Where to buy a Playstation – a couple of funny tales from the Summer of ’96 PART 1

First PlayStation ever released

In September of 1995, Sony Entertainment Network launched its most famous creation on the Western market: the PlayStation.
After an initial period of diffidence from gamers, Sony’s product began selling millions of units, becoming mainstream in the process.

Regardless, rumors about the power and technical features of this new video game machine immediately started to circulate, thus generating huge social hype.

I knew and owned home computers, but that was a completely different thing.
They called it “console”, I had vaguely heard that word before.

A friend of mine explained me the difference: “Home computer = programs and games. Console = only games allowed”.

I later discovered that there were already other consoles from other brands and I had even seen and tried some, years before. For some reason, though, at the time I had not completely realized what they were. Anyway, that is another retro story.

May of ’96 came and most of my schoolmates would say: “I cannot wait for school to end. I am going to play all summer with my brand new PlayStation. My parents promised me one as a graduation gift. ”

In June, that hopeful sentence had been replaced by a direct question: “Where to buy a PlayStation?”

The “PS bug” had already spread and it was now impossible to stop… Everybody wanted the latest high-tech gizmo, but only a few could afford it. Not to mention that, at some point such console went out of stock.

Guess what! My friends and me “unhealthily”carried that bug and we did anything we could even if just to see and touch that magic grey plastic box made by Sony.

Below is the first of two of the funniest retro stories that took place in that unforgettable Summer.
I will publish the second one in my next post. Please Enjoy and stay tuned!

(Affiliate Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that – at no additional costs to you – if you click through and make a purchase, I will earn a commission)

From zero to hero – the outcast’s riseRocket launch

My neighbour Christian was an unusual guy.
I would not call him an unpleasant person, but he certainly struggled to make friends and when in a group, he used to remain aloof and rarely spoke.

All of that suddenly changed when we happened to know that he had just got * that magic grey box. His outcast status was quickly replaced by a “cool dude” label and his popularity skyrocketed.
From the shy, uninteresting individual he was, he became “the one who has and knows where to buy a PlayStation”.

This fact alone meant a lot of things:

1. Christian was much smarter and more informed than he seemed.

2. He had definitely a flair for persuasion, since his parents were not particularly rich, nor were they particularly into technology.

3. Last but not least, he was having a lot of fun with his brand new console and we wanted to be part of it. 😀

Simulated reality – our new hero’s tales

After finding out he was a proud PS owner, we would harass him with questions on a daily basis.
He was not bothered one bit, though. On the contrary, he was more than eager to tell us about his wonderful gaming adventures in detail.
First PlayStation power buttonHe mentioned incredible worlds, sublime games, stunning graphics, flawless gameplay etcetera, etcetera…

By a wide margin, his best claim was: “Forget about arcade games, it is all about simulated reality now. It is all too true, too true! ”

– in hindsight, I can say that his descriptions were “slightly” exaggerated. 😀 –

Moreover, in that very moment every video game store in the city had indefinitely sold PlayStations out, so we also used to ask him where he had bought his.
Unlike his gaming adventures tales though, he would back down from telling us where he had purchased his beloved console. Anytime we asked, he systematically replied that he had forgotten to ask his father. I guess he was afraid to lose his “only PS kid on the block – smarter than he looks” status. 😀

To go or not to go: this is the question – A gaming agreement

After a couple of weeks, we eventually got tired of his excuses and asked him to invite us to his house to play those fantastic games.

Unsurprisingly, he was not enthusiastic about it but nonetheless, he accepted. He set some bizarre conditions, though:

signing an agreement1. He would let in one person at a time.

2. The session would last no more than 60 minutes.

3. We were not to tell anyone what we were going to see.

Despite our irresistible urge to play, we took a few days to agree to his conditions. The problem was to determine whom would go first… Honestly, such conditions had scared us a bit. 😀
In the end, the chosen one was Alexander, that is, the biggest guy in our group of friends. We picked him so that in the event of problems, he would have had a bigger chance to knock Christian out and run away. 😀

Play by Play… Station – the shortest gaming session ever

On that fateful day, as Christian let our friend in, we stood outside his house. In case of danger, we were ready to go into action.
Actually, the session barely lasted 3 minutes and Alexander left Christian’s house hurling insults at him.
There was no need to ask him what happened. He shouted:

“Not only is Christian strange, he is also crazy! I went into his bedroom and it was semi-dark… I asked him for Extreme Pinball for PlayStation 1explanations and he replied that semi-darkness helped him focus. After that, he turned his PlayStation on and inserted a pinball game CD in his console. Would you believe it? He had to create the right atmosphere to play a pinball game! (The yet fun game was “Extreme Pinball”, see right. Ed.)
I tried to touch the joypad, but he grabbed it before I could even touch it. He said he did not even allow his parents to touch his PlayStation or its accessories!”

After that, Alexander took a little pause. He was visibly beyond himself and looked around in disbelief. We knew the best was yet to come, so we urged him to go on. He nodded, took a deep breath and added with even more anger: “When he told me that, my natural reaction was asking him what I was going to use to play.
He went: ‘But you are not  going to play, you are here to watch me play. Look how quick I am with the flippers! And I can nudge, you know? I can perfectly nudge, no way am I going to tilt the pinball!’ ”
We were all baffled, but we just could not help burst out laughing.

Now calmer, Alexander made one last remark: “Mates, if this is the effect a PlayStation has on people, We had better go to the theater. If you ask me, Christian wants to create a cult, a CULTSTATION!” That definitely killed us! 😀

Needless to say, the outcast’s status had come full circle: from hero to zero.
*

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Laughter legacy – A CultStation is for life

Our first gaming attempt had been utterly unsuccessful, but we bent over in laughter. Definitely not a bad payback.

Plus, we were not going to stop for any reason. It turned out we had lost a battle, but we were confident we would win the gaming war.

My wise friend Luke – mark his name for Part 2 – hit the nail on the head. He went: “You know what mates? If every loss is like today’s, we will never really lose. On the contrary, we will walk away with a bunch of fun and priceless memories of our youth.”

More than 20 years have passed, yet we just need to say “Pinball” or “CultStation” in order to re-ignite laughter. And this is just a small portion of our teenage memories.

A group of friends

Young friends

By the way, Christian is in excellent health and has started a family, but he is still a little bit… Tilted at us. 😀

(To be continued… Do not miss part 2!)

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.

26 thoughts on “Where to buy a Playstation – a couple of funny tales from the Summer of ’96 PART 1

  1. Dany

    I had so much fun reading your article:) You managed to transport me back in time.
    As a child, I was not passionate about computer games, but what I remember from that time are the summer or vacation visits to my mom’s office. Oh boy, those big machines! My mom beating some buttons and the big machine was producing perforated cardboard on the other side.
    Great reading!

    Reply
    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hey Dany, glad you enjoyed it!
      I can perfectly understand your feelings back then, it sounded more or less like “the future is now”. Since I had no explanations for that I wanted to find one by myself and my parents used to tell me “Do not touch anything” especially when in public places.
      Needless to say they were wasting their breath, I was too attracted by machines, especially the gaming ones.
      Stay around for more Retro Stories!

      Reply
  2. Freddy

    Hahahahaha. Very nice and funny story about the history of PS, cant wait for part 2. I was very young when PS was introduced and I never got to play PS1, only started with Ps2… you just made want to fill that gap.

    Reply
    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Glad to be of service, Freddy! Well, actually it is a mutual service because anytime I happen to bring one of my readers closer to retrogaming, I feel inspired to write more and more.
      So thank you for saying that and I hope you will stay tuned for my next Retro Stories.

      Reply
  3. Lance

    Hey, really enjoyed reading this! I got a PlayStation when I 6 years old in 98, It and the N64 where my first times with video games and they definitely hold a special place for me!

    Reply
    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Lance,
      Yeah the same goes for me. All my consoles and all the games I have played hold a special place in my heart because they are evoke emotional memories. At some point I did feel the need to put my experiences down in words.
      I am still nostalgic but in a positive way now, as I am sharing my Retro Stories with everyone.
      I hope you will keep coming back for more!

      Reply
  4. hong

    This is a very interesting story. I really enjoyed it. My brother was so obsessed with PS at one point. He went and got a job so he could save up money to buy PS. He doesn’t play it as much as he used to but he still likes it. Anyways, this was a great story. I am looking forward to part 2.

    Reply
    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Hong, thanks for stopping by!
      Happy to hear your brother was a PS brother to us, not struggling one bit to understand his obsession, lol.
      I would love to hear some stories from him!
      Glad you enjoyed my Retro Story, stay tuned for more.

      Reply
    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Thank you for returning again to my site, Kevin. That makes me want to keep on sharing my memories and delivering great Retro Stories.
      Happy to have you as a fan!

      Reply
  5. furkan

    I remember when it was first released. It was quite rare in my country and I remember that I played crash bash in my friend’s house. These are some good memories.

    Reply
    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Furkan, glad to have brought back some good memories. Guess what! I love the Crash saga and Crash Bash was definitely my favourite installment, together with CB Warped.
      I also played it with a friend. We used to play in rotation, because some stages were so hard that you needed to regain your mental strength after completing them.
      Soon I will be talking about Crash… 😉

      Reply
  6. Benji

    Great article! I’m actually on the hunt for a Playsation myself at the moment (albeit a slightly more modern one) so this story came at the right time!

    Do you prefer the retro feel of the older Playstations or is the advanced graphics etc of the newer ones simply superior?

    I’d be interested to hear your opinion!

    Reply
    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hey Benji, thanks for stopping by!
      As for your question, well can I reply “Both”? lol
      Seriously I am a natural born gamer, so I struggle to say what I prefer when talking about great machines, featuring superb titles and high playability. They both marked an era.
      When I think of the first PlayStation, I envision Solid Snake, Cloud Strife, Squall Leonhart, Crash Bandicoot and the first football games attempting to “simulate” reality, like Winning Eleven and the old Fifa.
      If I think of a PlayStation 4, I myself do not need to envision anything, I just need to wear the Sony PS VR and the job is done.
      In addition to that you can find the quintessence of simulation in all the latest games.
      You can have a lot of fun by taking either avenue, so I believe it is merely a Heart vs Technology battle. There cannot be a clear winner, but who said they cannot coexist?
      I chose to go with my heart but at the same time I keep up to date with the latest releases, because I just love playing video games.
      Anyway, you said you are looking for a slightly more modern PS, but do yourself a favour and if you can, do not skip the grey magic box. 😉
      Again, thanks for asking for my opinion and stay tuned for more Retro Stories.

      Reply
  7. Rudolph

    Hi Andrew, reading this article took me back in time when back home, there were no big gaming arcades, but grocery stores making space from such games. My first gaming console was a Nintendo and slowly graduated to a PS from there!! Nice read….

    Reply
    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hey Rudolph, happy to bring back some memories. 🙂
      I perfectly remember those times. The big amusement arcades were not in my block, so as a child, I had to implore my parents to take me. When this happened (once a month), I could not sleep a wink the night before.
      Fortunately, bars and grocery stores eventually realized the arcade machine earning potential and around 1986 the majority of them had at least one of them installed in their space. I even saw a machine located at a flower shop… That was definitely the pinnacle of the video arcade spread! 😀
      Thanks for stopping by, stay tuned for more Retro Stories!

      Reply
  8. Raymond Lepkowicz

    Now I am not a gamer but I loved reading your article.  What a great story, loved it.  It was well laid out, and it sure kept my attention.  For someone looking for a play station your article was low key and it made even me wanting to check out a play station…  Great post.  Love your website as well.  Great job.

    Reply
    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Raymond and thanks for dropping by.
      I am glad you liked my article, I just tried to convey a vintage feeling… You know, young men, wanting something so bad, but enjoying friendship more than anything else. We did not have much, but what we had was great. We loved playing video games and that magic box seemed the ne plus ultra of technology.
      Forgetting about those feelings, those sensation would turn off the magic and I am not yet ready to become a disenchanted individual. I have so much love to give and here is why it is of fundamental importance for me to keep my childhood/teenage memories alive.
      Thanks again for your comment, please stay tuned for more Retro Stories!

      Reply
  9. Victor

    I’m definitely looking forward to the upcoming Part 2 🙂 

    When I saw the picture of the PlayStation console, I just couldn’t stop thinking about my years when I spent hours playing winning eleven 3 with turbo speed. No FIFA game can compare to that beauty! It was just awesome. I would pay any money to get another winning eleven 3 game on a PlayStation 1. You just brought back great memories to my present and I thank you for that my friend!

    Reply
    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Victor and thanks for your nice words.
      I am so glad when I get comments like yours, this means that I am able to connect with people on multiple levels and convey my feelings.
      My readers are my motivation and your appreciation definitely prompted me to share more memories and more stories. I truly hope you will soon get a chance to play your younger year games and it would be a real pleasure to hear from you again!

      Reply
  10. julienne murekatete

    Thank you for sharing with us such an interesting story on Play Station.I knew PS for my first time when i was at university as I grew up in a village so I could not know it before. My colleagues were playing games and they were so happy but i was not aware of how to play them.

    When my son was 8,he asked me to buy the grey PS as birthday gift. Oh my , I was surprised by that request as i didn’t know he knew about it.

    I like this story

    Reply
    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Julienne and thanks for dropping by.
      Although you are not a gamer yourself, your comments proves once again how popular PlayStation was back in the day and what a gaming revolution it started.
      Your kid asking you to buy him a PlayStation for his birthday is just the icing on the cake instead. He must have heard some Retro Stories somewhere or somehow… If you buy it him, please let me know, I would love to hear his feedback!

      Reply
  11. Nuttanee

    Lol!! Love it! My favorite classic console. I still own one now lol funny how you brought it up. My brothers did some tinkering and we could play a cd player with it as well. Later we realized that any playstations came with a cd player too lol. I played my first resident evil with that console.

    Glad I still have that console. Great topic, brings back old memories.

    Reply
    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Hello Nuttanee and thanks for taking some time to leave a nice comment on my article.
      Well, it is funny to read about your brothers tinkering with your console, as I (and many others) basically happened the same: I thought it was only for gaming period. So when one day I inserted a cd player out of curiosity and the music started to play, I thought I had bought a special model or so. LOL 😀 Those were the days…
      Glad to hear you kept your magic grey box, I hope you still keep it busy from time to time… 😉

      Reply
  12. jessie palaypay

    I am a 90’s baby and you definitely brought back old memories of me and my friends playing the very first PlayStation. Me and all my neighbors were so excited when my dad brought one back from the Philippines. I remember playing crash bandicoot and a game called Pepsiman. 

    At the time, it really did feel like we were entering the future of gaming. So I can definitely understand how you felt especially when you heard of Christian being one of the few with a PlayStation.

    Reply
  13. Andrew A. Post author

    Hello Jessie, I am so glad you enjoyed my article.
    You are absolutely correct: it really felt like we were entering the future of gaming! We thought were informatics pioneers or something like that. And also true, Christian was one of the few with a PlayStation, so how could he keep on playing alone? Lol
    Thanks again for your nice comment, it is always great to hear from fellow retro gamers!

    Ps.
    As for Crash Bandicoot, one of my next Retro Stories is going to be about our favourite marsupial, do not miss it! 🙂

    Reply

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