it mildly. Either they had one unit left costing an arm and a leg or such console was simply out of stock. I remember kindly asking a storekeeper: “Okay, it is sold out here, but do you not know another place where to buy a PlayStation, Sir?” His reply did put us off: “I work here, not elsewhere BOYS! And even if I knew that, I would not tell you. I am here to sell my own stuff.”

We were on the brink of giving up, when later that evening, I got a phone call…

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Habemus PlayStation – because the night belongs to gamers

My friend Luke called to tell me the following: “Do you know my cousin, right? Well, he is off for the weekend and he is lending me… Yeah, the magic grey box!” I was incredulous.

Three Owls in a woodI radiantly smiled and replied: “There is telepathy in the air… On Saturday night we are going to give it a lot of extra work!” To contain anxiety from Thursday to Saturday was not easy one bit, we had to even count the nanoseconds that separated us from that moment in order to stay busy. 😀
There was also a false alarm on Friday evening:
at some point it seemed that Luke’s cousin’s mini-vacation had fallen through. We sat through a panic attack until eventually – and luckily – everything worked out and the much anticipated Saturday came.

We were joined by the other two historical friends of ours, thus completing our group: Alexander (the big one, that is, the one we had sent to Christian’s house 😀 ) and the other Andrew.

Preparations in full effect – tonight is the night

Although none of us had ever used a console until then, connecting it was quite simple. We powered it on and you could really say the electricity was now flowing, especially in the air.

I looked at the time, it was 10 o’clock: our PlayStation night was about to begin.

Luke grabbed a plastic bag and pulled out the three games his cousin had bought along with the console. The game choice was unanimous: * T E K K E N !!! Although I was not an avid fighting-game player, I appreciated Tekken a lot. Incidentally, I guess the same could be told about the owner of the amusement arcade where I used to go and play it. He was always very pleased to see me spending several bucks. 😀

Tekken for the PlayStation

A Tekken fight between King,the pro wrestler and Yoshimitsu, the ancient warrior

In any case it was a pleasant surprise, as I never imagined that one of the most popular coin ops of all time would be ported to a console. Once the surprise effect was over, we decided that we would waste away with Tekken tournaments until dawn, trying to use all the playable characters in the game.

Ready, steady, go! The first tournament and my first official game with a PlayStation started at 10:08 pm!

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The party pooper – not everyone likes video games

Stop signal with a blackbird upon

Someone is coming to spoil the party…

There was only one little detail that we had not taken into account when we arranged our PlayStation night: Luke’s parents’ mini-apartment was not in an isolated area, on the contrary, there was a next-door neighbour.

The guy quickly got annoyed by the noise coming from the adjacent apartment, that is, where our Tekken tournaments were taking place. We heard his door slam and him come big steps to our place, calling us names in the process.

We did not want to bother anyone, actually, but we were so thrilled about finally being able to play that we did not realize we were being as noisy as a cheering stadium crowd.
We were wrong and we were ready to apologize and commit to behaving ourselves, but unfortunately, we were not given a chance to prove it.

The neighbour came to knock at the door only to tell us that he had called the police and the matter was now in their hands. The ongoing tournament was immediately suspended due to force majeure and a deathly silence fell on the house.

The prospect of being given a good telling off from the police or even being reported was not nice at all.
Luke was the most dejected one: not only were we likely to be told off by the police, but also he was going to be lectured by his parents.

Anyway, we tried to comfort one another in the hope that the admission of guilt and the apologies to the angry neighbour would be enough to avoid legal problems.

A plot twist – there are more people who love video games than we thought

Exclamation mark

Things are about to take an unexpected turn…

When the police arrived, we breathed an initial sigh of relief, as the two officers coming towards us looked very young. The elder guy was in his early thirties, his colleague was no more than 25 years old.
Since we were four 19-year-old beardless guys, we thought we could easily relate with people who could have been our elder brothers.

Luke went: “Good evening, I just wanted to tell you that we are really sorr…”
The younger one interrupted him: “Shut up! You are not the one who called us. What happened here?”
The neighbour took the floor: “It is 11 pm and they have been shouting for half an hour… I just cannot sleep.”
The policeman asked the reason for shouting, signalling for Luke to speak.

Luke replied: “We were just playing my PlayStation. We are 4 best friends who got together to try this console for the first time … We were playing some Tekken tournaments… It is a beat’em up game’. We were not fighting, zero problems at all, we were just having fun and we got carried away by the situation. We are sorry that things turned out like this. We are all very sorry.”

There was a moment of silence and I noticed that the two policemen exchanged a fleeting, meaningful glance. Soon, I would have understood why…
The older policeman, who had been quiet until then, went up to Luke’s neighbour and said: “It seems to me that everything is fine here… It deals with four young men, after all. They made a mistake but they acknowledged that. If you agree Sir, we can put an end to this unpleasant situation. I am sure these boys have learned the lesson. ”

We were quick to back the officer’s claim with a chorus of “YES” echoing in unison… 😀

Luke’s neighbour thought about it for a minute and ultimately agreed. As he was about to go back to his house he turned his head around and said: “All right, I am letting it go this time, but do not do that again or I will report you, got it?”

A fantastic rebuke & threat combo, I wonder how good he would have been at executing combos in Tekken… 😀

Partners in crime – the playful side of law

a police officer clip art

Back to us, as soon as the neighbour left the scene, we started to repeatedly thank the officers, but we were soon interrupted.

The older policeman told us something that left us stunned: “I thought the guy would never leave … So where is the PlayStation? We are on duty and we should get going, but before that, we have to play a game of something. I have been wanting to try this console for so long! we were even talking about it, before getting your neighbour’s call. ”

The younger one did back him up. He went: “You know what? Now, we will all go back inside and play, but if one of you guys happens to scream, you will all get handcuffed, okay?”

Fortunately, he smiled at us right after saying that, making sure he was joking… Nevertheless, no one dared to test him. 😀

We played together for half an hour and despite being hopeless at playing video games, they turned out to be very nice. Well, maybe I should say that they are very nice, since we are still in touch. And I will tell you more: over the years, Maximilian – the younger officer – has become my best friend. Who would have thought it?
By the way, they are both still bad at video games but it is better not to remind them of that. 😀

22 years later – Whoever finds a PlayStation finds a friend

Friends hugging

A friend is a treasure

I only have good memories of that Summer: I honestly think it was the most carefree period of my life.

Eventually, we had limited interaction with the magic grey box – for the record, I was able to buy it only two years later, in 1998 – the majority of time was spent daydreaming about it.

During that time, though, not only did I strengthen the bond I had with my then buddies but also I met the one who is my current best friend.
“It was the Summer of ’69 oh, yeah Err… ’96”
Till next Retro Story!



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.

16 thoughts on “Where to buy a Playstation – a couple of funny tales from the Summer of ’96 PART 2

  1. Adam

    Great story. Very entertaining. Reminds me of the first time I played Playstation as well and finding out about the hidden game inside of it. So much fun. Thanks for bringing back the memories.

  2. Andrew Post author

    My pleasure Adam, It is comments like this that show me my posts are received with the intention they were sent.
    I am sure that every gamer worthy of respect clearly recalls the first time they played PlayStation. Mine was a little unusual, not to say awkward lol but the fun I derived went beyond every expectation.
    More Retro Stories coming soon!

  3. Ahmed Aly

    Thanks for the article , very interested for sure even i played play-station since it was lunched but learned something new today , waiting for your next article

    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Ahmed, happy to be of service. I always try to be informative as well as entertaining. If you enjoyed my article, that means I have reached my goal. 🙂
      Stay around for more Retro Stories!

  4. Karin Nauber

    Another great story! I love it! I used to stay up half the night and play video games on my Atari, then later on a Nintendo system advancing through the various upgrades—at least up to the first Wi system. Then I was able to load many of the earlier games that I loved from the earlier Nintendos to my Wi system. Then I got my first Playstation 2. I loved it. Played it under it died! Then I bought another one! I currently have a Playstation 3, but I am hooked on the older games and not especially fond of the newer ones so much! Your site really speaks to me!

    Best wishes,
    Karin 🙂

  5. Andrew A. Post author

    Hey Karin, thanks for visiting me again! I can easily relate to you, many experiences in common, including witnessing some consoles dying on me (bad days).
    But we are tenacious gamers, aren’t we?
    I am so glad to hear that you clicked with my website, it does motivate me to share more and more memories. Till next Retro Story!

  6. Shane Black

    Hi Andrew, 

    Thanks so much for sharing this story, it brought back many memories. Like you, I am a gamer at heart so I could emphatize with your struggles to get your hands on a Playstation. I distinctly remember… probably about the same time as this… that my sister’s boyfriend had purchased one and let me borrow it for a week while he was away. I still remember that vividly!

    Thanks again Andrew and please keep writing. 



    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Shane and thanks for your nice comment.
      Yeah you said the right word: “struggle”! It really was… Being in our late teens and broke and longing for the magic grey box produced mixed reactions in us, but at the end of the day the prevailing feelings were joy and excitement.
      Frustrations lasted no more than 5 minutes, we always found a way to smile, harmless self-mockery was our strong point.

      We were friends, it was summertime and we were unhealthy carriers of the PlayStation bug… Frankly, I move a little bit every time I recall that “19 till I die” scenery.

      Again, I truly appreciated your comment and I hope you will keep coming for more Retro stories.

  7. Jim

    Thank you Andrew.. What an amazing story. Being a person that loves stories and reads lots of books, I found your blog very entertaining, well written, and more importantly, very humorous. You really need to put all this into a longer story, maybe a book. You also reminded me of my first encounter with the grey box. Like you, I made friends. One was much younger then he and I ended up marrying his mother. We are still great friends. I wonder what ever happened to the grumpy  neighbour,. Did he ever try put a PlayStation game himself? Did he then realise just why you guys were having so much fun, even if it was loud fun. I hope you give us some more of these stories, I loved this one. All the best. Jim  

    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Jim and thanks for your nice words, you really made my day.
      It is always a great feeling to hear from people who share similar experiences, but sounds like yours is way more amazing than mine and I am very glad for you.

      As for the grumpy neighbour, my friend Luke once told me that the next day he was telling the whole neighbour what had happened the night before.
      Unluckily for him, he got caught at his own game. Most people just told him: “It was 10 pm on a Saturday night, in Summertime… Come on, they were just having fun. You should learn from them!”
      That made even more grumpier (if possible) and no, I do not think he ever tried to put a PlayStation game himself, lol.

      Until next Retro Story!

  8. jackvo29

    Haha, good story. Love it. Gaming is always one of the biggest part of my life. Can not live without it 😛 I still remember the time when I first played Resident Evil on PSOne with my cousin who was eight years old at the time. He nearly pissed his pant watching me playing it!!! I also replayed Final Fantasy 7 like 6 or 7 times, and so many hours playing Castlevania: Symphony of the night. Such fun time…

    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Jack and thanks for your nice comment, I am glad to bring back memories.
      I understand your little cousin, there are some video games that can scare the hell out of us… Poor little kid.
      A similar experienced happened to my then girlfriend when we played Silent Hill: man, it was absolutely scary. We were 22, yet we got easily impressed by the plot and the atmosphere. I myself did not want to play alone, she – put it simply – did not want to play it all. 🙂
      Somehow I convinced her and we played it for some time, but when we got into the elementary school toilet – no spoilers – she started to scream like crazy… What a funny moment, in retrospect! 😀
      Stay tuned for more Retro stories!

  9. Babsie Wagner

    I loved this post.  What a hoot!  I especially loved that the neighbor got annoyed, lol.  Party pooper indeed.  Geesh, doesn’t he know how important that was? How anticipated?  What is wrong with the world?  Ha ha!  He was probably just mad that he wasn’t invited to the party!  Thanks for the entertaining post!

    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hehehe it is great to know that you are on our side, Babsie!
      I will tell you something: Luke and me, we would sing a modified version of Alanis Morrissette ‘s biggest hit “Ironic”.
      Do you remember its most famous line? “It’s like rain on your wedding day…It’s a free ride, when you’ve already paid”
      We would sing: “It’s your neighbour on your PlayStation night…He called the cops to give you a damn hard time”
      Etcetera, etcetera… 😀 Enough said!

      Stay tuned for more Retro stories, I really liked your comment!

  10. Richard

    When recalling such events, it is always a great time to reflect on how far we have come. I can remember the first time I played Playstation and the rivalry between people who bought them vs XBox. I really enjoyed your story and thanks so much for sharing. 

    Really put a smile on my face as my mind goes back to my own experiences.


    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Richard and thanks for your lovely comment
      I myself take a lot of time to reflect and that is what prompted me to create this blog. My memories had to stay somehow, in the hope of bringing back good memories, inspiring other people and creating a legacy.
      Comments like yours encourage me to write more and more.
      And yes I do remember that rivalry, I am going to write a Retro Story about it soon… 😉
      I wish you a Merry Christmas!


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