For the final part of my nostalgic look back at my favourite computer games (following on from Part 1 and Part 2), I’m now going to look at games I enjoyed on the first 2 PlayStation consoles. I spent many happy hours playing on these, meaning there’s quite a few games to mention. So in this post I’m going to mention a few of my favourite platform and adventure games.
I loved Crash Bandicoot. The first game I played was actually Crash Bandicoot 2 – Cortex Strikes Back, because it came bundled with the PlayStation console when I bought it. I then moved backwards to play the original Crash Bandicoot title, before then moving on to Crash Bandicoot 3 – Warped. They were all great games, with so much to discover and a great variety of levels. Some of the levels were really hard – which is fair enough, you expect games to get a bit more difficult as they progress to give you a challenge – but I managed to complete all the games in the end.
It’s great to see that many other people still remember the games fondly too. Just flicking through things like this speed run on the second game brings back great memories. It’s also interesting to see some of the glitches in the game, many of which I hadn’t been aware of. You can also listen to the fun music soundtracks from the first, second and third games online (as well as later spin-offs and sequels that I’ve not played if you search around).
And, even more interestingly, when finding videos to link in this blog, I’ve only now discovered that the original Crash game had a deleted, unfinished level, that could actually be accessed by using a Gameshark code.
Now, for those who don’t know, devices like the Gameshark and Codebreaker allowed you to enter special codes to cheat at games. It effectively changed values in the console’s memory while the game was playing, so that you could do things you weren’t supposed to – like get extra lives or items you weren’t meant to, or access hidden levels. You could even create your own codes, by using the device to discover where certain values (e.g. lives or health) were stored in the console memory, and then alter them.
I had one of these devices for a little while – I can’t remember which one – and it was fun to play with. I did complete games normally, I didn’t use it to cheat like that. But I did enjoy experimenting with it to see what was possible and just muck around with my favourite games. I never knew about that hidden Crash level though, I’ve no idea how someone found that! But then that’s probably just as well – it looks really hard from the videos I’ve seen about it.
But anyway, Crash was great fun. And it’s cool to see that they’ve brought him back, by remastering and updating those 3 games for the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy. It looks interesting from the videos I’ve looked at online, certainly. It can’t be the same as the original games, sure, they will always be classics even with their now-outdated graphics. But it’s wonderful to see Crash being reborn for a new audience, and to give the games a new lease of life for those of us who remember it previously. Long live Crash!
Worms was a massive favourite of mine that my mates and I kept playing for many years, it never got boring. And we always stuck to the original 1995 version (which my friend still has). The later editions were ok, we did try a couple of them (and the Wormsongs I recently discovered that were written for each game are quite fun). But we always quickly went back to the original. Even though it can be hard to play on a small screen when you can’t see too well, it still felt easier and generally more pleasing than the later 3D incarnations. The joy of throwing things like banana bombs and exploding sheep at your mates, while the worms make all sorts of exclamations in their squeaky voices, all helped to make it great fun to pass the time.
Indeed the “Incoming!” sound effect from the theme tune is perfect for a text message tone, and I used it for some time on my mobile phone. I was able to do this because the game disc was playable in a standard CD player, so I could rip the theme tune on to my computer (as well as the music for the levels), and then isolate the relevant part of it to use on my phone. I was always delighted when I found a PlayStation disk that you could play in this way – there were quite a lot of them. Track 1 would generally be the game data, so it would make a horrible noise, but the additional tracks could then have some very interesting bits of music. And the theme to Worms has to be one of the most memorable and iconic in the gaming world, it’s quite the… well… earworm.
These are the only two Grand Theft Auto games I’ve played, but they’re both amazing and kept me addictively occupied for many hours. Being able to explore such gigantic and varied environments and do whatever you like is wonderful escapism. There are plenty of missions and quests to complete as well, of course, which I managed to do – using some tips (not cheats, just advice) from internet forums if I got stuck on anything. There were plenty of secrets to discover and unlock as well. I also bought the soundtrack box set for Vice City, featuring the music that was used on the game’s radio stations (with DJ links and humorous adverts included), as there are loads of great tracks on there. I haven’t played any of the games beyond that (e.g. GTA San Andreas), but I’m pretty sure I’d enjoy them if I did, based on these two titles.
In the days before the World Wildlife Fund took issue with the initials, this was one of the official games of the World Wrestling Federation. I was never a big wrestling fan in terms of watching it on TV, but I had friends who loved it. I just found it boring and silly to watch. Playing the computer game, however, was a different matter, I really enjoyed it. It was always fun playing out the different types of matches, and the entrances for each of the wrestlers were pretty good as well. So it was another great slice of escapism. I think we did try out the sequel as well but, as with the Worms games, my fondest memories are of the original. It was a great time-killer.
This is the first of a few driving and racing games that I want to mention. Rollcage was pretty unique, given that the design of the vehicles meant they could be flipped over and you could still drive them, plus you could drive along walls and ceilings, smash through parts of the scenery in the beautifully designed levels, and use weapons on your opponents. It also had a great soundtrack featuring Fatboy Slim. Here, kids, is where you’ll find something called Love Island that’s actually decent, as opposed to being the title of a terrible TV show these days. Fatboy Slim’s tune of this name is very catchy. It just all combined to make a cracking game. I never did get the sequel though, so I don’t know if that was any good or not.
Another great driving game, this was very addictive as you tried to rack up as high a far as possible as you tried to get people to their destinations. It was quite tricky sometimes, but once you got to know the layout of the levels, you started to get the hang of the best shortcuts and the best ways to brake so you could drop off and pick up people as quickly as possible. You could also get bonuses for doing cool jumps, show off your extreme driving skills on the Crazy Box levels, and the graphics throughout were good as well.
I absolutely loved these games. Not only were they fun racing games with a great soundtrack and gorgeous graphics, but the best part was the crash missions, where you had to rack up as high a score as possible by causing as much damage to other traffic as possible. This was immense fun, because the effects and devastation when you got it right looked amazing. It was so satisfying!
Those were my favourite games, but others that I also enjoyed and want to quickly mention include:
These were great adventure games. I think I found them harder and thus less enjoyable than Crash Bandicoot in some respects, as some of the puzzles, visuals and controls were somewhat tricky for me. But it didn’t stop them being fun, as there was so much to see and do in them. Being able to explore a 3D world so freely felt really novel and exciting – though nowhere near as much as the Grand Theft Auto series later proved of course. Click for gameplay videos of Tomb Raider 1, Tomb Raider 2 and Tomb Raider 3.
This was a lovely platformer with beautiful graphics. I wasn’t as big a fan of it as I was Crash Bandicoot, so I don’t remember it as vividly. But I still enjoyed it at the time, it was very well designed.
This was a good racing game. Not great like the ones I listed above, but still enjoyable. I actually had the PC version, but it was also released for the PlayStation, so I feel I can still count it here. The great thing about this game is that all the music could be heard by putting the disk into a standard CD player, and thus I was able to rip it to my iTunes library as well. And they are pretty cool tunes too!
The Monkey Island games were very unique and fun adventure games, requiring you to solve all sorts of puzzles, figuring out what items you needed to get and which people you needed to talk to. There was a lot of good humour in the games too, a well-written storyline and nice graphics. I think I must have played more than one of the games in the series, but this is the title that sticks in my mind.
I didn’t think that skating games would particularly be for me, but I must have played a demo of this one and enjoyed it enough that I ended up getting the full game. And I did do quite well at it. It was something different from all the other games I’ve played, which was partly why I liked it I think. It was something new and fun to get stuck into. It’s not something I’d rush to play again necessarily, but it was a good game.
This was effectively the PlayStation equivalent of software like GarageBand that we have now. It was music creation software where could put all sorts of riffs together, or make your own by manually entering the notes, and even grab audio samples from CDs. As someone who loves listening to music, it was fun to play around with it, seeing if I could do my own remixes of tunes that I knew. Granted, it could take ages to put a song together, and I’m not remotely a professional music producer, so the results wouldn’t have sounded great. It’s not a substitute for proper music creation software on proper PCs and was limited by the PlayStation’s memory. But even so, it was still pretty powerful and capable of lots of fancy effects if you knew what you were doing. Ultimately, it was a fun way to pass the time, which is what matters most.
My Worst Game
Finally, I want to balance things out slightly by nominating the worst game I ever played – London Racer by Davilex Games. I love London very much, so discovering a game where you could race around the city sounded awesome.
Oh, how wrong I was. I cannot begin to describe how appalling this game is. Everything about it – the graphics, the controls, the collision detection, the soundtrack, the typos, it was just painful to play. It appears there were sequels, but after this i would never have gone anywhere near them. Apparently the PC versions were a bit better, but I never tried those. I can’t imagine them being a lot better, but who knows? Still, if you don’t believe me as to how bad the game was, check out this guy’s very accurate review.
See, told it was terrible! Still, that monstrosity aside, I did have a lot of fun playing video games during my childhood and teenage years. I do miss it a bit, and I would love to try some modern games and some VR stuff, just to see how I get on with it. I’m not sure I’d buy a console for myself these days – I use computers enough as it is without another one to stare at heavily – but I still love occasional gaming with friends, that’s always fun.
So I hope you enjoyed my little nostalgia trip through my favourite games of yesteryear. Let me know if you enjoyed any of the same titles, or if there are any I missed that perhaps I should have mentioned. Thanks for reading! 🙂