In 1994, Sony launched a system that took the video game industry by storm. 21 years and four home consoles later, PlayStation is still going strong, but how much do you really know about the world-dominating brand? Here are 10 tidbits of trivia that might just surprise you...
1. There's sound logic behind the controller's button layout
Anyone who thought the four button shapes were chosen merely for their aesthetic value isn't giving Sony enough credit. The O and X buttons correspond to 'yes' and 'no,' which is why X was often a cancel command in Japanese games. The square was intended to mimic a piece of paper, corresponding to menu-based commands, whereas the triangle represented the player's point of view.
2. 236 PlayStation consoles = 1 PS Vita
That's right — it would take 236 PS1 consoles to match the processing power of the mighty Vita. Such is technology's unrelenting progress.
3. The PS2 was officially classed as a 'military weapon'
In 2000 it was widely reported that Saddam Hussein was stockpiling PS2s, using its hardware to contribute to the war effort. The console was actually subjected to an export ban from Japan to stop him from doing so.
4. NASA used a PS1 to power a space probe
The New Horizons space probe, which flew by Pluto last year, is powered by the original PlayStation's CPU, re-purposed to “fire thrusters, monitor sensors, and transmit data.”
5. Its original mascot was pretty darn terrifying
This rather menacing disembodied head, christened "Polygon Man," was once intended to be the console's official mascot... until Sony presumably realized he was more likely to give kids nightmares than sell consoles.
6. Sony took a massive hit on PS3 prices
Even though its debut price tag was set at an astronomical $599, the PS3 put Sony at a $300 loss each time one was sold. Sony made this sacrifice for the first three years so it could build an install base, hoping to recoup money via software sales.
7. A superfan legally changed his name to 'Mr. PlayStation 2'
Ultra-dedicated gamer Dan Holmes took on his new name in 2002, bolstered by some rather questionable reasoning:
"Most blokes say the love of their life is a girlfriend or wife but I don't have one, so mine is my PlayStation. Everyone ribs me about it, so it seemed natural to change my name."
8. Black PS1 discs were printed to tackle piracy
Not only did these black discs look totally badass, they also prevented pirates from copying the data burned to them.
9. The PS2's white tower intro isn't random
The dreamy, mist-enveloped visuals in the console's boot up sequence are trippy to say the least, but did you know that it changes based on your library? The more games you played on your PS2, the more white towers appeared from the mysterious abyss.
10. Sony accidentally wiped its customers' memory cards
In 2004 the company made a serious blunder, issuing PS2 demo discs that unexpectedly erased an entire memory card without warning. Thanks, Sony!
Got any great PlayStation trivia?