Released in March 4th, 2000 in Japan and October 26th, 2000 in North America, the PS2 is the best-selling console of all time (it sold about 155 million units) and almost 4000 games were made for the platform throughout its lifespan. So no wonder the PlayStation 2 is the system that dominated the sixth generation of home video game consoles. I think the PS2 is such a fantastic system that it’s worth getting today, so if you missed it back in the day, you often thing about revising certain games or you’re a collector, this guide is for you. Below, I’ll be covering the different models, accessories and I’ll recommend some of my favorites games that I think you should be getting as soon as you can.
Sony really likes its hardware revisions and the PlayStation 2 is by no means the exception. There are basically two different models. The first is the original case design (informally known as the PS2 FAT) which some of you might remember because it was enormous, heavy, loud, ugly and was prone to fail. This version of the console came with an expansion port for the hard drive (which was a requirement in Final Fantasy XI and applications like Linux) and the network adapter. This is the most unreliable PlayStation 2 you can get and I’d only recommend it to collectors looking for every revision. The disc tray often fails, the lasers go out and on top of that, some specific games that came in CDs or Dual-Layer DVDs had problems with the PS2 FAT.
The first revision came out in the form of the slimline design (or PS2 Slim) which is smaller, thinner and quieter. This represents an improvement in pretty much every department, since the network out connection is built in and the disc tray is gone. Anecdotally, I’ve been using my PlayStation 2 Slim for years and I’ve never had any problems with it, so if you want to replace a broken PS2 or you want a new PS2, this is the one to get.
Finally, there’s the PSX (which was only sold in the Japanese market and is quite rare) was a PS2 with DVR capabilities and DVD burner and wasn’t a success and was discontinued. I’m mentioning it because it’s a curiosity and not a lot of people outside of Japan remember it, but unless you’re collecting PS2’s, this one’s out of the question.
So which one should you get?
From the three models, I definitely recommend any of the PS2 slims. The last model (SCPH 90000) even incorporates the power supply into the console which, so Sony found a way to get rid of the power brick.
Since the PlayStation 2 was such an extremely popular system, there were dozens of accessories and peripherals to choose from, but I’ll be covering some of the essentials here. The standard controller is called the DualShock 2 and is pretty much the same as the original DualShock with some minor improvements. Since we’re talking about essential controls, Logitech released a wireless controller called the Logitech Cordless Action Controller and if you want to play without any cables getting in the way, this is the way to go. The controller uses a proprietary 2.4 GHz RF wireless protocol and comes with a dongle. Apart from being able to play without cables, the batteries last for a long time and there’s no noticeable lag, the problem is that it’s extremely difficult to find nowadays and can be expensive.
Apart from the controller, the other essential accessory is a PS2 memory card. The official 8MB memory card works extremely well, though some third-parties created memory cards that go up to 128 mb and are usually cheaper than the official ones. Take into account that if you’re going to play original PlayStation games on the PS2, you need a PlayStation One memory card.
In terms of cables, the system support HD out, but you need to purchase some component cables online. until 480i. Don’t expect the quality to match the visuals of newer consoles, but the games look significantly better on a monitor. The usual AV cables come with every system, then there’s composite if you want a lightly better quality, super video cable and even a VGA cable for the progressive scan-compatible games.
If you’re going to be using the console to watch DVDs, there are some remote controls out there. There’s also the multitap if you want to play with others. Digital camera known as the Eye Toy which is compatible with some games and was the predecessor the Kinect, but I never owned one. I do have a vertical stand because back in the day there was a rumor saying that the PS2 could overheat if it was laying horizontally. It was pretty cheap, but I don’t think it does anything. Other than that there’s a slew of driving wheels, arcade sticks, dance mats, plastic guitars, microphones, buzzers, headsets, the hard drive, network adapter.
There are literally thousands of PlayStation 2 games and all the systems are backwards compatible which means that you can also play original PlayStation games. This extensive library was what made the console so successful and so fun to own. Furthermore, every genre is represented in the console in some form, so no matter which type of games you like, you’re likely to find something for you here. As you’d expect, there were also several PS2-exclusive games as well. Below I recommend ten games for the original PlayStation and ten games for the PS2. These are not the best PS2 games of all the time or anything like that, but some games that I really enjoyed and I’d recommend to pretty much anyone.
It’s worth pointing out that several PlayStation 2 games supported online play which was a revolutionary feature back in the day and while a lot of those servers are long gone, some people are maintaining unofficial third-party servers or using services to play online.
“Memorable characters, an intricate story and engrossing boss fights make Metal Gear Solid an indelible experience that you won’t soon forget.”
“Final Fantasy VII is still one of the best JRPGs of all the time and a timeless classic that’s worth playing to this day.”
“Silent Hill is an atmospheric and bizarre survival horror game unlike anything you’ve played before.”
“In you’re into farming simulators, Harvest Moon will be your digital bliss.”
“Not only is Crash Bandicoot: Warped the best game in the series, but if you enjoy classic platformers, you owe it to yourself to play it.”
“Resident Evil 4 is simply one of the greatest games ever released and it manages to deliver many exciting and memorable moments.”
“This is one of the finest role-playing games ever released on a console.”
“God of War is simply an action-adventure game that every PlayStation 2 owner should have.”
“Dragon Quest VIII is one of the most charming and visually rich RPGs to come out in years.”
“Burnout Revenge is simply one of the most exciting and fun racing games ever made.”
“Shadow of the Colossus is an absorbing tale that oozes emotional resonance and leaves a lasting impression.”
“Although hampered by some technical issues, Beyond Good & Evil manages to create an indelible experience that is very hard to replicate.”
“Impressive artistic design, solid humor, eminently satisfying boss encounters and reliable controls are all parts of this video game homage to classic films.”
“Not only is Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas the best game in the series, but also one of the best titles of its generation.”
“Under no circumstances should you miss Metal Gear Solid 2.”