Hard to believe, but March marks the thirteenth anniversary of the PlayStation 2’s release in Japan. It’ll also mark one of the last times that you’ll be able to purchase the console in its home country before the last shipment to retailers sells out. Americans flew to Japan to acquire one of these consoles at nearly $400 a pop (lots of dough in 2000!), long before the console’s October release in North America that year. It’s still one of the ugliest consoles I’ve ever seen and while I’m a bit of a hater, the PS2’s legacy involves a lot of popular games that defined a generation.
I was following console gaming rather loosely when the PS2 released, but the first breakout story that caught my eye was when Daily Radar (RIP), beat the crap out of a PS2 at a time when the consoles were still incredibly rare in the States. Because it was 2000, the clip – which couldn’t have been longer than three or four minutes – was cut into five clips at a postage-sized resolution. Technology. Sony marketed the hell out of its console, but they were also secretly exciting everyone about the Cell-based PlayStation 3, which still ranks a tidy third in this generation’s console wars. Sure, the launch titles were rubbish, but everyone wanted one. I tell you no lie when my manager told me to walk PS2 sales when the Gran Turismo 3 bundle launched early the following year and the customer wasn’t getting a memory card or extra controller. I thought they were just being clever. Of course, having to get a multitap to expand the console to more than two controllers was pretty crude.
Still, this marks the end of the PlayStation 2’s long-dominant position over its foes, its successor, the industry, and culture in its entirety. I’ll pour one out for you, Sony.