PlayStation 2 Retrospective

-by Dylan DiBona

In case you missed it, I spoke on the GameCube how it’s small success still left a huge impact on players around the world. Funny thing is, I didn’t grow up with a GameCube. I was a dedicated Sony kid who loved his PlayStation 2. The only “bad” thing about my early PS2 experiences was my complete lack of taste. I was busy with licensed games like Jimmy Neutron: Attack of the Twonkies. It wasn’t until I was older that I realized just how important the PS2 is.

The Immeasurable Library

Image result for ps2Being the highest selling system at a stunning 155 million units is more than just an achievement, it was a sign of something bigger- a console with an immeasurable library

The PlayStation 2 was the birthplace of many Sony staple series like Jak and Daxter, Ratchet and Clank, Dark Cloud, Kingdom Hearts and Katamari. Unfortunately only two of those series (Ratchet & Kingdom Hearts) still live today with new entries, but if you were there to play those games at the time, there was nothing quite like it.  Do I even need to mention the Guitar Hero craze?

Already existing series still thrived on the system, Grand Theft Auto made a momentous shift to 3D, Metal Gear Solid wrapped up a powerful trilogy and Final Fantasy X made a huge splash at the time.

Socially Relevant

There may be no other system except for the Wii and DS that were so socially relevant. Everyday me and my best friend down the block would play some PlayStation 2. We would discuss simple cosmetic aspects of the games and then go outside to pretend that we were heroes. Those games pumped imagination into our little minds and for that I am eternally grateful. A lot of the time my friend would have me just watch and support him, but even watching PlayStation 2 games was a blast.

I still vividly remember going to another friends house and learning that Spider-Man wasn’t just a movie character- he had games! Playing Spider-Man 2 all day and then going out to the kitchen to eat Kid Cuisine is a memory I never want to shake. Another friend of mine showed me Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas; needless to say I was stunned games could do that. We would laugh and then look for the rumored Bigfoot for hours.

My non-gaming sister sometimes invited friends over to play Crazy Taxi down in our basement. Even if you didn’t have any family members who played games, odds are they used the system to play DVDs. It’s objective to say that the PlayStation 2 was a cultural stamp of the early 2000’s. But how is it today?

Image result for okami ps2 box art

Not my cup of tea, but amazing art.

The Library Today

It’s my personal belief that plenty of the literal hundreds of good PS2 games that came out at the time were just that- good at the time. I picked up the entire Ratchet and Clank trilogy for PS2 and had a great time, but they aren’t mind-blowing games by today’s standards. Part of the reason I like the Super Nintendo so much is because I believe that there are a lot of games that still stand up today as the best ever on it. As I got older I realized that there were still amazing games to be found on the PS2, and so I still delve into the library today.

Persona 3 and 4 stand out as landmark JRPGs, some of the greatest of it’s genre for focus on story and unique social gameplay aspects. Shadow of the Colossus as of this day is still unique for it’s enormous boss battles and ambiguous story. Silent Hill 2 is usually #1 on Top Horror Games lists. In short- there are plenty of reason to still click that hard black switch on your PlayStation 2.

What seemed like millions of amazing games when we were kids may actually just be twenty or less masterpieces today. But you know what? That’s still truly remarkable. The PlayStation 2 undoubtedly left the biggest mark that any gaming console could- and it deserved to.

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Any fellow PlayStation 2 lovers here? What are your favorite games that stand strong today for the system? Let me know down below and I’ll try my best to reply!

 

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