Monthly Archives: September 2010

The Labyrinth of Time Adventure category

Title screen from The Labyrinth of Time

The bizarre and the mundane shine inseparably in The Labyrinth of Time, an adventure game by Terra Nova Development. Mainly the design of artist Bradley W. Schenck, the game throws mythology, retrofuturism, and art history together into an odd concoction that, rather than come out as a disparate mess, heightens the ordinary and grounds the imaginative. The titular labyrinth is a setting of enormous creativity bound into maze form. The Labyrinth of Time » Read more

Happy 15th, PlayStation! Blog categoryEssay categoryPlayStation category

Sony Computer Entertainment logo wearing a birthday party hat next to balloons

Hard to believe that fifteen years ago today, the original PlayStation was released in America. The PlayStation was one of those great water cooler moments for gaming, with a ubiquitous format that everyone played, shared, and experienced together. Childhood association and nostalgia surely play a role in the fond memories we have for these types of devices, but there certainly was a communal spirit to this magical disc machine. It offered something that other systems have never matched: an aura of mystery.

Starting with the advent of online modes and an oversaturation of high-profile media blitzes, game consoles started to lose a bit of allure and mystique that came from popping a game in. But the PlayStation was special. Maybe it was that cacophony of synths and humming bells that chimed up every time it booted, or the simultaneously inviting-and-foreboding PlayStation logo that would drop off into darkness before an opening cutscene cued.

>Whatever the source of its magic, the PlayStation just carried this transcendent air, that the games were somehow operating on a level above you, that the system was this untouchable device that could make dreams unfold. No matter how small and restricted a game would be, the world around it felt like it might expand infinitely in every direction, and somehow, some secret always seemed just on the verge of materializing.

Maybe the Nintendo 64 turned on faster, with cleaner graphics and better games. The crazy thing is that 15 years on, for all the outdated tech and emulators, putting in a PlayStation game is still a little foreboding, mysterious, and exciting. In an era where games are exposed by betas and previews months in advance, that’s irreplaceable.