Best PlayStation 1 games of all time

We used years of gaming experience and reviews to pick the 6 best PlayStation 1 games.

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Buy PlayStation 1 games on eBay

Buy PlayStation 1 games on eBay


The best PlayStation 1 games in Australia

It's nearly impossible to overstate the impact that Sony's original PlayStation had in the mid to late 1990s. The company went from "that Walkman company that tried to build a CD-ROM drive for Nintendo" to a true gaming powerhouse if you were within the gaming scene, but it's the PlayStation's impact on wider popular culture that was truly remarkable. Gaming stepped well and truly outside of the space of dedicated gamers and into the broader world, helped along by what was a significant technology switch towards 3D modelled visuals.

The PlayStation 1 era also saw the birth of many of the most popular PlayStation-exclusive titles, many of which have absolutely stood the test of time. If you're looking back at the games of your youth, building out a retro games collection or simply curious about gaming history, here's the very best that Sony's 32-bit wonder had to offer.

How did we pick this list?

Games on this list have been selected based on literally decades of personal play, as well as critical assessment using tools including Metacritic to double-check on our selections and their enduring quality.

Read more detail on our methodology below.

Best PlayStation 1 game overall: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2

Pros

  • One part sports, one part arcade challenge equals near gaming perfection
  • Amazing timeless soundtrack

Cons

  • Angular polygon visuals haven't aged the best
  • Some trick solutions are very obscure
Price (RRP): $20-$40+
Buy at eBay

Why we chose it

Activision kicked off its skating game franchise with the original Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, but it's the sequel where it knocked off the rough edges while retaining that iconic 90s sense of style, a thumping soundtrack and a whole lot of timed challenges that stand up so well that it saw a re-release last year in the remastered Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2. Tony Hawk himself may well be meme-worthy, but it's in large part thanks to this iconic and still excellent game.


Best PlayStation 1 game – Action Adventure: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

Pros

  • The game that codified the metroidvania template – and is still amongst the best
  • Great soundtrack

Cons

  • Long load times between areas
  • Some schmaltzy voice acting
Price (RRP): $100-$300+
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Why we chose it

The PlayStation 1 wasn't seen as a 2D powerhouse, but it absolutely delivered a classic in Konami's Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. Gamers expected another linear romp as had largely been the Castlevania style to the time, but taking inspiration from the lesser-known PC Engine Rondo of Blood and amping up the exploration angle, Symphony of the Night delivers a challenging, epic and engaging action adventure, with an exceptional soundtrack to boot.


Best PlayStation 1 game – Racing: Gran Turismo

Pros

  • Massive library of cars to collect
  • A driving game that challenges you to think about how you drive

Cons

  • Slow loading in each race
  • Later Gran Turismo games do look a lot better
Price (RRP): $15+
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Why we chose it

Racing games had been a staple of the console world for years before Gran Turismo, but nearly nobody had really tried to deliver a game that leaned more towards simulation before it. With a huge array of real-world cars and a genuinely tricky driving system that was years ahead of its competitors, Gran Turismo set the path for more serious racing sims for years to come, while still being cracking good fun as well.


Best PlayStation 1 game – RPG: Final Fantasy VII

Pros

  • An epic RPG with many hours of play time
  • Some truly fun minigames and optional quests for the completionists

Cons

  • Mix of polygons and pre-rendered sprites looks jarring now
  • Some narrative choices haven't aged well
Price (RRP): $60+
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Why we chose it

Square's jump from developing for Nintendo consoles to the Sony platform came via Final Fantasy VII, a game that totally took advantage of the new-at-that-time CD format with three discs of globe-trawling action to play through, a compelling storyline and Nobuo Uematsu's iconic soundtrack to listen to while you did so.


Best PlayStation 1 game – Fighting: Bushido Blade

Pros

  • Unique single hit-play style suits multiplayer well
  • Wide variety of weapons alters your play style markedly with every character

Cons

  • Slow loads between game areas
  • Not massively novice-friendly
Price (RRP): $30+
Buy at eBay

Why we chose it

The Tekken series is usually cited as the PlayStation 1's high point in gaming, but that's a series that continued to get even better, whereas Square's Bushido Blade is one that never made it out of the PlayStation 1 era – and that's a huge pity. Its balance of sword fighting, truly open arenas and battles that can end with a single well-timed stroke, along with a complex narrative that encourages you to complete it with every character, make it truly unique.


Best PlayStation 1 game – Sports: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2

Pros

  • One part sports, one part arcade challenge equals near gaming perfection
  • Amazing timeless soundtrack

Cons

  • Angular polygon visuals haven't aged the best
  • Some trick solutions are very obscure
Price (RRP): $20-$40+
Buy at eBay

Why we chose it

The reality for most sports games is that they don't age well, and fans of a given code usually find better experiences in newer software. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 defies that trend, because it was just about perfect when it came out, and save for a little graphical ageing, it very much still is. Critics lauded its complex gameplay system, excellent soundtrack and ability to hook you in for just one more two-minute run at the time, and while Activision continued to make Tony Hawk games, it was with rapidly diminishing returns in the post-PlayStation 1 era.


Best PlayStation 1 game – Puzzle : Devil Dice

Pros

  • Smart puzzling action
  • Great multiplayer puzzling

Cons

  • Really hard if you don't know the sides of a standard 6-sided die
  • Flashy visuals not great for those who don't like strobing patterns
Price (RRP): $60-$100
Buy at eBay

Why we chose it

Devil Dice has a smart gameplay system, making you flip dice around to match the number on the face to the number of the dice you line up together. It sounds simple but rapidly gets hectic and engaging, despite its very simple visuals and roots as a game built around the PlayStation Yaroze development platform. With just the one PS2 sequel, it's also pretty unique in puzzle games, which marks it out from the many Tetris-style matching games or other puzzle efforts on the platform.


Buying PlayStation 1 games

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What to consider when buying PlayStation 1 games

  • Condition is everything. You'll see everything from sellers pitching disc-only black promo versions, through to scratched discs and broken cases, to mint (and in some cases, still sealed) PlayStation 1 games. It's the mint ones that will cost you that literal mint, but bear in mind that a scratched CD-based game might not work at all any more.
  • What are you playing them on? Sony included PlayStation 1 compatibility all the way up to the PlayStation 3 era for select consoles, but not all of them. As such, the investment in a PlayStation 1 library could work across multiple console generations.
  • Region locking hurts. If you want particularly cheap PlayStation 1 games, consider buying their Japanese equivalents – but only if you've got a Japanese console or otherwise unlocked system.
  • Is there a better remaster now available? A lot of PlayStation 1 classics got updates in the forms of sequels but also remakes for modern systems. Those remakes may well load faster, work on newer systems or offer frustration-removal features such as easier saving to make them more compelling.

Amazon prices last updated on 21 October, 2021 at 10:00 pm

Methodology

1
Brands considered
200+
Products compared
7
Best products chosen
  • Our picks are based on price, game ratings, availability and user and professional reviews.
  • The writer has 30+ years game collecting and curating experience.
  • The products on this list are chosen by our editorial team and are not selected based on commercial relationships.

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