The Sony PlayStation was a system that got me through high school and carried its weight during the early college years; it was a system that seemed to be everything anyone could need, with a library certainly bigger than anticipated, and the power to steal hours upon hours away from my life. Many of my favorite titles call home to the 32-bit console that could: Suikoden, Suikoden II, Jumping Flash!, Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, and so on. It holds a special part of my soul beneath its silver lid, and that’s me being as honest as possible via a blog post. The dang thing means a lot to my growing up, my dealing with problems and friends and loneliness, and it was also a ton of fun to play, to invest in. I even decked it out with special stickers that came with early issues of PSM, a magazine that I subscribed to for a super long time because I enjoyed reading about my new toy and what it might be handling in the future. It’s been some time since I’ve read anything PlayStation-related in print form, too, which is my way of transitioning to the next paragraph.
The latest issue of GameSpite Quarterly, a simultaneous print and online zine by Jeremy Parish and pals, is all about the PlayStation, making it an instant buy for me, and I’m all the happier for it. The book arrived, and I at first couldn’t tell if I’d ordered, y’know, a book or…a brick. At around 435 pages, this is actually a tome, and there’s plenty of content to absorb, which is what I did over several days. It’s got that potpourri feel to it thanks to numerous authors writing varying articles about strikingly different titles and subjects. In the span of a few pages, GS8 goes from talking about how “mature” Sony got with its advertising to coverage of retro games like The Raiden Project and Final Fantasy Anthology. Content flows in a loose chronological order by game release dates, but at times feels a bit of a mish-mash effort; I’d have preferred a section devoted to game reviews and another to musings and features, but that’s just little ol’ me and my need for everything to be ordered and grouped and properly connected.
As previously mentioned, the library for the Sony PlayStation is huge, and it’s no surprise that not every game gets covered in GS8. I’m sure many frog fans are going to be saddened to learn that there are zero words devoted to Frogger 3D and Frogger II: Swampy’s Revenge. And some titles that I actually wanted to read about deeply, such as Star Ocean: The Second Story, Metal Gear Solid, and Chrono Cross, were only given a single paragraph of love. Disappointing, sure. Blockbusters like Final Fantasy VII and Tomb Raider get the expected amount of coverage, and I particularly found myself immersed in Tomm Hulett’s “The 7 Deadly Sins of Xenogears,” a religiously in-depth analytical look at a game I never got to play. For the most part, the majority of the games covered get a small amount of text to go along with a huge, pixelated screenshot. Sometimes this works, and sometimes it doesn’t (Baby Universe).
Not surprisingly, Parish’s love for quirky and less-loved titles takes the limelight here, with games like The Misadventures of Tron Bonne receiving eight pages of praise. Missed out on that game way-back-when, but it sounds pretty neat and has me only more excited for the forthcoming Mega Man Legends 3. My only other complaints are minor, but a second round of copyediting would have done wonders; as I read, I spotted a number of typos, as well as a lot of inconsistencies (if you’re devoting an entire issue to the PlayStation, you should stick to one spelling of it only). Otherwise, GS8 is so full of content and pages to flip through that the good outweighs the disappointing, and even though the entire book will make its way online over at GameSpite eventually, the printed form is still worth pursuing. Seeing that much content bundled and bound is impressive, and if you were at all a fan of the PlayStation it’s a no-brainer buy. Cracking GS8‘s spine is the easiest way to time-travel back to the good ol’ days of 3D polygons, memory cards, and games built around FMVs.