When the original PlayStation was launched in Japan in 1994, Sony was seen as a major underdog, entering the console race with the already-established Nintendo and Sega. In the hype leading up to the beginning of what is now commonly referred to as console gaming's "fifth generation," the PlayStation was considered a longshot at best against what were sure to be the main big players of that era: The Nintendo 64 and the Sega Saturn.
It barely even took two years for the PlayStation to establish dominance over its competition, delivering Nintendo its greatest competitive blow to date as well as playing a major role in the beginning of the end of Sega as a hardware manufacturer. Such was PlayStation's market share and its establishment among gamers that its successor, the PlayStation 2, was one of the first consoles that was nearly impossible to get for months after its launch. Over 150 million consoles sold later and the PS2 remains the best-selling console of all time by a virtually untouchable margin.
Fast forward to the PlayStation 4, which has sold a remarkable 70+ million hardware units during an era when console and non-mobile gaming is supposedly on life support, and it's clear that PlayStation is one of the biggest and most enduring brands in all of gaming-- if not pop culture in general. And what do we do to a property that is that successful and beloved? We affectionately poke fun at it, of course!
One thing Sony has struggled with at times, especially in comparison to rival Nintendo, is a lack of true first-party games and franchises. This has particularly been true in the last two console generations, as skyrocketing development costs and the need for teams of hundreds of people working on a game for several years has led to a serious downsizing of Sony's once-packed portfolio of first-party characters and series. It has led a lot of people to accuse the PlayStation brand of lacking the personality that it used to have.
One Sony franchise that has stuck around, though, is God of War.
As a matter of fact, God of War recently made its triumphant return for the first time on the PS4-- not counting the remaster of PS3 original God of War III-- in a sort-of sequel, sort-of reboot that has already garnered buzz of it being among the greatest games of this generation (if not all time). And while it's an extremely serious, heavy-handed game as all entries in the franchise have been, that doesn't mean that the internet hasn't still been flooded with memes and jokes related to Kratos' latest adventure.
This comic calls back to a classic PSA that was inescapable to late-80s and early-90s watchers of kids' television, where a boy is caught with illegal substances by his father and, after the dad repeatedly presses his son on where he learned that behavior, he dramatically blurts out, "From you, alright!? I learned it by watching you!"
Comic by Insanity In A Box.
There is no denying that video games look incredible these days. Those of us who are old enough to remember when video games were literally comprised of two lines and a dot couldn't have possibly fathomed of a time when a game looked and sounded almost indistinguishable from a Hollywood movie. That said, the progress of video game visuals has definitely taken mere steps forward over the last decade or so, whereas at one time, every few years meant massive leaps in video game graphics.
There are certain games that have been released throughout video game history that were seen as new benchmarks in video game visuals and to anyone who was gaming in the late-90s, one of those benchmarks was definitely Final Fantasy VII. The first time we saw that cinematic shot of Midgar in commercials for FFVII, we knew that the future had arrived. Of course, that shot was taken during a non-playable cinema from that game, with the actual playable sections not looking nearly as impressive. But it didn't take long for real-time graphics to catch up with what was once only the domain of CG cutscenes.
By the time of the PS3, however, there was a lot less higher to go in terms of graphics. The jump from PS2 to PS3 wasn't half as mind-blowing as the one from PS1 to PS2. As far as PS3 to PS4, the upgrade is best compared to an already-gorgeous persom just getting a slightly nicer haircut.
Comic by Joyreactor.
18 Baby Mama Drama
It has become a platform game staple: there are certain characters or animals that run around a level and you have to chase them down-- often without being able to make a single mistake-- and catch them to get whatever collectible they are holding. Like most platforming tropes, it was invented by Mario by way of those annoying rabbits in Super Mario 64 (and has returned in almost every Mario game since, though sometimes you chase something different-- like Shadow Mario or Nabbit-- instead). Spyro replicated the mechanic with those infamous egg-stealing wizards.
In the Spyro the Dragon games, the chase sequences are even more intense than they are in Mario and require you to charge at the wizards at full speed, navigate your character with near-flawless accuracy, and try to figure out subtle little shortcuts with which to gain those precious few seconds you need to catch the wizards. Eventually, things escalate to the point where you're adding jumping and speed pads to the mix. It definitely requires some serious twitch gaming skills and a lot of players end up finishing the games with those being their only uncollected eggs.
This comic offers a nice bit of catharsis for anyone who has ever struggled to catch one of those slippery wizards, having one get a little karmic payback for being such a pain in the dragon butt.
Comic by Kaleidoscopic.
17 I'm Blue, Ba Ba Dee, Ba Ba Daa
Once consoles started to have standby modes and soft power-downs, they began to have little lights on the front of them that would stay on indefinitely. As anyone with multiple consoles in their bedroom or has fallen asleep in a console-filled living room can attest to, it kind of feels like sleeping in a spaceship with all the little lights that the consoles emit in a darkened room. It's the modern version of the blinking "12:00" on the face of VCRs that were the landmark of 80s and 90s households. Speaking of which, were VCRs really that hard to set the time on or were we all just too lazy to bother?
With the PlayStation 4, video game console light emission has reached a new extreme now that the controllers also have their own sources of light. Coupled with the "blue light" that television, phone, and tablet screens radiate, and we're constantly being bombarded with blue lights, both in our waking hours and while we sleep. While it'll likely never have as extreme of an effect on us as is suggested in this funny comic, it can't possibly be good for us to be soaked in blue lights for as many hours a day as we are.
16 Impractical Joker
Not since Sega introduced the world to a lightning-fast, 'tude-filled blue hedgehog named Sonic has any console maker given Nintendo as serious a run for their platformer money as PlayStation. In the PS1 days, the PlayStation introduced the world to Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon, which maybe didn't have the impact of the legendary Super Mario 64, but certainly made their own significant marks in the world of platform games.
Due to some legal entanglements, neither Crash nor Spyro were actually owned by Sony and therefore were never truly first-party characters.
Not wanting to repeat this oversight, Sony got the makers of those games to make new platform stars for the PS2 that would be 100% PlayStatione exclusive, and thus we were introduced to Jak & Daxter and Ratchet & Clank. And while Jax fizzled out after a few years, R&C is still going strong as one of PlayStation's key franchises.
What has always set R&C apart from the likes of Mario is its sense of mischief, with Ratchet able to use weapons that troll his enemies as much as dispatch of them. There really isn't much point to turning your foes into sheep or forcing them to dance, but who cares whether it "makes sense" or not? Funny is funny.
Comic by Creative Uncut.
15 A Valid Point
One bit of video game history that seems to keep repeating itself is the hubris of a console maker leading them to make serious missteps that hurt them in subsequent generations. Nintendo infamously treated its third-party publishers poorly during the NES and SNES eras and caused many of them to jump ship and develop for the PlayStation instead of the Nintendo 64. Then, after Sony led the console world by a considerable margin for two straight generations with the PlayStation and PlayStation 2, respectively, they got the idea that they could get away with charging a wallet-busting $600 for the PS3-- which ended up sending a lot of their potential buyers to buy the cheaper Xbox 360 instead. Microsoft then pulled similar boneheaded moves after the massive success of the Xbox 360.
Going into the most recent hardware generation having proven itself as a viable console after the moderate success of the original Xbox, the Xbox 360's 80+ million in hardware sales had given Microsoft the idea that it could make bold, controversial moves and have its user base unquestioningly go along with them. Features such as requiring the console to always be connected to the internet, as well as initially not giving consumers the option to buy a console without a Kinect had potential Xbox One buyers balking.
After that disastrous initial unveiling, all Sony really had to do to position the PS4 as the more attractive console is point out all the ways that it wasn't the Xbox One.
Comic by Nerf Now.
14 Stay In Your Lane, Girl
One of the things that we miss about the video game industry of the 90s is all of the wild, quirky, creative video games that even major publishers were willing to get behind. These days, the more niche-type games are typically reserved for indie titles-- but on the original PlayStation, you could have totally bizarre titles like No One Can Stop Mr. Domino and Incredible Crisis be passed off as legitimate, full-priced, mainstream games sold at big-box stores like Sears or Wal-Mart.
A favorite among PlayStation owners-- and proof that gamers of the 90s were much more open to taking a gamble on crazy game concepts-- was PaRappa the Rapper. In that wonderfully weird title, you are a dog who has rap battles with a bizarre cast of characters that include an onion-headed karate sensei, in situations ranging from learning to bake a "seafood cake" to having to rap your way to the front of a bathroom line.
One of PaRappa's most memorable levels was the driving test stage, featuring a command-barking moose instructor. This comic takes that stage and drops Lammy into it instead, star of underappreciated PaRappa sequel UmJammer Lammy. Lammy tries to use her musical weapon of choice-- a guitar-- as a way to pass the hip hop driving test. Clearly, her instructor is not a fan of rap-rock.
Comic by ItalianShorty.
13 Pushing His Buttons
As video game characters get ever-closer to looking, moving, and sounding like real people, the fact that we control them with button presses on a controller begins to feel more and more creepy. Moving Tetris blocks or even leading Mario around with game controllers is one thing-- but using a d-pad, analog stick, and buttons with shapes drawn on them in order to command characters to do incredibly serious acts just feels off the more you think about it. This strange disconnect eventually leads to infamously odd moments like Call of Duty's "Press X to pay respects," or pressing a button to heart-wrenchingly call for your missing child in Heavy Rain.
While very much a traditional video game series in many respects, the Uncharted franchise is one such example of how bizarre it can be to use contextual button presses to do very intense things. With how lifelike the characters are and how naturally they communicate, it isn't at all hard to imagine a scenario where Nathan Drake turns around, looks out at the player, and asks why he is being made to do such over-the-top things by way of pressing buttons with squares and triangles emblazoned onto them. Just do what you're told, Drake. All it takes is one flick of the ol' analog stick and we can send you hurtling over the nearest cliff. Again.
Comic by Joe Dunn.
12 There's One In Every Group
While it seems to have faded into obscurity a bit in recent years, Little Big Planet was once one of the most buzzed-about franchises in the PlayStation family. A platform game that lets you build your own levels on the fly, it was revolutionary in how much customization it allowed for, especially for a console game. It's easy to make the case that later games like Super Mario Maker wouldn't exist if it weren't for the DIY trail first blazed by LBP all those years ago.
Another aspect of LBP that Nintendo was soon after emulating was co-op.
No, LBP wasn't technically the first platform game in history to ever offer cooperatively play, but it was definitely the first modern game to allow for up to four players to tackle a traditional platform game together in the way that we know platform co-op today. Now, when a 2D platformer doesn't have co-op it seems out of place, and we have LBP to thank for that.
That said, with co-op play comes the potential for people to really muck things up for their friends. Co-op platform games are notorious frenemy creators, as a tight-knit group of friends can easily be at each others' throats after one missed jump or overzealous power-up grab. This comic wonderfully illustrates a version of this, in a way that would only make sense to seasoned LBP vets.
Comic by GG-Guys.
11 Bringing Fireballs To A Knife Fight
Speaking of Nintendo borrowing from Sony and vice-versa, the world was quick to call out the latter for relative plagiarism when it released PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, a game with a title so long that you need to stop and have a sandwich halfway through saying it. More to the point, it was accused of ripping of the Smash Bros. series by pitting various PlayStation characters-- and some third-party guest stars-- against each other in an arena fighting game much in the same style as Nintendo's own popular series.
Nintendo didn't actually invent the concept of a company taking its stable of characters and pitting them against each other in an ensemble fighting game-- both SNK and Sega had already done similar things several years before the first Super Smash Bros. game by way of King of Fighters and Fighters Megamix, respectively. But as it tends to go, Nintendo may not have done it first, but it did it best, and Smash was immediately the new gold standard by which all future games of its type would be compared to and styled after.
So Sony didn't bother trying particularly hard to hide the Smash influences in Battle Royale, because why would they? Either way, no matter where you fall on this issue, one thing is hard to dispute-- Kratos would make pretty short work of Mario if the two ever faced each other in battle.
Comic by RandomDC3.
10 But They Look So Pretty
When Gran Turismo was released for the PlayStation in 1997, it ushered in a whole new era of racing video games. Compared to other racing games of the era, which would sometimes have as few as three tracks and only a handful of unique cars (generally fictional ones), Gran Turismo offered a previously-unheard of 11 photorealistic (for the time) tracks and 140 cars, all not only real-world vehicles but meticulously modeled after the real versions,-- down to minute details that only the biggest of gearheads would appreciate (or even notice).
At first, nobody really gave Gran Turismo much grief for its cars not amassing physical damage during races, since we were all too giddy with having over 100 real cars to play with to care. But as the series went on, and started to get some legitimate competition in the racing sim front, Gran Turismo's flaws got harder to ignore. Especially after the release of the Burnout series, which saw cars dent and crumble with startling realism, to go back to Gran Turismo where cars can get in head-on collisions and drive away without a scratch started has started to enter serious uncanny valley territory.
Beyond that, just knowing that your cars can't ever take any real damage seriously diminishes the stakes that are inherent in racing, turning Gran Turismo races into glorified rounds of bumper cars.
9 The Least Of Us
PlayStation's lineup of exclusive franchises includes some of the most intense, serious video games in history. The two primary examples of this are the brutal God of War series, and the heartbreaking The Last of Us, one of the most compelling works of post-apocalyptic fiction of all time, video games or otherwise.
But nothing is ever too heavy to be made the focus of a parody, as proved by the comic series The Least of Us.
Artist Tom Gould handily proves that through The Least of Us, which is a comedic take on what he imagines might have transpired in the stretches of time between all of the major events of the video game The Last of Us. Across nearly 50 different strips, The Least of Us imagines Ellie as a lover of cheap puns, sees Joel and Tess bicker like a married couple on a sitcom, lets characters fight off stalkers with well-timed zingers, and playfully mocks the game's various plot and logic holes. It's highly recommended for fans of the game who can also appreciate it being made light of, and the entire run is collected on Gould's DeviantArt page. Here's hoping he starts it back up again with the release of the game's sequel (whenever that ends up being). Gould has also done similarly-styled comic parodies of Life is Strange and The Walking Dead that are worth checking out.
Comic by TheGouldenWay.
8 Backward Incompatibility
PlayStation 4 can count among its exclusives God of War, Horizon Zero Dawn, Bloodbourne, Uncharted 4, Ratchet & Clank, Infamous: Second Son, Shadow of the Colossus, Yakuza 6, and MLB: The Show. That's on top of all the great multiplatform games that call the PS4 home. To think that the system was ever accused of having "no games" seems absurd-- but in its early days, that was among the most common complaints leveled against the console (particularly from Xbox fans, of course).
But this comic isn't just a callback to those early, allegedly game-free PS4 days-- it also draws attention to another major issue people had with the system then, one that still hasn't been rectified: Its inability to play PS3 discs. When the PS2 was first being hyped up, Sony said that PlayStation is a "platform" and that the plan was for all future PlayStation consoles to play the games from all previous PlayStation platforms. It was a promise that was abandoned shortly into the PS3's lifespan, when the separate version of the console that played PS2 games in addition to PS1 games was discontinued.
Fast forward to the PS4, and Sony gave up on backward compatibility almost entirely, not only physical discs but most of the PS3's downloadable games, old and new. Sony will be more than happy to charge you a premium for "new" remastered PS3 games, though.
Comic by Cory and Grey.
7 Car Jak-ed
As we previously mentioned, the Jak franchise hasn't had the staying power of Ratchet & Clank. Part of the issue is developer Naughty Dog putting all of its time and resources into the Uncharted and The Last of Us franchises since the jump to the PS3, a creative redirection that had a lot to do with the departure of the studio's original co-founders. The other problem was that the Jak series went in some directions that fans didn't get on board with.
The original Jak & Daxter was a fairly straightforward 3D platformer, playing like something of a next-gen Super Mario 64 with elements of Crash Bandicoot mixed in-- which made sense, as Naughty Dog had previously worked on the latter series. Possibly because of the success of Grand Theft Auto III, sequel Jak II went in a more edgy direction that had open-world elements and allowed Jak to jump into vehicles. Eventually, the series just fully gave in to being a car game when the lukewarmly received Jak X: Combat Racing was released.
Maybe this comic is a commentary on the way the series "crashed" in later installments, and maybe it's just another example of Daxter being a sassy jerk. Either way, it's pretty funny (and beautifully drawn).
Comic by Tanya Roberts.
6 Arch Rivals
In the main single-player mode in PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale, each of the character's has a "rival" that serves as their main protagonist in the story. Because of the high number of silly, cartoonish characters, there are several serious characters that are forced to have a rivalry with a disproportionately goofy character.
To be fair, some make a lot of sense. To have God of War's Kratos be rivals with Twisted Metal's insane clown Sweet Tooth is a great match-up, for instance. Dante from Devil May Cry going up against Heavenly Sword's Nariko is also the perfect fight (even if, as the comic suggests, Nariko herself doesn't feel that way). And even some of the sillier characters have great rivals, such as PaRappa going up against Ape Escape's Spike. That said, a lot of the other rivalries go completely off the rails.
Isaac Clarke of Dead Space fame is right to brag about his rival being Zeus-- especially to a boss from a fighting game series (Tekken) who has to have his rival be Sony's cute kitty mascot for PlayStation in Japan. And though it isn't addressed in this comic, Isaac also has a lot of room to mock the menacing Big Daddy from BioShock, as his match-up is none other than Little Big Planet's Sackboy.
Comic by Pyroantiform.
5 Sometimes It Pays To Be The Lesser Villain
Poor Crash. He went from once being PlayStation's unofficial mascot, positioned as the rival to Mario and being featured in commercials brazenly mocking Nintendo's iconic character outside of the company's real headquarters, to being just another forgettable star of subpar platform games. Sure, he redeemed himself a bit recently with the release of the well-received remake of his original trilogy, but it does very little to rectify just how far he has fallen from his place as one of gaming's top characters during the PS1 era.
Before the Crash remasters hit, the orange bandicoot was previously teased as being primed for a comeback of some sort. While everyone either hoped for a new game or at least a remake of his classic adventures, what we initially got was far more disappointing-- he was just being revealed as a character to be added to the Skylanders series, previously headlined by Spyro the Dragon but was now just a very kid-focused series of toy-based action games. Fortunately, he only had to spend a short time slumming it as a stunt cameo in Skylanders before he got to make his return to his classic platforming roots (not to mention star in his own games again).
And don't worry, Dr. Cortex. You got to come along too.
Comic by JenL.
4 Raiding Sly Cooper's Stash
While Jak and Ratchet got most of the glory in the PS2 days, PlayStation has another platform star that was unfairly overlooked on the system: Sly Cooper. Star of a fantastic series of dazzlingly-animated platform games with a thief/stealth bent, the Sly Cooper trilogy deserved just as much praise as its two fellow PlayStation mascots-- and in fact, it might even be argued that Sly 2: Band of Thieves is as good as any installment in the other two franchises. So it's great to see a comic devoted to Sky Cooper among the many, many comics out there that star Jak and/or Ratchet.
If we're being honest, Sly and his thievery are largely just an excuse for a comic featuring a bunch of other characters and franchises.
The conceit of this comic is that Sly's longtime law enforcement rival (and also girlfriend), Carmelita Fox, has dragged Sly to the place where he keeps all of his stolen treasures. What we see in his stash are not only references to fellow PlayStation series like Crash Bandicoot, Parappa the Rapper, and MediEvil, but also artifacts grom Mario, Zelda, Tetris, Plants vs Zombies, Fallout, Portal, Mega Man, and many more. In fact, part of the fun of this comic is seeing how many different games are referenced. How many others can you identify?
Comic by Memoski.
3 Daxter Is A Jerk
Maybe it was open to interpretation as to how much of the previously-featured Jak & Daxter comic was about Daxter's bad attitude. This one, however, has no such ambiguity-- the ottsel sidekick's love of stirring up trouble and pranking partner Jak is definitely the star of the show here.
Still, there is a little more going on here than that. Besides Daxter's pleasure in watching Jak needlessly struggle to find what is actually an easy-to-reach Precursor Orb, the comic also references the "collect-a-thon" nature of the Jak series-- and platform games in general. As has been the case with games within the genre for decades now, just "finishing" a platform game is only about a third of the battle-- the real challenge is in finding every secret doodad scattered around the games' huge worlds. Long before we did things because they gave his meta achievements and trophies, we would spend months grinding away in platform games, combing every virtual inch of every level until we discovered every secret and collected every whatever.
Why do we do this? Because gamers are gluttons for arbitrary punishment, that's why. If we finish a game like Jak & Daxter with any completion percentage less than 100, how could we even live with ourselves?
2 Keep Your Zipper Up
While his name is rife for mockery with the various innuendo-flavored ways it can be taken, Sackboy is named as such for the simple fact that he is a boy who is made up for a burlap sack. Get your mind out of the gutter, people-- Little Big Planet is a family-friendly game!
That being said, it might be tempting to wonder what Sackboy is "stuffed" with. There is clearly some weight there, so he isn't just an empty burlap sack creature. The fact that the front of his outfit is a giant silver zipper only further proves that there must be something inside him-- and also makes one wonder what happens if Sackboy is unzipped.
What if Sackboy himself doesn't know what he's made of? How long could he run around with that zipper tab flapping right under his chin without curiosity getting the better of him and him deciding to take a peek. Of course, he'd probably unzip slowly and just take a little glance inside himself, rather than just going for it like he does in his comic and throwing that zipper down all at once. The downright disturbing results of that approach are imagined here-- and we guarantee you'll never be able to look at Sackboy the same way again after you've seen this.
Comic by Rune Hunters.
1 Fresh Air Is Overrated
This is an oldie but most certainly a goodie, and there was no better comic to serve as the #1 entry on this list. Maybe you've been playing games since the original PlayStation (or earlier) and are now approaching middle age, or maybe you didn't come into your own until one of the later PlayStation generations and are currently much younger.
We all struggle with the push/pull between the allure of sitting inside and playing PlayStation and going out and getting some fresh air.
Whether you still have parents hounding you to go outside and play, spouses telling you to get out and do some yardwork, or just your own sense of guilt eating at you, the struggle of this comic is very real and is constantly ongoing for most of us. There are definitely much better-- and much more practical-- solutions than the one chosen by the guy in the comic, especially these days when most of us have miniature tablets in our pockets at all times that can play thousands of games on demand. But anyone reading this right now who doesn't wish there was a way to easily take their PlayStation 4 consoles outside simply isn't being honest with themselves.
Sure, PS4 remote play is technically a thing-- but who really wants to play a game as epic as God of War on a handheld screen? No offense, Switch owners...
Comic by Chattanooga Times Free Press.