With the announcement of Spyro’s triumphant return, the PlayStation nostalgia train seems to be firing on all pistons. Sony fans everywhere are longingly looking into their past and remembering the good times, where it all began – the PlayStation 1. Boasting one of the best video game libraries of any console to date and peaking at a time where creativity reigned, multiple blockbuster franchises were born out of Sony’s maiden console. Offering greater possibilities than ever before, the now-iconic box opened up a whole new world of possibilities.
Competition was fierce as high-quality titles were released on a constant basis throughout the PlayStation’s 11 year lifespan. As a result, many great games failed to reach the upper echelons of the lifetime sales chart, but unlike in recent generations, this did not make them failures, just less successful products.
Here are eight PlayStation games that surprisingly didn’t quite make it into the top 20 best sellers.
1. Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage
Sales: 3.45 million
Most sequels outsell their predecessors, yet Spyro never followed this trend. His original outing shipped almost 5 million copies but when he returned a year later, sales were down over 30%; this is in direct contrast to a certain bandicoot who continued to move from strength to strength with each release. Ripto’s Rage built upon everything its predecessor excelled in and expanded the formula; why this widely recognised improvement did not translate to sales is anyone’s best guess.
Sales: 3.20 million
Driver gave players the opportunity to sample the Grand Theft Auto experience (well the vehicular part anyway) years before GTA caught up. The ability to drive around various cities, causing havoc on the roads was an unusual and alluring proposition for the time. Few games before had offered such freedom behind the wheel (that is, if you could get past the crazy difficult driving test at the start) and so you’d think this would have propelled the title into the commercial elite. Surprisingly, despite more than decent sales, this one missed the cut.
3. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2
Sales: 3.15 million
As one of the highest rated games of all time, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 is as close to perfection as the skateboarding genre has ever come, yet similarly to Spyro 2 it failed to outsell its much more simplistic predecessor. The game was bigger, better and more refined, but this didn’t stop it commercially stumbling behind its older brother. Still, Activision would give an arm and a leg for a skateboarding game to produce sales like this in 2018.
4. Crash Team Racing (CTR)
Sales: 2.2 million
With Gran Turismo topping the PlayStation’s sales chart and Crash Bandicoot registering multiple entries in the top 20, you would think a combination of the two would be more than appreciated. While the game still sold well for a spin off, it’s surprising not to see CTR register bigger numbers, especially taking into account just how popular Crash was in the 90s and the tremendous sales of Mario Kart on the Nintendo 64.
5. Silent Hill
Sales: 2.0 million
For an original IP, Silent Hill was a resounding success. However, when compared to its once removed cousin, Resident Evil, sales couldn’t keep up. Resi ruled the roost in the horror genre and this was reflected in sales of the first 3 games, 1 of which did manage to break into the top 20 (Resident Evil 2, ofc). Whether it was because it followed the path Resi layed out or because its brand of horror was slightly more niche, Silent Hill just couldn’t keep up with the competition.
Sales: 1.85 million
As the world’s first 3D Spider-Man game, it’s surprising to see how few copies Neversoft’s top-notch effort managed to sell. With strong reviews and a rabid fan base, Spiderman should have easily made an impact on the top 20. Although the game released before the film series reignited mainstream interest, it’s still relatively surprising to see a good superhero game struggle to reach the 2 million sales mark, particularly at a time when less well received licensed titles were selling in excess of 4 million units.
7. Medal of Honor
Sales: 1.64 million
Medal of Honor was a revolution of its time. As one of the first military FPS games to really popularise the genre, it made massive waves, showcasing the technological prowess of the PlayStation, and more importantly, its ability to bring ‘realistic’ battlefields to life. Few games simulated war quite as well as Medal of Honor. Strangely enough, this daring adventure into the 20th century didn’t capture gamers’ attention and this was reflected in its sales. It could have been the relative lack of maturity of the genre (people didn’t yet know they wanted to shoot 20th century army men in the face) or perhaps just a lack of care from an audience that wanted fantasy, whatever the case, Medal of Honor’s sales were underwhelming for such an iconic title.
8. Grand Theft Auto 2
Sales: 1.45 million
Grand Theft Auto is a phenomenon, but it wasn’t always the powerhouse it is today. Believe it or not, there was a time when it was just another face in the crowd. Boasting unusual top down gameplay mechanics (that have rarely been reproduced to this day), the game courted controversy as players were given the opportunity to mow down civilians and earn points while doing it. Despite outselling the original significantly, Grand Theft Auto 2 failed to come close to competing with the big dogs of the generation. If only they knew back then what we know now.