The Gamer’s Guide to the Playstation 2
The Playstation 2 released in Japan, America and Europe on March 4th 2000, October 26 2000, and November 24 2000 respectively. It sold over 150 million units and was Sony’s most successful console with a large and distinctive library of games. Not to mention, it had the longest life span of a console; 13 years running since its initial release.
Despite Sega releasing the Dreamcast before the Playstation 2, Sony still managed to edge in front, bringing about Sega’s failure in the hardware market. This was caused due to the high sales of the Playstation 2, and the lack of a DVD drive in the Dreamcast. Nintendo and Microsoft also took part in the sixth generation of consoles, as Nintendo released the Gamecube and Microsoft released the XBOX. The XBOX had much better specifications than the Playstation 2, as it was built like a PC and in comparison to the others, the Gamecube was the cheapest. But yet, the Playstation 2 still remained on top. Online gaming was introduced initially through the XBOX but when Sony released the network adapter, which not only gave you the option to insert a hard drive but also brought internet access, the momentum swung in favor of the mighty Playstation 2.
There are only two major model revisions for the Playstation 2, the beefier ‘Phat’ model and the more compact ‘Slim’ model. Both have their own differences; pros and cons.
The first model also known as the ‘Phat model’ is drastically much bigger than the ‘Slim’ model. The launch models of the PS2 started out without DVD playback for movies and were missing the Expansion Bay for the Network adapter, but the later models had a revised internal structure. The very last series of models of the Playstation 2 ‘Phat’ are the ‘SCPH-500xx’ models – which I recommend myself. This model also has the previously missing expansion bay so as to add the network adapter which I will talk about later in this guide.
The later revision released by Sony in 2004, is the ‘Slim’ model which as the name implies was much slimmer–and the fan runs much quieter–than the older model. This model is much more ergonomic but lacks an in-built power supply, built-in network ports and the expansion bay found in the Playstation 2 ‘Phat’ model. This led to a lot of criticism as, at the time, Sony were releasing 40GB hard-drives for the ‘Phat’ PS2; hard-drives which were needed in order to play games like Final Fantasy XI. However, with the newer ‘Slim’ model, playing such games was not possible due to the lack of the internal HDD. The ‘Slim’ PS2 models kept on getting better and better with slightly different model revisions by adding more compatibility with certain PS1 and PS2 games.
What do I recommend?
The model I recommend to get, if you are getting a ‘Slim’ model is any model in the SCPH-7900x series. It really does depend on what you are looking for. I personally prefer the PS2 Phat for a couple of reasons. The first reason is because of the network adapter that allows you to insert a hard drive to play Final Fantasy XI and other games. The second reason is the built-in power adapter. The ‘Phat’ PS2 looks much better in my opinion and also the power button/eject button are much more easier to use. Although, the ‘Slim’ is much more durable than the PS2 ‘Phat’. If you want to play FF XI and have a cooler looking PS2, get the ‘Phat’. If you want a smaller PS2 with a better laser, get the ‘Slim’. You can find PS2′s pretty cheap nowadays and both models are easy to find.
Did you know both Playstation 2 models have a Playstation Logo near the disc tray that can be rotated so it looks better when standing vertically?
Are you jealous of your fellow Nintendo buddy playing Super Smash Bros with 3 of his mates? Well, the multitap is the the solution! The multitap basically allows the PS2 to expand the number of controller ports to four (five, including the Player 2 Port). This allowed games like Bomberman to be played with 3-5 people. Oh, so it’s not enough to have 5 controller ports? No, its not! You can add another multitap in conjuction with the first multitap, creating more fun and competitive multiplayer in the living room. It has a nice design, pretty much like the PS2 itself. $10 should be more than enough to grab yourself some multiplayer fun!
PS2 Vertical Stand:
Ever wondered how a Phat PS2 would look vertically? Sony had released a vertical stand for the Playstation 2 which looked really nice. It had a sleek blue plain design blending in with the blue ‘PS2′ text, making the beast of a console sexier than ever!
This device allowed the PS2 Phat to have internet access and an internal hard drive to play games such as Final Fantasy XI to be played as they aren’t playable without a hard drive thus making some games unplayable on the PS2 Slim. The modding community for the PS2 is big and there is a lot of things you can do with the adapter such as playing games and launching apps/homebrew and emulators.
Shadow of the Colossus $10 – $15
Gran Turismo 3/4 $4 – $15
Kingdom Hearts $4 – $15
Final Fantasy X/XII $15 – $20
Okami $20 – $35
If you want a PS2, go fetch yourself a slim one because the laser tends to last longer, and it’s much more compact. Try find a non-scratched one and make sure the buttons are nice and ‘clicky’ not loose.
If you are getting a PS2, try get one with all the cables. The power cable shouldn’t be a problem but the video cable is something you want to take notice of. I recommend avoiding RF cables completely and you will most probably get composite cable (Yellow/Red/White cable) which is better than RF, but still not by far the best. You might also got a SCART Cable/SCART RGB Cable in the PAL regions and S-Video in the US which is superior to the composite cables. The best cable is the Component AV Cable as it displays 720p/108i resolutions and supports progressive scan. So you should be fine with SCART/RGB SCART/S-Video but with the component cable the games look much better! Don’t consider RF cable and Composite especially if you are connected to an High Definition TV.
Memory cards, are very cheap and most of the accesories are pretty cheap so if you get a memory card and a controller prior to the PS2 and it’s cables, you are more than fine. You might want to get some more memory cards for game saves. Used controllers are cheap but I would recommend getting a new one for around $20. Avoid third party controllers especially the wireless ones, the only one which is decent is the Logitech Wireless PS2 controller but I would still avoid them personally.
PS2 is certainly worth owning, and is my favorite console currently as it plays PS1 games and PS2 games. This makes it easier for you to collect games for both systems and not only that, its games aren’t insanely expensive. A huge library of various games, and if you include the PS1′s library, even more… This system is very common, cheap to find and I’m sure you will not be disappointed with the PS2. A must have in any gamers collection.