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!

#ILOVEVIDEOGAMES, #BESTBUDDIESFORLIFE! #BESTDAYSOFOURLIVES

 

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.

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

  1. 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. 

    Cheers, 

    Shane

    Reply
    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.

      Reply
  2. 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!

    Reply
    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!

      Reply

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