For Our Consideration

PlayStation 2

It Did One Thing Well

A eulogy for the PlayStation 2, the last of the single-purpose gizmos.

By Anthony John Agnello • January 10, 2013

I don’t want to mourn a machine. It makes me feel a little stupid. Yet this week, I find myself pouring one out for the PlayStation 2. The little black box was set to turn 13 years old in March, but Sony flat-lined the PlayStation 2 at the end of last year, stopping production worldwide. After a run that saw 156 million boxes sold and a library of more than 2,000 games, the PS2 is dead. Good on you, you noisy little bastard! Without you I never would have held Yorda’s hand in Ico or kissed complete strangers in Chulip. Salud!

Back in 2000, most electronics aside from PCs still only served a single function. Cameras were cameras, and phones were phones, for the most part. But in the lead-up to its release—a period of media hype that was novel then but practically standard for gadgets today—you’d think the PS2 could do anything shy of providing your kids a college education. The hilariously named “Emotion Engine” processor was purportedly so powerful that Japan’s Ministry Of Trade limited exports because it could be used for missile guidance systems. Newsweek and Time ran cover stories about its potential with nary a trace of the usual business about video games eroding the culture. At $300, the PS2 was also a relatively affordable DVD player, the video format of the future! Those things have deleted scenes and director commentaries on them. For serious.

Truth is, the PlayStation 2 only did one thing particularly well: play video games. Even though there were plenty of people in the ’00s who used the PS2 as a DVD player, it was awkward for watching movies. The audio on DVDs was always really low, and you had to contend with squirrelly controls, either using on-screen prompts or by blindly fiddling with the game controller. Nothing says fun like watching Dark City and accidentally skipping ahead two scenes because you accidentally bumped the controller plugged into your DVD player.

Devil May Cry

Devil May Cry

But as a gaming machine, it was indispensable. When it debuted, the PlayStation 2 was pretty barren of interesting games—as are most consoles when they launch. But by the end of 2001, the PS2 was coming into its own. It upheld its predecessor’s reputation as a platform for gleeful experimentation. Devil May Cry was one of the first games to make violent acrobatics feel precise in three dimensions. SSX made video game snowboarding feel like one huge, fantastic party.

There were also a number of genetic ancestors to some of the best contemporary games. There would be no Dark Souls without From Software’s early PS2 experiments Evergrace and Eternal Ring. Veteran studios used the platform to make sequels that were experimental rather than familiar. Gaming’s most emotionally raw and hilarious mindfucks—Silent Hill 2 and Metal Gear Solid 2 respectively—both hit during that first year of the PS2’s existence.

SSX Tricky

SSX Tricky

The games were good, so people bought PlayStation 2s. It killed Sega’s game console business for good, drowning the Dreamcast within two years. Nintendo’s Gamecube and Microsoft’s Xbox never caught up despite being more capable machines in terms of technical specs. The PS2 was ubiquitous by the middle of the decade, and as a result, almost every game maker in the business was working with the hardware. Even Sony itself stuck with the PS2 after it had released the PlayStation 3, putting out impressive stuff like God Of War 2 as late as 2007.

That ubiquity was a double-edged sword in some cases. Japanese game makers in particular were so committed to the PlayStation 2 that they struggled to adjust to more technologically capable platforms when it came time to jump. Square Enix, Capcom, and Atlus haven’t released games on TV consoles as interesting as their late-stage PS2 games like Final Fantasy XII, Okami, and Persona 4. Even after those sorts of handcrafted games started drying up, the machine itself kept plugging along. In 2009, when players in the United States were talking about Batman: Arkham Asylum and Uncharted 2, the PS2 had only just come out in Brazil.

Final Fantasy XII

Final Fantasy XII

In a way, that history of great games illustrates why the PlayStation 2 couldn’t survive in 2013. No piece of consumer electronics, gaming machine or otherwise, can just do one thing really well. Every device, from the cheapest mobile phone to expensive luxury items like the PS Vita—the PlayStation 2’s haughty, entitled nephew living fat off the family’s dwindling fortune—need to be multipurpose entertainment tools. They need Netflix and Facebook integration and a steady ability to connect to the internet—something else the PlayStation 2 struggled to do competently.

Just look at Nintendo’s Wii U, a machine so desperate for modern market approval that Nintendo built a social network into the machine’s front page. The PlayStation 2 didn’t even have a front page. You put a game in and turned it on (or you left the tray open to tweak settings or futz with memory cards). It just played video games well, and it’s the last commercial machine that will do only that.

My mourning is fueled in part by nostalgia, it’s true. There is something romantic about architecture built for a single purpose. Video game hardware, at its inception, was the most basic structure. Arcade cabinets were shelters for individual ideas. Game consoles were houses—more complex environments with architecture that allow for greater variety and experimentation. Today, gaming machines are just doors, and while they give access to almost limitless opportunity, they feel less like homes. The console as it was dies with the PlayStation 2. Cheers to the box. May it rest well.

Share this with your friends and enemies

Write a scintillating comment

221 Responses to “It Did One Thing Well”

  1. Jackbert322 says:

    You know, I’ve been thinking of buying a PS2 for the last year or so, and I think the recent retrospectives (especially of niche games) on gaming sites, as well as the chance to own one of the last shipments of PS2s ever, have pushed me over the edge. Screw saving for a Vita, I’m buying a PS2! Anyone know if there’s still brick-and-mortar retailers that sell them?

    • Cloks says:

      Gamestop does, but they tend to price high. If you have any local game stores, they’re almost sure to have a stack of them sitting around.

      • Jackbert322 says:

        Not that I know of, though there is some hole-in-the-wall with Magic: The Gathering posters adorning the grimy window on the walk to Gamestop, so I should check that out sometime. I always thought Gamestop only had them used? I kinda want to walk into a store 13 years after the PS2 came out and buy one, if only for future terrible drunk-anecdote value.

        • George_Liquor says:

          Protip: If you’re gonna go used, buy a PS2 slim or a regular PS2 made AFTER 2006. Early PS2 models were notorious for defective disc drives, to the point where class action suits were filed against Sony. I personally own a release model PS2 that I can’t play because it will scratch the shit out of any disc I load into it. 

        • HobbesMkii says:

           @George_Liquor:disqus Oh yeah, I remember those. What a great machine.

        • Asinus says:

          You have a release PS2 that still turns on? That’s something!

        • signsofrain says:

          @George_Liquor:disqus Another way to look at it is the late-model fat PS2s can easily have hard drives installed in them, which means that with a little work you can preserve your drive laser forever by simply never using it. Play games from hard disk. 

        • Dikachu says:

          @The_Asinus:disqus I do too… even after years of using that boot disc-swap pirating tool thing, it still functions perfectly.

        • WorldCivilizations says:

          RE: defective PS2’s, anyone ever take apart their ps2 and turn that little wheel to adjust the distance from the laser to the disc? I had to do it several times to keep mine running.

        • Destroy Him My Robots says:

          @WorldCivilizations:disqus Took it apart and readjusted that.. gear? Cleaned the lens, too. Didn’t make my PS2 start reading CD-ROMs again though.

          Marvel vs. Capcom 2 is on CD-ROM. *cries*

        • Baramos x says:

           @The_Asinus:disqus I have one, as well. When I bought it used in 2002 I had to send it in and get the disc-drive replaced (apparently that was a fault in a lot of them, so it was covered free of charge). Still works all these years later, though now it sits there solely to be used with Contra: Shattered Soldier and the like.

        • ChicaneryTheYounger says:

          My first one (original model from 2002) broke because of the tiny ass fan failed and the useless cooling crapped out. So I got a replacement slim.
          The original model runs better and faster, but is noisier and prone to failures whereas the Slim is quieter but worse when it comes to the actual gaming part.

        • George_Liquor says:

          @The_Asinus:disqus I don’t really know. I haven’t plugged it in since I bought a Slim. It ought to thank its lucky stars I didn’t Office Space it for ruining my copy of War Of The Monsters.

          By the way, kudos to everyone here for acknowledging the sheer awesomeness of War Of The Monsters.

    • Asinus says:

      How decent is your PC? I have a PS2 but, really, games look like crap on them. I have been playing with PCSX2 and have been playing games at HD. I finally picked up FFXII (due in no small part from the praise it gets here) and, yeah, it looks fantastic. I’m not sure how powerful your system needs to be, though, but I’d imagine a Core 2 could run it. 

      Since PS2 games are just straight forward DVDs, you can play them right off the disc or make ISOs using something like ImgBurn (I buy games and rip them, there’s really no excuse to download games that are this cheap). 

      • Citric says:

        Last time I tried it, a low-end Core 2 choked on the only game I was attempting to play – Front Mission 5, it was fan translated and I love FM. It might be better now though, I haven’t tried it since.

        Note: Fan Translation is pretty much the only excuse to download games that are this cheap. Seriously Square, I will give you cash money for FM5 in English, just shove it on PSN or something. I’d even pay a stupid price. DON’T YOU WANT MY MONEY???

        • Asinus says:

          Oh, I was guessing. I just extrapolated from my current system backwards to my previous and probably way over-estimated the power of my last cpu. I had an earlier version of PCSX2 but never tried it out on my older system. I moved those guts over but am running a much weaker video card so it would be useless. 

      • Jackbert322 says:

        My laptop has enough power to run them, at least going by your proccessor specification and I’d assume a Nvidia 320M would be fine for a graphics xard, but it runs Mac, so I dunno if there’s emulators on Mac. Also, I want the PS2 experience, man! I want to plug it into the TV nexts to its little brother PS3! I want to play War of the Monsters multiplayer on one screen! All tha jazz, y’know?

      • GS_Dodobird says:

        You need a pretty darn beefy machine to play PS2 games well, mostly because emulating the emotion engine is quite difficult. I remember my low-end Quad Core had a rough time with Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne. I’ve since upgraded to a Q6600 and haven’t had any trouble running stuff on default settings, though it’s very easy to max it out by messing with stuff like increased resolution.

        • Asinus says:

          Yeah, I was totally guessing at the spec. I apparently downloaded an older version of PCSX2 a while ago, but don’t remember ever trying it. After I upgraded, got hold of the most current version on an i5 3570K + HD7790 and it runs pretty well. Using some baseless guesswork, I just assumed that it would be okay with a C2 (I intentionally covered my ass by not saying D or Q because I’m a weasel).  

    • Matthew Linn says:

      You should do it! That’s exactly what I did a month ago. I had been playing the Persona games, but had no way to play Persona 4 (my PS3 is one of the models that don’t play PS2 games, and P4 isn’t on PSN). I had to choose between spending like $350 to play it on the Vita, or to buy a PS2 and the game itself. I ended up finding one on Craigslist (which I suggest you try) for $40 bucks, along with a few games included (including GTA: SA, which I wasn’t expecting but will be a nice diversion once I finish Persona 4). The game itself cost me $20, so all together, I got to play this wonderful game for $60, around what I’d spend for an AAA title today.

      Especially if you have classic games that you missed on the console while it was out (I had a PS2 before but sold it around 2007 because I thought it was dying, but actually still had a few good years left in it.

    •  EB Games is selling them for $50, same price as the Wii. I think i’ll pick one up, since my older one broke and i still have half my games

  2. Cheese says:

    How dare you talk about the Vita like that! If anything, it’s the capable but ignored and maligned stepchild of the family.

    Astute analysis otherwise, though. Very interesting article.

    • PaganPoet says:

      The Vita is a great little machine, Sony just needs to start giving a shit about it. And the overpriced proprietary memory cards…the fuck, Sony?

      • Asinus says:

        Shit! I didn’t know that. 90 bucks for 32gig? The fuck indeed! I was just handed a neglected PSP 1001 and bought a kit that came with 2 sd micro cards and a MS adapter. 32 gig for around 25 dollars. It’s a surprisingly easy system to mod, so I ripped all of the UMDs I have and run them off the stick (along with a few PS One games). 

        I guess Sony got sick of that affordable shit.

      • Halloween_Jack says:

        Sony creating a proprietary format that’s used by almost nothing but other Sony products? The heck you say!

    • Jackbert322 says:

      I’d say, what with the impressive hardware prowess yet total lack of successful marketing, the Vita is like a prodigy on the spectrum. Any attempts at acclimation are misguided and just worsen its social situation (Black Ops Declassified), while its academic achievements are ignored due to inherent prejudices (Persona 4 Golden). It also must deal with unsupportive parents who refuse to adjust to its skills and weaknesses (lower the memory card prices) and instead hold it to a standard set by its older siblings, social butterflies of average intelligence (PS1, PS2). It does have a friend in its sibling closest in age (PS3), who got bullied a lot in childhood, but is now thriving in college. However, with the advent of cyberbullying and strict standardized academic testing (iOS devices), the situation it faces both socially and academically is dire.

      Aaand I’m extensively anthropomorphizing video games consoles on the internet…how Vita-ish of me…

      • PaganPoet says:

        You should be on the writing staff for Hyperdimension Neptunia Mk3. (How that game already has two sequels is beyond my grasp).

        • Jackbert322 says:

          If that rambling turd doesn’t get me chosen by Soupy, it’s all rigged!

          Tune in next week, when Jackbert writes about how the PC is, like, all…smart…and…cool, and he, like, acts nice, but he’s such a douche, you know? I mean, what a smug bastard! There was this one time, like, I was at this party, and he was totally flirting with my girlfriend…like…

          /stands up, punches air, staggers to restroom

      • ChicaneryTheYounger says:

        And if I have a white PS Vita?

        • Jackbert322 says:

          A white Vita is the default Vita off its mood regulating pills, manic (bundled with AssCreed Liberation) and depressive (the bugs and glitches in AssCreed Liberation).

    • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

        I’d say Vita is the unloved cousin taken in after it’s parents die in a dirigible explosion en route to earth’s secret moon.  Is then sent to a boarding school for the wayward and maladjusted, only to discover a dark secret and hidden powers that may change the very world!

         Now, in book two…

    • Girard says:

      I’m not really sold on the thesis, though. The PS2 wasn’t really an “it only does one thing” box – the DVD functionality presaged the PS3’s Blu-Ray player, and was one of Sony’s first steps to making an all-in-one media box. This kind of kitchen-sink design, meanwhile, was explicitly rebuked by Nintendo, which didn’t include DVD playback on the Gamecube or even the Wii, citing keeping costs down and focusing on making a “game machine” rather than a “media center.” If anything, the PS2 was the first big foray for the trend that this piece seems to be lamenting.

      So in that respect, I don’t actually think a PS2 is the type of single-purpose box it’s being described as here, and that type of single-purpose console hasn’t died with the discontinuation of the PS2 – as long as the Wii (and its extra-spartan Canadian cousin, the Wii Mini) is in production.

      There are some nice, well-observed points in the middle of the eulogy, about the historic significance of its game library, its ubiquity, and the hype surrounding its power and graphics on release – as well as some warm fuzzy nostalgia about the system and its games – but the framing conceit feels a little forced to me.

      The fact that I can critique a gaming feature’s “framing conceit,” however, is probably evidence that this, like most writing on Gameological, is still stronger than, like, 90% of the gaming writing out there.

      • George_Liquor says:

        Yeah, the DVD playback feature was a huge selling point and key to the PS2’s early success, just as much as blu-ray was for the PS3. Hell, early hardware revisions of the Playstation 1 were prized by audiophiles because they made excellent CD players. I dare say that video game consoles have been moonlighting as multifunction entertainment devices since the end of the 16-bit era. But then again, even the damned old 8-bit consoles, like the Colecovision, could have their functionality extended beyond simple game-playing machines, into full-blown home computers. So yeah, uhh… what I talking about? I need to go to bed.

      • Bad Horse says:

        You don’t need a framing conceit to want to pour one out for the good old PS2. Personally, I think it was the start of the move toward multifunction consoles – yeah, PSXes may have served as CD players but Resident Evil and Final Fantasy VII are what got them to sell. The DVD player pretty clearly sold PS2s, especially in that really early period. 

        The last real single-purpose console I can think of was the N64, which could do absolutely nothing but play games. The NES and SNES got Japan-only add-ons that expanded them beyond pure game consoles, but I don’t think the N64 ever had anything like that on either side of the Pacific.

        • Girard says:

          I think the disk drive in Japan had some creativity software that wasn’t explicitly gamey, but yeah, it was a pretty pure game-only machine.

        • GaryX says:

          Yeah, I’d agree. The headline is more fit for an N64. The PS2 got in many households it wouldn’t have otherwise because it played DVDs.

        • Bad Horse says:

          I should point out that on its face, the headline is exactly right. The PS2 only did do one thing well – play games. It could do more things, but poorly. Whereas today you can get a PS3 that is, at least in my house, the thing that runs almost all screen-based entertainment, and does so fabulously.

          EDIT: and that’s what I get for not reading all the way down.

      • DetectiveFork says:

        For quite awhile after it first came out (I bought it on release date), the PS2 was my only DVD player. Never had a big problem with it (aside from the volume being a little low) until I accidentally tripped over the open tray and broke it. Thankfully, the slim model had just come out and I purchased that (which I still use, but just for the occasional PS2 game).

        • Girard says:

          Likewise. It was my first DVD player, and my only DVD player until I got a computer with a DVD drive around 2004. That, combined with the eclectic and interesting game library, was what drew me to the machine despite reports of relatively limited graphical power.

        • TaumpyTearrs says:

          PS2 was my first and only DVD player until enough years later that I could buy a DVD player for $30. Most of the reason I carried it to friends’ houses was to watch my DVDs of Cowboy Bebop and Hard Boiled.

          The only time the conrtoller thing really pissed me off was when I bumped it and skipped the track 90 minutes into Mullholland Drive, and since the entire movie is only one track on the DVD I had to fast forward through the whole movie again, which took a couple of minutes.

      • John Teti says:

        I actually raised this with Anthony when we were emailing about the piece before he wrote it, because it’s such an important part of the PS2’s story that its ability to serve as a DVD player made it such an attractive prospect. But his point was that in practice, the PS2 was kind of a crappy DVD player, or internet box, or what have you—that any time you asked it to do something other than play games, it felt clumsy. It just did the one thing well.

        I was pretty convinced (not that my being convinced is a requirement for something to be published on the site, but it’s nice when a piece of writing shifts my thinking a little bit). I ended up deciding that both angles made sense. The PS2 marked the burgeoning of the multi-purpose box in principle and a closing of the single-purpose box era in practice. Your point about the Wii is a good one, though.

        • Girard says:

          I am like a little hedgehog – I have many points. 

          Unless I’m in a crappy mood, then I am like a porcupine – I have many points, and most of them are barbed.

          This has been Girard’s Simile Corner. I should probably get more sleep.

        • Halloween_Jack says:

          Maybe this is part of that shift that you’re talking about, but even though the PS2 was indeed a relatively crappy DVD player, I was willing to use it as such rather than having three or more different remotes to operate the numerous devices hooked to the TV. My first DVD player (that wasn’t part of a computer) was a five-disc-carousel player that simply stopped working one day; when I was unhooking it from the rest of the stuff, I looked at my VCR, tried to remember the last time I had played a videocassette in it, and ended up mothballing that, too. As with most people, I ended up never really using the majority of functions (and therefore the majority of buttons on the remotes) of my various media players, so I get by fine with just the console (an XBox, now).

    • Kahoutek says:

      I hated the ads for Vita when it came out.  Some douchbag walking around town with his head down playing games.  I always wanted Saturday Night Live to do a spoof where the douche gets hit by a bus because he’s not paying attention to where he’s going.

    • jessec829 says:

      Right? I love my Vita! Admittedly I’ve only played P4 Golden on it, and P4 is my favorite game of all time, so that might be coloring my endorsement, but that little handheld got me through Christmas with the family, so I say all hail the Vita!

  3. caspiancomic says:

    Ahh. Now I’m having emotions over a piece of consumer hardware. Curse your rhetoric, Agnello!

    For realsies though, the PS2 meant a great deal to me. When I was a kiddie, and became serious about gaming as a hobby, my console was the (in hindsight appropriately named) Genesis, and my emotions ran high when I was dealing with that machine. My first foray into the next generation of gaming was a PlayStation, and then for the new millenium a Dreamcast. When the PS2 hit store shelves, my love for the medium had gone from fever pitch to ambient noise, and I didn’t bother picking one up until it was already many years old.

    What changed my mind, and tipped the proverbial scales, was Suikoden III. When the third instalment in my to-this-day favourite RPG series was announced for the PS2, I knew it was time to pull the trigger. That Christmas, I got a PS2, complete with Suikoden III and Kingdom Hearts. For that reason, the opening of Kingdom Hearts always reminds me of Christmas, and fills me with that particular brand of yuletide nostalgia (The Traverse Town theme especially tends to set me off- unless I specifically correct myself, I tend to insert snow into my memories of that part of the game.)

    I adored those games (and still do), but for the most part my relationship with the PS2 was more like my relationship with a microwave or a pencil sharpener, not at all like the reliable friend I had always considered my Genesis or Dreamcast, or even PSX to be. By the time I really got into gaming on the PS2 I was already in my late teens, and didn’t think the world was quite so magic as I had only a few years previously. The PS2, for me, performed its function admirably, and its function was delivering gameplay experiences. I didn’t love my toaster for toasting my bread, nor did I consider the family car an old and reliable friend because it could carry me places. These were devices that served functions, and nothing to get sentimental about.

    But now, that I’m in my mid-twenties, and having grown up that little bit and realized that sometimes some things are actually kind of magical, I’m getting just a little bit sentimental about the old girl after all. It may not have held my hand through my most formative years, but that’s no reason to hold it in any less regard or with any less reverence that I reserve for my older consoles. You know what it is? I took the PS2 for granted. Here it was, day in day out, giving me Suikoden III, Kingdom Hearts, Resident Evil 4, Disgaea, Silent Hill 2, Shadow of the Colossus, Metal Gear Solid 3, and Katamari Damacy, and expecting nothing in return. Even as recently as 2012, one of my favourite and most enriching experiences of the year was with Persona 3:FES, a PS2 game that’s over five years old by now.

    So, as is so often the case, I didn’t know what I had until it was gone. And now in the same way that I fret over my copy of Suikoden II lest it get scratched beyond repair, or my twitchy Dreamcast I’ve had to operate on multiple times to keep in working condition, I shall now dedicate a small ration of my worry to my PS2. If it should one day genuinely break down, I realize now that I don’t know what I’d do without it. It’s overdue, I think, for a bit of appreciation from me.


  4. PaganPoet says:

    My PS2 died an unfortunate, early death so I actually missed a lot of later era PS2 games.

    Let’s pour one out for its passing by listing your top ten PS2 games. Mine, in no particular order:
    1) Persona 3 FES – For rekindling my waning love of Japanese RPGs, great voice acting, great music, great writing, great story
    2) Persona 4 – For improving on your already-excellent predecessor in just about every aspect possible
    3) Okami – For being as irritatingly beautiful as possible and proving that creative art direction will always beat realism in my book
    4) Resident Evil 4 – For evolving and drastically changing a sacred game franchise and doing a damn good job of it
    5) Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King – For making the USA finally pay attention to the DQ series, and by making a truly awe-inspiring world
    6) Fatal Frame 2: The Crimson Butterfly – For scaring the shit out of me and having an ending that made me cry
    7) Silent Hill 2 – For keeping me up at night…not because I was scared, but because I couldn’t stop thinking about it and analyzing it
    8) Shadow of the Colossus – For making me feel like a real asshole for beating the game
    9) Ratchet and Clank: Up Your Arsenal – For being clever, and generally just a grand ole time
    10) Sly 2: Band of Thieves – For that upright bass sneaking music

    • Citric says:

      2-Persona 4
      3-Silent Hill 2
      6-Resident Evil 4
      7-Shadow of the Colossus
      8-Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter
      9-Dark Cloud 2
      10-Metal Gear Solid 3

      I don’t have great reasons for a lot of them, I just like ’em. They could also probably be subbed out with other stuff at any moment, like Prince of Persia: Sands of Time or Dragon Quest.

      I’d include Katamari but my nephews killed that for me.

      • PaganPoet says:

        You know, I never did finish BoF: Dragon Quarter; I did enjoy the drastic shift in gameplay and mood that the game took the series, but the whole thing about starting the game over and over again until you were strong enough to make it to the end…it just sounded very tedious to me. I suppose it’s similar to Majora’s Mask in that sense, but it just didn’t stick with me for some reason.

        • Citric says:

          The restarts were kind of neat in their way, since you’d get extra content if you used them, but I loved how incredibly experimental it was. Also, the battle system was the tits, one of my favorites ever.

          I’ll concede that not all of its experiments worked, but it had a quiet ambition I loved. I should pop that in again some time this year.

        • Sleverin says:

          After playing BoF 4 and being extremely happy to get Dragon Quarter on my then newly acquired PS2 and was super psyched to be able to play it at my leisure instead of when my parents weren’t home or when I could only rent BoF4 for a limited time.  I was extremely disappointed.  After doing a ton of grinding and exploring all the new areas after getting higher and higher in level it just felt so disappointing.  There didn’t seem to be much extra story, if any from what I can remember, only new items to grind for and stuff to fight.  Seemed a bit circular in the way the game was created…I think I see why it was the last in the series to be made, I don’t think they want to try anything else out or they’re just too focused on the new Resident Evils.  Only good thing I remember about this game was that I played Wish You Were Here a lot in the background as I played the game…Welcome to the Machine fit the game quite well.

    • Colonel says:

      I’m looking at my PS2 right now with Rogue Galaxy sitting in there waiting to be finished.  But I have a list to write!

      (Also in no particular order and only a few get write-ups or else this post would be toooooo long)

      1. Metal Gear Solid 3
      2. Final Fantasy X – XII might have had the better combat but X was my first Final Fantasy proper (I played Tactics but only got into it after X) and I loved it.  It might have been the first game I got crazily into and knew waaaay too much about.  Oh, and for the record, X-2 is a fucking fantastic game.

      3. Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance

      4. DRIV3R – Now this is by no means a good game but me and another friend went craaaazy with the replay editor and had developed crazy back-stories for all of the glitches and weird graphical choices.  Maybe it’s nostalgia but whatev’s.

      5. Shadow of the Colossus – Yeah, it’s on my list too.

      6. Jak and Daxter – This was my very first PS2 game and I could not stop playing it.  I loved every thing about except for the unskippable opening cutscene.  I used to play this every Saturday and managed to cut my time down to a few hours (this was before I knew anything of speedrunning).

      7. God of War II – You got to beat up Perseus.  ‘Nuff said.

      8. Guitar Hero II – The start of a long, looong obsession with these games.

      9. Spider Man 2 – YOU’RE SPIDERMAN!!!

      10. Ratchet and Clank

      One Christmas my uncle got me two games which would have been cool except one of those was Rygar.  I have tried to play this but between the shitty fighting and the rumbling that threatens to destroy my controller I can’t get very far into this piece of crap.  I also struggled with the controls to Predator: Concrete Jungle and got pretty far until my save got corrupted (the only time that’s ever happened to me) and I just said “fuck it.”

      • Citric says:

        FFX-2 is the second best game I feel incredibly uncomfortable playing with someone else in the house, right behind Catherine.

      • Groofus says:

        It’s cool seeing all the FF X and XII love on here. I know X in particular isn’t a great game but it was the first real big RPG I ever played and I thought it was really cool. The combat was good, the setting was neat, and one of your characters used volley balls as weapons. It might not hold up today but I still have fond memories of it. XII on the other hand I still get out occasionally if only to watch Berserk hasted Basch pound the shit out of random animals with a mace.

      • Bad Horse says:

        1. God of War
        2. Shadow of the Colossus
        3. Metal Gear Solid 3 (Subsistence)
        4. GTAIII
        5. Prince of Persia: Sands of Time

        And after that I can’t put it in order but it’s God of War II, Final Fantasy XII, Tekken Tag Tournament, Ico, Psychonauts.

      • ItsTheShadsy says:

        Glad there’s some DRIV3R lov3. The campaign was a mess, but the mode that lets you just run from the police and get in insane wrecks was too much fun.

    • rvb1023 says:

      10. Metal Gear Solid 2 – Kojima is a terrible writer and a brilliant director and nothing shows this more than this game, haters be damned.

      9. ICO – So far this is the only escort mission in gaming that has not sucked. Also introduced me to Fumito Ueda, who will hopefully one day get his shit together and release the Last damn Guardian.

      8. Persona 3 FES – I really don’t like anime so that fact I like something as blatantly “anime” as this speaks volumes of it’s quality.

      7. War of the Monsters – I love giant monsters even though few others seem to. This is a game that needs a sequel badly.

      6. Killer7 – Technically, I would put this on a Gamecube list but since it got ported, this is Suda’s masterpiece. As much as I love his grindhouse-esque material since, this still rings as his boldest and greatest work. Here’s to hoping Killer is Dead is more like this.

      5. Haunting Ground – At parts hilarious and campy, at parts downright horrifying, HG just clicked with me. And it has the second coolest Capcom dog.

      4. Final Fantasy X – It may have given creative license to the guy who would go on to make the abysmal XIII, but it was the first game I played in the series and though I grew up to recognize it for a poorly written game, I still do love a great deal of the characters and it has the best battle system in the series.

      3. Silent Hill 2 – One of the best games ever made, can’t add anything more than hasn’t already been said.

      2. Metal Gear Solid 3 – The game where Kojima’s writing has been the least intrusive and his direction top-notch. The Boss is still one of the best characters in gaming and I can’t count the number of times this game emotionally and psychologically floored me.

      1. Shadow of the Colossus – My favorite game of all time, every frame is beautiful and this is the first game where I not only sat and watched the entire credits but when they finished I sat there for a few minutes more, contemplating what I had just played. And that was when I knew I loved video games.

      • Jackbert322 says:

        WAR OF THE MONSTERS. Fuck yeah, War of the Monsters! Thanksgivings, we go to a family friends house with a PS2 set up, and War of the Monsters occupies the entire post-meal/pre-leaving 8 PM-12 AM time slot. Four players, two semi-finals, one finals, on repeat all night. Awesome game!

        • caspiancomic says:

           Holy shit, I forgot about War of the Monsters! I’M SORRY OLD FRIEND.

        • Enkidum says:

          Oh shit… I read @Jackbert322:disqus ‘s post and realized that War of the Monsters was a game I read about back when it first came out, long before I’d ever owned a console. And I just finished downloading it and installing it on my PS3 – only 10 bucks on PSN. Farewell, remaining productivity this morning!

        • Jackbert322 says:

          WAIT A MINUTE BACK THAT UP Enkidum, War of the Monsters is on PSN?! In the US? PS2 Classic? If so, well, now I know what I’m pairing with Bully on my Christmas $20 PSN card!!!

        • Enkidum says:

          @Jackbert322:disqus Yup, well, I assume it’s in the US since it’s on the Canadian store.

          For some reason when I tried to navigate to it by scrolling through “W” in the PSN category I couldn’t find it, but it’s there if you search.

          And holy shit the typing mechanism for the new store is awful. Sony seems to want me to avoid using their software as much as possible.

      • Sarapen says:

        I had no idea so many people liked Final Fantasy X. The writing was so bad that it’s one of the few games I felt like an idiot for playing. I forced myself to finish it because I’m an obsessive completist and I only ever played it when I was actively procrastinating on writing my thesis. But still I felt like an idiot, like every time I’d put the game in I’d mutter, “You fucking idiot, are you so much of a procrastinator you’d play something you hate rather than work?” The answer was yes almost every time.

        • PaganPoet says:

          My main problem with FFX is that I hate Tidus. He is by far my least favorite FF hero. With his stupid personality and stupid hair and stupid clothes, urgh.

          Funnily enough, I actually quite enjoy FFX-2 in spite of all the hate it gets because he’s hardly in that game (well, and the battle system is incredibly fun and addictive).

        • Citric says:

          I had no idea people hated FFX, oddly enough. I suppose the script has issues – though the only thing that bothered me was the Shyamalan-esque “there must always be a twiiiist! Especially if it doesn’t make too much sense” aspects – but it’s got a really vibrant and interesting world and I love the battle system. 

      • I think most of the problems with Final Fantasy X’s script were in the translation.

        The poor dialogue, and its excrutiatingly slow delivery, were the product of trying to make the English voice work match the Japanese lip sync.

      • I like most of the classics people have mentioned (PoP, all the GTAs, Katamari, FFX/XII, Ico, SotC, Okami, Jak, Ratchet, GoW, even War of the Monsters), but I can also call out SSX 3 and 4 and Burnout 3 and 4 for the hours and hours I’ve spent doing crazy snowboard tricks and crashing cars. Those games are so damn fun.

    • Captain Internet says:

      1. God Hand
      1. Shadow of the Colossus
      No need to list the rest, really.

      • Sarapen says:

        Yep, those two games were awesome. Why do people say God Hand is hard, anyway? It was a challenge but I still finished it twice as opposed to the XBOX Ninja Gaiden which I just gave up on.

    • Dikachu says:

      1. Ratchet & Clank II: Going Commando – Very solid platformer, built and expanded on the greatness of the first one without going too far into the guns-only/too-linear weeds like III did.  The fantastic worldscapes were just jaw-droppingly amazing too (especially the Bespin-like cloud city level).
      2. Jak II – Pain in the ass to play sometimes, but still so damn fun.  I always hate it WHILE I’m playing it because some of the quests are so utterly unforgiving, but the storyline is absolutely amazing and the art and levels are unparalleled.  I like how the missions are GTA III style, so it’s very non-linear.
      3. GTA III – First of its kind, such a blast to play.  Seems to have a better sense of humor than its successors.  Could spend hours just screwing with the pedestrians and making the cops’ AI flip out.
      4. Katamari Damacy – So totally unlike any game before it, so incredibly addictive and fun.  Plus the soundtrack is amazing.
      5. Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus – Goddamn fun platformer, lots of great levels and locations.  GORGEOUS environments.
      6. FF XII – Best of the post-VII run; compelling storyline without falling into the “save the whole universe” bullshit and/or the teenage angst/melodrama.
      7. Bully – Dunno why this game was so fun, but it was.  Nice to have a GTA style game without the ultraviolence. 

      In no other particular order, the first Ratchet & Clank, the first Jak & Daxter, Maximo (the last of the truly HARD platformers)

      • GhaleonQ says:

        Oh, man, Dikachu, I had no idea you were hardcore about platformers.  The Maximo series is no joke!  Were you a Demon Village/Ghosts ‘N’ Goblins fans already?

        • Dikachu says:

          I never owned any of the GnG series for the SNES era, but I did play them.  Goddamn those games were unforgiveable.  I love how chock-full of secrets they were though.

          Maximo II was pretty good, but they toned down the difficulty somewhat and it was a mixed bag (especially since the optional “hard” mode they threw in was goddamned impossible).

          I wish the modern platformers hadn’t thrown away so much of the truly difficult stuff, at least for the “secret” areas.  The only thing that was a SERIOUS challenge that I can recall was trying to get the last 4 gold bolts in Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time.

      • ChicaneryTheYounger says:

        Hoping you mean unforgiving when you’re talking about GnG ’cause those are great games (when you’re on free-play).

    • WorldCivilizations says:

      I will participate in this!

      1: Disgaea: Hour of Darkness – Best tactical RPG and funniest game I’ve ever played.

      2: Devil May Cry – Changed the face of action gaming, and still hasn’t been topped (I’ll give a nod to the GoW series here though).

      3: Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas – The best GTA on the console, a flawless game.

      4: Kingdom Hearts – Ignore the nonsensical story, and you have one of the best RPGs of all time.

      5: Metal Gear Solid 2 – I liked the setting more than MGS3’s, so I have to give it the edge despite the maddening cutscenes.

      6: Maximo – Best platformer I played on PS2 – just don’t save up the stupid kisses, it’s not worth it!

      7: Red Faction – Basically Perfect Dark on the PS2, the best multiplayer FPS on the console.

      8: Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance – For multiplayer fun times.

      9: Rhythm Games – Guitar Hero, DDR, Frequency – PS2 had em and I loved em.

      10: FFX – Never played XII. The sheer number of hours I spent playing this game (I beat all the monster arena bosses) obliges me to put this on the list.

    •  Ratchet & Clank
      Devil May Cry 3
      Shadow of the Colossus

  5. Effigy_Power says:

    I still have a PS2 that I haven’t plugged in since 2006, but I don’t think I’ll ever sell it. Which is interesting, because I don’t feel that way about any other out-dated electronics. Under no circumstances would I have kept my old, if indestructible Nokia cell-phone, my tape-deck or my or CRT TV with the VHS thingie built in.
    The PS2 was there for me when I really wanted to get heavily into gaming and my PC was too crappy to deal with the top-games of the time, especially in the early 2000s when I couldn’t tell a Voodoo from a Viper or whatever they used to call GPUs.
    The PS2 is a piece of history for sure, but less of technological history than of personal gaming myth. Other consoles were better and I did eventually pack away the PS2 for the XBox, but there was something about it that made it universal and omnipresent. Even some of my self-styled bohemian artsy friends usually had one, if only to play Katamari or something colorful. PS2-DVDs could be found flying around just about every filthy apartment and that made it an instantly recognizable thing you could have in common with a total stranger.
    Culturally it was a great little machine and it definitely helped gaming grow up a tiny bit and make it a bit more all-encompassing.
    Semper Fi, my blocky, plastic-y friend.

    • Asinus says:

      I think the best projector/huge screen gaming experience was Amplitude (or Frequency). I had a little movie/video game party at the start of one semester– a friend brought over his PS2 (I never had one until fairly recently) and put in Amplitude. It was great. The mix of Bowie’s “Everyone Says Hi” in it still triggers a brutal wave of nostalgia– not even for a particular period, just one weekend (I’d never seen the game before that or much since). 

      • Effigy_Power says:

        I heard about that, but never played it.
        WipeOut had this combination of blazing speed, high contrast graphics and constant strobing effects that just made it the perfect cornea-annihilator.

  6. Joshua Saiewitz says:

    Equally depressing is that, with the PS2 gone and the PS3 no longer backwards compatible, a wide variety of classic PS2 games will eventually be unplayable. For a while you’ll still be able to find a used PS2 (perhaps as long as ten years before the newest ones simply break down), but after that you’ll be limited to illegal emulations and the handful of digital titles and HD remakes that Sony sees fit to produce. We have no real libraries for games, no real curation, and lot of the history of the medium is simply vanishing before our eyes. In analogy, games are where film was in the 1910s, when once sold, movies were discarded, burned, or sold for scrap, leaving only a tiny fraction of these important works available to future generations.

    • Asinus says:

      Illegal emulations? Emulators aren’t illegal. 

      • Destroy Him My Robots says:

        Can’t wait to put my future children through biblical trials of character to determine which of one them earns the right to inherit my PS2 BIOS. Boy, are they gonna be mad when they find out it’s a PAL one and they only get to play the 50Hz version of Devil May Cry.

        • Asinus says:

          Well, yeah, there’s a catch, but you could just get a broken PS2 for a couple bucks to point at when The Man comes a-checkin’ on the legality of your PS2 emulator. So even when all the PS2s are dead, they’re still useful to have around if there are serious concerns about legality of the emulation. 

          But from a practical stand point, there are so many dumped BIOS ROMs out there that PS2 games aren’t going to vanish like old films. I’m not going to say that Sony won’t fight the existence of dumped BIOS image in perpetuity (I’d guess they will as long as they can), but they’ll never be totally squelched. With the sheer number of PS2s out there, tens of millions of these emulators will be running legally, anyway. 

      • Cliffy73 says:

        Do you have a citation for the claim that emulation is legal?  It certainly seems like it would be a patent violation (assuming the emulated system is patented, of course), but maybe not.

        Either way, even if system emulation is legal, it’s only going to be legal to play original games — not copies of game software where you own an original that isn’t readable on the emulating system.  That’s definitely illegal.  (I’m not making an argument about morality here, although maybe I would.  But as a matter of law, it’s not an open question — copying is copying no matter that you own the original, and no matter what you do with it once you make the copy.  And without permission of the copyright holder, copying is illegal.)

        That’s all U.S. law, of course.  Foreign mileage may vary.

        • Dikachu says:

          I’m pretty sure emulators are legal, but you have to obtain the ROMs yourself and/or you have to own the original games… kinda like how bongs are legal, but you can only use them to smoke “tobacco”.

        • Citric says:

          I think copying your own stuff is still legal in Canada, but I’m not sure, might have changed since. Downloading other people’s stuff is still illegal.

          I don’t think there’s been a legal precedent set for whether emulators are legal or not yet, and I’m pretty sure it’s because there’s no advantage to taking them on, and some developers might just like having them around. For example, Sega uses emulators all the time for their retro collections.

          I’ve also heard that Nintendo has lost the patents on the NES hardware, which is why there are about a billion crazy NES clones out there, but that might be BS.

        • Asinus says:

          Emulation is legal if you own the game or, when you have to use system BIOS images (e.g. ePSXe and PCSX2), the game system. There was a court case about it a while back and that was the ruling. If you have to break some kind of copy protection, that is definitely illegal. I was under the impression that the only thing that is illegal is to break DRM encryption, not to make ahem backups of DRM-free games. I was under the impression that that is the point of DRM– to be able to make the act of copying your own software illegal by making a necessary step illegal. (I just did a quick search and from what I can tell, it’s legal to backup your own software if manufacturers don’t provide a backup.)

          I know that PS One and PS2 games will run straight from the original game disc in their respective emulators, it’s the system BIOS dumps that are problematic.

          ETA: It is illegal to distribute your backups, that’s for sure. I know I’m a rare donkey in that I’m just backing up my own discs (for PS1, PS2, PSP, Wii, and GC to run on emulators or install directly on the device in the case of the PSP).

    • Dikachu says:

      I wasn’t going to buy a PS3 right away, but as soon as I found out they were removing the EmotionEngine chip from it, I ordered one of the first-gen 60GB ones.  Definitely haven’t regretted it.

      It was also during the Blu-ray/HD DVD wars, so I also got like 10 free Blu-rays with it back when they were selling for like $35 each.

      • GaryX says:

        Yup. I have the 60GB MGS4 bundle which was the last one to do the emulation. It’s great. 

        • Citric says:

          That was an 80GB, though in mine the hard drive was hooped so now that specific one is a 320GB.

        • GaryX says:

          @Citric:disqus Oh you’re right. It was 80gb plus backwards compatibility which was what made it seem like a good get.

        • Citric says:

          Does the fan on yours flip out when you pop in something PS2? That started worrying me, so I’ve gone back to just using the PS2. That, and the BC didn’t cover Wild Arms 4, which crashed constantly.

        • GaryX says:

          @Citric:disqus Honestly, it’s been a bit since I’ve played a PS2 game (at least two apartments ago), but now that I have some of my games here with me, I’ll give it a try tonight and let you know if it does.

          Did you replace your harddrive with a bigger one?

        • Citric says:

          Yep, it’s super easy, just use a laptop drive and shove it in there. I don’t know what was up with my first HD, but it would freeze during MGS4 and then demand I format the drive, but when I switched it out for the new one it has been problem free ever since.

        • GaryX says:

          @Citric:disqus Oh I might have to do that. Mine’s getting full up.

        • Asinus says:

          Yeah! that’s my favorite thing about the PS3– how easy it is to upgrade the HD. Well, that and all of the things it can do that requires that hd space. My 120 was filling up (I have a lot of TV shows on it) and I upgraded it to 500. 

          Immediately after that, though, I started getting a RSOD on a slim system. turns out it was coincidental. I had to do a full tear down and reseat the heat sinks, the thermal compound had turned chalky. It’s been working great for over a year now. Anyway, the full tear down wasn’t as easy as the HD swap, which was probably about as easy as changing out a HD in a decently accessible laptop.

      • Asinus says:

        Wait, they didn’t disable it in system updates? That’s cool! for some reason I thought they even disabled the PS2 hardware. I don’t know why they’d do that, but I don’t know why they did a lot of things (like disable SACD compatibility even in systems that originally had it! EFFERS). 

        • Dikachu says:

          Nope, it still plays PS1 and PS2 games just fine… that woulda been beyond the pale, even for Sony.

    • DetectiveFork says:

      When did the PS3 stop being backwards compatible? That’s a dick move on Sony’s part.

      • GaryX says:

        I think after the first generation of systems or so (it was already gone by the time I bought mine–which they had brought it back around for some reason). I believe it was to cut down costs or something. I know the emulation software wasn’t always great.

      • Dikachu says:

        The first gen was hardware-compatible cuz it had the EE chip… the second gen could do software compatibility but it wasn’t that great from what I hear.

        They got rid of the hardware chip to save money, and the software emulator so they could re-sell you the same games in HD :p

  7. Spacemonkey Mafia says:

    I am one of three first-world males born between 1975 and 1995 who didn’t own a PS2.  Just me, a North Dakotan Mennonite named Hagar and Leonard Cohen’s son, who couldn’t openly admit how much he wanted one.
       I was on the fence about which of the three systems I’d allow myself that generation and decided on the Xbox after seeing Halo at my friends house.
       I’m glad many of the defining games that are still held up as pivotal to the medium are available again, either in HD collections or downloads, but I know there are a lot of lower-profile games that were less important but still a lot of fun that I missed out on.  

    • PaganPoet says:

      Oh, you didn’t hear? Hagar ended up co-owning a PS2 with his Mennonite housemates on his mission in South Korea. Oh, they had a laugh with it during that year, they did.

    • fieldafar says:

      Count me in as one of those three males, which is interesting, considering how much of an impact the PS2 has made on my gaming life (I was more into Nintendo and, later, Xbox). Thank you, friends with one each!

      • I have to be on that list with an asterisk. There is a PS2 in my house, and I played maybe four or five games on it total (Mark of Kri, Gitaroo-Man, both Katamari games, and the PS1 Chrono Cross), but officially that system is owned by my wife.

        • TaumpyTearrs says:

          Man, Mark of Kri is one of my favorite games ever. It was brutal, beautiful and it played great.

    • HobbesMkii says:

       Well, if @fieldafar:disqus is Hagar, I must be Leonard Cohen’s son. My mother will be so proud. My heretofore father will not be as proud.

    • Asinus says:

      Just like I did with the Dreamcast, I didn’t pick up a PS2 until the world had moved on. So, I guess I am a male who owns one, but not until people were playing with their PS3s and 360s. 

    • Merve says:

      I never owned a console, period. Maybe that makes me some sort of cave-dwelling, Gollum-like creature. Or maybe @HobbesMkii:disqus and I are the same person.

      • HobbesMkii says:

        Whoa there, chief. I own a 360. Let’s not get crazy in here.

      • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

           Solely PC?  Wouldn’t that make you more of an ascetic purist?  A mountain-top sage who wouldn’t sully yourself with the hoi polloi?
           I mean… if you want to envision yourself a subterranean troglodyte, you’re welcome to, but that makes me feel bad. 

        • Merve says:

          Well, I am capable of sitting in lotus position for extended periods of time, so mountaintop sage it is!

          (I’m actually capable of walking on my knees in lotus position for very short distances – not more than 10 metres or so. I taught some of my friends how to do it back in high school, and we used to “lotus-wrestle” in the hallways, seeing who could knock the other off his knees.)

      • Fluka says:

        Another console-less, PC-born-and-raised person here.  Parents were fine with me wasting my time playing sims and point and click adventure, but not anything coming out of a box attached to a TV, so that’s how I grew up.  Every time I touch a controller, the character onscreen immediately catches on fire and everything ends horribly.  However I am not a dude, so I may be free of such expectations.

        Also, I am in fact a cave-dwelling, Gollum-like creature.  

        • Merve says:

          My parents were fine with pretty much any game as long as it wasn’t excessively violent, but before I hit my teen years, they preferred that I play educational games. However, I did manage to convince them to get me SimCity 2000 by claiming that it would “teach me logic.”

          To this day, my parents make fun of me for being “illogical.”

        • Fluka says:

          I’m not sure what my parents did to convince me that Caesar 3 was waaaay more fun than Doom, but it was damn effective.

          SimCity 2000 taught loads of logic and stuff!  I think.  It taught me what a desalination plant was, that’s for sure.

        • Merve says:

          @Fluka:disqus: I used to build loads of desalination plants and fusion power plants in my cities. I was the mayor of the future, man. (All my cities ended up balls-deep in debt, though. I wonder what that says about the future of the world economy…)

        • Effigy_Power says:

          If you can’t tell us, @Merve2:disqus, what do you think we have?

    • SuperShamrock says:

       I never got one either.  Mostly out of bitterness that the PS2 killed the Dreamcast.

  8. Nudeviking says:

    Dear Playstation 2,

    Anytime I hear your name I am reminded of a time before mortgages and student loans and savings for a kid’s education.  You were the last big purchase when close to 100% of income was disposable income.  I bought you because you had Final Fantasy X.

    That game taught me a valuable lesson about letting go of things you loved in the past, but you were a good buddy nonetheless.  I know I gave you to my brother before I moved overseas, but your voltage was all wrong.  I mean consider yourself lucky.  He took better care of you than he did my car.  Hell we still enjoyed some Dynasty Warriors on you last year when I visited for our sister’s wedding.

    Anyway thanks for the good times.  I won’t hold Final Fantasy X against you.

    Yr Buddy,

  9. Someguy2323 says:

     This and the NES are the best pure gaming machines of all time. It has almost everything to do with conquering the market, but the system has so many great games. Also, I think it’s the last system to allow game developers/directors to release games free of trend and market concern.

    • Dikachu says:

      I’d put the SNES over the NES, simply because of the better graphics and music.  2-D games didn’t get much more pretty than that.

      • PaganPoet says:

        Seconding Dikachu here without downplaying the quality of the NES and its impact it had on gaming. NES may have brought gaming back to the mainstream and back into our homes, but I think the SNES vs. Genesis era (which we can say now that the SNES clearly won) was truly when gaming took off in stride.

      • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

        I don’t know how much of this is sentimentality, but I sorta believe the SNES is the best of all game systems.
           Okay, I know most of that is sentimentality, but I think it’s the most fun any system has ever provided me. 

    • Prior to the PS2 generation, there was almost* no notion of a game “selling poorly”. If you released a game, there was a guaranteed demand of some sort. A publisher’s only task was to estimate (or manufacture) that demand, and plan accordingly. Now, higher development costs coupled with a more fragmented market (and the increasing divergence between critics and consumers) have made it increasingly necessary for every retail game to be a huge hit. What was once called a modest success is now a failure. There’s no longer such thing as the “AAA Niche Game”.

      In the NES days, there was such a hunger for new games, and no real reviews available, that pretty much anything was guaranteed to sell.

      Once magazines such as EGM started providing some consumer advocacy, the cheap stuff started to get weeded out, genres had become more defined, and game developers were being recognized. In the 90s, some games sold a million copies, most games sold a fraction of that, but sales generally conformed to expectations. Poorly reviewed games from unknown developers sold poorly. Well reviewed action games with a marketing push sold well. RPGs were marketed to a niche market, and performed accordingly.

      This business model was all well and good when Square could put out a Final Fantasy game every year. But as games increased in size and resolution, the staff and development times increased. Obviously, you can’t spend ten times as much on a sequel that will only sell as well as the original.

      The 2000s also saw an increasing split between consumers and critics. Consumers became increasingly sceptical of critical endorsement, even in genres that they knew they liked. Part of this distrust was because some critics got too cosy with the games industry. (In order to get the exclusive previews, some magazines and websites would suck up to game companies. Much has been written on this, and I won’t repeat it here.) Another issue was the (usually unfair) belief that game critics had become snobs. The universal critical endorsement of Psychonauts, for example, did not translate into sales. Psychonauts became no more than a cult hit at best; i.e. a failure.

  10. Citric says:

    My PS2 is still plugged in and still used regularly. It’s been perched near my television since 2003 and it’s been used off and on ever since.

    What I’m going to miss, and what I already miss, is that the PS2 was the last console where realism wasn’t that important. The console had a ton of games where they invented a new and exciting world to explore, where you could do new and exciting things and experience a place that could never actually exist in reality.

    I think we’ve lost that, to be honest, though there are exceptions. There’s so much focus on realism and being as serious as possible that it doesn’t seem like there’s too much invention going on. Developers have gotten so focused on replicating reality that I think the joy of fantasy has been lost. I miss when I’d throw in a new title and would know that I’d be heading to a world unlike any I had ever seen before.

    I mean, there have been some post-PS2 titles that have still done that, Catherine, Valkyria Chronicles and Nier are three examples of games which were able to transport to new and exciting places. I just kind of want more of that, and more big-budget titles that dare to not be cover-based shooters – alright that’s specifically complaining about Uncharted, a series where I just got sick of the constant shooting that interrupted the running, jumping and exploring I was enjoying.

    I think this is why I’m so excited about Ni No Kuni, even after the demo wasn’t that exciting. It feels fresh like a good PS2 game.

    • PaganPoet says:

      Hear, hear! I said something similar on my top ten post under the Okami entry. A creative and clever art direction will always beat out realism for me.

      • Asinus says:

        OMG! This is just like being outside and interacting with normal people! 

        I have never really understood the drive toward realism across all genres. Yeah, in simulators? Fine! A realistic flight sim is great. But “realistically” rendered fantasy titles are just bizarre looking. If FF IX had looked “realistic,” it would have been weird as hell. I like cartoony games and fantastic worlds– realism is, in a way, killing creativity. It might be difficult to make a realistic looking person, but all you’re really trying to do is mimic something that already exists– basically it’s a duplication. Trying to create unrealistic worlds takes some more creativity. 

        • PaganPoet says:

          I think you’ve touched on why I have a heard time getting hooked on Western RPGs. There’s no doubt that Elder Scrolls, Fallout et al are great series and games, but they just seem so drab because of the “realistic” art style. I guess I need something to hold my attention during those beginning hours before I’m hooked by the gameplay, story, characters, etc.

          Granted, the extreme opposite of ridiculous JRPG character design isn’t all that much better. How many plucky hair-gel happy preteens wielding impossibly large swords can you play as before the formula gets old?

        • GaryX says:

          I don’t think being realistic necessarily degrades creativity. It’s not immediately evident, but you still have to invent digital space, movement, interaction, identity and place. Your creativity has to work in a lot more subtle ways. You can’t always be showy. Then, within that world, you have to create compelling narratives, characters and goals without the freedom that some kind of fantastic style might allow. They both have their own challenges.

          Personally, I would argue that it’s lazy developers, demanding publishers and the purchasing decision of gamers ([insert rant about annualization here]) that’s to blame. Not realism. It’s just a tool and a style, like anything else.

        • Girard says:

          “How many plucky hair-gel happy preteens wielding impossibly large swords can you play as before the formula gets old?”

          However many I played as during the great PSX-era post-FF7 JRPG glut (during which I also caught up on SNES-era RPGs I had passed up when younger). Burning through so many Suikodens, Grandias, Final Fantasies, Breaths of Fires, Wild Armses, Chrono _____s, Tales of _______s, etc. etc. over a period of about six years pretty much satisfied any desire I’ll ever have to play a JRPG.

          Occasionally I’ll dip back in and try a more recent one (The Last Story, which was awful, and Radiant Historia, which was disappointingly linear considering its central conceit), but unless it’s doing something really tonally or mechanically different (like, say, a Mother game or a Mario & Luigi game), it tends to feel at best samey/boring and at worst derivative/awful.Your typical anime-infused JRPG character designs are about as creatively lacking as your typical naturalistic WRPG character designs. Occasionally there are exceptions that are interesting, and rarely, there are styles that are genuinely inventive.

        • PaganPoet says:

          @paraclete_pizza:disqus Ditto here. I can actually almost pinpoint the exact moment when I realized how tired I was of the JRPG formula. I was playing Atelier Iris on my PS2 and sitting through some alchemy item-creation busy work and realized how stupid all the characters looked and how much fun I wasn’t having.

          Now, I’m of the camp that actually did enjoy FFXIII and FFXIII-2, but those are the only two current-gen JRPGs I can think of that I actually bothered myself to play (not counting Persona 4 Golden or Disgaea 3 since those are enhanced ports of PS2 games anyway).

      • Dikachu says:

        That’s one of the reasons I like platformer games so much… they tend to have the best, most creative art.  The Ratchet & Clank games exemplify that really nicely.

        One of the tragedies of current high-powered consoles and PCs is that they CAN render things very realistically now. Back in the older days they couldn’t, so the developers HAD to get creative.

    • I just dumped a wall of text lamenting the demise of the “AAA Niche Game”. But then again, there’s no reason that an original and fresh game has to be niche. It’s a shame that publishers have become so risk-averse.

    • GaryX says:

      On one hand, I agree with you, but on the other hand, this generation has given us games like Braid, Journey, Limbo, the PixelJunk games, Super Meat Boy, FTL, Team Fortress, Minecraft, Bastion, Torchlight (1 & 2), Spelunky, Trine (1 & 2), Frog Fractions (MOTHER FUCKING FROG FRACTIONS Y’ALL), El Shaddai, Super Hexagon, Fez, World of Goo, and probably more that I can’t think of off the top of my head.

      I mean, I guess you can argue that the list is primarily indies and not quite AAA, but I don’t think that disqualifies the quality of the games or the worlds they create. The market is just different. I think it’s almost too easy to lament the “rise of realism” in games–which I’m not claiming you’re doing, but more speaking generally–when, really, lots of them have always been moving that way, it’s just that the means for finding games with inventive worlds have changed and now there are so many games constantly being released and made–not to mention that due to websites and social media our exposure to said games has expanded exponentially–that it can feel like too many of them are reaching for realism. Yes, that is absolutely the way certain AAA titles are going to go, but that was always going to happen as things became more advance because the game market is still a market, and we’re a society that enjoys our blockbusters. At the same time, those games need to push the envelope of the realism so that the more fantastic games have something to push off against–something beyond nostalgia I would argue was key to the resurgence of 8-bit style. We need those games to show crazy, real life explosions so someone else can come along, look at that explosion and then create a game that allows us to see it completely differently. At the same time, we have no shortage of games that push something other than realism. We just have lots of games. In general.

      • Citric says:

        I’ll never discount the value of the indie resurgence, and some of the best games of the last five years have come out of that. I also don’t think realism is necessarily a bad thing sometimes. Still, I miss when a best seller was also something that had a unique world, and the PS2 was just limited enough that everything had to be at least a little stylized, so even the ‘real’ titles were forced to have a universe that was uniquely it’s own.

        AAA titles used to show a lot more imagination than they do now, and I miss that, though there are games that aren’t AAA that can still inspire.

        It should be noted that it’s not entirely the fault of a push towards realism, as you mentioned elsewhere annualization and risk averse publishers are probably more guilty for killing the inventiveness of the large budget titles, but I still want something fresh and exciting to get a huge budget.


    I actually managed to snag a PS2 on launch day, the first kid in my class to do so (probably the only time I’ve ever been “the cool kid”), it was one of the best days of my life, that mother fucker blew my mind, even though I didn’t have a single actual PS2 game to play on it and shit, my first PS2 game was probably Ready 2 Rumble Boxing 2 or some shit, I didn’t really start playing real PS2 games until about a year later 

    but it didn’t matter, I could feel the POTENTIAL of the thing, the thing just LOOKED futuristic, like the Monolith from 2001 had appeared in my room and like one of the apes I cautiously approached it, in awe of it’s majesty

    at the time, still being a naive kid, I had no idea what the actual PS2 games would be like, but in the meantime I got caught up on PS1 games I could now play with a dualshock (such as Ape Escape) and watched DVDs, my first DVDs being Fantasia 2000 (OMG, look how clear the picture is!) and The Mummy (first time I listened to an audio commentary) 

    and then finally fall of 2001 came and while I don’t mean to trivialize a certain significant historical event, for me personally fall of 2001 was an amazing time, I mean those games! holy fucking shit those games! Silent Hill 2, Metal Gear Solid 2, Grand Theft Auto 3 (my first M rated games), Devil May Cry, the list goes on, it was fucking gaming nirvana, you can keep your harsh reality where thousands of people can die in one day in a terrorist attack, I’ll stick to my virtual fantasy world (I’ll admit this may have started a trend for me)

    anyway, the PS2 was the shit, I am saddened to hear that it’s now officially a thing of the past, good thing I already bought a slim PS2 a few years back that I hooked up to my old TV in the guest room for when I need a dose of old school standard def gaming, I still have that original launch day PS2, but it got retired to my closet in 2006 after the picture got screwy, I wont toss it though for sentimental value 

  12. Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

    As much as I love the PS2 (and I love it a lot!), I feel like I’m missing something here. I don’t mean to nitpick, but wouldn’t the Gamecube be the ACTUAL last “pure” gaming machine? Or, arguably, the Wii? The PS2 was kind of a huge deal partly because they could play DVDs in a time when not everyone had a DVD player. 

    Actually, I’d probably say that the DS was the last “pure” game platform.

    Apologies for being a lame-o, everyone.

    • Asinus says:

      No, I think you’re totally right. I kind of raised an eyebrow at that line, too. It reflects a current mindset that assumes everything with an optical drive can play DVDs. It takes extra hardware or software and licensing to decode DVD software. It’s definitely not an emergent property that is the result of having a DVD drive and a processor. 

    • Bad Horse says:

      OK yeah, the Gamecube. The Wii does Netflix, News & Weather “channel”, etc.

    • Dikachu says:

      I would discount the GameCube simply because it was so badly supported by 3rd party publishers.

      As for the Wii, any game system my parents own is automatically disqualified :p

      • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

        Surely then, you’d accept the DS? There are so many worthwhile games on that thing.

      • Girard says:

        I don’t see how either of those disqualify those systems from being purely gaming platforms. I would say “is also a DVD player” would be a more clear disqualifying factor from being a purely gaming system.

  13. innocent_passerby says:

    My best friends chipped in together to buy me a used PS2 for Christmas when I was in high school because I was the only one of them who didn’t have one.  That was one of the nicest things anyone’s ever done for me, and unless it starts leaking poison or something I’m never going to get rid of it.  I spent far, far too much/not nearly enough time camped out in various living rooms in front of PS2s, having “DDR parties” that transitioned to nine-hour Sims marathons, and then the ever popular racing-games-on-the-DDR-pad period around 5 am.  While it’s not as single-purpose as, say, the N64, the PS2 will always be associated with that one kind of experience for me– getting together with friends, playing different games, watching movies, and just generally being together.  Goodbye, brave machine!  (What am I talking about? I won’t have a 360 till 2023.  See you this weekend, brave machine.)

    • Groofus says:

      I’d almost forgotten about trying to play non DDR games on the DDR pad. I used to do that with my brother all the time with him manning one half of the pad and me the other. It never worked particularly well

    • Enkidum says:

      Wow, your best friends are awesome. Can I have them?

  14. George_Liquor says:

    For the better part of a decade, 20 bucks bought you, the discontented PS2-as-a-DVD-player owner, a perfectly good wireless IR remote control. The PS2 slim even sports a built-in IR receiver–a feature that–maddeningly– is still missing from its successor. 

    • The volume complaint is a fair one, though. I usually watch TV with the volume on “20”. PS2 DVDs needed to be jacked up to “40”. 

    • Asinus says:

      During the interim period between my DVD player shitting the bed and replacing it with a new one, I used my PS2 Slim as my DVD player. That IR receiver is handy if you have a universal remote; I have a logitech harmony and just programmed in the PS2 as the DVD player and it worked great.

    • Cliffy73 says:

      I had forgotten about the PS2’s DVD functionality.  My wife got me the (then) complete Futurama on DVD shortly after the original cancellation of the series, and my shitty Samsung DVD player (which was like two years old at the time) couldn’t play them because the firmware was out of date.  So I watched them all on my PS2.  Agnello is right that those DVD controls were impossible, and there’s no question that I often bumped the controller and activated the FFWD.  But, in its defense, I had bought it to play games, and it worked reasonably well to watch DVD’s, whereas the thing that I’d spent more money on with the purpose of playing DVD’s apparently could do neither.

      Seriously.  Samsung blows.

    • Enkidum says:

      To be fair, the PS3 remote is pretty well designed. Didn’t realize it wasn’t IR, but it works fine.

      • George_Liquor says:

         It does, but it present problems for those of us who use universal remotes, since all but the most expensive models use IR exclusively. I had to buy an IR-to-Bluetooth adapter to get my Harmony remote to work with my PS3. This adapter, which costs  something like 60 bucks, has to remain on constantly and in plain sight to work. It has an annoyingly bright power LED, too.

        • Enkidum says:

          Ah, yeah, that would be annoying. I’d like to get a universal remote myself that plays with my TV, Xbox and PS3, but I’ll wait until I have 100 bucks to blow…

      • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

        I really like the PS3 remote -with the sole exception that the gossamer flutter of a moth’s wing is sufficient to trigger the remote to turn the system on.

        • Enkidum says:

          Yes, holy shit that’s annoying. I have wireless headphones, and they live just behind the spot where I keep the remotes, and half the time when I put them away I turn the PS3 on. And sometimes I don’t notice for a day or whatever. Stupid thing!

        • Citric says:

          The PS3 is the only console that my cat can turn on with little difficulty. Luckily I think the sound frightens her so she’s stopped, but there were many days when I’d come home to its distinctive hum.

        • Asinus says:

          Ugh, I get why it works like that– so the remote can go to sleep and any button press can wake the remote, send a command, and wake up the system, but it sure would be nice if when the system was OFF off, it could only be turned on with the ENTER button or something. I don’t know how many times I’ve turned the system off, and then accidentally turned it back on while putting the remote down. I know, first world problem, but it is kind of annoying. 

  15. Kahoutek says:

    The PS2 is the only gaming console that I’ve ever owned.  I’ve been pretty much exclusively a PC gamer (excluding one long-ago summer where my cousin let me borrow her Atari 2600).  My parents wouldn’t brook a “gaming-only” device as being too wasteful and hedonistic, but a PC seemed okay since one could use spreadsheets and type out homework essays.

    But I picked up a used PS2 at Gamestop when the whole Guitar Hero craze hit.  Enjoyed many rock star delusions, and my buddy let me borrow God of War which was a lot of fun.  Plus it helped because he and another of my friends and I were playing through a whole season of Madden (I was Tampa Bay, they were the Bears and Packers).  Having my own PS2 allowed me to “gameplan” for the upcoming week’s games, checking the stats on the opposing players and custom-picking audibles to go against them.  My friend’s thought I had gone over the top when I would walk in with a clipboard full of notes.  I used it mostly to mentally fuck with them anyway.

  16. rvb1023 says:

    I grew up as a Nintendo kid. No Sega, no Sony, no Microsoft (Outside of PC gaming). I only ever picked up a Playstation 3 when the Wii disappointed me so. I wish I could go back and tell my younger self on what he was missing by picking up a GC instead of a PS2. Now I don’t regret my GC purchase, but I should have convinced myself to work a little extra hard to pick up a PS2 before just last year.

    PS2 is simply the best gaming console ever made. It had the perfect balance of mainstream and niche, with solid first party titles combined with the strongest 3rd party support in history. The SNES is the only other console that even comes close, but I give the edge to the PS2 simply because of what was possible and what we got. Both systems were essentially perfecting their art: SNES perfected 2D gaming while the PS2 perfected 3D.

    I know I was late to the party and  know for years the only games I played on you were FFX, MGS2, and GTA: Vice City at a stepbrother’s house, but godspeed little box.  Which reminds me, I still have a stack of PS2 games to play still.

  17. The_Misanthrope says:

    The all-in-one strategy may just be the death knell of the Big 3 (although less so for Nintendo since their IP is so iconic) if they aren’t careful.  As early as 5 years back, you might’ve never believed that PC gaming would be so ascendant.  Sure, there have always been advantages to PCs, but it often lacked the plug-and-play simplicity of a console.  But now that Steam  is making it easier to play PC games on your TV with Big Picture, that may no longer be the case.  There’s also the Ouya and the Nvidia Shield looking to upset the traditional console market.  The peasants are revolting and the consoles are acting like Marie Antoinette.

  18. I bought a PS2 in the fall of 2001. Not only did it serve as my DVD player, but it was also my CD player for a few months. Here’s ten of my favourite games in no particular order. 

    1. Rock Band: I had so many great nights with this game, especially on vocals.

    2. Final Fantasy X-2: The last FF game to use the ATB system.

    3. Dragon Quest VIII: Beautiful.

    4. Persona 3 FES: Hilarious and moving.

    5. We Heart Katamari: Loads more difficulty and content than the first. I even like the music better. 

    6. Ratchet and Clank Up Your Arsenal: I loved the experience system. It also had the perfect balance between shooting and platforming.

    7. Jak and Daxter: Pure 3D platforming goodness. 

    8. Grand Theft Auto Vice City: Frustrating as hell at times, but the music was amazing.

    9. Dark Cloud 2: Photos! Photos! Photos! Apparently there’s dungeons or something, too. 

    10. Kingdom Hearts: The whole game had this slightly creepy edge which made me feel all warm inside. 

  19. Krokamo says:

    It did another thing very well: break after 4 years.

  20. UninvitedChristopherGuest says:

    I was not a video game player. I played only on Sega Genesis, and only Street Fighter II at my friends house, and only so that I could say that we could have a Pai fight. You get it? A Pai fight. Pai vs. Pai. That was so ironically rich to me, reducing the complex technological marvel that was the video game to its metaphorical absurd equivalent of a slapstick vaudeville pie throwing contest. 

    • Asinus says:

      I sometimes say it when I start a game or turn on a system that splashes “Playstation” on the screen. Speaking of haunting, have you seen the David Lynch PS2 commercials? They’re on youtube.

  21. neodocT says:

    As a Brazilian gamer, I should add that the PS2 might have taken a while to be officially released in Brazil, but had been readily available pretty much since it was released in the US. You know, as an import!

    The same goes for the PS3, which I’ve had for years now, and I’m not even sure if it had an official release in Brazil yet.

    In a related topic, Steam recently opened a Brazilian store. The American one had ben available for a long time, but the big difference now is that the prices are in reals, and games are often a lot cheaper than in the American store due to Steam’s bizarrely good exchange rates.   

  22. Though my PS2 gave me disc read errors something like 3 times (and weirdly enough I’ve had no Red Rings in my xbox’s 4 year life-span) it still gave me all the memories I could need.

    It was my main gaming console through out my awkward teens and marathon sessions of TimeSplitters 2, Final Fantasy X, Metal Gear Solid 3, and more classics than I can name, kept me sane through those times. (sniff) Now I don’t even know where he is anymore… Probably on the curb somewhere Disc Read Error’ing in vain…

    Play ’em out boys…

  23. signsofrain says:

    I love my PS2, I recently installed a hard drive and soft-modded it. All I needed was a USB key and an Action Replay disc… now I can store games on the hard drive by copying them from the disc tray or over the network, I can play Genesis, NES, and SNES emulators, I can even play ISOs directly from an SMB share… so now my entire PS2 collection is at my fingertips. (I’ve got maybe 20 games – not a huge collection but all carefully vetted) I sure am glad I bought the ethernet/HD attachment add-on on a whim back when they sold it at Wal-Mart.

  24. Swadian Knight says:

    I still remember playing The Bouncer on a friend’s imported japanese PS2 in 2001, leaving his house amazed with how advanced it looked and felt and with a headache because his non-japanese TV displayed the whole think in black and white. I saved up until I could afford my own north-american PS2 a year or two later, and I can honestly say no other gaming system has been as worthy of its price.

    The PS2 also marked the moment when I transitioned from enjoying gaming as a casual hobby to taking a deeper interest in it as a hobby; hours were spent trying to track down interesting games I’d heard about from its extensive and wonderful catalogue, and my first exposure to games journalism came in the form of a subscription to EGM.

    I’ve probably put more hours into that console than I have into any other system, and I’ve never had the same affection for any other console I’ve owned or played on. So here’s to the PS2, because it will be (and already kinda is) missed.

    • Effigy_Power says:

      Totally with you on the transition from gaming as one of many hobbies to fairly the main thing, but I am not sure I agree with the price-worthiness aspect.
      Sure, I remember the PS2 as pretty much the last big singular purchase before I bought a car, or actually it was about around the exact same time. I bought mine fairly early (it came with Ridge Racer V, I think, so that was fairly early) and paid quite a bit more for it that I ought to, considering that I was still fairly busy playing the PSOne and slowly getting into PC gaming on my shitty rig.
      As far as mileage goes however, I think I got a lot more joy for the dollar out of my 360, despite the fact that I have much less time to actually play it. I own more 360 games than I ever did PS2-games, which considering the price for the games is a bit surprising to myself.
      I’ve only recently stopped using it regularly because Steam has definitely rekindled my love for the PC and I bought an LG SmartTV box for Netflix and streaming, but I would still consider it very much a part of my gaming identity. The PS2 in comparison went into a box the moment I got a hold of a cheap XBox, a copy of GTA:San Andreas and the knowledge that XBox’s don’t need memory cards.
      As great as the PS2 was, it had some minor flaws that really affected its longevity as a primary console for me. Sure, 6 years or so is pretty good I guess, but then I probably used my NES and Gameboy longer.
      Gamecube? Sit in the corner, you were infuriatingly silly and never really managed to excite me, you block.

      • Swadian Knight says:

        You do have a point, and on second thought I don’t think I ever got enough out of any console to put it on par with my current PC, especially since I started using Steam.

        I don’t own a 360, though if I could go back in time I’d definitely have gotten one instead of a Wii, which I was unfortunate enough to purchase in that brief period of time before everyone realized Wii Sports was as far as this motion control thing would go.

        As far as sixth generation consoles go though, I feel like the PS2 proved to be the choice to make despite its hardware flaws, because it had an amazing amount of great exclusive games that the others lacked.

        • Effigy_Power says:

          The library of games was definitely the appeal, something the Dreamcast, which wasn’t a bad machine, just didn’t manage to get together.
          The GameCube for me was a machine with fringe appeal at best and the XBox was less of a contending console and more Microsoft’s big toe being dipped into the market before, in my opinion, pretty much acing the 360.
          But as late-comers there was no way the old XBox would ever have had a chance.
          That’s probably why, at least in Europe and North America, the 360 trumps supreme. It was there earlier, had admittedly more features (hampered only by the gamble on DVD-Plus or whatever they were called) and managed to get a lot of formerly exclusive franchises to move over.
          I think the day there was a Tekken and a Final Fantasy for the 360 was the day Sony had to at least admit partial defeat.

          EDIT: I suppose now that I think about it… in hindsight we may regard the PS2 as better than it was merely because there wasn’t really any competition for half of its life.

        • Swadian Knight says:


          The PS2 got its foot in the door way too early and with too much appeal for any other console to catch up to it, and the fact that so many games were developed exclusively for it was probably as much a cause for that appeal as it was a result from it. I still can’t quite understand what went wrong with the Dreamcast, but it’s history by now. I wonder which of the two the WiiU will be more alike, being out so early.

          And you’re absolutely right about the Xbox. I think MS had already shown they could handle online play a lot better than Sony back then, and they seem to have focused on that with the 360. Add to that the PS3’s general awfulness (I swear I spent half my play time on that console staring at progress bars for updates) and incoherent price tag, and it was pretty obvious who would win, especially since the Wii was essentially in another market altogether.

  25. ricin_beans says:

    In some ways it was a cheap piece of crap that broke down waaay too often.  But on the other hand, it was one of the best systems of all time.  Today I have a 360, PS3, Wii, DS, and PSP, and I can hardly ever find a game worth playing.  Back in 2003 when all I had was a PS2 my problem was finding enough time and money to play all of the good games.

  26. Ryan Smith says:

    Nostalgia for old PS2 games aside, I love the fact that the modern console is a multimedia all-in-one device.

    In 2012, I ditched my expensive cable subscription and watched Netflix, Hulu, pro basketball on ESPN, the Presidential debates as well as played online games on my Xbox 360/PS3. How is that not awesome?

    • Effigy_Power says:

      I couldn’t agree more. While the simplicity and “purity” (ugh) of the PS2 are endearing in the same way a shop that sells only handcrafted table-legs is, it’s a thing of the past and I am glad for it.
      When I remember my brother’s old TV-unit, complete with about 10 remote controls, then I don’t really shed a tear for that.

      • Asinus says:

        All of those remotes keep people from fucking with our shit! Yeah, I have universal remote, but it eats batteries just by existing. So I need a remote for my PS3, DVD player, HD DVD player, LD player, CD player, MD player, TV, and Receiver. It’s a foreboding pile of remotes that frightens those who may want to take matters into their own hands. Though, yeah, I personally prefer it when my universal remote’s batteries are good. 

        • Effigy_Power says:

          Logitech Harmony. I change the batteries every 3-4 months, but then I don’t really watch that much. It controls my TV, Soundbar, SmartTV, Xbox… well, that’s it really.

        • Asinus says:

          @Effigy_Power:disqus , I think there is something wrong with mine. Sometimes I pop batteries in it and then don’t even use the thing for a while, only to find that they’re dead when I decide to pick it up (I had it learn the remote for a fan, so that’s kind of handy). I bought mine after getting one for my parents and, according to them, they have only changed the batteries once or twice. I honestly think I used mine once after changing the batteries last time. Maybe it isn’t going to sleep properly. Maybe my cat is using it while I sleep. Possibilities are endless. 

  27. Amen, Anthony!! AAAAMEN!

  28. GaryX says:

    I will always remember that around the launch of the PS2, news outlets were reporting that they were so advanced that you could take a few of them and control a missile.

    Life is just beautiful sometimes.

  29. JustPlainMean says:

    I had originally decided to skip buying PS2 as I was in college and not as into playing single player games (I generally gamed only at friend’s places at that point).  Then I played Mark of Kri and changed my mind the next weekend.  The most stylish, brutal and fluid multi-opponent action game ever.

    Since then the Katamaris, Ico/Shadow of the Colossus, Sly Coopers, and the Nippon Ichi games were other PS2 only games that made me never regret my decision to buy.

    Special shout outs to Metal Gear Solid 2 & 3 and God of War (which I played through at friends); Way of the Samurai for being frustrating but addictive; and Timesplitters 2 (though I know this sequel came out simultaneously on other consoles) for being the only real multiplayer game I got anyone into on it.

    Everyone else had the X-Boxes and N64 / Gamecubes for the party games.  The PS2 was the most arty/stylish and my favorite of the personal relaxatrons.

  30. Gospel X says:

    I think you’re oversimplifying the PS2’s success. As others have pointed out, the GameCube was the only really dedicated game machine, and that didn’t take it very far. It also had a number of high quality games, but that again didn’t take it very far.

    The PS2’s success is really an extension of the PSX’s success in a market where its only real competition was the N64. PSX beat the N64 not because of quality but because of better marketing and lower costs for game production – which resulted in more games on the market. PS2 built on that with, again, available and affordable games coupled with an aggressive ad campaign. I was extremely happy with my GameCube during that time period, but that didn’t stop me from picking up a PS2. The only reason the PS2 continues to get played to this day is because I’m STILL finding new games to play for it. The library is absurdly large.

    • Effigy_Power says:

      That really is the thing, the more I think about it.
      It’s easy to be the big dog if there’s nobody else in the garden. The GameCube, for all its funky little cuteness, was essentially a miss-step in design and especially in the use of tiny CDs for media. Add the almost maliciously terrible controller to that, especially when compared to the then-revolutionary PS2 controller and you had yourself a landslide.

      • Gospel X says:

        I think calling the Dual Shock 2 controller revolutionary in any way is a bit of an exaggeration. The N64’s controller was revolutionary (and I don’t intend that to be punny). The PS2’s controller was simply the next iteration of a design derivative of the SNES controller.

      • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

        Gamecube controllers are pretty cool. They feel much better in my hands than a Dualshock. Plus those clicky triggers are so good.

        • GaryX says:

          Yeah, the Wavebird is one of my favorite controllers. If the C-stick had been a full on analog stick, it would be pretty perfect to me.

        • Girard says:

          Yeah, I had always understood the Gamecube controller to be held in high esteem.

          It’s super-comfortable, though I personally don’t like the placement of the face buttons at all.

        • Effigy_Power says:

          Fair enough. I suppose it’s fair to say that controllers are about the most justifiably subjective thing about console gaming there is.
          Those damn GameCube controllers (and to a further degree the abominable N64 controllers) just didn’t interface with my hand, but they sure interfaced with my living room floor.

          Personally I think the 360 controller beats out the PS2 controller on every level, but back then, it seemed like the world was made of analog sticks and it felt great.

        • Asinus says:

          @GaryX:disqus  Are you sure the C-stick isn’t analog? I only have one GC controller and have never had cause to take it apart, so I’ve never seen it with my own eyes, but it doesn’t behave like a digital stick. 

  31. djsubversive says:

    I’ve got a PS2 sitting, disconnected, on a shelf, along with my games (also a 360, but that wasn’t eulogized today so it can fuck off).

    -GTA III, Vice City, San Andreas, Liberty City Stories
    -The Godfather: The Game (“Don’t forget about me when you’re don, a’ight?”)
    -Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction (how did they fuck up the sequel to this game so badly?)
    -Shadow of the Colossus
    -God of War
    -Simpsons: Hit and Run (basically, GTA: Springfield, and it’s a lot of fun)
    -Hitman: Silent Assassin, Contracts, and Blood Money (came in a collection with a Kane and Lynch trailer)
    -Final Fantasy XII
    -Tony Hawk’s Underground, Underground 2 (this was before the SKATE series showed up)
    -Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory (dear Ubisoft: please make the next Splinter Cell game more like Chaos Theory. Thank you. PS: I am not a crackpot.)
    -Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence (the “remix” version of Snake Eater with not-sucky camera controls, the first two Metal Gear games for the not-NES, a collection of all the cutscenes in Snake Eater, and some other stuff. I got it for the not-sucky camera)
    -Freedom Fighters (with music by Jesper Kyd! yay!)
    -Sniper Elite (way better than the recent sequel)

    I had more at some point, but those are the games I felt were worth hanging onto when I upgraded to a 360. All of them are fun, and I would be able to go back and replay any of them (except for the Tony Hawk games; the SKATE series is so much better, even without the sweet Rodney Mullen freestyle tricks).

    In fact, I think I see some Mercenaries in my future. 

    • Merve says:

      Man, The Simpsons: Hit and Run? I’m glad that somebody else remembers that game. It was freakin’ awesome! (Okay, maybe I’m overselling it a bit.) But boy did I enjoy driving around Springfield, knocking over pedestrians with the Car Built for Homer.

      Some of the missions were fucking difficult, though. A lot of the races took dozens of tries to beat, and I spent more than a week trying to beat this mission, where Bart has to destroy the free laser stands. I’m clenching my fist just thinking of it.

    • robthom says:

       “-Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction (how did they fuck up the sequel to this game so badly?)”

      I think thats whats referred to as corporate meddling.

      Thats what happens when pencil necks with spreadsheets make artistic decisions.

  32. I was an Xbox guy myself but many’s the time I wish I had gone for PS2 with stuff like God of War, Kingdom Hearts and more. Ah, great times of gaming although still got a few great games for Xbox (Freedom Fighters, man that deserved a sequel.)

    • Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

      Not to burst your bubble, but Freedom Fighters wasn’t an xbox exclusive. Ya coulda had it all!

    • djsubversive says:

      The first Kane and Lynch game is Freedom Fighters’ gameplay, set in the Hitman world. But I agree, I want to see more Freedom Fighters (max 12. :D). Chris Stone: Plumber. Freedom Fighter. President?


      the Xbox was actually a pretty great console too, too bad everyone seems to have forgotten that fact 

    • robthom says:

       Man that xbox was a turd.

      I actually didn’t want a ps2 and bought the xbox first,
      then took it back 2 days later and swapped it for a ps2 because I couldn’t get my money back.

      Didn’t care for either of them, but ps2 was the lesser evil.

      • Effigy_Power says:

        It was also unfathomably loud, at least early versions of it. The fan really was a massive nuisance.

  33. Reuben says:

    I specifically bought an old model PS3 so I could play PS2 games on it.
    I never owned a fifth or sixth generation console, so I missed out on a ton of good games. Someday I’ll find the time to actually use it for them…

  34. TheGameroomBlitz says:

    You’re right about the unreal hype surrounding the machine in its first two years.  (Remember “it’ll plug you into the Matrix?”  Man, what a hoot!)  You’re wrong when you say that the Playstation 2 killed the Dreamcast with the quality of its games.  Do you remember how woeful the PS2 launch library was?  It was filled with ambitious flops (The Bouncer), tired sequels (Ridge Racer V, Street Fighter EX 3), and crummy originals (Orphen), all with the greyest, brownest graphics known to man.  Just look at this list!  You’ll be hard-pressed to find anything worthwhile on it. Dreamcast offered a superior gaming experience right up to its death in 2001… the ONLY things that made the PS2 a hit in its first year was the insane launch hype and its DVD playback.  The truly exceptional software for the PS2 didn’t come until later, after developers got used to the hardware and Sony’s trio of mascots (Ratchet, Sly, and Jak) were introduced.

    • Asinus says:

      IIRC Sony leaked some misinformation regarding the PS2s specs to get people to hold off and wait for it to come out. The dreamcast was a beautiful machine with beautiful games. If you run it through the VGA box, it could have some pretty spectacular graphics. 

  35. hastapura says:

    I feel as though the Gamecube gets a bum rap – or at least overlooked. I still use mine every day. Talk about doing one thing well: it doesn’t even play DVDs! The ‘cube and the PS2 have boatloads of awesome games and there’s something about the machines themselves I can’t give up in favor of patchy backwards compatibility with a Wii or PS2. 

    However, I have no desire to ever come near an original Xbox again. Dang that thing was ugly.

    • Sleverin says:

       GC has Metroid Prime 1 and 2 and Wind Waker…and I think one or two Paper Mario games.  Those alone are worth it, and reminds me that I should fire the old Wii back up and finish not only those games but also Twilight Princess, which was also originally a GC release even though they waited for the Wii release.  Oh and Majora’s Mask and whatever else they have on the Nintendo store.  Wii’s best feature, emulating all their cool old shit that I can buy for less than 10 bucks.  Damn I want the GC version of Zelda: TP, it’s one of my favorite Zelda games I’ve played but the Wii controls just bog it down, c’mon Gamecube version!

    • Asinus says:

      I think the Gamecube was even slightly more powerful than the PS2. Their weird, backward-wound mini DVDs probably held them back with their roughly 2/5 DVD capacity. Not that power necessarily translates to anything meaningful, but there were some good games on the GC. And since I tend to be fairly picky about what I want to spend gaming time on, I don’t’ personally care if a game has 200 or 2000 titles if I only feel like playing 10 of them.

  36. jessec829 says:

    This is probably just an indicator of how lazy I am, but buying a wireless controller for my PS2 revitalized the machine for me. I’ve played more PS2 games lately than PS3 thanks to that baby!

  37. uselessyss says:

    I didn’t own a PS2, so my memories of it are restricted to the times I spent at my friends house, trying to figure out how not to stumble constantly in SSX.

    I remember my friend had a TV in his room with the console hooked up, and I was extremely jealous that he could play games in his own room, without asking his parents for permission or anything. I also remember watching The Emperor’s New Groove on it, which may have been my first-ever exposure to DVDs.

    It’s kind of funny – at the time, I thought my friend had the dream life: his parents weren’t always crowding him, he had all the latest toys, and usually got what he wanted. Now I’m glad my own childhood was a little more restrained and cloistered; I think I gained a really valuable perspective on material goods and entitlement.

    Wait, what were we talking about? Oh, right – PS2 was great, sad to see it go.

  38. signsofrain says:

    My top 10:

    1. Katamari Damacy (One of the few games I could call entirely original)
    2. Guitar Hero 2 (TROGDORRRRRR!)
    3. Odin Sphere (Phenomenal artwork, great voice work, super fun game)
    4. Kingdom Hearts (Another extremely original game with lots of treats for Disney and Square fans)
    5. Shadow of the Colossus
    6. FFX (I find that the critics are too harsh… this is a great FF installment)
    7. Sly Cooper (Super fun platformer)
    8. Jak and Daxter (likewise)
    9. Soul Calibur 2 (I prefer the dreamcast version but this game deserves a mention)
    10. FFVII Dirge of Cerberus (another game that gets a bum rap… I liked it)