The mystery of the missing PlayStation Net Yaroze games
As part of a new feature
about Sony's Net Yaroze project, John Szczepaniak discovers how there were thousands of projects created through the initiative, yet only a handful were seen by the public.
The platform, which allowed hobbyists, amateurs, and early indies to develop games for the PlayStation platform, was launched globally by Sony in 1997.
Paul Holman, currently vice president of R&D at Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, and previously head of the UK Yaroze division, reveals, "We certainly sold around 1,000 Net Yarozes [in Europe], with more being sold in Japan. U.S. was similar to our numbers."
He continues, "Although they were as cheap as we could make them, they were relatively expensive, and so people bought them specifically to work on projects -- so probably thousands of projects!"
David Johnston, who developed TimeSlip
as part of the project, and went on to form Smudged Cat Games, adds, "I don't think we'll ever know exactly how many Net Yaroze games there were."
"There were so many made that never saw the light of day because they could only be played by the Yaroze community -- decent games that never made it to OPSM cover discs."
In the UK, the Official PlayStation Magazine often included Yaroze games on its cover discs -- giving rise to a culture around the platform that was not present on the other side of the Atlantic. The Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine's discs did not include these games.
Many of the Yaroze developers went on to be industry professionals, such as the quoted Johnston, whose Adventures of Shuggy
launched for Xbox Live Arcade, and Square Enix's Mitsuru Kamiyama, whose Terra Incognita
(pictured) is viewed as perhaps the most impressive game to come out of the Yaroze program.
In recent years, fans of the project on the internet have taken to collecting the available titles.
The full feature, which includes talks with Net Yaroze developers, is live now on Gamasutra