Well I was playing around with SNES and PSX controller and I had a thought. Is it possible that the two consoles have some relation? They have very similar button configurations despite the fact that the Nintendo 64 and Playstation were dire competitors in a war of cartridges vs. CDs. So I decided to do some investigating in order to see for myself if the Playstation could be the true successor to the SNES.
As I said before, my first inkling that there might be a similarity between the two consoles stemmed from the controllers. At first glance, they might easily have been made by the same team s.
Both controllers have a directional pad on the left, with arrows inscribed into the controller pointing outwards of every direction. They also both have a start and select in the middle of the controller. Next they have found buttons on the right positioned similarly to the D-pad. They also have L and R buttons with only the Playstation being different because it added a second row of L and R.
Now, of course there are many differences between the controllers, and there is the saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” which I think would definitely apply here. Playstation might have just seen the cleverness of the design and decided to use it as a basis for their controllers.
But. I also suspected that the Playstation and the SNES had ties because of their legacy. Many gamers look back to the SNES as the last classic system (also as the greatest system made). Without debate, the SNES definitely had one of the greatest libraries of any console, and I think that the Playstation carried on that legacy.
Granted, the SNES had some great games, but best part was that it had a diversity. Games with the weirdest ideas or plots became addicting and brilliant. Terrangima, Earthworm Jim, Donkey Kong Country, Super Mario Kart, Gradius III, Super Mario World, Final Fantasy VI (III), Earthbound, Street Fighter II, Secret of Mana, Super Castlevania IV, Super Metroid, Chrono Trigger. These games aren’t just said with awe, they’ve become standards for every game to come after. They broke new ground in video gaming and there are few games yet that can give them a shake for it.
Now if you look at the library of the Playstation, you’ll see a similar trend. The playstation itself was placed in a great position to break ground considering it utilized an entirely new technology: the CD (Sega CD had a shot). The playstation’s own top inventive games include: Final Fantasy VII, Metal Gear Solid, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Street Fighter Alpha, Twisted Metal 2, Spyro the Dragon, Crash Bandicoot, Wild Arms, Tekken 2, Rayman, Command & Conquer, Chrono Cross, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, Tomb Raider, Grand Turismo, PaRappa the Rapper, Resident Evil, Medal of Honor, Alundra, Xenogears, Parasite Eve.
Not only were the playstation games new and diverse, but they also had many games that continued from the SNES. Castlevania, Street Fighter, and Final Fantasy notably. At this point I decided to do some research on the history of both consoles to see if I could find more ties.
A look into the hardware of the SNES of wikipedia reveals that the 8-channel SPC soundchip was made by non other than Sony. Also in the article is the truth about the origins of the playstation console: an add-on for the SNES.
Nintendo did research with Sony in 1986 in order to find out if making a CD console was a viable idea. It would be dubbed the SNES-CD, and it would be a console that played SNES cartridges and SNES-CD games along with CD games that Sony made. The problem with this was that Sony owned the rights to the format and so they would have control over all the Nintendo made SNES-CD games also, so Nintendo backed out at the last second (in 1991). Sony decided not to waste the research and chose to make their own console. Nintendo tried to sue for the rights to all of the work but lost in court. Still, Nintendo convinced Sony to keep the idea of a SNES port on the console, but even that was later dropped.
So interestingly enough, Not only was the playstation supposed to be next after the SNES, but even when plans failed, it was still supposed to play SNES games, which just about justifies the similar controller schemes to me. Now of course I don’t want to invalidate the N64, it was and will always be a great system with some legendary games, but it’s interesting to see that Nintendo was almost part of the opposing side in the: your slow loading CD with impressive graphics vs my fast loading cartidge nintendo with mario games war.