The five emotional stages of playing the PlayStation 1 with your sibling
With the exciting news that Sony is launching a PlayStation Classic console, it's only right that we cast our minds back to what it was like to own one.
Specifically, the absolutely agony that was begging your older sibling to play, then spending the entire time at their mercy, afraid that the session would end prematurely due to their boredom or dissatisfaction with what you had created to be the optimum gaming conditions.
It was a nightmare from start to finish. But it still happened once or twice a week and you never learned from the inevitable heartbreak of having the console confiscated because you couldn't keep your shit together for long enough to get a decent go at it.
Emotionally, it was difficult, so let's relive the painful memories with this throwback to your excruciating childhood.
Stage 1 - Blind Optimism
Despite eternally scrapping over such heated issues as whether the light should be on or off when you're watching telly or if chicken Kievs are tight or not, it always seemed like a good idea to play the PlayStation Classic with your sibling. There were two controllers and two of you, so very little else in your childhood brain made such crystal clear sense. You were certain that the hijinks of playing Crash Bandicoot would instil a temporary ceasefire in your never-ending war, or at the very least manage to curtail your screams of anguish to a lower volume than normal to prevent Mum from overhearing and banning you both from playing the console together for a week.
It was a sign of maturity when you and your sibling both entered into an unspoken agreement of playing the PlayStation together in an intendedly civil manner. One of you, usually the youngest, would gingerly float the idea, which was either met with a firm rejection or an immediate dibs on being player one. Anything felt possible as you raced downstairs to get the good seat first. Perhaps this will be the PlayStation session that you enter as siblings and leave as friends, you pondered. The world felt like a wholesome place and anything was possible.
Stage 2 - Sensitive Negotiations
Particularly if you were the younger sibling, it was a blessing that your older brother or sister had agreed to play with you. You were frequently ignored, shoved and even informed of your secret adoption as the only means of communication. When you successfully convinced him/her to play, it became clear very quickly that things were going to be on their terms or not at all. They got to pick the game, they got the best controller, they got to first and they decided when the session would end. Unfair as it was, you complied because it was both a privilege and an honour to be playing together, not that you'd admit it.
You could try to steer the proceedings as best you could, but they would end up getting the final say. Crash Bandicoot was always the obvious choice, but your sibling had a fondness for Spyro as well. You found Spyro to lack the excitement and erratic personality traits that Crash brought with him, so you'd pepper insults about the game into conversation. "There's a new cheat on Crash Bandicoot, I can ring my friend to get it. Spyro is a stupid big dumb baby anyway", etc. If you were successful, obviously your sibling got to go first because those were simply the rules. Even if they demanded to play Spyro, it was still a fun endeavour to be involved in, albeit slightly less fun.
Stage 3 - Mounting Tension
Giddy with power, your sibling would relish in the fact that things were firmly on their terms. He/she took liberties with the rules, refusing to hand the controller over when Crash died, changing the pre-agreed system on a whim. "Actually, it's when he runs out of lives that you get a turn, not after he loses one life", you'd be condescendingly informed, again having to restrain the temptation of going nuclear because you didn't want to spoil this momentous experience. Stuck between wanting to keep your self-respect intact and the strong desire to have a nice time playing the PlayStation, you would've signed your life away to keep the good times rolling.
Your sibling continued to do what your Mum would describe as "pushing their luck", basically running rings around any previous agreements. It became clear that you were getting far less playtime than they were, partially because you're really bad at this game but also because he/she is breathing down your neck, providing an admittedly very comical running commentary on your shortcomings as a Crash Bandicoot player. It didn't feel like a partnership anymore. For every five minutes of play you were getting, they were easily racking up 15. The TV room became a pressure cooker and you two, the boiling hot potatoes.
Stage 4 - Furious Meltdown
Inevitably, it happens. You lose your cool and forego the fear of your Mum unplugging the PlayStation because your sibling has well and truly taken the piss this time. They've been playing for thirty minutes and with a full count of lives to spare, show no signs of stopping. You're furious. This was meant to be a wholesome time for all involved, not an exhibition for your brother/sister to show off their MaD sKiLLz while revelling in your jealousy and boredom at the same time. You've had enough. You wanted an even partnership, 50/50 or nothing at all. With no concern for the repercussions, you begin to shout.
You call your sibling every word you can get away with, apart from the big three that always result in a severe punishment. You're hysterical, they're threatening to halt proceedings altogether if you don't keep your mouth shut. You can feel the bright light of day slipping away from you, in the same way a murderer probably does as they're midway through a killing and firmly in a trancelike state, shunning all warning signs their brain is sending out. Nothing can contain your fury. You've been played for a fool. Your sibling was never going to do things fairly, he/she is selfish beyond belief. You've been played, kid. This meltdown was inevitable. Hear that? It's the sound of Mum's footsteps. "You're fucked", your brother/sister says with a smile, still playing the PlayStation with admittedly great precision given the distracting circumstances unfolding.
Stage 5 - Existential Crisis
Terrific, you've just received an overwhelming bollocking from Mum, the PlayStation has been confiscated until further notice and you're confined to your room for the foreseeable future. Surely your sibling has been sentenced in a similar fashion, right? Wrong. Mum didn't hear him/her shouting, in fact, their behaviour was exemplary. Sure, they ran rings around the original agreement, slowly pushing you to the point of a meltdown, but psychological torture can't be overheard by the neighbours. Mum was out at the clothesline and your yelps could be heard all over the neighbourhood, allegedly.
Now you get to spend the evening in your room, contemplating the futility of life and whether existence is in itself a cruel prank filled with suffering, despair and not a lot else. Your sibling can still watch telly, put on a video, even go outside if there's anyone about to hang out with. But you're in juvenile prison. You didn't get a chance to air your side of the story, it was an immediate sanction without any time for rebuttals. All you wanted was a fun afternoon playing the PlayStation with your sibling, a wholesome endeavour that was intended to result in large amounts of fun for all involved. Now you're alone, sad and livid with the outcome. Life is hard, but you find solace in the fact that you, unlike Crash Bandicoot, will one day get to die for real and put an end to this tragic existence that we call life :)