Sony’s first games console, the PlayStation, might have had a slow start but it quickly became an era-defining success. This was the 1990s, the decade when video gaming stopped being just for kids, and the PlayStation latched on to a much more adult audience thanks to its much edgier and grown-up catalogue of games. But what makes a best selling PS1 game?
Launched in late 1994, the PlayStation’s line-up of games was a bit hit-and-miss – although exclusive blockbuster titles, such as Ridge Racer, Wipeout and Rayman did make a big impression. It didn’t take long for the PS1 to find its feet though, and a huge catalogue of games made up until its final days in 2006 features some huge sellers. Here are the ten best selling PS1 games.
10 – Metal Gear Solid
It’s well known that that the lead character in Konami’s Metal Gear Solid, stealthy soldier Solid Snake, was heavily based on Escape From New York’s ‘Snake Plissken’ – played by Kurt Russell. The game was groundbreaking in its use of stealth tactics and cinematic in-game cutscenes, and eventually sold 6 million copies.
9 – Tomb Raider II
Admit it, didn’t you have just as much fun locking Lara’s annoying butler in the freezer as we did? Lara Croft’s second outing as the Tomb Raider continued the huge success of the original, selling 6.8 million copies. The game mechanics were largely the same, but Lara had new weapons, outfits and a range of vehicles.
8 – Crash Bandicoot
Naughty Dog’s first 3D platformer might have been a big draw for younger players, but this addictive and often frustrating game made it one of the best-loved PlayStation exclusive characters of all time. Crash’s battles against evil villain Neo Cortex saw a further four games in the franchise launched on the PS1 alone. The original sold a staggering 6,820,000 copies.
7 – Tomb Raider
Although it was originally launched on the Sega Saturn, Tomb Raider found its global success thanks to the PlayStation. The success of Tomb Raider also helped to fuel sales of the console itself, as many people wanted a taste of the Indiana Jones-esque tomb-raiding adventure. We might laugh now, but the graphics and 3D gameplay were groundbreaking for the time. This was also the proof that video game characters could become sex symbols. Sales topped 7,100,000 copies.
6 – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Although it’s one of the later games launched on the PS1, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone profited from the monumental success of the first Harry Potter film. Selling more than 8 million copies, this 3D roaming game follows the plot of the film reasonably closely, with excellent voice acting. The graphics lacked finesse, but for those wanting a more lifelike experience, it was re-made for the PS2 in 2003.
5 – Tekken 3
As one of the greatest arcade fighter games of the 1990s, arguably the best, it’s no surprise that when Tekken 3 came to the PS1 it was a smash hit. Set 20 years after Tekken 2, a raft of new characters, more realistic fighting moves and button combinations to learn made this the most successful fighter to grace the Playstation, shifting 8,300,000 copies.
4 – Final Fantasy VIII
Taking the bold step to move away from the cartoon style that fans loved in the previous instalment, VIII’s more realistic style looked just as stunning. Gameplay ultimately carried on the legacy of every previous Final Fantasy game, with the world map, the field map, and the battle screen. It was the first game in the series to have an English translation during development rather than after it was launched in Japan, which made it a far more natural experience. With 8,600,000 copies sold, it failed to eclipse Final Fantasy VII…
3 – Gran Turismo 2
With a total of 650 cars, Gran Turismo 2 increased the number of European and US manufacturers. The long-awaited sequel also offered more tracks, better physics and even more polished graphics from the original. It was a big game, requiring two discs, and pushed the PS1’s capabilities to new heights. An impressive 9,370,000 copies sold.
2 – Final Fantasy VII
This is the game that not only brought the whole RPG genre into the 3D realms, but into the consciousness of a whole new audience. Development began in 1994 for the SNES, but it finally saw release in 1997 on the PS1. Widely recognised as one of the greatest and most influential games of all time, even if some of the translations were a bit odd! A total of 10,022,228 copies sold.
1 – Gran Turismo
Kazunori Yamauchi founded Polyphony Digital with the aim of producing the most realistic racing game of all time. He succeeded. Gran Turismo re-defined what was possible in the genre, mixing ultra realistic driving physics, great graphics, an unmatched number of cars – all of which could be modified. Racing was intense, backed by a great 1990s soundtrack. A total of 10,850,000 copies sold.