Friday, December 7, 2012

The Playstation 2: A Game Changer

 While I've never owned the Playstation 2 during it's lifespan, I can say that I know thousands of others who did. My main experience with the Playstation 2 was playing it at friends houses. It is probably because my friends have bland tastes in games that when I came over we played ATV Offroad Fury and the lovely Nascar series. 

 I knew there were some great games on the Playstation 2 and I knew one day I should probably try them out. Finally, I got to try out this charcoal and blue tower. I picked up an old "fat" model off a friend and started to collect games for it. This system truly amazed me. 

 Considering we are talking about how awesome this system is, I am going to just go ahead and say that this is my favorite console. Bias and opinion aside, the amount of sales it made and the franchises it started are unparalleled to any other console. Not to mention this console destroyed the competition from Sega upon launch but also ushered in a new game storage format

 Now, on to what is truly astounding, the franchises that began on this fair console. 

 Some franchises are simply ones I have heard of such as .hack, ATV Offroad Fury, Guitar Hero, Kingdom Hearts and even Monster Hunter! Enough with lists, lists should usually end with a picture as a reward. 

King of all Cosmos

 Now on to some great franchises that I have personally played and adored. Some of them are actually not exclusive to the system but perhaps started on the Playstation 1 or where ported later on. 

 We have the Jak and Daxter series which saw developer Naughty Dog stepping out of Crash Bandicoots cramped level structure and into a full 3d environment

 Insomniac takes everything they learned from their retired Spyro series and starts off with a bang with the Ratchet and Clank series. 

 Gran Turismo 3 and 4 both come out strong on the system while titles such as Grand Theft Auto 3, Vice City and San Andreas literally define Playstation 2 as the "true" video gamers platform. 

 Games aside, and those aren't even all of my favorites, we have the fact that Playstation 2 came out at a very strategic time. The DVD format was developed way back in 1995 when the compact disc was king in the gaming market. A lot of companies helped gather resources to develop the DVD technology, one of them being Sony. 

 Around the time of the Playstation 2 launch there was a fair amount of movies being released and pushing for the DVD format. The medium was catching on but slowly. The players required for the discs were expensive and not many people wanted to plunk down on the new medium while their VHS tapes could still copy The X- Files. 

 Obviously Sony had an ace up the sleeve because they featured DVD technology as the Playstation 2s game storage medium. This allowed for games to be around 5 gigabytes a disc. The Playstation 2 was priced accordingly and seen as a cheap DVD player that just so happened to play the hottest games. 

The GD-ROM limping along
at the speed of sound
with 1.2 gb of data storage
A whopping 1.4 gb
Try compressing 5 gigs
 into roughly 1 gb!
 The marketing plan worked and other consoles such as Sega's Dreamcast and Nintendo's GameCube saw a decrease in developers who wanted to deal with their smaller storage formats. Both of these systems did not allow for DVD playback and thus suffered another blow to the belt. 

While the sales records for Sony's console were later broken by Nintendo's Wii there is still a bunch of franchises that started with the PS2 and live on in newer consoles. 

 The Playstation 2 is truly a console that changed the landscape of gaming.

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