December 2015 marks 20 years since the Sony PlayStation (“PlayStation”) first launched and in true celebratory fashion, the team at PlayStation New Zealand threw together an epic night of tasty treats, slick beats, psychedelic lighting, fantastic gaming stations and loads of room to fully experience just how far PlayStation has come since the debut of the original PlayStation console in 1994.
As a long-time fan of the PlayStation consoles and having attended their media mingling event earlier this year, as well as, the Auckland Armageddon Expo, in which PlayStation made a huge impact, I had no doubt that PlayStation would put together a memorable night to celebrate their 20th anniversary. I certainly wasn’t disappointed. As I write this now, the happenings of last night is still fresh in my mind and brings a small smile to my face as I recollect all the times that PlayStation impacted my life, from childhood through to adulthood.
Now, I’m not a serious gamer. I play games for the fun of it and the bulk of the time, I play alone in singleplayer mode due simply to the fact that I’m not very competitive and, well, I’m technically still considered a ‘noob’. I’m quite happy to shoot at monsters alone, fight or race against the ‘computer’ and solve puzzles without any distractions. In saying that, I don’t feel that my being a noob hinders me from fully enjoying the vast experiences on offer by PlayStation; though I’ve been told that playing multiplayer online will only broaden my horizons.
The team at PlayStation were quite crafty with this event, sending out exclusive invites only to a select few, with no access for the wider public. This gave the event a very special feel and kept the size of attendees down, which made for more breathing room in the surprise location that was picked to host the event.
Because this was my first proper PlayStation event I didn’t quite understand what to expect and went in blind, hoping, very simply, for a good, fun night. Upon getting my invite, I was surprised to find that the address provided led me to some industrial warehouse-like buildings. Surely this wasn’t where a party, the kind PlayStation would throw, would be held? How wrong I was. Arriving at my destination, which was in fact a huge warehouse (if you’ve seen Arrow, it’s one similar to the warehouse used as Oliver Queen’s club, Verdant), I saw a huge line of people waiting to get in and security was tight, not to mention the line of snazzily dressed people waiting to get in.
As soon as the ‘doors opened’, so to speak, we were invited to write down our memories of PlayStation on a beautiful black board, which ended up looking rather eye-catching with everyone’s memories written in a variety of colours. There was also a fantastic display of the PlayStation consoles through the ages, with the 20th Anniversary limited edition PS4 console elegantly placed to capture all our attention.
The entire warehouse was kitted out with amazing lighting, from the vibrant electric blue, a colour most gamers associate with PlayStation, to a myriad of other striking colours. A notable mention would be the amazing four controller button lights spectacularly displayed on the wall behind the stage. What better way to accompany something so visually stunning than with a DJ mixing together some cool sounds to generate a buzz and create that light-hearted and fun atmosphere?
Throughout the entire space were TV screens loaded with some of our favourite video games, from Crash Bandicoot to Uncharted, along with huge gaming stations for Call of Duty: Black Ops III, Star Wars Battlefront, Street Fighter V and a preview section for a game that I’m desperate to get my hands on, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. Of course, an anniversary celebration is not complete without important pieces of history on display. On one side of the space were old television sets atop amazing bookcase like cabinets filled with various PlayStation memorabilia throughout the 20 years. It almost felt as if I was back in my uncle’s lounge, finger bashing the buttons of the old PS One controller as I attempted to defeat him in the X-Men: Mutant Academy game.
Considering it was an exclusive event, there was a fairly large crowd of people from all walks of life, from game distributors, PR and marketing execs, journalists, and even a handful of game coordinators from my favourite store, JB Hi-Fi (shout out to Mighty Ape as well because they’re awesome). I had a fantastic time mingling with people in the industry that I knew and have personally dealt with in my day job working in PR.
What I found really awesome was that the night was MC’ed by radio broadcaster, Jay Reeve, who really made an impact. I was also a little bit excited, particularly for my mother who is a bit of a fan, to see Pua Magasiva (Shortland Street) and Ben Boyce (Jono and Ben) at the event, trying out the PlayStation VR (did I mention that PlayStation had an area purely for guests to have a go on their highly anticipated Virtual Reality Headset?) and competing in the Street Fighter V tournament that was on that night.
If all that was not epic in itself, PlayStation ran competitions on the night and ended up giving away their very, very, very gorgeous 20th anniversary PS4 console, their striking Star Wars Battlefront PS4 console and Guitar Hero for PS4. I must say, I’m a little disappointed that my raffle ticket wasn’t called out for either of the consoles but, boy, just waiting for the announcement of the winner was nail-bitingly exciting.
All in all, it was a fantastic night and PlayStation really outdid themselves in throwing one memorable bash. Big props to the team at Eleven PR for organising the event and to Krister Robinson and his team, the legends behind PlayStation New Zealand’s continued success.