18 years of fun: Happy Birthday PlayStation

Indeed, following reports of muggings and violence at the US PS3 launch, the flagship HMV store just down the road canned its own plans for a competing midnight PS3 launch due to poorly-explained 'security fears' on Oxford Street, with a HMV rep noting at the time that they instead wanted "to launch the product in a responsible way, and after speaking with Westminster council and police, decided an early-morning launch would be the best thing to do."

Plus, HMV only gave away a free copy of Sega's sublime Virtua Tennis with its PS3s. So Virgin properly trumped them with its free Bravia stunt!

You said how much?

The most obvious 'low' with PS3 was its unfairly high launch price, which only really come down by any significant amount at the end of 2009. To price the console at £425 in the UK, in the midst of a freakin' recession, just seemed unfair.

At E3 in July 2007, Sony announced a new "Starter Pack" that included a 60GB PS3, an extra wireless Sixaxis controller and the two bestselling first party games: Resistance: Fall of Man and MotorStorm. Yet it still all seemed a bit too little, too late and gamers and games hacks alike were becoming increasingly frustrated by Sony's recalcitrance on pricing.

Sony's charismatic development boss Phil Harrison tried valiantly to defend the pricing strategy in hundreds of press interviews at the time, most often citing the added-value of the PS3's Blu-ray drive.

Getting thinner

Sony decided to reinvent the PS3 with the launch of PS3 Slim before Christmas 2009. The idea of the £250 console was that there would be far more affordable console/game bundles available coupled with some seriously big games.

PS3 slim

Still, pricing quibbles aside, the games are really what matter. And after a rather limp launch line-up, 2008 and 2009 have seen some genuine exclusive crackers. PS3 exclusives such as Little Big Planetand Killzone 2 have set benchmarks the industry looks towards. And there have been numerous others, many of which are unfairly overlooked.

"I spent a huge amount of time playing SEGA Rally (revo) on the PS3 and really enjoyed it," Bethesda's Alistair Hatch tells us, reminding us of one of the first games that really did it for us on PS3.

"InFamous as well, the sense of scale was great and I always felt like I could clear one more area before bedtime," Hatch adds."But I would say my favourite PS3 game is Uncharted. I'm a sucker for games with blue skies and lush environments. Naughty Dog did a job on it and best of all gave me the Indiana Jones gaming experience I've always wanted. Just without the hat and whip."

Majesco's John Merchant concurs, telling us that his two stand-out favourites are – much like us – "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Uncharted 2" and adding that his own personal PS3 'hardware highs' have been subscription-free online gaming and Blu-ray.

The longer-term successes of PS3's online virtual world Home and indeed Blu-ray as a home cinema format are still far from secured, mind.

2010 followed with massive triple-A games such as Gran Turismo 5 and God of War 3.

The age of super thin

Sony has followed up the PS3 Slim with the PS3 Super Slim, which we reviewed in September. It offered a slightly cheaper price in a smaller, cheaper-looking build. A good option for those yet to enter the world of PS3, but little to offer owners of older models.

Adam Hartley