The Legacy of PlayStation: 18 Games That Defined the Console

The original PlayStation had fantastic games, and when you think about the console, these may be the ones that stand out in your memory. Luckily, the vast majority of the games listed here are still accessible today.
If you’ve been thinking about the PlayStation or are reminiscing about the good old days, here’s that hit of nostalgia you ordered.

1. Crash Bandicoot (1996)

Crash Bandicoot
Image Credit: Sony Computer Entertainment.

Crash Bandicoot is one of the most popular games released for the OG PlayStation. Not only does it have one of the most memorable soundtracks across all three games, but each game makes the series better. The first game was an intense challenge, with the second and third being more accessible.

It’ll be a while before anyone forgets the “woah!” that Crash Bandicoot yells if he falls off a platform. We’ve even seen the original trilogy remastered, and a brand-new game was added to the franchise.

2. Grand Theft Auto (1997)

Grand Theft Auto
Image Credit: ASC Games.

Grand Theft Auto has come a long way from its humble beginnings on the first PlayStation. While most modern players don’t associate GTA with that console, it was an iconic game that defined the genre at the time.

It was a top-down stickman-style game in that iteration, but it still had high-speed chases, intense quests, and all the glorious chaos of the successive versions.

3. Silent Hill 2 (2001)

Image Credit: Konami.

While some would say that Silent Hill had a significant impact on the PlayStation, Silent Hill 2 was the peak of the franchise. The game was fully remastered with high-definition graphics.

There was no experience like the one you got from Silent Hill 2. It was creepy and atmospheric, with scares around every corner. Let’s not forget the horrific (but great) sound design.

4. Chrono Cross (1999)

Chrono Cross
Image Credit: Square Enix.

Developed and published by Square, Chrono Cross is one of the best games for PlayStation that helped define the console. It’s set in the same world as the equally iconic Chrono Trigger and was well-received by critics internationally.

For those who never got to experience it or want to get a hit of nostalgia, the game has been remastered and is available on every console.

5. Dance Dance Revolution (1998)

Dance Dance Revolution
Image Credit: Konami.

Whether you played it at an arcade or in your own home, Dance Dance Revolution is one of the most well-known games for the first PlayStation. Each iteration had a fantastic soundtrack, with songs that got stuck in your head.

If you didn’t have access to a dance pad, you could also use a controller to play the game and test your hand-eye coordination.

6. Oddworld: Abe’s Odyssee (1997)

Oddworld: Abe's Odyssee
Image Credit: GT Interactive.

Oddworld is one of the most famous franchises from the PlayStation era. When it comes to platformer-style games, Oddworld: Abe’s Odyssee is unique. Players become Mudokons who break free from workplace abuse.

The game has exciting monsters and is a well-loved franchise. It was originally released in 1997, but the latest iteration of the series debuted in 2021.

7. PaRappa the Rapper (1997)

PaRappa the Rapper
Image Credit: Sony Computer Entertainment.

If Dance Dance Revolution wasn’t your thing, you may have preferred PaRappa the Rapper‘s bizarre aesthetic. While the game is relatively short, it has some of the best music in a PlayStation game.

It has since been ported to multiple consoles, including the PlayStation 4. Although the game was great, something about it felt like a fever dream, and a glorious one, at that.

8. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater (1999)

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater
Image Credit: Activision.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater is a phenomenal franchise and one of the best sports games. It offered hours of playtime and so much replayability that you could try again to get the best high score.

Pro Skater significantly impacted the gaming community. Both Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and Pro Skater 2 were remade by Activision and ported to modern consoles.

9. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (1997)

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Image Credit: Konami.

Castlevania is one of the best vampire franchises and is a challenging game to navigate. However, the aesthetic is beautiful, and you can’t not love Dracula. The game first saw the light of day in the United States in 1987 for the Nintendo Entertainment System. It made the jump to PlayStation in 1997.

Even today, Castlevania is a top-rated series. It was even adapted into an anime on Netflix.

10. Twisted Metal 2 (1996)

Twisted Metal 2
Image Credit: Sony Computer Entertainment.

Twisted Metal is a chaotic vehicular combat game loved by many. It’s been adapted many times, including for TV shows. While Twisted Metal was great, Twisted Metal 2 was the best of the best.

The weapon choices were better than ever, with the option to use ballistics against the opposing drivers. For gamers who wanted a wild ride, Twisted Metal 2 was the way to go.

11. Ape Escape (1999)

Ape Escape
Image Credit: Sony Computer Entertainment.

Ape Escape is one of the most beloved games for the OG PlayStation, and it did its job in defining the console. It has some of the best ape puns you’ll see anywhere, and the gameplay is unbeatable.

Fortunately, Ape Escape is available on almost every PlayStation console, including the PS5. If you never got to play it when you were younger, now’s the perfect time.

12. Resident Evil (1996)

Resident Evil
Image Credit: Capcom.

Resident Evil was the peak of survival horror, especially on the PlayStation. Players were introduced to the lovable Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine, who are still widely loved. While the camera and movement were a bit janky, it still gave players one of the best horror experiences.

Who could forget the scene with the dog jumping through the window when you least expected it? It was one of the best jump scares in survival horror.

13. Spyro the Dragon (1998)

Spyro the Dragon
Image Credit: Sony Computer Entertainment.

We still love this rambunctious purple dragon. The original Spyro trilogy was fantastic and still holds up. Whether you play the originals or the reignited trilogy, you can’t not love Spyro.

Whether you were saving dragons, rescuing eggs, or completing flying challenges, there was something for everyone in the Spyro series. When it comes to iconic platformers, Spyro is among the best.

14. Gran Turismo (1997)

Image Credit: Sony Computer Entertainment.

PlayStation has seen many fantastic racing games, but Gran Turismo is one of the best. If you aren’t a fan of kart-type racers, you may still like this high-speed, high-intensity racing game.
There was a car for everybody in the game. For a racing game released in 1997, it had excellent control capabilities. Whether you were on the straight and narrow or speeding through some tight turns, this game could handle it all.

15. Metal Gear Solid (1998)

Metal Gear Solid (1998)
Image Credit: Konami.

Where in-depth action-adventure games are concerned, Metal Gear Solid is one of the best. It has some of the best stealth features in the genre, and players are on high alert for what’s around every corner.

For a game released in 1998, the graphics were immersive and detailed, making Metal Gear Solid‘s experience even better. It’s still popular and helped define the PlayStation as a console.

16. R4: Ridge Racer Type 4 (1998)

R4 Ridge Racer Type 4
Image Credit: Namco.

Ridge Racer Type 4 was one of the most fun racing games released and had a fantastic soundtrack to accompany it. Whether you try to complete the surprisingly difficult Grand Prix mode or spend time racing against family and friends, there’s something for everyone in this game.

Of all the Ridge Racer games released for the PlayStation, the R4 is the best and gives players the most seamless experience.

17. Tekken 3 (1997)

Tekken 3
Image Credit: Namco.

Tekken 2 was iconic and had a fantastic soundtrack, but Tekken 3 did it much better. It added some of the best-known characters in the game, including Julia Chang, Hwoarang, and Jin Kazama, all of whom have been staples in recent versions.

Tekken 3 helped shape the franchise and became one of the most defining games on the PlayStation. It emphasized sidestepping to dodge attacks and added new arcade modes.

18. Final Fantasy 7 (1997)

Final Fantasy VII (1997)
Image Credit: Sony Computer Entertainment.

Out of all of the Final Fantasy games, Final Fantasy 7 is one of the most well-known and best. The game was installed on three discs, giving players massive value for money.

Players either loved or hated the characters they got to know throughout the game and experienced heartbreaking plot twists before the end. This game is so loved that it’s being entirely remade for a new audience.

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