Rise of the Room Raider
The PlayStation is one of the greatest consoles to have graced many homes and bedrooms in its lifetime. After the successful 16 bit era of consoles from Super Nintendo and Megadrive, Sony wanted to step in and find the next generation of games by introducing their first and brand new console. The Playstation Revolution is a feature film that takes a deep look into the birth of the PlayStation console and how it came about and delving deeper into the inspiration, disagreements and mishaps that happened during the console’s release and how the foundation of the brand came to be.
In the modern day standard, competition is healthy with the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch all competing whilst all selling very well. There are many other ways to play games be it through Mobile and PC through the use of Steam and other services. Even streaming games is possible now with the Google Stadia capable of doing so. There are literally many ways to play games now and whatever the budget there is something for everyone and gaming now is if not one of the biggest industries currently going.
This was not always the case though as while consoles have existed for almost half a century, technology was different and the Internet didn’t exist like it does today. In the 80’s everyone had the Nintendo, well not everyone as personally I owned a Sega but as the Nintendo was just more popular it was what everyone had. Without the Internet that we have today the only way people could see what was hot and what was not was through word of mouth and magazines and television adverts.
The PlayStation Revolution takes a look at how PlayStation was first formed and how Sony and Nintendo were both in on the project with Nintendo bailing out as Sony and Nintendo could not come to an agreement. Sony’s business model was not in the fairness of what Nintendo wanted, with this Nintendo decided to partner with Philips which was a big blow to Sony. After a few years of meetings and building the Prototype the PlayStation was finally given the go-ahead where Sony would show developers their plan for the console and would deliver prototypes to them. These developers were inspired not just by how easier it was to manufacture on but at also how much cheaper it was, and with the green light came a series of newly published games and a new bonded relationship with Sony and developers such as Namco and EA.
As the film features many hit games that are still present today we also get a look at what technology Sony used in their console and how developers would make the most of it and use it in their games, how these games compared to older arcade versions and the difficulty in the shift from 2D to 3D. It also takes a look at how music and sound also took a huge turn and they were no longer limited to producing 16-bit audio.
The film shows a lot of Developers that most people would be familiar with such as Yoshinori Kitase of Final Fantasy VII and Hideo Kojima of Metal Gear Solid giving their insight of how they worked with the PlayStation and how they were able to use the new technology to further enhance their brands. Mark Cerny explains the more technical challenges that happened during the switch to PlayStation with Sony ex-executive Phil Harrison and other ex-CEOs talking not just about the technical challenges but also the challenges of working with other companies.
Namco’s PR & Managing Director Lee Kirton explains the controversial elements in Sony’s marketing strategy and with the shift in the ’90s going into the 21st century how the Sony’s PlayStation brand was marketed at teens who would be at the stage finding what they were getting into. This is when Sony had branded the PlayStation as a cool console, controversial adverts with elements of free-thinking. Games such as Wipeout were especially targeted at the older audience with its soundtrack that resonated with young adults who had grown out of younger games but would be into something faster and a soundtrack that is on the same level as what the current trend of music was on a global scale.
While the movie is quite lengthy and covers primarily the first three PlayStation consoles, their biggest seller the PlayStation 2 got significantly less show time while the PlayStation 3 got almost no coverage although the switching over to the console is mentioned. There is no mention of Sonys failures, just an almost failure of how the shift into Blu-Ray almost cost them everything.
There is no mention of the PSP or PSVita which is a shame considering they were both great handhelds but they were for sure not the strongest selling handhelds on the market, it would have still been nice to see more on it and what Sony’s intentions were.
While Sony had no expertise when it came to video game consoles it was really interesting to see just how they managed to become one of the greatest. They took some serious gambles and in the end, it paid off, Sony, as it stands today, is part of the competition and that isn’t going away anytime soon. The PlayStation Revolution run time runs at approximately 2 hours and 40 minutes and I say it is definitely worth a watch even if it’s just for the Nostalgia factor.