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In June, that hopeful sentence had been replaced by a direct question: “Where to buy a PlayStation?”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

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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.
*

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.

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

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. Alfonso

    Haha ! Good story !

    I grow up with computers ! MSX 16 bits first one 😅 you could buy magazines and type you own games on basic language 😂😂 I use to dictate to my older brother as some of them where quite a lot of pages ! And if you put something wrong it won’t work and you had to check everything back 😂😂
    We bought Amstrad 64 after , with cassette tapes ! Then a PC … and Nintendo Nes … I use to prefer Nintendo much more than PlayStation I even bought the Nintendo 64 before my Play station ! … so many real good games …starting from Mario, legend of Zelda … I never liked much the sega mega drive … I like many games of sega but for the arcade machines , in the mega drive where a lot worse 😏

    Reply
    1. Andrew A. Post author

      Thanks for being such a loyal reader and commenter, Alfonso. I can easily relate to your childhood memories, every retro gamer worthy of the name has fiddled with Basic.
      As for the arcade ports to the Sega Genesis, I partially agree with you. While some of them were quite disappointing, others were absolutely great. The likes of Altered Beast, Golden Axe and NBA Jam (to name a few) were as good as their arcade counterparts. For one thing, I could not believe my eyes when I saw NBA Jam running on my friend’s Genesis… I honestly thought that he was pranking me.
      Thanks again for stopping by, I am very appreciative of your comments. 🙂

      Reply

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