Hello everyone! It’s Sabrina. I realise this topic is probably pretty niche at this point, but today I wanted to talk about my favourite Playstation 1 games and recommend you some books that (pretty loosely) relate to them. Playing video games was one of my favourite things to do as a young kid, and I have continued to play the majority of these PS1 games throughout my lifetime. There’s not many things that I can honestly say I enjoyed as a child that I still enjoy today, so these games have special significance to me and this post has been comforting and fun to write. I hope you get something out of it!
SPYRO: GATEWAY TO GLIMMER
I figured I would talk about this game first, since it is one I have already talked about on the blog (back when I was playing through the Reignited trilogy!) and it will forever be my favourite game in the universe. It is a bright, fun game where you play as a little purple dragon named Spyro and try to defeat Ripto, who has taken over the world of Avalar. You have to collect gems, orbs and talismans and basically solve all of Avalar’s problems. One of the main things I love about it is the design – there are so many worlds to explore and they all have different and creative scenery along with fun side quests and characters.
My book recommendation for this is A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer. It features a kingdom that’s under the influence of a beast instead of its proper rulers that needs to be saved. Just like Spyro is transported to Avalar instead of to his planned holiday on Dragon Shores, Harper is taken to Emberfall against her will. Both are outsiders expected to fix the problems of a world that is not their own.
SPIDER-MAN & SPIDER-MAN 2: ENTER ELECTRO
I’m not kidding when I tell you I can quote whole sections of these games. I’ve seen the same cut scenes so many times because I choose my favourite levels to play over and over again (of course I had to use cheat codes to do that, though). These games obviously follow Spider-Man – as he tries to stop different villains and their evil schemes. They’ve got a bit of everything including action, adventure, puzzles and humour, plus you can just swing around the city if you feel like it. They’re the main reason Spider-Man is my favourite superhero, so even though I don’t play them all the way through, they’re on my favourites list.
Soulless by Gail Carriger is my choice to compare to this game. While the focus of the Spider-Man games is on New York, Soulless takes place around London – two major cities, even if they are different ones. Both stories involve some humour as well as strange science experiments that need to be ended. Another reason I compared these two is that they both have a variety of characters that appear in other stories – in Soulless’ case, in spinoff series and in Spider-Man’s case, elsewhere in the Marvel universe.
CRASH BANDICOOT: WARPED
I must admit I like watching this game a lot more than I enjoy playing it myself. It has only about five levels that I actually like to play! But the scenery is so cool and the soundtrack is fun as well. The basic premise of this game is that crystals have been scattered throughout time and you, playing as either Crash or Coco, have to travel through time to collect them before the bad guys do. My favourite levels are the ones where Coco rides a tiger along the Great Wall of China and the ones set in ancient Egypt.
This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone is my pick for this game. Of course this is mainly because they both feature time travel, but they also both have a wide variety of settings.
This is a racing game based off the TV show and it is so much fun! Not only do you have special abilities, like attacks, flying and shields, there are also a bunch of shortcuts. The interesting thing about the shortcuts though is that some are better than others, some require certain power-ups and some are, as far as I have been able to tell, red herrings. Unfortunately my disc has started peeling, so I have to be careful and not play it too often.
For this game, I’ve chosen The 39 Clues series! It too includes a variety of characters (that could be seen as caricatures, like those in the Wacky Races game) and a bunch of twists and turns. It’s a race for each team to find the clues first and most teams are not above attacking the others or doing otherwise dodgy things.
TOY STORY 2
In this game, you play as Buzz Lightyear and sort of follow the events of the movie. There are a lot more locations though, and they all have different side goals – which reward you with Pizza Planet tokens. Exploring the levels is a lot of fun as well as seeing all the characters from the movie, plus a bunch of new ones. My favourite memory from playing this game as a kid is discovering on the internet that apparently, there is a secret room in the first level that you can access if you collect a certain number of coins. Well friends, my family all had several goes at this and can confirm that the secret room is a myth!
I was really struggling to pick a book for this one, but I have gone with She Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick. It’s been a really long time since I read this book and honestly I don’t remember all that much about it (I did give it 4 stars though!), but I believe it was focused around a rescue mission – a girl and her younger brother looking for their father who has gone missing. Toy Story 2 is after all ultimately about a rescuing Woody.
TONY HAWK’S PRO SKATER
This game, unlike most of the others I’ve talked about, shines most in multiplayer mode, in my opinion. It’s of course all about skateboarding, but in multiplayer you don’t just have to get the highest score from doing tricks (or find the collectibles), there are a couple of other games as well – Horse and Graffiti. You can also play Tag, but I think that is in the sequels, not this one specifically. I love the soundtrack and you can catch me listening to it on Spotify even today. But overall, nothing beats the feeling of landing an awesome trick.
I was going to say, I don’t think I’ve read any books that feature skateboarding, but Splintered by A.G. Howard does, doesn’t it? It’s not one of my most-liked books though, so I am choosing something else 😛 Because I’ve said that I enjoy the multiplayer aspect of the game most, I am choosing my most recent favourite book with multiple perspectives: A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi. This also works because the book features small quests undertaken by the characters, which is an aspect of the single player gameplay in Tony Hawk’s.
This game is based off the 2000 movie, so that should give you a decent idea of the tone of it. You play as The Grinch himself and play some mostly harmless pranks on the town while looking for lost blueprints and destroying presents. You can also run around as Max the dog which is fun! I think I’ve said this about almost every game (and if I haven’t, I should have) but I love the music in this and it really adds to the atmosphere.
I considered simply picking a book that revolves around Christmas for my recommendation, but I’ve instead chosen Incarnate by Jodi Meadows. The main character is an outcast from the utopian city because she is a Newsoul – someone who was not reincarnated like everyone else. They’re also all part of an intense religion that is centred around their reincarnation, so the main character is seen as an abomination by most people. I think this can be related to some extent with the Grinch’s relationship with Whoville.
PETER PAN: RETURN TO NEVERLAND
My brother and I would never have got through this game if it wasn’t for my mum – she’s the only one who could beat Captain Hook! This game is based off the Disney movie, and it gets so difficult. I can’t even get through the whole thing now. You play as Peter Pan, of course, and you have to collect feathers and save the Lost Boys from pirates. My favourite thing about it is the secret areas that are really well hidden. You never know if you’re going to fly into a giant rock, or if there’s a hidden passage behind it.
My choice for this book is none other than Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson, a gorgeously written Peter Pan retelling. It’s a very sad book, so it doesn’t match with the tone of the game, but I still think it is worth a read!
E.T.: INTERPLANETARY MISSION
I cannot stress enough to you how much this game scares me. There are some absolutely terrifying alien creatures in this game, not to mention the weird noises E.T. makes. The sound effects alone make me feel uneasy, and like something is waiting around the corner to attack me (because there usually is something waiting around to corner to attack you in this game). Still, I love it. You play as E.T. as they traverse the universe collecting flowers and stunning or running away from enemies. Of all the creatures in the universe, you’d think some of them would be friendly, but no, all of them want to kill you.
I couldn’t pick anything other than Saga for my recommendation to go with this game. There are so many different aliens in that graphic novel series and there are a lot of different planets as well. The main family just wants peace, and I think – and hope – that’s what E.T. is after too.
What do you think?
Have you played any of these games before? Did you ever own a Playstation? Have you read any of these books? let me know!