20 years ago, the PlayStation first launched in North America. The unassuming, gray boxy machine, launched on the heels of a massive launch campaign by a company that was assumed to have no actual experience with the industry, and thus expected to be trounced by Nintendo and Sega’s offerings, went on to forever change the face of gaming. What PlayStation did continues to resound to this day, and the modern gaming industry is shaped by the PlayStation, and its paradigm shifting games.

BIRTHDAY THREAD Credit: The Amazing charizard1605

The PlayStation was a paradigm shifting console. Effects of everything that it did continue to reverberate through the industry to this day. It is impossible to quantify and explain just how much PlayStation actually managed to do in its extraordinarily fruitful life. Some of its biggest achievements include:

The modern controller: Two handles, a D-pad, two analog sticks, four face buttons, four shoulder buttons. Quick, which controller am I talking about? That’s right, it could be any of them. And it all started here, with the very first PlayStation, and its DualShock design.
Optical Media: You know how your PS4 uses Blu Rays? How your Xbox 360 used DVDs? How your Gamecube used whatever the hell those small discs are called? You know the reason for that? It can all be traced to Sony’s little box that could. Lots of CD ROM based consoles had released, and crashed and burned before the PlayStation. It took Sony’s original console to show the world just how the CD ROM format could actually benefit gaming, and lead to an expansion of the medium beyond its arcade roots.
Media functionality: Expecting your console to do something other than just play games is second nature today, but it all started with the original PlayStation, and its support for audio CDs in addition to game discs.
Gaming is not just for kids: The PlayStation was when gaming grew up, where it became a legitimate medium of storytelling rather than just a hobby. Games grew more sophisticated, they started to tell real stories, and they started to emotionally engage their players- which is something that anybody who spent dozens of hours trying to bring Aerith back in Final Fantasy VII will attest to.
Third parties: The entire modern third party model owes itself to Sony- low licensing fees, a mass production friendly storage format, lax (if any) content restrictions, and promoting headlining third party games side by side with first party offerings is a concept that was pioneered by Sony and the PlayStation. Using the artist and label model of the music industry, Sony was able to inculcate and grow talent in the industry at large, beyond just the confines of their own studios.
Some of gaming’s biggest franchises: Resident Evil. Metal Gear Solid. Grand Theft Auto. Tekken. Ridge Racer. WipEout. Persona. Gran Turismo. These are just a few among the many, many, many mainstays of modern gaming that all had their start on PlayStation- which is to say nothing of just how the modern incarnation of so many franchises, such as Final Fantasy or Castlevania, which all trace themselves back to PlayStation.
Gaming expanded: Long before the Wii, the original PlayStation was the first system to ever expand gaming beyond just the confines of its traditional audience. With over 100 million systems sold worldwide, the PlayStation appealed to just about everybody, no matter their style or preference- a feat that its successors would continue to pull off over the coming years.