The Playstation 2 has officially stopped production and while preparing this, I never knew how much of an impact it had on my life and how it pushed my interest in gaming as a whole and technology for that matter.
Now I have compiled a list of the 20 aspects of the PlaySation 2 that have had the most memorable impact on my gaming history. Not all of these are games but in some cases it is how the PS2 has catered to my gaming needs and prompted my obsession with the industry.
Niche titles – After witnessing the ambitious title of Vib Ribbon on the PS1, My interest of foreign games was piqued. On the PS2, we were able to gain access to a few games brought over to us from Fresh games, these were Mad Maestro and Mr Mosquito. Both of these games were colorful and playful in their design and for a few years, only available in Japan. Modern Day Project Rainfall might have used this example to justify why they didn’t want to originally bring these games to the US, but the people have convinced Nintendo to bring them here thankfully.
Music Games – For me, it began with a little game called Frequency. Originally developed by Harmonix, we were able to see a unique game with eclectic music reach the forefront in music puzzle games. This title could be viewed as what paved the way for Guitar Hero and following titles such as Dance Central and the Huge hit Rock Band to dominate the genre. I’m not saying that this was the first music game by any means. It just gave Harmonix the capital that it needed to become the musical juggernaut in the space.
Madden – When I first saw a demonstration of the PS2 in action, Madden was the first game that I had seen that gave me the “Holy Hell, this looks amazing!” reaction. The textures were miles beyond what we had seen in the previous console and seeing this made me realize the potential that can be achieved with the PS2.
Xenosaga – While this title did not garner very high reviews. This game exemplified the story driven RPGs that existed for this generation. With cut scenes topping over an hour, this game really drove what could be produced with a PlayStation 2. This games predecessor was my favorite game of all time and even though this was a departure from the original story line, it was still captivating.
Fantasies that are final – I loved the Final fantasy games that were on the PS1, but I was simply enthralled with the versions for the PlayStation 2. With Tetsuya Nomura heading out the character designs in X, this game solidified my choice for a major in college. The outfits that he designed for not only these characters, but as well for those in the Bouncer, and Kingdom Hearts captured my imagination and pushed me to start dabbling with cosplay that could be worn on a daily basis and not requiring a convention to play dress up.
Growth of modding community- When Gran Turismo 4 was released in Japan, I was studying abroad in China. Before knowing that there was something called region lock, I purchased the driving simulator without question. I was very surprised to find out the hard way that there was no way that this would work in my NTSC system. So I began looking for ways to modify my system to let me play it. At the time I was able to buy a chip that would fit in my system and let me access this game. After months and months of trying, I was never able to get it to work in my system, but I still kept the game as a hard lesson in patience that I should have had in the beginning.
Memory Cards – My best memory about having those lovely little chips covered in black plastic are the times that I would easily be able to take my save files over to my friends house and access my data without having to bring over my system and game. I see that times are changing now with systems like the Wii U encouraging players to only have their save data locked to one system. Hopefully they will appreciate the way that it was and encourage players to be able to access their data not only from their homes, but anywhere.
Burnt Ring – Working at EB Games this was the death knell for many games. For the games that were produced on a CD format, there was always a chance for the laser to burn into the data on the disc revealing a blurred circle that would prevent the system from accessing the content. I noticed this mainly on games that were produced by EA but in these cases, it was consistent with sports games, where the users didn’t play many other games than Madden and the 2K series.
Final Fantasy XI – This game could have been my undoing. It was one of the very few games that utilized the PS2 hard drive and I gained my affinity for MMORPGs. Being an online game, it gave me a sense of community and I loved getting online and just hanging out with the members of my linkshell. I chose to be a white mage in this addictive adventure and after being threatened with a divorce, I had decided that I would never play a game like this again without setting boundaries from the beginning. After selling off my character, my game clock time was three months of continuous play. This might seem small to those of you who are WOW players, but it was more than enough for me.
Socom – This is the game that I upgraded to high speed internet for. The game was ambitious in its own right with including voice communication in addition to well balanced online team play. I got many of my friends to hop on this game and some of the best memories that I had with it were the times that we all brought our televisions over and set up a local lan party with our clan taking on all comers. G^
Video Game Blogs- Above all else, the PS2 is the system that opened my eyes to the online community that was beginning to explode. This was still many years before sites like GotGame and Kotaku had a foothold in the media that we get for the video game industry. Without the PS2, there is no way that I would even consider the thought of attempting to write about games.
For those of you that are still interested in buying one before they are gone, they are still available online. Be prepared to keep this collectors item in good condition, there hasn’t been a system like this in quite some time.