Here are my top 10 PlayStation 1 games. This list was not easy to construct. I cried a lot. As with anyone my age, we had our PS1s and N64s and if it wasn’t for pesky ass school, we would have never left our homes. I definitely faked a few sicknesses just to stay home all day with my 32-bit friends.
By the way, these are in order with #1 being my favorite PlayStation 1 game.
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10. Ape Escape
This game was really cool when it first came out. Some of us poor bastards didn’t have analog controllers and this game required you had one. Now that’s a pretty big deal when renting video games at the local grocery store was pretty much the only way my unemployed teenage self was going to play these games, so they had a lot of returns on this game. Being able to utilize the joystick and its crazy movements was something else. I mean, some of us are lucky enough to remember trying to play 3D games with a d-pad. Let me just say I would rather hang out on the streets of Detroit at midnight.
A malevolent super intelligent monkey named “Spector” makes a special helmet and slaps that bad boy onto his monkey friends and they run-a-damn-muk through time trying to change history. The protagonist “Spike” has to use a variety of gadgets and tools to catch the monkeys. Trust me, it’s a lot more fun than it sounds…
9. Tony Hawks Pro Skater
Who doesn’t remember this gem? Everyone had to prove they could get those ridiculously high scores in the Warehouse, talk all day at school about how they found new holds and grinds that would make the processor meltdown, then get to your house, faceplant off the first ramp, then blame it on the fact they were using “your” controller... Everyone played this game and it was just fun to throw down with a friend on some “horse,” make a jackass out of yourself, get into a heated argument with your close friends, then make them go home!
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The soundtrack was pretty legit too, since it used real songs instead of sounding like someone composed it on a plastic keyboard lying in their closet. The game itself was pretty simple, you just collected VHS tapes to unlock levels. You would have to get high scores, collet the letters of the word “SKATE” and look in secluded places for the “hidden tape” among other things.
8. Spyro The Dragon
Run (or should I say charge) around shooting fire at crazy frog looking enemies who drop treasure. How can this not be fun?
The antagonist Gnasty Gnorc has changed every dragon (except Spyro of course) into a stone statue because they called him “ugly.” Now Spyro has to glide around cooking his adversaries to a crisp, well the ones that aren’t wearing iron armor.
This was a simple game that played to all things we kids loved at the time: Running around colleting things and unlocking new areas. It was a great time waster. The environment and music gave it a peaceful kind of feel too, so playing for extended sessions didn’t cause you too much stress.
7. Metal Gear Solid
Metal Gear Solid. This is the one that made be upset to put this far down. I have so many fond memories of this game. When you played Metal Gear for the first time, you really had never seen anything quite like it. I mean, it is mandatory in today’s games to have radar and be able to see the enemies “cone of vision,” but this game was the first real game to offer me that. Everything about this game is great, from the storyline, the characters, the weapons and the sneakiness this game really had it all. It really was something else. It had such a mature feel for the time as well. With all the Zelda and Mario we could handle, playing a game like this was like you were involved in a full financed motion picture.
The soundtrack, the graphics, the voice acting, the writing and execution of this game set a new standard that pretty much every other game has copied or learned from ever since. It is an honor to say I was there playing this game when it was all the craze.
6. Guardians Crusade
This game is kinda shitty and not a lot of people have heard of it, let alone actually played it. I know some of you have some crappy siblings or none at all, but for me this game has a special place because my brother and I really enjoyed it and loved sharing our stories of goofy adventures and pink pigs.
Because of the success of Final Fantasy and Chrono Trigger, turn based RPGs were a dime a dozen and I played a lot of them. This game didn’t have the best graphics or the best storyline, but it was a very solid game. The mechanics and exploring were very fun, it had a pretty big open world and there was plenty to do.
You collect living toys to help you fight in battle, so customizing your team meant you could use battle strategy to get past some tricky boss fights or difficult dungeons.
A quite notable mechanic in the game was that the enemies in the over world and dungeons could be avoided if the player chose not to engage. The enemies were represented by “ghosts” that would chase you if seen, but you could outrun some or use obstacles to lose the perusing ghosts.
In the game you are a brave knight named “knight”… yeah… and you have your faithful friend Nehani a fairy girl who is pretty much a floating tutorial. You find a pink pig looking thing named “Baby” and you have a dream where you have to deliver it to “Gods tower” to save the world. Obviously the trip is full of hazards, detours and nothing works out smoothly forcing you to fight giant monsters and run errands for townsfolk.
5. Silent Hill
Now this game was my meat and potatoes. I love scary and creepy things, so when I heard there was a horror game where demons that possess an entire town are trying to kill you, I had to play it!
The main character is Harry Mason, and he doesn’t do any spectacular dodge rolls, fantastic double jumps or come equip with an assault rifle or lazer cannon. No, he has to fight off endless hellish monsters with what he finds laying around. Even when he has a firearm he is often “unsteady” and can miss shots. All of this adds to the charm of the game. You were supposed to feel like you were damn near useless against the demonish hoard. He also got winded when he ran and just did some questionable things in general in an effort to find his lost adopted daughter who was the reason he was wondering around this town in the first place.
There were also puzzles, hard ones, which made absolutely no sense. Why? Because in the little game booklet that came with the game was a number you could call if you got stuck! And they charged you by the minute like a phone sex girl, but for kids! I mean, I never played this game… It was for mature audiences only…
Fun Fact: In the intro to the game when things start getting really creepy, the music gets all evil and the town turns to blood and guts. When the little staby baby things corner you and shriek as they stab you to death, my brother had what we can best describe as a seizure? He started vibrating and slid under the TV stand. I asked him “are you ok” as I turned on the lights. He said “he was just too scared” and skipped off as though it hadn’t happened. I still think about this sometimes, what a weird situation.
4. Resident Evil 2
Raccoon City has gone into full blown chaos and zombies are everywhere. You have to acquire as many guns, upgrades and ammo as possible to blow these undead jerks away as you try to escape. Lots of twists and disturbing events happen on this journey.
This game was super awesome! I love all things zombies and when I saw the commercial for this game I damn near had cold sweats just from seeing it, so when I finally got to play it all that anticipation lived up to its expectation.
You can play as Clair Redfield or Leon Kennedy, depending on which character you chose some scenarios and weapons will be a little different, I’m guessing to add to the replay value.
3. Parasite Eve
Parasite Eve, oh Parasite Eve. This is one of those games I simply saw the intro to and then couldn’t but the controller down for like two months straight.
Unlike most of the other games on my list this game had some great graphics, the cinematics were unbelievable the first time around. This game had a great feel. The action and fighting mechanics were almost addictive. Most definitely was this game not a chore, at least in my opinion. Finding new weapons with better stats was what this game was all about. That and you could do the same for defense statistics which came in the form of bullet proof vests. You could dodge and shoot and fight a wide variety of unique bosses. It was an all-around good game.
I don’t know if it was because I was lazy, or I just didn’t have the attention span to care, but for the life of me I have no idea what this game is actually about. I mean, there was a giant blob, and it would manipulate the DNA of things it came in contact with creating a terrible monster in its wake that you usually had to deal with. You were a New York City police officer and you had a six day span to try to stop some evil woman who was causing the infection and controlling the blob? I just remember there was a lot of dialog between characters and I would just spam the action button to get it over with, I just wanted to shoot things and upgrade my gun!
2. Tenchu Stealth Assassins
Tenchu could have easily been my favorite game on this list. I still own an original copy with case all in mint condition. Why? Because it’s awesome that’s why!
In this game you are a ninja (Rikimaru or Ayame) and you must go through each level completing a task, now you can go quietly and stealthy and get your task done in a quick and efficient manner or you could go on a killing spree showering blood all over everything in your wake. If you are familiar with Kill Bill and the scene where Uma Thurman’s character fights the crazy 88, there is limb loss and blood spraying like a fire hose, all over the place! Now whenever I see an instance in games or movie where someone “shoots blood” everywhere, I reference Kill bill, but when I first saw that scene in the movie I was all “that bitch Tenchued those fools!”
So the violence was super cool and being sneaky and pulling off perfectly timed kills would activate a cinematic kill which there were many of, depending on the angle and timing of the attack.
How you handled yourself in each level would grant you a special grade and cool items according to that grade.
The levels, music and general atmosphere really gave this game character. I miss playing it often, but it has aged horribly (I do attempt to play it from time to time), but I can’t enjoy it like I used to. I know a remake will never happen as well, so I’ll just hold on to my special memories of this game.
1. Final Fantasy VIII
My favorite PlayStation game. I have owned several copies of this game since I played the crap out of them. This game was massive. Like four disks massive. Because of the graphics, music and shear material it could never be contained on one measly disk.
The protagonist is Squall Leonhart one of many mercenaries being trained at a large school. He has a few close friends and even a developing love interest with his friend Rinoha Heartilly. The few main characters find themselves in the middle of a conflict created by a sorceress named Edea, after defeating Edea they learn she was under mind control by an even more powerful future sorceress named Ultimecia.
I really enjoyed everything this game had to offer and it was my first real effort at a Final Fantasy title. And what about that card game you could play on the side (Triple Triad)? Pure awesomesauce!
I had a few honorable mentions, but I’m sure if you were there you have played them as much as I have. It was a great time to be involved in video games, so many different and unique games to choose from. Today we have a main flavor (Call of duty, Minecraft, Fortnight) that everyone plays and gets bored of in a few months then moves onto the next flavor. I miss the old days when developers had to be unique and try to get you to buy what they were selling, not following a popularity chart and catering to that. Some people will just never know, but for those of us who do, cheers!
What’s your favorite game on this console? What would your top 10 list be? I would love to hear about it in the comments. Thanks for reading!