As the name suggests, PlayStation Anthology is your ultimate guide to Sony’s revolutionary games console. Crowdfunded in 2017 via Kickstarter, the chunky 440-page hardback tome gives fans an in-depth look into the birth of PlayStation and how it became a cultural phenomenon, reshaping the video game industry.
Books of this nature, focussing on older platforms as well as specific games and franchises, are growing more common. However, unlike most, PlayStation Anthology tries to squeeze in as much information as possible instead of filling its pages with pretty screenshots and graphics. Spanning more than a hundred pages, the first section details the PlayStation’s conception through to its ongoing legacy in meticulous detail.
The authors – Fabien Mellado, Mathieu Manent, Antoine Clerc-Renaud, and Franck Latour – have sewn together a patchwork of research material, creating a rich tapestry that has a story-like chronology. They also try and contextualise the PlayStation’s meteoric rise through a wider lens, commenting on how it changed Sony as a company and the video game industry at large.
Any book of this type demands a deft balancing act to pull off successfully. PlayStation Anthology is packed with facts, figures, and a catalogue of images, though all this information can be hard to digest at times. PlayStation Anthology opens with a fairly lengthy and dry probe into Sony’s history that, while necessary to the story, doesn’t make for a fun read. Needless to say, it doesn’t boast a Masters of Doom level of enthralling narrative though the focus is much, much wider.
An even bigger section of the book is dedicated to many of the pioneers and key creators of the PlayStation era, including designers, composers, and artists. This includes discussions with Eidos co-founder, Ian Livingstone, Naughty Dog’s Jason Rubin, Charles Cecil, Katsuhiro Harada, and many more. These help zero in on specific companies, games, and franchises that blossomed during those early PlayStation years.
There’s also a dozen or so pages listed cancelled or unreleased PS1 games. However, this comes after another meaty section centred around PlayStation hardware and collectibles. From rare controllers and accessories to bizarre promotional bundle packs, there’s an extensive archive of many hard-to-find pieces of PlayStation history that collectors will find particularly interesting.
Walking the line between coffee table page turner and full-on encyclopedia, PlayStation Anthology acts as a one-stop shop for those eager to delve into the console’s history. The presentation and writing can be a little inconsistent in spots (there are quite a few layout and typographical blunders found throughout) but these are easily overlooked thanks to the wealth and quality of information printed within its pages.
PlayStation Anthology is available to buy now from FunStock.