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Old 10-25-2010, 11:40 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Happy 10th, PS2: The 10 Greatest Things About PlayStation 2

Will the world ever see a more successful console than the PlayStation 2? Even the mighty Nintendo DS still needs to move another 10-12 million units to reach PS2's lofty heights -- and that's a portable system, where you buy one for every player rather than one for every household. The PS2 may well go down in history as gaming's pinnacle, not just for its sales but for being the console that offered the best of all that had come before while paving the way that would follow. Not a bad decade, if you ask me.

Yes, ten years ago today, Sony launched the PlayStation 2 in America. It was the single most heavily hyped console launch ever, defined by impossible hyperbole. Remember how the Emotion Engine would make games smarter and give us CG-quality cutscenes as game play? Remember how Saddam Hussein was supposedly importing them by the boatload to strip their processors for missile guidance systems? Good times. Yes, the world was simpler and sillier back then, but even if the PS2 didn't live up to the hype Sony (and, we admit, the gaming press) heaped upon it before its arrival, the system still justified the excitement that surrounded its launch. And then some! So, to mark ten years of the world's most popular console, let's celebrate the ten best things about PS2.



10. It Played DVDs

This may not seem like a big deal now, but at the time of its launch the fact that the PS2 could play videos was a huge selling point. Sure, previous disc-based systems had played music and video CDs, but those were almost entirely superfluous features. Back in 2000, the DVD format was still getting off the ground, and most standalone players cost more than the PS2. The prospect of getting hold of a full-featured DVD player capable of RGB and component output that also happened to play the complete libraries of two game consoles, all for $299 -- that was quite a sales pitch. To this day, I still keep a slim PS2 attached to a tiny TV in my bedroom just to watch movies.



9. It Helped Sony Define Its Online Strategy

Did you shell out for the Sony network adapter and HDD add-ons? I'm sorry to say it, but you paid big money to be a guinea pig. Sure, the PS2 had a handful of innovative online games -- including the original Monster Hunter, the first true console-based MMO in Final Fantasy XI, and the ambitious SOCOM series -- but for the most part, it was a dry run for PlayStation Network. The PS2's Internet functionality was underutilized and underpowered, but what Sony learned from its experiments there helped make its successor's PlayStation Network a respectable online service.



8. It's Cheap as Hell, and So is Its Library

Outside of a handful of select titles (mostly import games), the PlayStation 2 library is ridiculously cheap these days. You can build yourself a massive library of great games for pocket change by trawling eBay, Amazon, and used game shops. Granted, only a small percentage of the system's thousands of releases are worth the trouble, but the sheer quantity of PS2 software guarantees that you can sweep your arms across a GameStop shelf and snag a few cheap gems with your eyes closed.



7. It was Backward-Compatible

The PS2's disc format didn't just come in handy for playing DVDs -- Sony prudently used it to add backward compatibility with the entire PlayStation library, too. Not only did the PS2 have a vast, instant, playable library on day one, it was actually the best way to play PS1 games. It offered faster-loading disc access, graphical enhancements, and the ability to output component video -- features all lacking in the original PS1. And to top it off, PS1 accessories worked with the new hardware, too, preserving players' 32-bit investments.



6. The DualShock 2 Was a Sweet Controller

Will there ever be a controller as great as the DualShock 2? Sure, the Xbox 360's pad is amazing for first-person shooters, but its D-pad is junk, and those shoulder bumpers are a joke. And the DualShock's SIXAXIS successor was a flimsy piece of plastic. Nope, the DualShock 2 had everything a controller needs: a comfortable fit in the hands, great responsiveness for both 2D and 3D games, just enough heft to make it feel solid but not tiring, and perfect button and trigger placement for every genre. It was the ultimate refinement of the PS1's flawed first attempt of a controller... and most importantly, it came standard with every system sold.



5. It Had a Built-in 5.1 Decoder

Though easily overlooked, Sony's inclusion of a 5.1 Dolby surround decoder in the PS2 hardware meant the console was audiophile-friendly right out of the box. No expensive external decoding hardware required; players could simply hook their systems up to a surround speaker setup and enjoy high-end audio with no hassles.



4. It Gave Us Grand Theft Auto III

Few games have left as lasting a mark on the games industry as DMA/Rockstar's masterpiece Grand Theft Auto III. It seems an almost laughably clumsy work today, with grimy visuals and rough controls, but it changed console gaming forever. It was one of the first true breakout console hits for a western developer -- the medium having largely been dominated by the Japanese since the NES launched in 1985 -- and it helped precipitate the popularity of "sandbox" style games. It also marked a change in tone for gaming from cartoonish and lighthearted to dark and violent, along with the advent of middleware development solutions. Not that GTAIII created any of these things! But never before had they been so successful, so popular, and so visible. If nothing else, it symbolized a major sea change in gaming whose effects we're still feeling today.



3. It Was the Ultimate Arthouse System

With the international success of the PS2 came certain perks, one of which was the freedom developers had to experiment. Hence, the system quickly became a hotbed of creativity and innovation, with major publishers pouring hefty resources into quirky arthouse games that they must have known were doomed to middling sales at best. But Sony went ahead and published Ico and Shadow of the Colossus anyway! Capcom foolishly poured its resources into Clover's Okami! Konami created one of the most riveting psychological thrillers ever in Silent Hill 2! And the majority of the PS2 user base ignored these games, but those who tried them loved them. These days, you can't swing a dead cat without knocking over a few artsy-fartsy indie games, but the PS2 was where high-fallutin' releases enjoyed equally high budgets.



2. A Huge-Ass Library of Great Games

The PS2 wasn't only about the artsy games, though. The strength of the platform is that something like Okami could sit on the same shelves as Madden NFL, Klonoa 2, Disgaea, Beyond Good and Evil, Killzone, and Odin Sphere. The PS2 library was vast and all-encompassing, and no other platform has seen the sheer variety of content present on PS2. From big-budget blockbuster to bargain-bin bomb, from licensed drek to stunningly original masterpiece, from classic platformer to cutting-edge music game, the PS2 was and is a system that offered something for everyone. Actually, it offers something for everyone, as third parties are still publishing new games for the platform. That's right: A decade later, it lives on.



1. It Marked the End of Gaming's Classic Era

The PS2 is perhaps most remarkable for the way it sat astride two very different eras of gaming. This divide has nothing to do with the bit count of consoles and everything to do with methodologies. You see, the PS2 brought the classic age of gaming -- the one defined by the likes of Nintendo and Sega -- to its close, while ushering in the modern era embodied by HD consoles. The classic development approach employed by the predominantly Japanese companies that ruled the console market reached their acme on PS2, resulting in classic masterpieces like Metal Gear Solid 3, Final Fantasy XII, and Monster Hunter. Yet those processes don't mesh well with the PS3 and Xbox 360 and modern gaming PCs, which is probably why so much the old guard seems more comfortable working on the PS2-like PSP and Wii. The lower cost of development for PS2 games also gave us the aforementioned artsy games like Ico, and weird little experiments like Mister Mosquito, crazy vanity projects like Unlimited Saga, and a host of other games developed in a world without focus groups. As the PS2 began to fade away in 2005, so too did a 20-year legacy of games for games' sake, supplanted by a new age of conservative design and development by committee.



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Old 10-25-2010, 11:52 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Happy 10th, PS2: The 10 Greatest Things About PlayStation 2

Long live the greatest console ever!

If I had to take this and my Gamecube and abandon the rest of my consoles I would be quite content playing the libraries for those two systems over and over again and never buy a new game again.
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Old 10-26-2010, 12:21 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Happy 10th, PS2: The 10 Greatest Things About PlayStation 2

No doubt about it. I have NEVER regretted buying a PS2 for the family. And with modification I love a lot of the Home-brew software for it also.

It really is amazing how many great games are on this system in so many genres.
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Old 10-26-2010, 12:28 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Happy 10th, PS2: The 10 Greatest Things About PlayStation 2

Pffft, I hate the ps2, it and it's damned dvd player killed the Dreamcast.

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Old 10-26-2010, 01:37 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Happy 10th, PS2: The 10 Greatest Things About PlayStation 2

The nice thing about the PS2 & PS1 were that they had so many amazing RPG games.
Not just RPGs, but it's variety in games in general was what made a PS2 a must have at the time.
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Old 10-26-2010, 09:21 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Happy 10th, PS2: The 10 Greatest Things About PlayStation 2

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Pffft, I hate the ps2, it and it's damned dvd player killed the Dreamcast.
I'm not so sure about that. I think the hype of the PS2 plus the rampant easy piracy on the Dreamcast killed it.

I love my Dreamcast, but honestly who leaves such an easy backdoor to run pirated games in a game console? It helps now for me when running home-brew though.
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Old 10-26-2010, 12:52 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Happy 10th, PS2: The 10 Greatest Things About PlayStation 2

While the DC was in production CD burners still weren't widely available, I really don't think that piracy had anything to do with it. The DC stopped production after just 2 years, and it's up for debate obviously but I attribute it to the fact that the PS2 was cheaper than most dvd players at the time.
If I was to list my top 100 games I doubt there would be a single installment on the PS2, the system had no heart.
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Old 10-26-2010, 01:48 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Happy 10th, PS2: The 10 Greatest Things About PlayStation 2

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I'm not so sure about that. I think the hype of the PS2 plus the rampant easy piracy on the Dreamcast killed it.

I love my Dreamcast, but honestly who leaves such an easy backdoor to run pirated games in a game console? It helps now for me when running home-brew though.
Piracy?
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Old 10-26-2010, 03:15 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Happy 10th, PS2: The 10 Greatest Things About PlayStation 2

Yes Tails Piracy. A backdoor was discovered such that if you burned a regular CD a certain way, it would boot on the Dreamcast.

At first a boot CD was created that you would put in first then you could put in a CD with the game on it and play it. Later the discs all became self-boot and the boot CD wasn't required.

Bottom line is you could play backed up games on the Dreamcast without modding the system. Personally I used that to protect the games I owned and to play homebrew on it, but I know many people who just wouldn't bother buying games anymore and would just get the pirate releases of those games.

Now the GD-Rom format of course could store more data than a CD, but those releasing the games in CD format just downsampled some of the music and video until it fit. Most games you wouldn't have noticed a difference.
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Old 10-26-2010, 03:33 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Happy 10th, PS2: The 10 Greatest Things About PlayStation 2

Quote:
If I was to list my top 100 games I doubt there would be a single installment on the PS2, the system had no heart.
And as a contrast to that I can't think of single DC game I'd put on a list of favorite games. Some were cool but the PS2 has a dominate library of awesome games that almost no other system can touch.

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Old 10-26-2010, 04:35 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Happy 10th, PS2: The 10 Greatest Things About PlayStation 2

The Ps2 had some great games like Wild Arms, SMT Persona, and probably the greatest hack and slash game on PS2, Dynasty Warriors
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Old 10-26-2010, 04:40 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Happy 10th, PS2: The 10 Greatest Things About PlayStation 2

Quote:
it and it's damned dvd player killed the Dreamcast.
I guess I'm not alone when noting this, Bravo +1

PS2 was the cheapest DVD player, ask anyone that knew the early era of the DVD or watch any ps2 history thing. It was cheap as hell and you get to play games so bye bye dreamcast.

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If I was to list my top 100 games I doubt there would be a single installment on the PS2, the system had no heart.
It has quite a few I enjoy, but the only exclusives I can count right now are ATV's 1, 3 & 4. Especially ATV 4 - The only reason I want a PS2 again.
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Old 10-26-2010, 04:44 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Happy 10th, PS2: The 10 Greatest Things About PlayStation 2

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Originally Posted by elrod21 View Post
Yes Tails Piracy. A backdoor was discovered such that if you burned a regular CD a certain way, it would boot on the Dreamcast.

At first a boot CD was created that you would put in first then you could put in a CD with the game on it and play it. Later the discs all became self-boot and the boot CD wasn't required.

Bottom line is you could play backed up games on the Dreamcast without modding the system. Personally I used that to protect the games I owned and to play homebrew on it, but I know many people who just wouldn't bother buying games anymore and would just get the pirate releases of those games.

Now the GD-Rom format of course could store more data than a CD, but those releasing the games in CD format just downsampled some of the music and video until it fit. Most games you wouldn't have noticed a difference.
It worked for any dreamcast?
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Old 10-26-2010, 04:52 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Happy 10th, PS2: The 10 Greatest Things About PlayStation 2

they caught on from what others told me. If you have a circled one or zero on the bottom of your console then it will play cds. Not if you have a 2 apparently.
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Old 10-26-2010, 04:58 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Happy 10th, PS2: The 10 Greatest Things About PlayStation 2

It's true. The last released Dreamcasts didn't have this "feature". But by then the damage had been done.
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Old 10-26-2010, 05:18 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Re: Happy 10th, PS2: The 10 Greatest Things About PlayStation 2

Maye it's because the games I had for it were mostly okay, but I've always thought the Dreamcast was overrated. Honestly, the game I played the most was the retro Sega Smashpack.

It's not like the DC's most popular games were ported to PS2 anyway.
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Old 10-26-2010, 05:45 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Re: Happy 10th, PS2: The 10 Greatest Things About PlayStation 2

not true for me, DC had a lot more excellent games than the ps2 had imho.
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Old 10-26-2010, 05:57 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Re: Happy 10th, PS2: The 10 Greatest Things About PlayStation 2

I was listening to the retroroundup podcast and the guy put it well, he was talking about classic systems vs. regular systems. he was citing the fact that the dreamcast is a classic system where as the PS2 is not. Systems are not just machines that play a wide variety of games, they all have a certain atmosphere attached to them. Here is a visual comparison for people who don't know what I mean:
Dreamcast:

PS2:
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Old 10-26-2010, 06:29 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Re: Happy 10th, PS2: The 10 Greatest Things About PlayStation 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cam3ron36 View Post
DC had a lot more excellent games than the ps2 had imho.
Percentage wise, yes, the Dreamcast had a lot less titles released, and a good portion of those were good/excellent.

The PS2 had tons of games, and more of them were good/excellent, but the percentage was lower because of the overall quantity of titles produced.

What is it you prefer about the Dreamcast, Cam?
Is it the intolerable load times?
The small library?
The obese controller?
Honestly, I liked the Dreamcast, but the PS2 obviously outdoes everything about it.

The PS2 is still supported, with games coming out to this day, mostly they are sports games and crappy licensed titles, but it is still supported.

Ignoring the PSX support, there are still a lot of amazing games.
MGS2, MGS3, Devil May Cry, Devil May Cry 3, Odin Sphere, Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne, Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3, Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4, Tekken 4, Tekken 5, Tekken Tag Tournament, Soulcalibur 2, Soulcalibur 3, Street Fighter 3, Shadow of the Colossus, Ico, Dark Cloud, Dark Cloud 2, God of War, God of War 2, GTA III, GTA: Vice City, GTA: San Andreas, Yakuza, Yakuza 2, God Hand, Shinobi, Nightshade, Okami, Dragon Quest VIII, Disgaea, Disgaea 2.
And I've only scratched the surface.
And not to mention the PSX support:
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Legend of Legaia, Metal Gear Solid, Bloody Roar, Bloody Roar 2, Tekken, Tekken 2, Tekken 3, Bushido Blade, Bushido Blade 2, Castlevania Chronicles, Rival Schools, N2O, Final Fantasy Tactics.
Once again, I've only but scratched the surface.

To be completely honest, I have yet to find a console that I enjoyed more than the PS2.
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Old 10-26-2010, 06:34 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Re: Happy 10th, PS2: The 10 Greatest Things About PlayStation 2

So, was the policy that consoles would get added to RU 10 years from release date, or from the end of production run?
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Old 10-26-2010, 06:54 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Re: Happy 10th, PS2: The 10 Greatest Things About PlayStation 2

@Steven- you just nailed why the vast majority of gamers preferred the PS2 over something like a DC. Sure DC had it's own personality but that only goes so far. PS2 was just a better machine with more options. Maybe if the DC had a motion controller it would've survived.

@Jim- PS2s are still sold in stores believe it or not. We won't be seeing that system for another 10 years or so I guess.
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Old 10-26-2010, 07:25 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Re: Happy 10th, PS2: The 10 Greatest Things About PlayStation 2

i'd alaways loved sonic the hedgehog and crash bandicoot on the ps2. those are my favorites i hope the crash franchise comes back someday and the sonic franise gains back the popularity.
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Old 10-26-2010, 08:12 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Re: Happy 10th, PS2: The 10 Greatest Things About PlayStation 2

Quote:
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Maybe if the DC had a motion controller it would've survived.
Is this an attempt at a troll? If so can you clarify? Because I'm not sure what you mean.
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Old 10-26-2010, 08:40 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Re: Happy 10th, PS2: The 10 Greatest Things About PlayStation 2

Yes it was a gentle jab at you Nintendo fanboys. The Wii is another system that seems to rely on personality over performance and many people see the motion controls as a gimmick that helped it survive this current generation. We don't need to debate the point, just making a lighthearted observation.
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Old 10-26-2010, 08:48 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Re: Happy 10th, PS2: The 10 Greatest Things About PlayStation 2

Okay well maybe the 360 will flourish with no controller at all right?
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