[ Retro Scan of the Week ] PlayStation Sampler CD

September 7th, 2015 by Benj Edwards

Sony PlayStation 1 PSX PS1 Interactive CD Sampler Pack Volume Three 3 CD case cover sleeve - 1996That is one intense swirl, man

Twenty years ago this week, Sony released the PlayStation in the United States — on 9/9/95, in fact.

The first time I remember seeing a PlayStation in person was a demo unit at my local Blockbuster video rental store. At first they had a single kiosk playing Battle Arena Toshinden. A few months later, they upgraded to a new kiosk with a trio of PlayStations arranged in an outwardly-facing triangle formation (if that makes any sense), with each running a different playable demo. I think that two of the three games were Battle Arena Toshinden and Twisted Metal. The third escapes me.

I rented a complete PlayStation system from that Blockbuster not long after it came out, along with two games: Loaded and Twisted Metal. I had read in a positive review in EGM that Loaded incorporated Gauntlet-like elements — overall, I was not too impressed with its gritty atmosphere or gameplay. But I did enjoy putting the Loaded CD in my computer’s CD-ROM drive finding that it had a compatible file system on it, and that I could take a peek at the game’s file structure. (Although that was irrelevant to gameplay, it raised the system’s cool factor in my young tinkerer mind.)

Twisted Metal was a blast. I loved that game. I remember playing as Hammerhead (the monster truck) and running over everybody repeatedly. There is fun in digital mayhem.

In 1996, my brother’s best friend bought a PlayStation and Twisted Metal 2 (released Oct 1996), and he brought it over to our house to play with us a few times. We loved it. After that, we knew we had to have one. In my mind, Twisted Metal 2 was the system’s killer app — until Symphony of the Night came out, of course.

(I also rented a Nintendo 64 from Blockbuster in 1996, but I didn’t buy one of those until summer 1997. Speaking of renting systems, I also rented a Virtual Boy from Blockbuster in 1995. I write all this down for my benefit as much as yours, so I can try to keep all this history straight.)

So after asking kindly to our parents, my brother and I got our PlayStation as a joint Christmas present in 1996. I was 15; my brother was 20. Having gone through prior console phases with the Atari 2600 (and 800, which we treated like a console), NES, TG-16, Super NES, and Jaguar, we felt like we were growing up along with the video game industry.

The scan you see above is the front and back of the sleeve of the sampler CD that came packed in with our new PS1 in 1996 (titled “Interactive CD Sampler Pack Volume Three”). I would have scanned the disc as well, but I seem to have separated it from this sleeve — maybe I put it in a jewel case long ago. I know I still have it somewhere.

[ From PlayStation Interactive CD Sampler Pack – Volume 3, ca. 1996]

Discussion Topic of the Week: When did you get your first PlayStation 1? What were your favorite games for it?

9 Responses to “[ Retro Scan of the Week ] PlayStation Sampler CD”

  1. Dan Helton Says:

    That packaging is 90’s as f**k

    I didn’t get in on PS1 until after the PS2 had killed it, probably 2001ish. I had a Super NES in middle school, then was off consoles for several years. I bought it cheap at a pawn shop and bunch of games. Of them, Metal Gear Solid was probably my fav.

  2. technotreegrass Says:

    I never owned a PS1, preferring the N64 at the time, and to this day, I barely dabbled in PS1 games. Of my limited experience, I can easily say Castlevania Symphony of the Night is my fave.

    It was during the PS1/N64 era when I had my first real experience with the nasty side of the console wars. Before that, with the Genesis and SNES, no one in my social circle argued the merits of the system and games. We all agreed they were both great, no matter what console we owned. When the PS1 and N64 came out, I was the only one who had a N64, everyone else had a PS1, and they gave me HELL for it. “Why do you have a baby’s system?” “Graphics SUCK.” The N64 had games I was interested in from launch, and I still play them all to this day.

    To be honest, I wasn’t impressed with the graphic capability of either system, especially the loading time of the PS1 compared to the quick speed of carts. I should point out that my friends only ever showed me 3D games. I had no idea the system had any 2D games until the PS2 came out, and those graphics blew my 16 bit loving mind.

  3. Calibrator Says:

    I got my PS1 – my very first game console! – in 1998 (when I was already 30!), shortly before they came up with the dual shock pads so I had to buy them separately.

    Also got a “mod chip” installed so I could play uncensored US & Japanese games (I’m in Germany and the censoring was still brutal back then. Today it’s a bit better but far from gone) like the first Silent Hill (in the German version there are no “monster kids” but “small monsters”, for example) or games that were “killed” by localization like the first, wonderful Metal Gear Solid where the US voices are so much better.

    Over the years I have accumulated 134 games for the system – more than for any system I have, except the PC, of course – and closed nearly all “gaps”.

    I also occasionally sold games when they either didn’t click for me (like Twisted Metal 2 – nobody wanted to play this with me and it’s no fun for solo play) or was so shoddy compared to the PC version (the first Driver, for example, where you could see much farther in the PC version). Sometimes I have regrets about this as it’s much easier to put a game into a non-harddisk console like the PS1 than installing it on a modern PC and get it to run. I’m sure I would have replayed Driver on the PS1 but never did it on the PC…

    I bought games of all genres and really tried out a lot (even though I was a PC camer since 1991 and on 8-bit platforms since 1982…). It appears to me that the publishers also still experimented more on the early 3D consolew than they did on the PS2 (never got one, rather got a Dreamcast and Gamecube) and the PS3 (I love it so much that I got a white SuperSlim to partner up with my white PS4! 😉 ).
    Nowadays we have “indie games” to deviate from the triple-A mainstream titles that cost hundreds of millions but even they are often formulaic. The old games were sometimes either hit or miss – but still often had a certain appeal. Example: Auto Destruct
    In no way a true critical choice and not very popular either but if you wanted car combat in a slightly more beautiful 3D urban environment with a true campaign mode (as a solo player) you had an alternative to Twisted Metal (better vehicles) and a year before Driver (no real car combat).

    My favorite games on the PS1 where action-adventures (Akuji, the Heartless / Legacy of Kain / Broken Helix / MGS), jump & runs (Crash Bandicoot 1-3 / Klonoa / both Gex games) and racing games like the first Gran Turismo (the second was too juddery), Need for Speed 4, Destruction Derby 2, Wipeout 2097 (“Wipeout XL” in the USA), and especially Porsche Challenge and the first Colin McRae Rally, which I both occasionally play.
    In fact Porsche Challenge was the game that sold the system to me in 1998 as I was experiencing a dearth of good 3D games after the first rush on my Voodoo graphics card. I had played Tomb Raider with the Voodoo patch and the French racer P.O.D. to death and then nothing good came for a while, so – having licked blood – I got the PS1 to quench my “thirst for 3D games” and established console gaming in parallel to PC gaming. Nowadays I mostly play on consoles as it’s good enough and way cheaper than keeping up with PC upgrades…

    While, objectively, the “3D power” of the system was barely sufficient for anything and its capabilities severely limited (polygon warping, anyone?) it’s a wonder that they got stuff out like Vagrant Story but that was a late title and by then they knew the system. Also, graphics are only one aspect of (good) games, after all.

  4. spaceharrier Says:

    My first PS1 was a hand-me-down from my brother’s best man. It was 1996 and I had just finished uni and was staying with my brother. I had just sold my Amiga 1200 with tons of games, including Alien Breed (I love the theme tune) for £50, (I regret it now). All I had left was my Sega Game Gear. I received a box with a PS1 and various loose disks. The only game I can remember is Independance Day, and the disk was part of a multi-pack. I remember struggling to play it at first, but when I worked out how to destroy the mothership I felt a sense of accomplishment. Eventually I sold it and the games to Gamestation along with my Game Gear and a Sega Saturn I had picked up along the way.

  5. Benj Edwards Says:

    Wonderful stories, everybody. I love reading these gaming memories.

    I was never a huge fan of 3D on the PS1 — it was so blurry and jaggy that it hurt my eyes on our family’s already blurry 1983 TV set. So I mostly stuck with 3D games on the N64, which seemed to play them a lot better (anti-aliasing helped).

    But I loved Twisted Metal 2 (which was 3D, and was fun enough for me to overlook the graphics) and Symphony of the Night the best. Also, the Doom port to the PS1 was very good at the time (we actually got Final Doom first). I also liked Driver, and Crash Team Racing was a good late title.

    My brother loved the PS1 because he could play a great version of Diablo co-op on it and Final Fantasy Tactics. He also liked Colony Wars, Gran Turismo, and Chrono Cross.

    Meanwhile, I was also having a blast with games on the N64 like Ocarina of Time, Mario Kart 64, Banjo-Kazooie, etc. Not to mention playing cheap used copies of all the NES and SNES classics that I could suddenly afford.

    Looking back on that 1996-2000 era from today’s point of view, it was a really good time for video games.

  6. TNLongFellow Says:

    I got mine from my brother when he went with the X-Box. I got a few games with it, mostly racing games, which is what he was into. But I think the best game I ever played on the PS1 had to be, hands down, Chrono Cross. I loved that game! I also had loads of fun playing the PS staples, like Twisted Metal, (I had them all through the PS3) Grand Turismo (have all those too) and Metal Gear.

  7. Jistuce Says:

    I got my Playstation as a birthday gift in 1999, one of the early DualShock bundles. Got it to play Lunar: Silver Star Story and appease my inner fanboy. A bitter disappointment, in hindsight, but it opened access to a lot of good games that were cheap at the time.

    The high points in my library are probably Symphony of the Night, Valkyrie Profile, R-Type Δ, Strider 2, Mister Driller, Bushido Blade, and Tales of Destiny.
    That the Lunar remakes do not occupy places of reverence in this list breaks my heart. If you’d told me in 1998 that this was going to happen, I would have laughed in your face.

  8. Dennis Says:

    I purchased a PlayStation sometime in early 1997 for one reason only — to play Final Fantasy VII. The machine also came with the same sampler CD that Benj wrote about above. Those 4 discs (3 in FF7, 1 sampler) were the only discs that I owned for the original PlayStation since I traded in the PlayStation after I finished playing FF7. I did keep my copy of FF7 and the sampler disc — which I still have.

    I seem to recall that there was a demo of Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo on there as well. I remember playing that one a few times and even considered buying a copy before getting rid of the PS1.

    I didn’t get another PlayStation until 2005, when I got a slim PS2 so that I could play Guitar Hero. I still have that system, but I haven’t gotten a PS3 or PS4 since then.

  9. SirFatty Says:

    1997… and I immediately modded it so I could play game copies… backups. Those discs sure scratched easily!

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