Ah, the first console war I can remember. The system with all the memory and the games on CD or the more powerful system that was hampered by cartridge space issues. Which one is the best? Not which one sold more or was more popular, but which one is the best?
To preface this, I must be transparent and say that I am a huge PlayStation fanboy. I’m not too proud to admit that, but as a video game writer and contributor to this fine website, I must remain unbiased, fair, and balanced in this assessment.
So having said that, let’s talk about how much better the Sony PlayStation is than the Nintendo 64.
The Sony PlayStation is one of the most important video game consoles ever made. Before the PlayStation, video games were considered toys and part of a fringe market. Society thought video games were for children or weirdo basement-dwellers. Sony garnered support from amazing third-party developers and provided a platform to tell deeper and more engrossing stories through greatly improved visuals not seen in a home console before.
Immersion and cinematic storytelling became a staple for the PlayStation as it became home to some of the best RPGs ever made as well as the birthplace of legendary franchises. Series like Metal Gear Solid, Tekken, Spyro the Dragon, Crash Bandicoot, Tomb Raider, Resident Evil, and Final Fantasy all found a good home in Sony’s first console. It became the canvas by which Squaresoft, Capcom, Konami, and Namco all painted wonderful masterpieces of gameplay experiences.
One of my favorite parts of the PlayStation is the fact it exists because of Nintendo. Sony was hired by Nintendo to develop a CD add-on device for the Super Nintendo which Sony called the Play Station. But Nintendo didn’t like the terms of their contract so they went behind Sony’s back and announced Phillips as the new partner so Sony decided to develop their add-on as a stand-alone console and the PlayStation was born.
Nintendo ended up scrapping the add-on all together (and getting those terrible Legend of Zelda games on the Phillips CD-i) and simultaneously unleashed the beast that would end up dethroning them. Nintendo has been playing catch-up ever since. I love drama!
A lot of people can’t get past the low-polygon early 3D graphics and loading times because of the CD technology. But the PlayStation offers a massive library full of classics and hidden gems, most of which can be had for relatively cheap, making it fun to collect for… for now. Don’t get me wrong, the N64 has some amazingly fun games, but the PlayStation changed the video game industry forever and should be remembered as a legend among consoles. #PlayStationMasterRace
There’s no contest. The PS1 is the greater console. It had an awesome controller and used disks instead of cartridges and launched with, like, five times as many games for it. To top it all, I have an incredibly fond memory of my parents buying one for my brothers and me one Christmas–when they really couldn’t afford to. We ended up playing Gex and Battle Arena Toshinden for hours…
What really makes the PS1 the greater console is the amount of great games that were released on it. Oh, Nintendo 64 has a few great games, particularly The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time, but the PS1 had much more.
It played classics like Metal Gear Solid and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, which I never got into but meant a lot to my friends. It featured Valkyrie Profile, with its cold and dangerous heroine and all the beautiful tragic stories of the warriors she chose from among the slain to fight beside her. It gave me the experience of a game I’ve mentioned before as the first ever to make my jaw drop: the original Tomb Raider! And for an RPG lover it gave me Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete and a whole slew of Final Fantasy games.
I should mention that Final Fantasy is my favorite video game franchise, because two of my all-time favorite video games came out on the PS1. The first is Final Fantasy Tactics, one of the best strategy RPGs ever and a one that means a lot to me. And of course, my absolute favorite, the Greatest Video Game of All Time and the only one to nearly bring me to tears: Final Fantasy VII!
This game alone may have been enough to tip the balance for me between consoles, even with Ocarina of Time at the other end. According to Wesley Wood’s article on this very site, if Final Fantasy VII had been released on the N64, it would have taken more than twenty cartridges to tell the story. As it was, it took three Playstation disks! The loss of the Final Fantasy franchise to Sony’s console was a blow to Nintendo, and a sign of a general decline in the company’s supremacy.
All these things: the sheer number of great titles, the acquisition of my favorite video game franchise, the personal nostalgia, and the fact that it featured several of my favorite video games of all time, make the PS1 the clear victor!
First off, let me give credit where credit is due. The PS1 was immensely popular and gave Nintendo a run for its money where as the Sega Saturn did not. While the PS1 had bigger storage for games, Nintendo’s console was a stronger beast with even stronger titles.
N64 supported four-player split screen, rumble packs, the introduction of the joystick, 3D platforming done right, first person shooters on console, and so much more. If you wanted to host a party with friends then you could pop in some Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros., Goldeneye, Mario Party, World Championship Wrestling, Word Wrestling Federation, Pokemon Stadium, Perfect Dark 64, Diddy Kong Racing, F-Zero X, Wave Race 64, Gauntlet Legends, Tony Hawks Pro Skater, Star Wars Episode 1 Pod Racer, and NFL Blitz were just some examples.
Let’s name all the great party games on PS1… Um… Yeah.
However, the PS1 had some awesome single player games, right? Final Fantasy, Metal Gear Solid, Tomb Raider, Crash Bandicoot, and Spyro just to name some. I mean, those were legit franchises. Not all of them are still strong today but on PS1 they shined.
Does the N64 even have good single player games? I don’t think there are that many actually… Let me think… Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask, Super Mario 64, Banjo Kazooie and Tooie, Turok 1-3, Star Wars Shadows Of The Empire, Jet Force Gemini, Conker’s Bad Fur Day, Star Wars Rogue Squadron, and Paper Mario just to name a few.
Let’s name all the innovations that Sony brought to the table with the PS1. Um… memory cards? Nope. Neo Geo did that first. 3D graphics? Nope. Done before and even was toyed around with on the SNES. Analog sticks? We already realized Nintendo brought that to the table with the N64.
Oh, I know! Rumble in the controllers! Oh wait…
N64 introduced that with Star Fox 64. Expanding the memory of the console with more RAM? Once again, N64. Maybe the PS1 showcased the best graphics between the two? Not even close. Well then how was the PS1 better? The games were cheaper. Meaning they were more popular.
Of course, popular means better right?
Another common complaint against the N64 is that all the good games on it were developed by Nintendo. As a matter of fact, this isn’t even close. Let me clear this misconception up. Here are all the good games on the N64 that very rarely have any arguments against them. I may be missing some that you enjoyed as well but that just goes to show you how many great titles were on this system.
1st Party (developed by Nintendo) – 1080 Snowboarding, F-Zero X, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, Mario Kart 64, Pokemon Stadium 1 and 2, Star Fox 64, Super Mario 64, Wave Race 64, and Yoshi’s Story.
2nd Party (developed exclusively for N64) – Mario Golf, Mario Tennis, Kirby 64, Pokemon Snap, Super Smash Bros., Mario Party 1-3, Paper Mario, Star Wars Episode 1 Racer, Star Wars Shadows of the Empire, Star Wars Episode 1 Battle for Naboo, Star Wars Rogue Squadron, StarCraft 64, Banjo Kazooie, Banjo Tooie, Conker’s Bad Fur Day, Donkey Kong 64. Duke Nukem 64, Duke Nukem Zero Hour, Excitebike 64, Extreme G 1 and 2, Goldeneye 007, Perfect Dark, Harvest Moon 64, Jet Force Gemini, Ogre Battle 64 Persons of Lordly Caliber, Pilotwings 64, Ridge Racer 64, Turok 1-3, Turok Rage Wars, and Diddy Kong Racing.
3rd Party (was on other systems as well as N64) – Army Men games, Cruisin’ games, Doom 64, Quake 64, Quake II, World Champion Wrestling games, World Wrestling Federation games, Gauntlet Legends, Hydro Thunder, Killer Instinct Gold, Mortal Kombat 1-4, NFL Blitz games, Rampage games, Ready 2 Rumble games, Rush games, Spider-Man, Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1-3, Operation Winback, and even Resident Evil 2.
These games all got good ratings/loved by N64 owners/uber popular. I left out a few I don’t care for like Dr. Mario 64. I count about 85-90 games here.
The only real flaw I will fully admit is that the N64 lacked RPG’s and also had to skimp on licensed music (in Tony Hawks Pro Skater for example) due to cartridge capacity issues. Otherwise, some of the most memorable melodies are on the N64. Mario 64 is a great example of this all on its own.
PS1 or N64? Which was better? Heck, maybe you are a Sega Saturn supporter. Let us know in the comments.