Sony 20th Anniversary

With Sony celebrating its 20th year in videogames with the Playstation brand, Eurogamer’s illustrious freelance writer Simon Parkin took it upon himself to shed some light on the market heavyweight’s formative years in the market. And given the market dominating position which the PS4 currently finds itself in, it’s interesting to note as to how the original PS1 took such valiant strides in cementing the new entrant’s reputation at a time when both Nintendo and Sega were considered to be the reigning powerhouses of the gaming industry. This was at a time when Squaresoft were also considered to be at the very height of their powers, giving gamers such celebrated classics as Final Fantasy VII, Xenogears, Parasite Eve, Vagrant Story, and one of my favourite games of all time – Einhander.

Einhander is "one of the greatest horizontal scrolling shooters of the day, made by a team with no experience of the genre".

Einhander is “one of the greatest horizontal scrolling shooters of the day, made by a team with no experience of the genre”.

Whilst Simon Parkin’s enthusiasm and fondness for the Playsation brand is clearly evident, his maligned feelings on how CEX’s branch at Rathbone Place has evolved are also just as transparent. For despite the flagship store’s parent company having gained significant traction in the retail arena since the PS1’s heyday, the once great “gaming mecca” has had its influence severely curtailed in the face of the internet and its relentless digital onslaught. And now that gamers have the choice of buying their physical games from Amazon, Ebay and Shopto etc, the market advantage which CEX Rathbone Place used to have is uncomfortably laid bare as Simon Parkin maps out a critical appraisal on how the store has done since. Needless to say, my favourite writer offers a less than glowing opinion and vehemently argues that the production line method through which the company has franchised its expansion has resulted in the “mother brain” losing its soul.

Computer Exchange in Rathbone Place was "a shop that was stocked with a seemingly ceaseless supply of unusual games imported from Japan. Today the old spirit of the place is long gone (even if the pocked aluminium floors and murk remain). DVDs have replaced the rows of retro games in the basement; the video game treasures that once sat behind protective glass (a signed copy of Metal Gear on the MSX, a pristine Metal Slug in that prestigious Neo Geo casing) have been swapped for a miserable phalanx of mobile phones and smeary tablets. But back then an entire wall was given over to Japanese PlayStation imports, a library of rare potential".

Computer Exchange in Rathbone Place was “a shop that was stocked with a seemingly ceaseless supply of unusual games imported from Japan. Today the old spirit of the place is long gone (even if the pocked aluminium floors and murk remain). DVDs have replaced the rows of retro games in the basement; the video game treasures that once sat behind protective glass (a signed copy of Metal Gear on the MSX, a pristine Metal Slug in that prestigious Neo Geo casing) have been swapped for a miserable phalanx of mobile phones and smeary tablets. But back then an entire wall was given over to Japanese PlayStation imports, a library of rare potential”.

20 years is a long time. And in that time, I’ve bought a PS1 and have also worked at CEX’s store in Rathbone Place. And like Sony who has since become an industry titan after having being initially courted and then publicly shunned and rejected by Nintendo, I have also gone on to bigger and better things after having been remorselessly betrayed by those who I once considered to be former friends and work allies. But unlike some of my former fair-weather friends, I’m not the tool that they are, and have found “success” through other means where I haven’t aspired to being just another basement dwelling retail clerk.

I’m sure karma is at work here. And even though some no-name loser on some forum might take offence and comment on this post, at least I know that I’ll always have the upper hand via the simple act of having (and semi-maintaining) my own personal blog. For despite what my (replaceable) detractors may say, I have my own brand, and they don’t.

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