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20 things you didn't know about PlayStation

PlayStation turns 20 today, so to celebrate the event, here's a list of 20 things not even hardcore PlayStation fans probably know. Things like where did the name "PlayStation" come from, or that the PlayStation was originally intended to be a Nintendo console. The most surprising fact is that Sony did not even want to move into gaming at all.

PlayStation.JPG

1. PlayStation - In the 1980's the Japanese used the imported English word, "Workstation" to mean an office computer. Ken Kutaragi, the father of PlayStation reasoned that if a computer for work is called a workstation, then a computer for play should be called a PlayStation.

2. The PlayStation was originally a Nintendo console - Kutaragi signed a deal with Nintendo, but Nintendo pulled out at the last minute.

3. Sony's System G - In the early 80's Sony's system G inspired Kutaragito to create a new form of graphics by using the power of a real-time 3D computer graphics engine with a CD-ROM. "We will create a new form of entertainment," said Kutaragi.

4. Sony did not want a PlayStation - Kutaragi was removed from his position at Sony because the Company didn't want to venture into gaming. Sony president, Norio Olga transferred Kutaragi to Sony Music where he was allowed to work on the PlayStation.

5. Sony Computer Entertainment formed in November 1994 - SCE exists today because Sony only wanted to focus on creating electronic products and not gaming.

6. SCE employees - One half of the employees came from Sony and they focused on designing and developing the PlayStation. The other half came from Sony Music, and they worked with the game developers. Sony's culture of treating developers as artists originated from Sony Music and it's still an integral part of the PlayStation culture today.

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7. The PlayStation logo - The logo went trough several phases before the final design.

8. Core PlayStation feature - The core design feature of the PlayStation was the CD, exactly what Kutaragi envisioned from the start.

9. The meaning of the controller symbols - Each symbol has its unique meaning. The green triangle refers to a viewpoint, ahead of the player's head, pointing the direction. The square refers to a piece of paper; which refers to a menu or a document and is, therefore, pink. The red circle and blue X mean yes or no for decision making.

10. The controller was harder to design than the console - Kutaragi didn't like the new 3D controller with its big handles because he thought its design would confuse players and that they would prefer a flat panel. Olga, who was a pilot, liked the big handles and approved a new design.

11. Black game discs - Kutaragi and Olga also disagreed about the game CD's the PlayStation would use. Olga believed game discs should come in a protective caddy, like Sony's mini discs, while Kutaragi did not. They finally settled on always making the protective back cover for the CD's black to make it distinctive from music and other CD discs.

12. Japan had smaller controllers - Controllers for Japan were 15% smaller than those in Europe and America when the console initially launched. It wasn't until the dual analogue controller was launched in 1997 that they became the same size.

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13. The "Polygon Man" - The PlayStation used to have an official icon, but only for a few days. In 1995, SCE America came up with the character "Polygon Man," hoping to speak to its intended young male audience. When Kutaragi first saw the "Polygon Man" at E3, he went ballistic, and "took the Polygon Man to the car park where he was shot." As an inside joke, "Polygon Man" reappeared in PlayStation's Allstars Battle Royale as the boss (PS Vita & PS3).

14. Who was PlayStation's biggest rival? - When the original PlayStation released in America, its biggest rival was the Sega Saturn. The Sega Saturn sold for $399; Sony countered it by giving the shortest speech in E3 history. SCE America president, Steve Race said one word, "$299" and walked off the stage.

15. "Earth transmitting messages to space" - The PlayStation 2 was designed around the concept of earth and space as symbolised by the console's black and blue colours.

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16. The PS2 and the Atari Vulcan 030 Microbox - Intentionally or not, the PS2 design was very similar to the Atari Vulcan 030 Microbox, it's even mentioned in the pattern for PS2.

17. A feeling of luxury - The PlayStation 3 was designed to give "a feeling of luxury." It was all about making a big machine feel as compact as possible, which is the reason behind the curved surface that reflects more light and the opaque design. These features were designed to play a trick on the eyes to make the console appear lighter.

18. It's Spiderman! - Kutaragi insisted that the PS3 use the same fond as Spiderman 3.

19. Sony Worldwide Studio President, Shuhei Yoshida said that before the release of PS3 he was told by the hardware team at PlayStation that the new 6-axis controller would have motion sensors just three weeks before it was due to be shown at E3. Where they wanted him to have a game ready to demonstrate.

20. Shuhei Yoshida banned from Nintendo Miiverse - Not once, but twice! The first time for using a twitter handle and not his real name and the second time for using the bioline, "I hart PS."

Did you know any of the 20 facts? Thanks PlayStation Access for the list.

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Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not MWEB Connect (Pty) Ltd

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