Playstation 1 > 2. Fight me.

warning: feel free to see my tag, it’s always true

many times, i’ve seen folks compare the PS1 & PS2 era to the NES/SNES era of 8-16 bit. this if foolish, and i wanted to point out why:

many of us recognized the early 80’s (as kids or otherwise) as a time when atari-era console games followed the earlier arcade model of essentially being circus games: it was about spectacle and high score, not finishing a title. 8-bit era wasn’t just classic pixelated graphics & games balanced to never finish them, i think design wise - especially taking arcade ports & limiting continues, or original games with brutal difficulty well before rental market was a huge factor - it was a different era, hands down. drastically from what came before, and graphically from what followed.

on the NES, SMS etc there were absolutely unique experiences, but a great deal of the classic/recognized-for-their-greatness games saw superior sequels in the 16-bit gen, aka the absolute peak of 2D design.
this isn’t, to me, as directly comparable as the 32-bit era & all the chances that were being taken in the first official 3D foray, not continuing prior trickery like Faceball 2000, StarFox, Virtua Racing etc - we literally never tried it before with these models.

which is to say, a few things really stood out to me about the 32-bit era, especially being of the age to see the gens before it:

  1. we left pixels for early polygons. which is to say: if you had to imagine a character looked like the amano (or phantasy star) artwork before in your faceless pixels, now you had to imagine the CG detail somehow applied to chunky awkward polygons.

don’t ever let anyone tell you CG didn’t matter in this era. i literally burned out a few PSX’s (and a VCR!) playing back taped cutscenes from FF VII, RE2 and others. shit was mindblowing at the time, fuck yo Crysis.

  1. a change in medium = drastic change in price - for those that don’t know, carts in the day with battery backup cost $70+. i literally paid almost $100 for Phantasy Star IV in early '95! shit was crazy.

so imagine mid gen when PSX games might cost you $40 new. imagine how many new titles you’d try out when you could buy 2 for what one used to cost you!

  1. likewise, lowered dev costs - i’ve been told sony pushing for C+ programming was a big deal here. this was, to me, the last easy gen on devs - PS2 was the most successful & hardest to program for that gen (as i understand it), and the next gen was HD development that literally wiped out numerous studios.

PSX was a gen where japanese devs could try something new & crazy and afford to bomb a few times before having to secure a safe license to keep the doors open.
so you got Um Jammer Lammy, Vib Ribbon, Incredible Crisis!, Symphony of the Night, Sega-CD Lunar remakes, a revival of Metal Gear, Tenchu, Devil Dice, Tekken 2, Twisted Metal, Herc’s Adventures, Einhander, Monster Rancher, and so much more.
this was literally a gen when Konami, Square & others were trying multiple genres outside their wheelwell and ranging from interesting mistakes to absolutely knocking it out of the park.

PS2 absolutely built on some of the chances taken & improved on them, both graphically & audio wise, no doubt. SH1 invented a genre, no one will argue 1 > 2. MGS was the series’ peak, FF XII & the SMT games are arguably more interesting than much of the at-the-time huge square RPGs the gen prior. there’s no arguing the refining the next gen did, but for taking risks?
i can play imports of pepsiman, the cooking game where you play as a chef who also chases down deadbeats, silent bomber, and so many others.

i loved the PS2 gen, but to this day i don’t think we’ve had a gen replicate the magic that the transition to 3D generation brought. i’d absolutely love to have a VR or other kind of transition surpass it one day.


Not gonna fight you :stuck_out_tongue:


I agree with you, OP. PS1, the GOAT

1 Like

PS2 was like this every single year even after the PS3 came out. I love PS1 but PS2 was amazing.

I’ve veen thinking the same, particularly the more PS1 games I uncover from its massive and varied library.

Due to the circumstances at the time - which the OP has outlined in detail - there is just so much more experimentation on the platform. In both 3D and 2D.

The best and most creative 2D games (both visually and gameplay wise) of the generation also offer an extended life to what developers were thinking up for previous generation machines, particularly the Super Famicom while breaking new ground elsewhere.

I often think of the PS1 and PS2 as similar to going from DS to 3DS, or what we’d have gotten on 3DS if smartphone gaming didn’t take over publishers’ priorities.

With PlayStation SCE also funded and published a lot of ideas from different developers, from Motor Toon Grand Prix in the mid 90s to Panekit at the end of the decade, which reminds me a lot of what Nintendo did with DS.

I agree completely. PS1 remains the best Sony console.


I’d agree with you on that. But in terms of overall quality, I think it’s fairly even between generations.

To me, N64+PS1+Saturn = DC+PS2+GCN+Xbox in terms of quality. In fact, the latter may be even slightly better.

But yea, I was never that in love with the PS2

I’d probably agree with this.

Back in the day, i traded my SNES for a PS1, then soon after, traded the PS1 for an N64 (once Mario 64 was shown). I played a lot of PS1 still thanks to my friends, but it wasn’t until much later that it kind of dawned on me … PS1 is more of a Super Nintendo “2” than the N64 was. It carried the full torch, where N64 dropped the 3rd party ball and Saturn dropped … things all over the place :smiley:

PS2 was of course amazing, but so was everything that generation. At least, that was the first time it felt like that for me.

The PS2 is awesome but the PS1 had a bigger impact on me, and probably more games I go back to. A full comparison of PS1 vs PS2 would take all day as there’s so much stuff on both.

The only thing I really have against the PS2 isn’t the system’s fault: it’s that the internet in recent years often puts it on a pedestal above everything else (due to popularity and the average age of message board posters). I had a PS2, GC, XB, DC, and PC that gen and it was pretty clear there were strengths and weaknesses to the PS2, and that the best games of the gen were spread out among different hardware.

The PS2 was weak for multi-format games. A game like Beyond Good & Evil was great on XB and GC but on PS2, the visuals were downgraded enough to harm the experience. And related to that, most of the best Western developed games that gen were on PC or XB.

For a system with a huge life span and number of games, I don’t think there were that many games pushing the boundaries of game design with ambition. It had some like Grand Theft Auto III, Shadow of the Colossus, and Final Fantasy XII but the Dreamcast had Shenmue, Jet Grind Radio, and Phantasy Star Online in a much shorter life span, and the PC had stuff like Half-Life, Thief 1 and 2, System Shock 2, Unreal Tournament, Planescape, Deus Ex, etc. in just a two year span at the beginning of the gen.

Again, I don’t think the PS2 was unimpressive; it just shared being impressive with multiple other game formats. The same can be said for the PS1 but I don’t find as many people on the internet saying hyperbolic stuff like “the PS1 had all the good games”.


here’s no arguing the refining the next gen did, but for taking risks?

I don’t agree with this. There was plenty of “weird” and risky games during the PS2 years.

You had stuff like Mister Mosquito and Robot Alchemic Drive, you still had companies going in genres outside their wheelhouse, even if the results weren’t always happy (lol Driving Emotion Type-S), you had established series getting experimental spin-offs and sequels (Maximo, Neo Contra), etc etc. And while something like ICO may fit with the current landscape of Sad Dad Stories, it was a big risk at the time.

PS1 wins in my book as well and I think that’s more so because there’s still a ton of great 2d games as well as continuations of 16 bit series. PS1 feels like the snes 2.0 which ironically is what it sort of started out as.

1 Like

I actually heartfully agree. I never liked how hardware-wise Sony dropped the ball with PS2. Gamecube, Dreamcast (if you consider that it was released two years before), Xbox were all better designed.

And yet, Silent Hill 2, MGS2, Grand Thefth Auto III and Baldur’s gate were multiplatform games.

I agree. The PS1 was more charming.

MGS2 and GTA III were exclusive at the time and weren’t announced as time exclusive. Sony fanboys were pissed when MGS2 was announced for Xbox. Speaking of, I never played it on Xbox, Any good? 480p?

Games like Silent Hill 2, Shadow of the Colossus and GTA: SA are legitimate world beaters. Not to mention Katamari Damacy, one of the few absolute perfect video games.

But ps1 has a number of games in series that are also unmatched and/or that had sequels that were worse on the ps2. The 3 ps1 Final Fantasies, FF8 included, were better to me then any of the ps2 ones. I also think that MGS was better than 3. Original games like Tomba that I can’t find any contemporaries of anywhere are a good match for Katamari, perfection aside. Megaman did start it’s decent on the ps1 but MMX4 and Legends 1 and 2 were still golden and better then the ps2 offerings.

I really have a hard time disagreeing with you though. I will say that if I could only have one hooked up it would be a ps2 though, what with backwards compatibility and all. :3 Though the ps1 system itself also looks way better…

I came to say this. Probably because we talk a lot about it.

The jump from SNES/GEN to PS1 for me was mind blowing. The jump from PS1 to PS2 was expected and I had a DC for a year or so before the PS2 came out so the jump from there wasn’t that mind blowing. I think the GC & XBOX had a way bigger impact on me than the PS2 and this was the 1st generation I had all of the major consoles.

When you played that Final Fantasy VII on the Playstation underground and immediately played it again 2 more times you knew you were in for something special. I never remember a single moment like that for me since.

What are the 2D ps1 games people are referencing? There are some great ones (SotN, Einhander, Lunar, FF’s) but I always remember (mis-remember?) SCEA being anti-2D and pushing 3D games in an effort to distinguish it from SNES/Genesis.

[edit, meant that as a general reply and not specifically to you @Kawika]

Suikoden 1 and 2 come to mind. Alundra was another 2D game that I think is good but often gets overlooked. Legend of Mana? (Pretty sure Einhander was a 3D game, though.)

Edit: A bit of Google turned up this list a good starting point:

There were also a bunch of good 2d games in Japan: Adventure of Little Ralph, Raiden DX, Gradius Gaiden, Zanac Neo, Kyuuin, Hamrful Park, Dodonpachi.

1 Like