The Sony PlayStation, hereafter referred to as the PS1 because it sounds cool, was Sony’s first foray into the world of video games. Built using, at the time, bleeding edge consumer technology, the PS1 is still considered one of the best CD players money can buy. A feature that the company was so keen to sell consumers on that every PS1 game sold came with a free CD. Even if you couldn’t see it.
First things first, for anyone unfamiliar with the PS1’s reputation as a god-tier CD player, we’ve actually written about that before. A short version for anyone with an aversion to clicking on blue words though is that the PS1 was crammed full of Sony’s best CD-playing technology to the point even today the audio clarity it kicks out when playing CD’s trumps that of purpose-built CD players made by Sony. Essentially the PS1 is the T-800 of CD players in that it might be old, it might be outdated but it can still kick the everloving fuck out of pretty much all of its successors through nothing but the power of being that iconic in the 90’s.
Something that was actually a bit of a trend with Sony for it’s first few consoles, with the PS2, PS3 and PS4 being regarded as some of the best (and cheapest) DVD and Blu-Ray players money could buy on release. With Sony even selling the each of the consoles at a lower price-point than their own purpose made DVD and Blu-Ray players. A move that doesn’t make sense until you consider that people buying a Blu-Ray player only give Sony money once, whereas people who buy a PlayStation will keep giving them money forever. Especially if they want to stunt on people as Stun in the Insect in Bloody Roar. A reference written solely for the staff of this site and the 4 people reading who just got a hit of nostalgia from the image below hard enough to make three Buzzfeed tabs open up in their browser.
So where do free CDs come into this? Well save for some fancy software to ensure they couldn’t be easily copied, PS1 games were essentially CDs with a game slapped on top. With that descriptor being even more accurate with later games in the console’s life-cycle.
Because of this, pretty much every PS1 game can be inserted into a CD player or even the PS1 itself in CD playing mode (it has that by the way) and be listened to like any other CD. Exactly what will play varies from game to game with most, like Tony Hawks Pro Skater and Street Fighter playing the games soundtrack from start to finish. However, some games are a little more, interesting.
For example, some Tomb Raider games will play random voice lines from the game, meaning that if you put the game into a CD player and hit random your CD player might start screaming. Though to be fair the same thing will happen if you play anything by Nickleback.
Moving on, DOOM will reportedly play nothing but demonic sounding chatter, presumably as a nod to the game’s heavy metal influences while Dead or Alive will play all of the character’s voice lines after they got their shit pushed in, in a row before playing some thumping techno.
However, there are some games that took this concept to, not even it’s logical extreme, but an extreme so far beyond what anyone would ever anticipate it’s basically chilling in the 8th dimension besides Cthulhu and his Elder God bros. This best example of this is arguably Ridge Racer because once the game has fully loaded you can open the PS1 (something you’d normally never do because it would, at best crash the game instantly and at worst, scratch it the fuck up like Freddy Krueger’s cat got a hold of it) and then put in any CD you like, even another PS1 game, and then listen to that CD while drifting around in your virtual car.
Meaning it’s entirely possible to zoom around in Ridge Racer listening to the Air Combat OST. An image so cool we’re surprised doing so wouldn’t cause the console to freeze and then immediately catch fire.