My father handed me $400, in part as a birthday gift and in part for not being in jail or flipping vehicles. I already knew what I was going to get. I drove to the mall and grabbed a PlayStation 2, Shadow of Destiny, and a DVD of some freaky anime porn. It was the best birthday of my life. Over 155 million other people (worldwide) have stories similar to mine. To date, the machine has sold nearly 22 million units in Japan, handily outselling every other console currently in production, with the one and only exception being the Nintendo DS. Even the mighty Wii with its memorable launch madness and being sold out everywhere for months can't match the lifetime performance of Sony's second system.
After nearly 13 years in production, Sony today announced that PlayStation 2 shipments in Japan have stopped. These days, I mostly play my PS2 games on my 60-gig PS3, and yet, I feel like a part of me just died.
It hadn't been a chart-topper in years, but it was always still hanging around with respectable sales figures for a system well over a decade old. Last week, however, it didn't manage four digits, and SCE has decided that 2012's holiday season should be the PS2's last. Perhaps this is what the Mayans were seeing. Truly, it's the end of an era.
Some of the most anticipated games of the past years have been HD versions of legendary PS2 games. Even now, there are PS2 games that countless fans are waiting to download on the PlayStation Network or buy in re-release form. A great many people voted for Persona 4: The Golden as the best RPG of this year, and it's a port of a 2008 PS2 game.
Grand Theft Auto had a cult following, but was really pushed into the mainstream by Grand Theft Auto III on the PS2. God of War, Disgaea, Killzone, Kingdom Hearts, and Ratchet & Clank got their starts; Okami, ICO, and Shadow of the Colossus showed the world how games can be art, and JRPG fans were practically swimming in a constant stream of high-quality releases.
Minutes before posting this story, I was looking at Firefox tabs containing Final Fantasy XI information, as I was curious about playing again, which would require me to — yep — get out my PS2. Square Enix's MMORPG was the first for a lot of Final Fantasy fans who'd never played an online game, and to this day is a rarity in the gaming world, as it allows simultaneous, interactive play between PS2, PC, and Xbox 360 users. Oddly enough, the game will receive another expansion in March of next year. If you had told someone a year ago that the PS2 would get a piece of new Final Fantasy software before the Vita would, you may have been laughed out of town. And yet, here we are.
Share your PS2 stories below. And long live the king.