Wipeout Odyssey: The History of Anti-Grav PlayStation Racing

A nostalgic look into the Wipeout series on the original PlayStation

It was 1995. My friend's Dad was an audio engineer.

His garage had been converted into a musical, technological den of sorts - soundproofed and everything. What went on inside you didn't hear from outside. There was musical instrumentation, synthesisers, amplifiers and speakers.

Lots, and lots of speakers. One portion of the wall was floor-to-ceiling sound, enough to create a powerful and immersive sonic experience for anyone within the environs.

There were a couple of PCs too, large, beige and beastly. Coincidentally, this was where I'd play Doom without knowing a lot about it, but that's a story for another time.

On nights when my friend's dad was working, we'd sneak into this den. We were never explicitly told not to, but still, it felt like we were crossing a boundary in some respects.

If you're a professional audio engineer, you don't want kids potentially messing about with your gear, right?

The only way to play. A CRT is perfect, whatever the size. Source: u/lucashenrr

Touching the costly gear was out of the question, we were well aware of the consequences. What really caught our eye was the PlayStation connected to the Sony TV in the corner, which I reckon was about a 20-incher.

Not too big, not too small. The goldilocks size of CRT for the discernable gamer.

I wished I could've said, "There she is. The gateway to all that is righteous in video gaming," before turning on the TV, but let's be real, I wasn't that cool. Instead, I awkwardly hovered around with fingers dusted in Cheeto residue, while my friend's dad probably sensed a disturbance in the force.

I dusted my fingers off and picked up the control pad.

I had a PlayStation of my own, so this wasn't an entirely new experience, but placing that pad in my hand felt right. It primed my brain, activated my posture and set me up for an immersive gaming session, like slipping into a familiar pair of trainers.

Sony has a long history of good design, and the original PlayStation controller and subsequent releases are part of that legacy.

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The glaring slab of glass in front of me was no average Sony TV. It was leagues better than what we had in our house. Trinitron, I think. But that wasn't the most interesting thing about it.

No, it was the towering monolithic structures on either side of the TV that sparked my curiosity about what we were about to experience.

This TV was hooked up to the most ridiculous set of stereo speakers I'd ever seen in my life. I didn't know a great deal about audio equipment then, so I just sort of assumed "large is loud".

Little did I know just how dizzying and hedonistic this experience would be. Source: Sony

And loud it was.

When booting up the PlayStation for the first time, the famous Sony Computer Entertainment logo appeared and resonated through every molecule in my body, vibrating intensely, threatening to relax my bowels and put an end to this experience prematurely.

It was intense.