Well, it's officially been twenty years since the Playstation first launched in Japan. It's a bittersweet milestone for me personally... I was as excited about the system as everyone else when it first hit these shores, but after a chance encounter with NightWarriors: Darkstalkers' Revenge, I switched my allegiance to the Sega Saturn and refused to abandon that sinking ship.
It wasn't until 1999 that I finally bit the bullet and traded a handful of import Saturn games for a boxed Playstation.* I'm not sure what my first game was... I suspect it was Final Fantasy VII, which was a crushing disappointment after coming down from the highs of Grandia and Panzer Dragoon Saga on the Sega Saturn. However, the first games I bought with any personal significance were Armored Core: Project Phantasma, Mega Man Legends, Rival Schools, and Street Fighter EX Plus Alpha. These four titles are as good an introduction to the Playstation as any, and after all these years, I still find myself digging out Street Fighter EX for a rematch against bizarre characters like salaryman-turned-Power Ranger Skullomania.
Twenty years after the Playstation's debut, and fifteen years after I broke down and got one for myself, I can honestly say that I'm happy to have owned the system. Even with its frustrating focus on 3D, it's got a more eclectic, Japanese-centric library than its successors. Where else could you play No One Can Stop Mr. Domino!, or Einhander, or Parappa the Rapper, or Castlevania: Symphony of the Night?
Well, technically, all the other Playstation systems too, but backward compatibility doesn't count. And before you bring it up, you really don't want to play Symphony of the Night on the Saturn. Trust me on this one.
* It seemed like a good idea at the time, but fifteen years later, with those games going for $100 a pop on auction sites and Playstation systems selling for... considerably less, perhaps I should have given this more thought. I'm not known for my foresight.