I had a PlayStation. Not some "slim" version or "late-era model". The original. The real one.

It had a built-in CD player with a rather elegant, if "blocky", GUI.

In the latest episode of AVGN, the Nerd puts in a music CD into his PlayStation (which visually looks just like the classic one, so it's not the later "PSOne" model) and (probably with sarcasm) claims that it's "the best CD player ever".

What's displayed on his TV is not what I expected. Instead, the GUI looks completely different, with bright, "friendly" colors and shapes. Nothing whatsoever like what I remember so vividly. This both shocked and annoyed me. Now, a whole generation of kids who watches that video will forever think that's how the CD player GUI looked like in the PlayStation...

It doesn't seem like he made this up. It looks far too polished/professional to be some "two-second gag" just for the video. I assume that Sony did change the GUI after some time, but the fact remains that his PlayStation, as seen in the video underneath the TV, is the classic, "bulky", grey one. So apparently, they changed the GUI while they were still making the classic PlayStation model(s)? That's curious to me, if true.

Or is this a case where he shot the parts with the Nerd in his room and had other people help him with all the capturing of footage, to save time, and those people only had access to a "PSOne" which would feature this "childish" GUI instead of the far more "industrial" looking original GUI? It looks like it's his (modern) TV in the "Nerd room", though, so that seems unlikely in this case.

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  • 3
    The blocky UI seems to have been on the PAL version.
    – Brian
    Aug 22, 2020 at 15:32
  • @Brian Really? Strange. I wonder what made them do that. I assume the blocky one also was in the original Japanese one. So apparently, Americans got a much "consumery" version. Very odd.
    – Javid
    Aug 22, 2020 at 15:35
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    Brian’s right about this; I bought in Europe in the month of release and we got a stylish interface oriented around boxes and tones of grey. I have subsequently acquired a US PS1, and it has the ugly blobs of aggressive pixels as per the screenshot given. SCEE and SCEA clearly had very different target audiences in mind; it is as if SCEA had skipped ahead to the ~2001 world of chucking out PSones at £60 for children’s bedrooms.
    – Tommy
    Aug 22, 2020 at 16:09
  • 1
    I have a Japanese model and the UI of the CD player is the same colourful splash one. I'd never heard that PAL regions have a different UI.
    – ravuya
    Aug 22, 2020 at 23:15
  • I'm not sure this is exactly the same as the original, but even on the European PSOne things still look very similar to my recollection: youtube.com/watch?v=JTJzUEM6RPM
    – Tommy
    Aug 23, 2020 at 1:41

1 Answer 1


Different BIOS versions have different built-in user interfaces for managing the memory card and playing audio CDs.

There doesn't seem to be any consistency in dates or regions to indicate one style was newer or older, looking at Wikipedia's list of PS1 variations.

From The Cutting Room Floor's page on the PlayStation:

System Menu Differences and Similarities


The menu on the SCPH-10x model series uses simple icons with text above them. On the other hand, the menu on the SCPH-1002, DTL-H3002 and SCPH-5502 models has a similar background, but with different icons and no text.


The menus have briefly changed their gradient colors for button plates (such as the SCPH-5501, and SCPH-7001 firmwares). Some of the cursors have changed their colors as well.


Ditto. The screen was scaled vertically in the SCPH-7502 firmware to take advantage of the higher resolution.

Virtual Environments ps1_4

Look pretty standard for a CD player built into a game console, doesn't it? Now this is more like it. No other CD player in a game console has ever done this before. The CD Player on the PS one model has a new addition where the player can select from a list of presets that change the way the music sounds so as to emulate the specified environment with the PlayStation's built-in reverberation processor. Seeing as no other CD player at the time had a reverberation processor, this addition was considered to be mind-blowing.

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