The PlayStation 2 Is Now 21 Years Old

Illustration for article titled The PlayStation 2 Is Now 21 Years Old
Photo: TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA / Staff (Getty Images)
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Can you believe it? The PlayStation 2 was first released in Japan on March 4, 2000.

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The console was released in North America later that fall on October 26, and in Europe the following month. The PS2 would go on to be home to over 3,800 games, including some of the greatest of all time, and become the biggest selling video game console ever.

Sony finally said goodbye to the console in 2018. But even years after its debut and as another PlayStation launches, we still remember our PS2s.

I have so many wonderful memories of the PlayStation 2. It was the first thing my now-wife and I ever purchased together, buying the console here in Osaka. It was, at the time, one of the biggest purchases I had made in Japan, only surpassed by a washing machine and an air conditioner. We got it while we were still dating, and we not only played a lot of games on it but watched a lot of DVDs. It was truly a wonderful machine.

So, happy birthday PS2! Thanks for all the good times.

Originally from Texas, Ashcraft has called Osaka home since 2001. He has authored six books, including most recently, The Japanese Sake Bible.

DISCUSSION

tillmandesign
Randy Randerson

Even though I came to both of the consoles at least midway through their generations, I have very fond memories of the PS1 and PS2 being, in my mind, the height of conceptual creativity in gaming (potentially only beaten by recent indie developers). I’m sure much of this is nostalgia, but it was phenomenally exciting at the time to go from the relative simplicity of the SNES and N64 to the Fuck Around and Find Out rebelliousness of many great gems in the PS1 and, to a slightly lesser extent, PS2 library. The creativity on display was incredible - Katamari Damacy (that soundtrack!), Mr Mosquito, Pa Rappa, Ape Escape, etc - and importantly to me, the JRPGs were in full force and came in all varieties, far too many to list.

Last year at the beginning of lockdown, I tracked down a white slim PS2 and started to rebuild a small library for it years after foolishly selling my own (in my defense, it seemed at the time that Sony was doing a great job of digitally releasing many of the classic games, and I was moving a lot). I’ve been astounded at just how well these games hold up, and how unique many of their premises still are. I just finished Policenauts the other night, which is a wild Kojima hard sci-fi fever dream, then went back to Wild Arms 5, BOF Dragon Quarter, and Grandia, each of which has some of the most interesting JRPG battle systems I’d ever experienced.

Cheers, PS2, you’re forever one of the greats.