Game Reviews

A Look Back At One of the Best Selling Video Game Consoles of All Time

  • Dec 8, 2009
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The original Playstation debuted in 1995 and ushered in a whole new era for gaming.  In the first place there was this idea of going to a disc based format instead of cartridges.  Sony didn't start this trend, but they showed why it would work better.  The console also knocked Nintendo off its high horse in the home console arena.  When it came to the the original Playstation it was a surprise to see the console rise to the heights which it rose to.  Could Sony even begin to top the original Playstation? 

Turns out, they could.  In October of 2000 the Playstation 2 became the most anticipated video game console release of its time.  For weeks after its release, the PS2 was a rarity to find.  Not only was it a rarity but it became one of those consoles people would put on ebay for lots of money because it was rare (sort of like what happened to the PS3 and Wii).  While the Wii was what caused a stir nowadays, the PS2, for one thing, sold very fast and had a ton of games that debuted for everyone.  That's not to say the system was perfect.  As a console it suffered from many problems at launch.  Sometimes you got a system that was just well... bad.  Those who complain about the 360's Red Ring of Death seem to forget that there was quite a failure rate among the Playstation 2 as well.  And they didn't fix all the bugs for years.

The PS2 didn't begin as being a console of choice.  No one can deny that it was a success the moment it hit stores.  But upon first getting a PS2 there just wasn't that much that was there at the launch to turn to.  In fact, in spite of the PS2 selling oodles at launch the number of good games were few and far between.  Games like The Bouncer became games people ran to, despite that while they were incredible to look at they were just not good games (though Dynasty Warriors certainly became popular as a result).  Almost every system takes a moment to really get going at launch (except the XBOX which launched with a little game called Halo).  Developers need time to take a moment to get used to it.  Problem with the PS2 came from the fact that it wasn't until around 2001, nearly a full year after launch that we got any good games.  At least they came in droves.  Devil May Cry, Metal Gear Solid 2, Grand Theft Auto III and FInal Fantasy X dropped literally within weeks of one another.  It was quite a big change. 

As I said under my review of the PSP GO!, Sony hasn't really been much for pushing their console as a gaming system.  Indeed, when the PS2 first launched it was Sony's way of appealing to non-gamers.  Certainly they knew they made a gaming device, but it was the DVD player they were hoping would appeal to non-gamers.  Nintendo wasn't the only one trying to get non-gamers.  Sony was doing it back in 2000.  That's what always happens when a new generation comes around.  They WANT new gamers.  And indeed, sometimes those who would buy it for a DVD player... some of them did become gamers.  Unfortunately when DVD players got a lot cheaper, Sony rarely pushed the software like they did the hardware.  But that really didn't matter much.  The system had some of the best third party support out there.  

The Playstation 2 certainly wasn't as strong as its competition, however.  When it came to the PS2s graphical capability it definitely looked good.  Although (and Sony fan boys usually can't stand to hear this) it wasn't as strong as the Gamecube or the XBOX.  If you played all three versions of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell this was obvious.  The PS2 just couldn't handle the lighting effects of either system in its competition and it just didn't run as smoothly (the difference between the PS2 and Gamecube version of Resident Evil 4 is enormous).  But the most powerful system is not always the one which people go to.  There aren't a whole lot of bad systems, just a lot bad games.  And we won't pretend the PS2 didn't have bad games.  It did.  But there was also a huge library of games to choose from. 

One of the things to take from when it comes to video games is simple: There are a LOT of bad games.  Usually there are more bad games than good (the bad games often just don't get a lot of attention... unless they're so godawful you HAVE to know how horrible they are).  You just usually only know about the good.  Let's not forget that the PS2 also has a lot of good games too.  This is part of what led to its success.  Despite the Wii's popularity, it should be known that the PS2 was selling at a relatively fast pace itself.  The system has so far sold over 120 million units, and continues to sell even nine years after it's initial release.  The PS2, you might say, defined gaming.  It was one of the most popular systems ever released.  It had a way of reaching out to non-gamers in a way.  People talk about the Wii appealing to casual gamers, but the PS2 tried it's hand at doing this as well.  Most of the games that did so were pretty bad (and also found homes on the Gamecube and XBOX) such as those Dance Dance Revolution games or even things such as Guitar Hero.  These are the types of games that, for the most part, appeal to non-gamers as much as they do gamers. 

The PS2 isn't the perfect system.  As I mentioned earlier, it had a failure rate.  I'm not sure just how high it was, but Sony never actually fixed the problem until 2005.  There was also a huge problem with the system if people stood it up vertically instead of lying it down horizontally.  That being that the lens would be altered.  This no doubt plays into the failure rate as well.  If I can say anything concerning my XBOX and my Gamecube, it would be that I didn't have to get either system replaced during the time I owned them.  But I went through three PS2's.  So the PS2 was hardly a perfect system.  It wasn't fantastic hardware in and of itself.  But it had fantastic software.  That's part of the reason it stood tall and continues to stand now. 

If you never got a chance to experience the PS2, now is actually not a bad time to do so.  The system is cheap and the games are even cheaper.  Especially if you head off to a used game store.  It hasn't come to the point where the rarity of certain games is a big deal just yet.  Going back in time is never a bad thing for those who want to understand the history of gaming.

The PS2 is far from being the greatest system ever.  But it certainly stands as one of the strongest.  Nearly ten years later it's still a strong force.  We've not seen a home console last so long since the original NES when it debuted in 1985 (and finally puffed out around 1993--though it remained on store shelves until around 1998).  It might not even remain the bestselling console for long.  If you want to include handheld consoles, the DS is on track to dethrone the PS2 as the bestselling console of all time.  Nevertheless, the strength and staying power of the PS2 can't be denied.  It's just an incredible spectacle in gaming.

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December 12, 2009
I spent an enormous amount of money on games back when the days when PSOne was all the rage. I was a little late getting into the PS2 bandwagon and didn't really play that many games during that time. I agree with you, a console is made by the games playable with it, no good games, no success. Great analysis, Sean!
December 08, 2009
Dynasty Warriors is awesome and you can't convince me otherwise. It's filled with visceral smashy goodness. But yeah, the sheer number of good-to-great games makes this one of the best consoles to get, even now. It's unimaginative but solid, and that's usually better than crazy interesting but uneven.
December 08, 2009
I enjoyed Dynasty Warriors until about the sixth installment. I really loved 2, 3 and 4. If you really like Dynasty Warriors, you should check Samurai Warriors as well. It's not nearly as awesome, but it's still fun. And if you like BOTH you should totally check out Warriors Orochi. It's a must have for those who love both series.
December 08, 2009
Dynasty Warriors V was the most well-balanced in my opinion, though I haven't gotten to VI. I'm kind of interested in Samurai Warriors, but I already invested so much energy in the Three Kingdoms (books, games, and recently, Red Cliff) that I'm a little concerned about adding another mini-obsession.
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most people probably think it's stupid, but this is a conslole with affordable games and they're pretty fun, to.
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review by . January 13, 2006
Playstation 2 is a hard system to beat... and trust me I have had almost all of them. Starting back in the early 80's with the Intellivision and then I moved on to a Nintendo (old school variety), Sega Genesis, Playstation 1 and so on. Of all of those system only the original Nintendo has had the staying power of the PS2. There are literally thousands of games for you to play!     Does the system have flaws? Of course, but so did the Intellivision (I remember I used to have to …
About the reviewer
Sean A. Rhodes ()
I'm a more analytical person. I believe that the purpose of the review is not for me to give you my opinion but for me to give you an analysis and help you decide if you want to get it. If you reading … more
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About this video game console


PlayStation 2's 300 Mhz processor delivers enhanced clarity and mesmerizing graphics. What's more, the PlayStation 2 doubles as a CD/DVD player. It also plays most of the original PlayStation games.Step into the 128-bit universe brought to you by PlayStation 2. You'll enjoy the look, sound, and feel of unbelievable, near-cinematic realism as you play. PlayStation 2 offers the most advanced games across every genre, DVD video playback as a standard feature, Dolby Digital 5.1 theater-quality sound, and the ability to play the immense catalog of PlayStation games. So, what are you waiting for?
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Brand: Sony
Category: Video Game Consoles
Developer: Sony Computer Entertainment
Release Date: October 26, 2000

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