SONY PlayStation

Enter Sony. Here it is, SONY’s first step into the video game console market. And what an awesome one it was! SEGA & Nintendo had ruled the roost for a decade, and each had talked partnership with SONY at some point, but talks fell through and SONY decided to venture into the new frontier alone – and as they say… the rest is history.  PlayStation would soon climb to the top as the best selling video game console to date. 

I was a SEGA fanboy and had a shiny Sega Saturn at the time, which SEGA rushed out early that year after catching wind of what the SONY PlayStation was about to bring to the table. When the PlayStation was finally released I was slow to jump in. But several of my friends grabbed one at launch. I loved my Saturn, but there were exclusive titles for the PlayStation that I could only watch from afar for so long. Tekken, Ridge Race, and Wipeout eventually lead to Final Fantasy, Tomb Raider, and Resident Evil – and the list of quality games goes on and on. PlayStation was the first to target adult gamers who had grown up with video games- their success here laid out proof of concept for the video game market of the future. 

The Original

SONY PlayStation

Models (US): SCPH-1001/SCPH-5001/SCPH-9001

Two main Case Types were released – The Original and PS one 

Original ModelWhile black consoles were the mainstay of SEGA and lighter colors for Nintendo, SONY went with a grey color for their first system. There were a few versions of this system which are cosmetically similar but have different ports available in the back with improvements to some internal hardware- we’ll cover those differences below.  

The top of this system is dominated by the large round CD clam shell tray. The buttons on the system are also round, giving the look of planets orbiting a large sun if you ask me, very cool. On the CD Tray is the SONY logo at the top and the now famous PS logo in color with PlayStation branded below it.

To the left of the tray is a large power button which activates a green LED in front of it (and is visible from the front). Above that a smaller reset button. Left of the CD tray is the Open button, with a little line groove that runs to the CD tray. Pressing this opens the tray which is hinged at the very back of the system. You have to manually close the tray. There are eight little bumps on the right of the tray to tell you where to press down! (You can press anywhere, but this is where the latch is located underneath.)

SONY PlayStation

  • Unit Lifetime: 1995-2006 (US)
  • Units Sold Worldwide: 102.5 million
  • Resolution: 640 x 480
  • Colors Available: 16.7 Million (True Color) 
  • CPU: 32-bit
  • RAM: 2 MB Main, 1 MB Video 
  • Sound: 16-bit, 24 channel ADPCM 
  • Games Released US: 1300

The Front of the PlayStation has 4 Ports – Controller Ports (1 & 2) and Memory Card Ports (1 & 2)

The Memory Card ports were interchangeable – each could be read whether or not you had a 2nd controller inserted. Two slots allowed for an additional memory card and more save games. Out of the box, the system would serve up to two players with Controller Ports 1 & 2 (most packages included only one controller)  To allow more than 2 players on one console, a PlayStation Multi-Tap is needed.

The SCPH-1001 was the first (pictured at the bottom) version and included all the ports listed below.  The SCPH-3001 (middle) saw the removal of the direct A/V Out jacks and the SCPH-9001 (top) removed these in addition to the Parallel I/O port.  

A/C In: The Original PlayStation had an integrated power supply and used a universal two-prong Polarized AC Wall cable which would plug into this port (look closely and don’t force it! these cables only go in one way.)

Serial I/O: Included on all original models, this peripheral port was for the PlayStation Link Cable – It allowed for two consoles to be connected in order to play compatible multiplayer games on separate consoles.

AV Multi Out: Included on all original models, this port was for use with SONY’s AV to RCA cable which was included in box.  This same port and cable would eventually be used for the PlayStation 2.  

A/V Out: Only available on the first version of the first model – SCPH-1001 (US) These ports allowed for direct input with a set of standard RCA cables – later only the AV Multi Out port would be available for use with the SONY’s AV to RCA cable.

Parallel I/O: A Standard Parallel interface allowed for peripherals – No official attachments from SONY (for consumers), but a handful Flash Memory add-on and Action Replay type devices were made to work for PlayStation using this port.  Only available on the SCPH-1001 and SCPH-3001 models in the US.

SONY PlayStation – SCPH-1001/SCPH5001

Variation #1 – The first models (through SCPH-5001) of the PlayStation came in the box above – Your PlayStation rested quietly inside the box along with the latest demo disc from PlayStation – I remember well playing hours of demo discs back when you’d get a good taste of 10-15 games for free with your console!

SONY PlayStation – SCPH-7001/SCPH-9001

Variation #2 – This box was used after SONY’s new version of the controller was released and included standard with every PlayStation.  Proud of the vibrating feedback feature, the PlayStation box brandished the name on the console box: DUALSHOCK 

The New and Improved 

SONY PS one 

Model: SCPH-101

Released in May of 2000 (US) 

In mid 2000, SONY released the PS one, a redesigned version of the original PlayStation – It played the same games but had a sleeker look and updated GUI. This version of the PlayStation actually outsold the PlayStation 2 in 2000 – the same year they were both released.

I remember well the “Combo Pack” SONY sold that included a 5” Flip Up LCD Screen (pic below). The package came with the required AC and DC power adapters for the screen (no battery power) and a headphone jack but it was compatible with a full size television as well. 


After 5 years of the PlayStation’s release, technology has moved quickly and it was time to consolidate things – The PS one is almost half the size of the original PlayStation model and SONY made a few changes to buttons and ports. 

The Reset button is now Combined with the Power button on the top left.  Instead of a separate button for reset, the power button could be pressed again to restart the unit just like the original.  The disc tray Open button functions the same as the original on the right side of the top of the case.  

On the back of the unit, there are only two ports – One is the new power jack which required an external power supply – 7.5V A/C adapter.  The other port is the common Multi AV port that SONY used on the first model of the PlayStation and eventually the PlayStation 2. 


SONY PlayStation Controllers

The Original PlayStation Controller

The SONY PlayStation had the first controllers to drop the alphanumeric trend and go with the now iconic symbols – “x”, square, triangle, circle. Three main versions of the controller were released for use with the PlayStation. All versions featured a four “separate button” direction format vs the common D-Pad button (another design unique to PlayStation) but to anyone who has touched a PlayStation in the modern era, this first version looks totally naked without analog sticks.

A very tough design-  these controllers would typically hold up to a hard “rage toss” across the room and would easily break a TV with the right momentum (ask my little bro about that).  

The Dual Analog and Dual Shock Controller

In 1997, three years after the console was released, SONY replaced the original controller with the Dual Analog version – The first look gamers would get of the dual analog schema that would soon become an industry standard. 

Alongside the new feature came a button to toggle the analog sticks On/Off – early PlayStation games only took advantage of the new directional format vs. additional controls the directional buttons would take advantage of later on.

The Dual Analog version was short lived as the infamous Dual Shock version came out later that same year – It looked almost exactly the same as the Dual Analog but this version added vibrating haptic feedback via a technology that eventually brought on a near decade patent dispute between SONY and Immersion technologies.  


SONY PlayStation Games

The SONY PlayStation’s custom GPU and sound processor brought an enormous amount of power for developers to take advantage of and new limits to the gaming industry.  The 3D era was now in full effect and many familiar genres in gaming got a fresh new look and feel on the PlayStation.  

The PlayStation used CD-ROM disc format for its games. For a short time, the PlayStation games came in a box similar to the SEGA Saturn’s discs – it was a taller, dark plastic one-piece with a separate insert for the outside label.  Really looked more like what DVD cases came to be a few years later.

Not long after the system release (I don’t think I ever had a game with the original game case at the time) – they started coming in the classic Jewel CD case that we all know and love to hate.  Anyone who never had a problem with these breaking or falling apart is either lying or suffering from memory loss!

In the new clear case, the Game Manuals would act as a cover as well. These were colorful and informative – most had details of controls, game types, and blank pages for your notes! All brandishing the vertical “PlayStation” along the left side.  The titles that made it to “PlayStation Greatest Hits” Status had a green background behind “PlayStation” and a “Greatest Hits” banner.

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