Published on January 14th, 2013 | by Ben Tarrant3
Memoirs of the Playstation 2 – The End of an Era
In the darkest depths of BagoGames lurks the features department, a collection of three legendary beings, myself (Ben), Xander, and Joseph, who surface every now and then to deliver games-related banter. Most recently we have concerned ourselves with the departure of the much loved and critically acclaimed Playstation 2 which has ceased production after 12 years and over 150 million units sold worldwide. To say a fond farewell to this gaming behemoth, the features department has collected their thoughts and memories on arguably the most important console Sony has ever produced.
After starting off my gaming career with the Gameboy, I only really began with consoles at the original Playstation. A few years later, I remember the awe I felt when looking at its older brother. My best friend Ewan had a Playstation 2, and some of my fondest memories are heading back to his house after school and playing Killzone or Metal Arms: Glitch In The System. SSX Tricky was another favorite—everyone knows the song to that one! We’d spend literally hours in his back room chilling, playing whatever game we had picked up from town on the way there. It became sort of a routine that is honestly still making me grin to this day. The sense of nostalgia just writing this is rather overwhelming. This console was sleeker, bigger and more powerful than my old Playstation, and it played DVDs which was badass in itself at the time (God, I feel old). The games were also far deeper and prettier than its predecessor, so I was naturally drawn to it. Obviously that can be said about any next generation console, but the Playstation 2 really feels like a landmark in gaming history. Most of my all-time favorite games are on it, and nearly all the best selling franchises on the PS3 today such as God of War and Killzone would be nowhere without the foundations they formed on this console. This is one of those consoles I’ll be picking up from a second hand store for my own children one day just as my folks did with the Gameboys.
Looking back on the Playstation 2, I realize that it was like a family member to me. When my older brother and sister grew up and moved out, it was my PS2 that kept me company from late elementary school all the way up through my first years in college. And man, did we have some sick sibling rivalry. It’d push me around (Bully), we’d fight all the time (Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution), and it’d keep me up way too late at night (Silent Hill 2). But it was also the cool older sibling I wanted to be like (Devil May Cry). And of course, we both reveled in our childhood nostalgia (Kingdom Hearts).
In all seriousness, I see the Playstation 2 as a huge stepping stone for which the game industry should be very thankful. The PS2 was the midpoint between the early age of the third dimension and the current breakthroughs of interactive storytelling that we all take for granted. Early favorites like Dark Cloud and SSX updated classic genres with newer technology. But it wasn’t until heavy hitters like Metal Gear Solid 2 and Final Fantasy X when we really saw the capabilities of the sixth generation of consoles. Other AAA juggernauts like Grand Theft Auto and God of War wouldn’t have the huge audiences they do today without the fan base built by the PS2. Smaller developers such as Team ICO, Harmonix, and Suda 51 used the PS2 as a platform for their experiments, and it paid off. Sony fully welcomed the entire spectrum of gaming, including niche developers that preceded the modern indie games market. And of course, who can forget when Katamari Damacy first rolled into our hearts? That spark of genius alone makes the PS2 worthy of its spot in history.
The PlayStation 2 holds a special place in my heart for being the first console to really personalize video games for me. As far back as I can remember, I’ve been a gamer. I started out on my dad’s old Atari 2600, then my brother and I shared an SNES and Nintendo 64, but the PS2 was the first system that I could truly call mine. I saved up petty birthday cash and Toys ‘R’ Us gift cards for more than a year, and to walk out of the store holding that box is a moment I’ll never forget. From there, my future investments in the system only strengthened my bond with it. In my barely pubescent independence, I saved up every cent of my spare change for games. I’d especially go for ones I’d never heard of, which ultimately shaped me into the gamer I am today. At the time, I didn’t think much of buying the likes of Ico and the entire .Hack series. At the time they were a fun diversion, but I look back and realize how valuable such titles were, not just monetarily but to the gaming industry as a whole. I couldn’t be happier that I stumbled upon them. What I suppose I’m getting at here is that the PS2 was one of the first systems to turn gaming into a legitimate art form. If I hadn’t taken the plunge and decided to commit myself fully to the console, I wouldn’t have gotten to experience the majesty of that art, and I certainly wouldn’t be sitting here writing this. So here’s to you, our sharp rectangular friend. Rest in peace.
If you guys have your own memories regarding the Playstation 2 then please share them below as everyone here in the features department and the rest of BagoGames would love to read them. Other articles shedding more light on the closure of the PS2 can be found below.