I first heard of it through a playground rumour; whisperings there was a machine that could run Ridge Racer, the game that had been wowing us all over the summer holidays at whatever low-rent seaside resort our families had dragged us to. And what's more, someone knew a friend of a friend who had one - who'd imported one from Japan and had Namco's polygon-rich racer playable in their own living room.
First contact came that autumn, in a friend's bedroom on a 14-inch CRT that offered a small window into the future with WipEout, and the next few months were spent campaigning to get one for Christmas. And when it finally came, it felt like something else; more than a mere new generation, the first PlayStation marked the beginning of the modern era of gaming.
And so coming face-to-face with one in Sony's offices, all these years later, is an emotional experience, like chancing upon an old friend. Strange how a little grey lump of plastic can prove so powerful to someone of a certain age, though even now looking at the original PlayStation it still looks like a relic from the future. And, just as it is when you return to your hometown after years away, it seems so much smaller than you remembered it.