PlayStation 20

This week marked 20 years since the release of the Sony PlayStation. Gaming’s come a long way, but I have too – I’m now married and I have a five year old son. I’ve lived during the lifespans of four Sony PlayStation consoles and a handheld. But somehow, this isn’t the only gaming birthday that shows my age.

When I heard that the PlayStation turned 20, I thought about what I was doing back then. I was sitting in my friend’s living room, playing the “PlayStation Picks” demo disc – featuring games like Jumping Flash, ESPN Xtreme Games and Wipeout. I was playing a CD-based system for only the second time – the first, of course, was the SEGA CD, which next October will be 23 years old.

If you sit and think about all of the video game birthdays that pass by every year, it’ll break your brain.

Coincidentally, that Wipeout demo from 1995 was so good that I’m still invested in the franchise; I also own the most recent (2012) release for the PlayStation Vita.

But if console gaming wasn’t your thing back in the day, you may have played a couple of PC games that were just recently re-released for $9.99 each – Star Wars: X-Wing, which turned 21 this year. Its sequel, Star Wars: Tie Fighter, turned 20.

Mortal Kombat was released in 1992…

I remember buying it just before the ESRB Mature game restrictions kicked in. My friend and I played the game inside out and knew all of the fatalities. Meanwhile, Mortal Kombat X is set to release April 14, 2015.

The ESRB, BTW, just turned 20 themselves. Here’s a news report on their humble beginning:

Also notable in the video, Night Trap, from the already mentioned SEGA CD, which is headed for a remake in 2015.

I’ve already waxed nostalgic about Street Fighter II, which turned 23 in February.

Last month in November, Halo: Combat Evolved celebrated its 13th birthday. What really bakes my noodle here is that I still vividly remember playing Halo with friends, but now I share it with my son through the just-released Halo: Master Chief Collection on Xbox One. There’s an achievement you can unlock for playing the first Halo game in both classic and remastered graphics modes, which you can switch between using a button on the controller. What’s funny is that while my son was born into a time when game graphics look great, seeing Halo whittled down to simple textures and low-res bump-mapping is a new thing for him and he prefers playing like that.

The Legend of Zelda is a franchise which has spanned generations. While my son and I watched the Hyrule Warriors media demo a couple months ago on, my real memories about the Zelda franchise come from playing the original Legend of Zelda with my father back in 1986 – 28 years ago.

Back in July, the Nintendo Game Boy turned 25:

Tetris, while we’re thinking about it, it celebrated its 30th birthday this year in June. I’ve got its great great great grandchild, Tetris Axis (2011) in a case next to my bed with the Game Boy’s great great great grandchild, the Nintendo 3DS.

And while we’re on the topic of Nintendo, no one can possibly touch the most impressive of all recent gaming birthdays. Nintendo celebrated its 125th birthday back in September. The company was founded in Japan in 1889 as a playing card company.

And now you don’t feel so old.

Here’s to my son remembering all of the great games he plays with me now – and hopefully carrying those memories with him to the next generation of consoles.