The story of WipEout

The Sony PlayStation launched in Europe 25 years ago today, and to mark the occasion, I interviewed the creators of WipEout, the console’s most iconic launch game. You can read the full interview on GamingBible right here, and it’s a fascinating story – particularly how the music was such a part of the game’s design from the very start.

I remember getting the PlayStation when it came out – at around £300 for just the console alone (that’s £580 in today’s money), it was the biggest birthday present I’d ever received. In fact, it ended up being a joint birthday and Christmas present, such was the extravagant expense of this new CD-based box of tricks.

Of course, the DualShock controller was still some way off in 1995 – back in my day it was all digital, none of your fancy analogue controls.

WipEout and Ridge Racer were my first two games, and it’s fair to say that they absolutely blew my 16-year-old mind. The step up from the 16-bit consoles was enormous, and we’ll never see anything quite like it again. After years of playing 2D console games, the transition to 3D was phenomenally exciting – I remember thinking that I now had an actual arcade in my living room.

WipEout in particular was absolutely unlike any games before it. This was a game designed for cool twenty-somethings, with music by A-list dance acts. This was cool. And this was definitely not for kids. Suddenly, games consoles had become something more than a toy, they were almost a lifestyle accessory.

Console launches are always exciting, but I don’t think we’ll ever see anything quite as revolutionary as the PlayStation ever again. At least until we start plugging games directly into our brains.

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