PlayStation 2: Sony launched the world's best-selling game console 20 years ago today

Shawn Knight

Posts: 12,698   +124
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Sony released the successor to its original PlayStation in Japan on March 4, 2000, although gamers in other regions would have to wait more than seven additional months for local launches. The console boasted improved graphics, backward compatibility with original PS games and the ability to play DVDs.

For some, the PlayStation 2 doubled as their first DVD player.

Looking back at the console’s North American launch titles, there isn’t really anything that stands out as a platform-defining game. Several franchises did get their start on the console, however, including God of War, Devil May Cry and Ratchet & Clank. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas still holds the title of best-selling PS2 game ever.

What are some of your best memories or favorite games from the PS2 era?

I was a diehard console gamer up until my late teens when the PC abruptly captured all of my attention, just before the PS2 launched. As such, I don’t really have many fond memories of the console aside from the few hours logged when playing at friends’ houses.

Masthead credit: PlayStation 2 by Deni Williams

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QuantumPhysics

Posts: 3,751   +3,644
Part of the reason why the PlayStation 2 sold so well was because it was one of the cheapest affordable DVD players at the time. There were many people who are purchasing PlayStation 2 in audio/video stores which traditionally did not sell video game equipment but chose to stop the PS2 due to its capabilities as a DVD player.


My personal favorites were GRADIUS V and Contra: Shattered Soldier.

My experience with PlayStation 2 was as it kept me busy when I was a foreign student in Shanghai China. I had a modded PlayStation to which allowed us to purchase cheap bootleg DVD copies of games. GTA was the best of those bootlegs.

Time Crisis 2 was good, but I couldn’t use my slide recoil Guncon from PS1 on it and Guncon2 that I had was a bulky Desert Eagle style which wasn’t as fun to shoot.

I disappointed in PS2. I couldn’t use my Dual analog flight stick either.

I was extremely disappointed in PlayStation 2 for not having sequels to the games that I wanted most: Warhawk and Twisted Metal. I couldn’t even get a Colony Wars sequel.

I mostly gave up on PlayStation after Singletrac went defunct.

Unfortunately: because I did not purchase a PlayStation 2-opting instead to take my business to Xbox hopefully I didn’t actually purchase these two games until way later in 2017 when I purchased a PlayStation 3 on sale during Christmas and downloaded the games from the virtual library.
 
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pencea

Posts: 233   +189
Part of the reason why the PlayStation 2 sold so well was because it was one of the cheapest affordable DVD players at the time. There were many people who are purchasing PlayStation 2 in audio/video stores which traditionally did not sell video game equipment but chose to stop the PS2 due to its capabilities as a DVD player.


My personal favorites were GRADIUS V and Contra: Shattered Soldier.

Unfortunately: because I did not purchase a PlayStation 2-opting instead to take my business to Xbox hopefully I didn’t actually purchase these two games until way later in 2017 when I purchased a PlayStation 3 on sale during Christmas and downloaded the games from the virtual library.

I was extremely disappointed in PlayStation 2 for not having sequels to the games that I wanted most: Warhawk and Twisted Metal. I couldn’t even get a Colony Wars sequel.

I mostly gave up on PlayStation after Singletrac went defunct.
You missed out a hell of a lot of quality games throughout the years by forsaking Playstation. For the record Twisted Metal was on PS2.

Be a true gamer like me. I own a high end PC & pretty much almost every console since the Atari 2600 era until the latest generation now. I get to enjoy the best of both worlds and not missed out of anything.

In regards to my PS2 highlight memories. some of these games are GTA 3, Final Fantasy X, Metal Gear Solid 2 & 3, Shadow Hearts, Okami, Onimusha 1, 2, & 3, Resident Evil Code Veronica, Resident Evil 4, Twisted Metal Black, SSX, Jak & Dexter, Jak 2, Jak 3, Ratchet & Clank, Gran Turismo 3, Silent Hill 2 & 3, Fatal Frame 1, 2, & 3, GTA Vice City, The Getaway, God of War 1 & 2, Devil May Cry 1, & 3, Ico, Prince of Persia, Shadow of the Colossus, Timesplitters 2, Kingdom Hearts 1, & 2, Beyond Good & Evil, Persona 4, Viewtiful Joe, Dark Cloud 1 & 2, Suikoden 5, Rez, R-type Final...etc the list goes on.
 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 3,751   +3,644
You missed out a hell of a lot of quality games throughout the years by forsaking Playstation. For the record Twisted Metal was on PS2.

Be a true gamer like me. I own a high end PC & pretty much almost every console since the Atari 2600 era until the latest generation now. I get to enjoy the best of both worlds and not missed out of anything.

In regards to my PS2 highlight memories. some of these games are GTA 3, Final Fantasy X, Metal Gear Solid 2 & 3, Shadow Hearts, Okami, Onimusha 1, 2, & 3, Resident Evil Code Veronica, Resident Evil 4, Twisted Metal Black, SSX, Jak & Dexter, Jak 2, Jak 3, Ratchet & Clank, Gran Turismo 3, Silent Hill 2 & 3, Fatal Frame 1, 2, & 3, GTA Vice City, The Getaway, God of War 1 & 2, Devil May Cry 1, & 3, Ico, Prince of Persia, Shadow of the Colossus, Timesplitters 2, Kingdom Hearts 1, & 2, Beyond Good & Evil, Persona 4, Viewtiful Joe, Dark Cloud 1 & 2, Suikoden 5, Rez, R-type Final...etc the list goes on.

I played Metal Gear Solid 2. I hated it.

I wasn't interested in Metal Gear again until many years later when I could watch the cutscenes for MGS3 and MGS4 on Youtube.

I recently bought and mastered Revenegeance which in retrospect, I wish I'd played on PS3 2 years ago.

Most of the games you mentioned, I have no interest in. Basically all of those RPGs and the platformers.

I played those GTA games on XBOX as well as other non-exclusives. They looked way better.
 
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ckm88

Posts: 370   +254
Best console ever. I jailbroke mine and did the whole DVD ripping and ISO burning. Some of my best childhood memories are because of the PS2. Mine is still in mint condition and fully functioning. I'll never part from it (as well as my Gameboy Color, N64, and Genesis).
 

Burty117

Posts: 3,898   +1,797
I still have my PS2 hooked up and use it every few months, I just cannot get over how good games were back then. Timesplitters still lives up and exceeds my expectations. At least once a year I play through Future Perfects story mode.
 

Vulcanproject

Posts: 1,273   +2,125
My best times and personal memories lie with the original Playstation. No denying PS2 had an even better catalogue of games though and certainly makes me nostalgic. Vice City has to be right up there on any games list.

Personal memories are cracking open Gran Turismo 3 a little after launch and that was when it hit home how good this machine was going to be. The leap in visual fidelity over GT2 was just vast. A chasm. Biggest console generational increase ever seen I think.

It had a ton of 60FPS titles early on as well which was wonderful for console gaming. The comedy/tragedy that 60FPS on console was more common back then than today! Ridge Racer 5, GT3, Timesplitters, Burnout, Twisted Metal Black, Devil May Cry, Tekken 4, Crazy Taxi and DOA2 like most of those Dreamcast ports, Crash, Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance, Jak and Daxter.....the list goes on and on. Half Life was great!

Then of course Metal Gear Solid 2 which love it or hate it for gameplay was a massive technical tour de force. Lighting, shadows, reflections, breakable objects and physics, character detail, particles etc. All at 60FPS. Unmatched.

PS2 was immense at particles and fluid simulation, the vector unit coprocessor was so good at it that it took a while for PC hardware to catch up.

At that time I don't think any Xbox or even PC game looked better than MGS2. Although Max Payne and Return To Castle Wolfenstein at higher res (1024 x 768 lol!) were good.
 
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amghwk

Posts: 870   +698
I was a PC gamer right from the start, from the days of XTs.

But since I'm a gamer at heart I too had some consoles. From Atari 2600 onwards.

The PS2 is legendary indeed.Those days consoles had individuality since they had more proprietary games for each platform, and what made the PS2 legendary is it's games lineup.

The Japanese CRPGs went a step up from PS1 here. And many many innumerable and memorable games for it. Shadow of Colossus comes to mind. A game with simple mechanics, yet captivating moments.

PS2 had it all across all genres.

My only gripe is the original PS2 was bulky. But that came down a lot in the very convenient PS2 Slim.
 

Lounds

Posts: 610   +507
I have mine under my TV still, I'm still disappointed the PS4 never got PS2 backwards compatibility even though it's clearly capable. I tend to use it at parties and we play Tekken tag, Tekken 4, Soul Calibre 2 and Burnout 3 Takedown.
It will always be my favourite console, my first game was the Getaway and I even played it again recently during the Christmas break.
 

cldmstrsn

Posts: 204   +166
Thats how I got my dad to buy me one back in the day. He was looking at dvd players and I told him this was one and it had a "Regular" remote you could buy so you werent using a controller. He dug it and got one and he actually had people say that was the coolest looking dvd player they ever saw. Granted after ahwile I was always on it and he rarely watched anything on it but damn it was a good sell.
 

grvalderrama

Posts: 269   +93
I really didn't like ps2 that much. For me, the breakthrough was the psx which I still have but hardly functional. Still, I remember playing the whole franchise of Armored Core (which I also played on ps1) and Front Mission 4. Loved those games. It's a pity there aren't any of those franchise for ps4.
With friends we used to play pes games and dbz budokai tenkaichi 3 a lot.
I never bought the ps3. Directly jumped into the ps4 and I will probably sell it in order to buy ps5 since it will have backward compatibility.
 

gollum21

Posts: 56   +18
With friends we used to play pes games and dbz budokai tenkaichi 3 a lot.
DBZ BT3! That game is awesome! My friends and I would take turns in 2 player duels. It's one of the few games that's even just fun to watch. The Dolphin emulator can run the wii version, and can use other console controllers. I haven't tried Dolphin's Netplay in BT3 yet though.
 
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Burty117

Posts: 3,898   +1,797
I have mine under my TV still, I'm still disappointed the PS4 never got PS2 backwards compatibility even though it's clearly capable.
Agreed, I really hope the rumors of the PS5 having full backwards compatibility is true!
I can finally free up some space under my TV and Play TimeSplitters using wireless controllers.
 
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grvalderrama

Posts: 269   +93
DBZ BT3! That game is awesome! My friends and I would take turns in 2 player duels. It's one of the few games that's even just fun to watch. The Dolphin emulator can run the wii version, and can use other console controllers. I haven't tried Dolphin's Netplay in BT3 yet though.
Yeah, we did the same, also remember wrecking one joystick's analogic pad playing it... damn I actually began watching dbz because of that game, it was so addictive.
 

Neatfeatguy

Posts: 101   +100
I can barely remember any games I had for the PS2, but I still have my PS2. All boxed up in the original packaging and sitting in the closet.....The only games that really come to mind are:

My younger brother and I used to play the crap out of Dynasty Warriors 3 and then did the same with Dynasty Warriors 4.

I really enjoyed playing Star Ocean: Till The End of Time.

I think the last time I used it I went out of my way to get a proper cable/splitter/converter to go from the PS2 to my computer monitor so I could play the couple of PS1 games I forgot I had when I was digging through a box looking for something else. I had to play some Final Fantasy Tactics and FF7. After about a month of playing some old PS2 and PS1 games I had, I packed it back up and set her in the closet where she's been since.

I had the Baldur's Gate games for the PS2, but sold them along with the other dozen or so games I had. I think I've got 3 games left, Star Ocean: THEoT, Black and the ATV game that came with the PS2. My console gaming days pretty much ended with the PS2; I was more focused on PC gaming and have been since.