Category: Features

The Sony PlayStation: A 2×12-Year Retrospective

Well, it's September 9th, 2019, which means its time for another 12/12 console anniversary. Yes, today makes 24 years since Sony's very first PlayStation console was first released in North America. Though Sega and Nintendo pretty much owned the home console landscape at the time they decided to enter the frey, a combination of smart business decisions and key partnerships, in addition to some pretty massive missteps by the competition helped Sony to quickly become the dominant force in the industry. A position they have continued to enjoy for the majority of their console-making career.

​Sony first began their foray into game consoles in the late 1980s when they entered into a partnership with Nintendo to create a CD-ROM add-on called the Play Station for the upcoming Super Nintendo console. The partnership was rocky though, particularly when Nintendo went behind their back to form another partnership with Sony's competitor Philips. At one point Sony even approached Sega with a proposal to a similar partnership to the one they had with Nintendo, but Sega, unfortunately, declined. Eventually, Sony decided to abandon the project altogether in favor of creating their very own gaming system for the next console generation. This, of course, is what would go on to become the PlayStation.

After settling on engineering the console to specialize in handling three-dimensional polygonal graphics, Sony then had to figure out how to get games made for its system. For this, they mainly relied on securing hundreds of deals for third-party games, both exclusive and multi-platform. In addition, they also acquired the British video game company Psygnosis which, along with creating the fantastic wipEout series for them (one particularly excellent entry of which appears on our list below), also had the unintended benefit of resulting in a more economical, dedicated game development system for their new console.

Finally, Sony needed to figure out how to get a jump on the already long-established competition. They accomplished this in two ways. With Nintendo, they primarily did this simply by beating them to market, since their next generation Nintendo 64 console wasn't even ready for release until the following year. And with Sega, they simply found a way to capitalize on their blunders, particularly by undercutting them on pricing. By selling the PlayStation for $100 less than Sega's Saturn, they made it a lot more attractive to otherwise undecided console shoppers who couldn't quite see the additional cost benefit of Sega's offering.

Even with a leg up though, without the right games, the PlayStation brand wouldn't have lasted for very long. But great games are something that every PlayStation console has always had in spades. Read on for our list of 12 of the best ones the original PlayStation had to offer.

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AJ’s E3 2019 Roundup

Well, the 2019 Electronic Entertainment Expo wrapped up a few days ago and it was definitely a memorable one for quite a few reasons. There was plenty of exciting news from the world of video games, as well as the typical head-scratcher or two. As with most E3s, there were far too many games shown and announcements made to possibly be able to cover everything in a single post, so I went ahead and condensed it down to a more easily digestible dozen for you. So without further ado, here are the top 12 highlights I have selected that were either unveiled or reconfirmed at the event.

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The SEGA Saturn: A 2×12-Year Retrospective

The Sega Saturn was an important chapter in the history of game consoles, mostly for not doing much of anything right. Though it was a technically sound piece of hardware that theoretically should (and could) have gone toe to toe with Sony's disruptive PlayStation, a series of monumental errors on the part of Sega caused the Saturn to wither and die a tragic and somewhat untimely death at retail. Since that time, it has been all but forgotten by the majority of gaming culture but it's worth remembering for the lessons that can be learned from its various associated blunders, as well as for the few things the console did have going for it.

Sega's failures with the Saturn were manifold and they arguably began before the system was even conceived of. In the early part of the '90s, in order to compete with NEC's recently released TurboGrafx CD (as well as Nintendo's rumored upcoming Super Nintendo CD add-on (which is what essentially went on to become the PlayStation) Sega decided to develop and release their own CD drive for their popular Genesis console. Later, Sega would also release an additional, more powerful, cartridge-based add-on for the Genesis - the 32X. Both of these peripherals were largely over-priced failures that mainly served to fragment and frustrate Sega's previously growing fan base.

Despite the fact that backwards compatibility has never been much of an industry standard, the lack of it in the Saturn's case certainly didn't win it any supporters. Sega's newest console included a CD drive and a cartridge slot, yet could play neither Sega CD discs, nor any of the two previous generations worth of Master System, Genesis, or 32X cartridges. Adding insult to injury, the Saturn was announced at a price point of $399, $100 more than Sony's PlayStation. Many fans balked at the prospect of having to pay more for Sega's hardware, after having already shelled out for supefluous add-ons and media that were no longer being supported.

Finally, Sega had initially indicated that the Saturn would launch on Satur[n]day, September 2nd, 1995. However, they decided to be clever and try to get a jump on the competition. At the (very first) Electronic Entertainment Expo on May 11th of that year, they surprised everyone by announcing that it was already available, that very day, at select stores. Unfortunately, the plan backfired. Key retailers that were not let in on the surprise were more than a little upset with Sega. One store chain even responded by dropping Sega's wares altogether. To make matters worse, most of the launch games were still scheduled for release in September, leaving the Saturn with few titles to choose from during the first several months of its life. By the time the PlayStation was released, not a great deal of gamers had opted to pick up a Saturn and Sony's console quickly and easily surpassed the sales of Sega's offering.

Sega may have inadvertently sealed the Saturn's fate before (and even on) the date it came out, but that doesn't mean the console was totally worthless. To the Sega loyalists who were still willing to buy one when it launched, or the more cost-conscious fans who waited for the price reductions that followed soon after, the Saturn was still the best place to play fantastic new titles that could only be found in the arcades (if anywhere else). The games are the biggest reason why, despite all of its numerous failings, the Saturn is still viewed with a modicum of respect, and a good bit of nostalgia in certain circles. So, as a way to honor it on its 24th birthday today, we would like to present you with 12 such examples of the Sega Saturn's said sole saving grace.

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Scroo’s Completed #4if

Well...

...I thought I had picked the right set of games to fix this #4if's wagon. But it got the better of me anyway. In retrospect I should have probably played in a different order than I did. But you know, I still made great progress and three out of four is nothing to sneeze at. This year's challenge was, in all likelyhood, perfectly reasonable to complete. However with the release of Apex Legends at the beginning of the month... Well lets just say that I spent a lot more time in there than I should have in order to get a #4if win this year. Am I disappointed in myself? One word - No I'm not, I certainly feel like I did pretty well all things considered. I have a life after all! get off my back Gary!

Check out how I did below. Read more

AJ’s 4 In February: 4th In February

Once more, with feeling! It's time for another 4 in February. By now you probably know what that means (though you'd certainly be forgiven if you didn't) - the forswearing of all games, save a select 4, all of which must be completed entirely within the confines of the double-fortnight that is February. This being my 4th 4 in February, I feel like it may be the year that fortune finally smiles upon my attempt. True, that I cannot foresee whatever results may be in store for me, but perhaps I can forestall my typical lack of success this time around through sheer force of will and just a little extra effort. Failure is not a foregone conclusion! Oh, and perhaps I should mention the games I will be playing, before I forget. Read more

Scroo’s 4if

Last year I didn't play a #4if because I was a busy mofo and I just didn't have the time or motivation to play 4 games at one time during all of that. This year though, I'm not quite as busy of a mofo and I plan on putting up to four titles in thier place. It's a fun challenge that we, and many other outlets, do each year where we each pick some games from our backlog that need finishing and... finish them. We also usually summarize them after our completion whether we make it through all four or not. Now the key here is not necessarily to play four games from beginning to end, but it is to finish four games. Here are my choices this year.... Read more

WRUP In #4if

Good day to you sirs and madammes. February is a time where four games shall fall to the weary eyes of the dogged player. I speak of the #4 in February. It looks like most of us at Twinstiq will be participating in this most honored of traditions. We have trained hard for this day and wear the war paint of the 4. The rules are simple and thus: Finish 4 games in the backlog in the month of February. A daunting task if there ever was one, and to the winners go no spoils. Only pride and public admiration for the accomplishment. Read more

AJ’s Picks: The 12 Best Games of 2018

Happy 2019, everyone! Is it just me or do the years feel like they are flying by these days? Before we get too far into the new year, let's not forget to take a look back at the one that's just passed and make note of all the truly great gaming experiences we got out of it. As it turns out, 2018 was a pretty fantastic year for video games - and I have quite a bit of praise to heap on some of them. So without further ado, here are the 12 best games of 2018 (as selected by me).

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Twinstiq Staff Picks for their Top Games of 2018

Hey everybody it's me, Scrooloose and the rest of us here at Twinstiq. How's it going? Good? You want a soda? No? Would you settle for a slap-dash list of games we liked from last year (and some prior) written in no particular order, some ranked and some not, hastily put together and edited in collaboration over the last few days with no real format? Yeah, we thought you'd like that. Read more