Grand Theft Auto III (2001)
Yes, it eventually turned up on the PC and Xbox, but for the first year or so, Grand Theft Auto III on the PlayStation 2 was the only game in town. It astonished us with its huge open world, wicked sense of humour and the detailed 3D graphics that made Liberty City a character in its own right. Later GTA games may have built on its success, but Grand Theft Auto III was the quantum leap for the series and an indicator of just what the PS2 was capable of.
Shadow of the Colossus (2005)
This Playstation 2 title saw hero Wander attempting to save a woman’s life – so far, so predictable – by slaughtering twelve Colossi. But the quest narrative was the last predictable thing about this game – scrambling over the massive bodies of these massive creatures in order to destroy them was like no other game, but it was the way in which its storyline developed that was genuinely surprising. It's recently been re-released – along with its spiritual predecessor, Ico – on the PS3.
The adorable Sackboy putters through puzzles in this endearing platformer – but the big draw for this flagship PlayStation 3 title were its social features. As well as getting social media darling Stephen Fry to narrate the game, Sony handed players the keys to the kingdom, letting them create and share user-generated levels. With over five million levels created to date, it proved to be a masterstroke, pointing the way to a socially-networked future for gaming where players are creators as much as passive participants.
Resident Evil (1996)
The game that brought survival horror to the masses, PlayStation's Resident Evil frightened the bejeezus out of us. Its cinematic camera angles concealed lurking horrors ready to pounce on you at any moment, and the tension mounted as you tried to eke out your limited ammo and resources. The voice acting was horrific in an entirely different way.
Tomb Raider (1996)
Platforming received a shot in the arm with this 3D adventurer, which saw the debut of the infamous Lara Croft. Her approach to archaeology, backflipping her way around ruins and slaughtering wildlife, may have been novel, and her ludicrously-inflated bosoms didn't help to dispel any of those stereotypes about gamers, but it was the puzzle-based gameplay and incredibly fluid 3D graphics that made the game a hit.
Crash Bandicoot (1996)
This PlayStation platformer pitted Crash Bandicoot against mad scientist Doctor Neo Cortex and kept it simple with smashing boxes full of Wumpa Fruit, exploding TNT crates and some of the best graphics we’d ever seen. Crash earns a rightful place among loveable beasts like Sonic and Donkey Kong – his spin attacks alone had us coming back for more with two sequels, a kart racing game and the party version, Crash Bash.
Devil May Cry (2001)
Born out of the Resident Evil series, Devil May Cry’s stylised hacking and slashing broke away from the survival horror genre with less puzzle solving and more plain, simple action. With extreme combat for the PS2 and PS3, it paved the way for greats like God of War. The game also spawned comic books, an anime series and four more titles. And let’s face it, Dante is just too damn cool.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater (1999)
Let’s forget the Gameboy version, this skateboarding series was all about the truly awesome PlayStation gameplay. With a punk soundtrack to get you in the mood for some acrobatic flipping and grinding, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater combined exciting level designs with great controls, motion-captured star skaters and tons of hidden combos to get you excited about lampposts like never before.
Final Fantasy VII (1997)
Sony’s PlayStation picked up the launch for Final Fantasy VII when it became clear the storage capacity of its intended console (Ninty’s N64) couldn’t take the load. It was a coup of massive proportions: find a gaming critic who doesn’t rate FFVII as one of the finest RPGs ever made and you’ve found a gaming critic who doesn’t know his gaming onions.
This Namco fighting game was first released in arcades but by 1995 most of us had sent ourselves to our rooms to try to get a Double KO or two. Tekken was the first PlayStation game to sell over a million copies and special moves were easy since controller buttons corresponded nicely to the fighter’s limbs. But that didn’t stop us button bashing our way through the King of the Iron Fist tournament.
Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune (2007)
The final coffin nail in Lara Croft’s casket, and the start of a boundary-crossing Uncharted trilogy, Drake’s Fortune marked the debut of flawed hero Nathan Drake on the PS3. Think Indiana Jones for the gaming generation.
The makers of Driver took all the super cool American muscle-car movies of the 70s and 80s, boiled them down, then poured them into a PlayStation via a Destruction Derby funnel. The car park training level was based on Walter Hill’s The Driver, while the flying hubcaps were nicked from McQueen classic Bullitt.
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Metal Gear Solid (1998)
You play as ice-cold solier Solid Snake who needs to infiltrate a nuclear weapons bunker to save the world. To that end, a series of levels tests your espionage, stealth killing, boss battling, and hiding in a box skills. The graphics have improved over the years, along with the length of the cut scenes, but the PlayStation original left a deeper mark than the sequels could hope for.
Silent Hill (1999)
Though Silent Hill for PlayStation may look dated now, the sprawling, foggy eponymous town can still send shivers down our spines. The mere hint of radio crackle that precedes a demonic attack is enough to make our pants fear for their dryness. Silent Hill’s now on its ninth spin-off game (Silent Hill: Downpour) and second movie (Silent Hill: Revelation 3D).
Guitar Hero (2005)
Why spend hours learning the art of guitar when you can bash some buttons and sounds like a pro straight away? At a stroke, Harmonix’s addictive guitareoke game brought back to light the self-indulgent guitar riffing the world had fought for years to repress. Further proof, if it were needed, that rock will never die.
Medal of Honor (1999)
Medal of Honor put PS1 owners in the mud-filled shoes of Lieutenant Jimmy Patterson during a bullet-riddled fight against the Nazis. The campaign was directed by Steven Spielberg, which would explain the Saving Private Ryan comparisons, and it has become widely regarded as one of the best PlayStation games of all time.
For Wipeout, developer Psygnosis created a title packed full of eye-watering speeds, chaotic weapons and winding futuristic racetracks. A killer electronica-fuelled soundtrack was a deservingly upbeat companion to the blistering onscreen action that had PlayStation owners hooked instantly and made them forever nostalgic for its giddy highs.
SSX's arcade-style snowboarding shennanigans won the hearts of Playstation 2 gamers with its total disregard for the laws of physics, resulting in a slew of unrealistic big air tricks. A dynamic soundtrack that adjusted itself based on your performance was a nice touch. Gaming crack, it was.
This zany PSP game sees you commanding a tribe of slightly adorable and very crazy Patapon warriors with drums. Messing up your button-coordinated rhythm sees your warriors lose the plot and stop their attacks. Go all Phil Collins on them however and they turn in to unstoppable killing machines.
Killzone 3 (2011)
Killzone 3 blasted on to the PlayStation 3 with Move and 3D support, fully earning the praise it received for its innovative controls. A polished shooter offering plenty of ways to blow your Helghast enemies to chunks, it ticks all the right boxes for hardcore fraggers.
God of War (2005)
Taking on Greek mythology in game form comes with a mandate: make it (in the true, pre-internet sense) epic. It was a task Sony approached in Herculean spirit (if you’ll excuse us mixing our gods) to create an epic that redlined the PS2’s graphics without ever losing sight of great gameplay or solid plotting.
Ridge Racer (1995)
Ridge Racer had revved its engines in arcade cabinets before picking up its PlayStation decals, but nothing could dampen its untamed enthusiasm for raw speed. The ability to remove the disc from the console once the game had loaded, then put your own CDs in the PlayStation, felt like some kind of dark, brilliant art.
Ratchet & Clank (2002)
We’re not sure how you describe what a lombax is, but Ratchet’s gadget-hoarding ways were always going to appeal to our sensibilities. When he collects the ultimate gadget – a robot called Clank – and the pair set off on a quest, who could blame us for wanting to join the adventurous duo on their zany travels?
Did you want karaoke to threaten every party you threw? That was the danger of SingStar, which allowed your tone-deaf mates to hijack your lovingly-planned iTunes playlist with a hateful, PS2-enabled rendition of Eternal Flame. The Atomic Kitten version. You may begin shuddering now.
Gran Turismo (1997)
Racing sims aren’t everyone’s cup of Lapsang Suchong, but for a generation who’d grown up with arcade racers Gran Turismo’s arrival on the PlayStation took pole position in our petrol-pumping hearts. Neither the stunning graphics of GT3 (PS2) or the po-faced hyperrealism of GT5 (PS3) can match our enthusiasm for the full-throttled original.