To celebrate the PlayStation's 20th anniversary, we've rounded up 20 of the best games created exclusively for Sony's legendary home console.
To commemorate PlayStation's 20th anniversary we've put together a list of games that have made these two decades not only memorable but also unique for the proud owners of Sony's console. For this list we tried to find a good balance between the titans of the industry and the deep cuts that only connoisseurs remember. While we can't pay tribute to them all, this list is a good starting point for anyone looking to brush the dust off of their old PS and immerse themselves in the myriad worlds waiting to be explored. While some inclusions are still exclusive to PlayStation, others have made their way to other consoles from the likes of Microsoft and Nintendo. But without further ado, check out all 20 below.
There are few fanbases as rabid as that of Final Fantasy. With fifteen installments in the regular series and over a dozen spin-offs, this is one of the most prolific and constant series in gaming canon. The first game debuted on the NES but developer Square Enix switched to PlayStation exclusivity in 1997 for the most celebrated entry in the series, Final Fantasy VII. Although almost all of the Final Fantasy games have been ported to at least one other gaming system in recent years, PlayStation has dominated in terms of availability upon release.
God of War
God of War's antihero Kratos is one pissed-off motherfucker. He has such incredible rage that he tears the heads off of gods and minions alike on a series of blood-soaked journeys to avenge his murdered family. Drawing on Greek mythology for enemies, allies and settings, Sony's Santa Monica Studio created a fully realized world that has stirred imaginations for almost 10 years now. Apparently a new game is in development which should tantalize fans who have been thirsting for a continuation since the somewhat ambiguous finale.
This series has found a home on five different PlayStation platforms to become one of the most dependable releases for Sony. Moreover, for heavy-hitting science fiction combat in a grimly dystopian setting, you can't do any better than Killzone. The iconic enemy also has one of the coolest names ever given an antagonist – the Helghast. If that doesn't sound like a German metal band, we don't know what does. The top-down Killzone Liberation on PSP was particularly underrated.
Released in 1996, Crash Bandicoot has cast a long shadow over platforming and racing games. Most '90s kids will have fond memories of the colorful and zany Crash jumping around Wumpa Island or of rage-inducing races against friends in split screen. Any way you cut it though, the eponymous bandicoot's shenanigans – which most often involve foiling Doctor Neo Cortex's evil plans – have become a staple of childhood gaming. Like many others on this list, the series has branched out onto other platforms but its origin belongs in Sony's hall of fame.
Sony hit pay dirt with Uncharted which is kind of ironic since the story follows perpetual rapscallion Nathan Drake as he hunts for treasure. The games feature spectacular visual set pieces that allow players to immerse themselves in adventures that are reminiscent of Indiana Jones at his most daring. A strong supporting cast ensures that each outing stays with you long after the credits have rolled.
Gran Turismo is the undisputed king of unadulterated car porn. With each game Sony Computer Entertainment seems to raise the bar for how absolutely realistic racing from your armchair can seem. With records like most cars in a game, largest instruction manual for a game, and highest selling game on PlayStation safely tucked under its belt, GT is firmly placed in the driver's seat as Sony's flagship game. It doesn't hurt that not a single game in the series has scored less than 80% on Metacritic. We have only game designer Kazunori Yamauchi to thank for the series' continued success.
When you think of which super powers you wish you had, super strength, X-Ray vision, or flight might all rank high on the list. Infamous gives you something much more original by putting you in the shoes of Cole, a bike messenger who can control electrical currents to devastating effect. The comic style and tight gameplay have made this a must-have for PlayStation faithfuls, and a point of envy for superhero enthusiasts shut out by the title's exclusivity.
There is a legion of fans out there who howl bloody murder whenever this little gem doesn't receive the tribute due. Not surprising, since Ico has become one of the games that always come up during the debate about whether or not games are art. The color palette and moving story have secured the game a place on countless best of lists throughout the years.
Shadow of the Colossus
Shadow of the Colossus is considered the spiritual successor to Ico – a kind of grown-up, lonelier continuation of that game's style and emotional impact. The minimalist landscapes, coupled with the puzzle solving nature of fighting the various colossi, have separated this game from the herd of hack-and-slash adventure games. A strong soundtrack also helped to establish Shadow as one of the most appreciated games of the PlayStation 2 era.
Disney and Square Enix teamed up to create one of the most celebrated collaborations in a gaming community that often responds poorly to cross-polination between beloved characters. Here the mix of Final Fantasy and Disney characters somehow worked, spawning its own merchandise, books, and soundtracks in the process. Kingdom Hearts is a winning recipe that unites two die-hard fanbases in one.
LittleBigPlanet's tagline is "Play, Create, Share" and the games do their damnedest to live up to that imperative. Narration by Stephen Fry underpins the now-indispensable Sackboy's journeys through lively landscapes and quirky problems. All of the characters are almost painfully adorable but the greatest innovation in LBP comes from how users can generate content and exchange ideas using in-game tools.
Metal Gear Solid
For those who prefer the stealthy approach, Metal Gear Solid has been providing operatic kicks since its inception in 1998. The hours of cutscenes, epic boss fights and box-based espionage have all contributed to make this one of the premier games in Sony's catalog. Why Konami decided to go multi-platform for the last two installments in the series remains a mystery but the special relationship between the developer and PlayStation used to be a major draw for gamers.
Ratchet & Clank
Ratchet and Clank are the dynamic duo that give this series its name. Together, the anthropomorphic cat and his robot companion travel the galaxy in search of opportunities for altruistic heroism. The oft oversized weaponry and wacky gadgets available to the player are a stalwart of the series while the planets visited are always a revelation.
SOCOM: U.S. Navy Seals
Long before the Osama Compound Raid made Seal Teams a household name, Zipper Interactive was busy cranking out solid online shooters that bore the elite special operations force's name. The stories were utter shit, featuring forgettable stereotypes of Russian, Chinese or Muslim extremists, but all that didn't matter when you could meet your friends online for tactical team based warfare. These days things look bleak for would-be Seals, seeing as all SOCOM servers were shut down early this year.
Devil May Cry
Perhaps the most flamboyant entry in this list, Devil May Cry has become an inspiration for cosplayers the world over and comedic fodder for everyone else. Still, the gameplay holds up and the latest installment in the franchise did attempt to redeem the series for a wider audience. We prefer the old PlayStation exclusives to the new multi-platform DMC though, because sometimes we can't help but indulge our nostalgia.
Dance Dance Revolution
Dance Dance Revolution has been helping the hapless and the adept to look absolutely ridiculous for over 15 years now. While not technically exclusive to PlayStation, Sony's was the first home console to provide dancers an outlet away from the prying eyes of the arcade. Pity the collector: It's incredible how many iterations there are.
PaRappa the Rapper
PaRappa has to be one of the quirkiest video games ever made. The titular dog, who sports a colorful Japanese interpretation of American streetwear circa 1996, tries to woo a flower-like girl by laying down sick raps at different venues. A gansta Parappa is not: His motto, "I gotta believe!" and the fact that he must first overcome the douchey nemesis who intimidates him in the beginning, make him a positive roll model for the kids.
While Resident Evil might never have been a true blue exclusive, PlayStation is the only platform on which every single entry in the main story arc has been playable from day one. With HD upgrades on the Wii and Xbox obscuring how close to total domination Sony was over the hit series, it's easy to forget that PlayStation used to be the go-to console for a series that used to be a juggernaut.
Chances are that you haven't played a TimeSplitters game before. If you have played a multiplayer shooter before though, chances are also incredibly high that you played a game that was inspired by TimeSplitters. The series (which might get a third title soon) brought the fast-paced killing sprees that PC gamers had already enjoyed for some time to consoles, allowing a whole new, less hardcore audience to spend their afternoons and nights on virtual battlegrounds.
Katamari Damacy makes very little sense at first: The object of the game is to roll an adhesive ball around the world, collecting smaller but ever-growing objects that stick together until your ball has become the size of a star. Makes sense, right? The outright lunacy of this brightly rendered universe makes this a fan favorite, as well as a major incentive for gamers to stick with PlayStation.