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Talking Point: Is the PlayStation 2 the Greatest Games Console of All Time?

Posted by Sammy Barker

Live in your world, play in ours

Republished on Monday, 26th October 2015: We're bringing this feature back from the archives to celebrate the PS2's big 15th Anniversary in North America today. The original text follows.

Originally published on Saturday, 29th December 2012: It was evident from the moment that the PlayStation 2 first arrived on store shelves that Sony had created something special. The manufacturer's first console – still going strong in the hazy days of 2000 – was a triumph on an industry upsetting scale, but its drab exterior and aging visuals appeared almost prehistoric when compared to the electric blue packaging and revolutionary graphics of its successor.

There was a tangible arrogance to the PS2 that augmented it with an almost magnetic quality – it was tough not to be taken in by the system's rigid angles and sharp logo. That confidence was reflected in Sony's marketing. The platform holder didn't need gameplay footage to usher you into what it had dubbed 'The Third Place' – instead it hired legendary oddball David Lynch to create a commercial with smoke, mirrors, and talking ducks. Incredibly, it worked.

Over 13 years and 150 million units later – a record in the home console space – the PS2's spell in the spotlight is still not quite over. Sony's announcement that it is to cease shipping the platform in Japan – a territory where it's commanded a healthy advantage over the considerably more modern Xbox 360 for some years – signals the beginning of the end, but there's still business left in the aging platform. It will continue to find a market in developing nations, and will always be popular as a collector's piece.

But the console is now firmly in its twilight years, with the promise of a bed bath at the local retirement home looking more tantalising by the minute. That gives us the perfect opportunity to reflect on its many achievements, and look back on some of the attributes that led to its seemingly limitless success.

Variety certainly played its part. While the PS2 was host to a wealth of hardcore hits – including Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, and Silent Hill 2 – it also unlocked the mainstream market for the very first time. The likes of Buzz! and SingStar weren't necessarily video games, but they attracted an audience that had never played before. In the same way that the original PlayStation made gaming attractive to mid-nineties hipsters, its successor captured a whole new audience.

Doubling as an affordable DVD player didn't hurt. Many families purchased their first PS2 as a means to watch movies, and that provided Sony with a baked-in audience to target. Up until the Xbox's arrival a few years later, no other standalone player offered the hook of being able to play games in addition to films. It was an unavoidable option for a large chunk of the market.

And it was those people that Sony was trying to capture with the EyeToy in 2003. The precursor to the PlayStation Move, Kinect, and, of course, Nintendo Wii – Sony's motion camera arguably should have been a bigger success than it was. It still managed to shift over 10 million units – a drop in the ocean compared to the system's install base – but it highlighted the manufacturer's intent to grow gaming beyond its traditional roots.

Everything about the PS2 oozed style and substance, and it reflected a company at the very peak of its potential

Despite all of that, though, it was the sheer selection of software that made the PS2 a force to be reckoned with. A combination of enormous market share and manageable development budgets meant that the system became the de facto platform for third-party publishers – and it garnered a huge catalogue of exclusives as a result. Even those titles that ultimately went multiplatform – the Grand Theft Auto games, for example – enjoyed timed exclusivity windows on Sony's console. With development costs soaring, such dominance is unlikely to ever occur again.

Indeed, it's hard to imagine any forthcoming platform controlling the market quite as effortlessly as the PS2. Everything about the system oozed style and substance, and it reflected a company at the very peak of its potential, when everything it touched turned to gold. It's for that reason that the console is one of the greatest ever made.

Do you think that the PlayStation 2 is greatest games console of all time? What are some of your fondest memories of the machine? Let us know in the comments section below.

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User Comments (73)



Hokori said:

Best home console (so far) Yes
But DS has the best library (so fat)



irken004 said:

It was a great console no doubt, I was shocked after I realized I wanted a gamecube the same year I got a PS2 instead. But I don't regret it one bit



Squiggle55 said:

I personally wouldn't go that far, but it's just my personal opinion. I like the PS3 and the digital age more, and as far as past consoles go, I have much fonder memories of the SNES.



Splat said:

The N64 is still my favorite past console but the PS2 is a close second.



kivi95 said:

Ps3 is the one I have enjoyed the most so in terms of consoles it goes for me. PS3>PS1>PS2



JayMiller1988 said:

Playstation 1 is my favorite thus far. Gamecube and Sega Genesis would be tied for second. Playstation 2 and 3 are tied for third thus far imho.



Pikachupwnage said:

What the heck is that picture?

I have had very little time with PS2 and do not own one so I cannot agree or disagree.



NathanUC said:

The best CONSOLE to date? I personally feel Dreamcast. It was so far ahead of it's time that it killed itself. An out of box Dreamcast could do more at the time than an out of box PS2 and it was released more than a year earlier.

First console with true internet gaming, first console with removable memory that can play mini games without the system, AMAZING first party game library, first console to run Windows, ability to use mouse/keyboard on your console. All this for $199 at launch. It was easily the best value, most 'next gen' console ever created.

Other than Dreamcast, I think the original Xbox takes runner up. It had a built in hard drive, better online play, amazing graphics, and a solid library as well.



rjejr said:

My favorite certainly. I think the Dreamcast could have bested it had it managed to hang around a few more years. The PS3 seems more evolutionary and far too dependent - like the rest of 5he industry - on FPS that i dont play at all.



hYdeks said:

yea, PS2 is probably the best console ever to come around, but there is more of a Xbox present than before, so the PS3 isn't seen as a great successor, but so far alot of the games on PS3 are just as good, or better, than most the ps2 games Personally, I loved the first PlayStation alil more than PlayStation 2



Gamesake said:

PS2 wasn't even the greatest games console of its generation. But I know people who still use it exclusively to watch their DVD movies--no lie.



charlesnarles said:

My gf still plays her ps2 every day. Truly a testament to its design that so many are still running. Her ps1 fat still works, for that matter. Who can look at a PS logo without thinking of the creepy girl voice prounouncing it in Japanese from their commercials? Not me. PS2 was everything I could ever ask for. I even prefer my old discs on cathode ray tubes to the new hd remakes on HDTVs lots of times cause they did a better job making it look good to the eye. Also, I miss old R/L2 buttons cause duslshock3s hit em if you set em down!



FuzzyYellowBalls said:

This truly is a matter of opinion. No one can really claim victory in a debate over something like this. It's nice to read why some would think this is indeed the greatest console ever, if such a thing exists.



Gamer83 said:

It's a tough choice between the SNES and PS2. A great case can be made for either one.



Gamer83 said:


I've always said I thought the Dreamcast, over its 2 1/2 years or so on the market, had possibly the best ratio of good to bad games for any system ever. It's a shame Sega made so many poor decisions prior to the DC and weren't able to sustain the console for long because there was massive potential for it.



Slapshot said:

Yes! Without a doubt, there are so many ground breaking titles on the PS2, with such a diverse and vast library that I doubt it will ever be topped.



eliotgballade said:

the original Panasonic 3DO gets my vote . It endeavoured to create an industry standard format (if only..) , its games were FMV heavy , and the thing looked as if it had been hewn out of solid rock ! how awesome is that ? (great "talking point BTW).



Sonicfan11589 said:

I remember getting a PS2 around Xmas time with my brother when we were younger, my first game was Crash Bandicoot 4 and my brother's was Grand theft auto 3. Memories...



Cron_13 said:

All depends when you were born and your memories of the system. PS2 might have the sales, but doesn't mean it was the best - sure it'll be some people's favourite though. For me the most ground breaking console I owned and look on most fondly was the SNES.

Think I was 22 when the PS2 came out, and I bought it purely for Gran Turismo 3 - whilst I remember playing some great games on it, none stick in my mind the same as SNES, N64 and PlayStation.



Faruko said:

SNES, easily.

greatest games around, the golden era of JRPG, platformers, etc...

But i do say the PS2 could be second alongside the GBA



Ralizah said:

1) PS1
2) NES
3) PS2

PS1 had a wider library, just as much third party support, and it hosted some of the greatest JRPGs of all time.



FullbringIchigo said:

that's subjective really because everyone has a different opinion depending on the games they like

myself i think the original PlayStation is the best console ever just because of the games it had

i'll tell you what my worst console ever is too,the original xbox apart from Halo it had nothing that interested me that i couldn't get on my PS2

also SNES is a very close second all those JRPG's ^_^



Ralizah said:

@FullbringIchigo Yeah, the race for best gaming consoles has always been a race between Nintendo and Sony for me. The Xbox brand doesn't even factor in to the equation.



mookysam said:

Yes! A million times yes. No console since has matched it. The library is just stunning and so diverse. I think that generation as a whole was brilliant because of how inventive it was. People were still unafraid to take risks. I think gaming just lost a bit of its sparkle after that, particularly with how AA games were squeezed out.

The console itself is gorgeous too. The PS2 slim is simply the cutest little console ever made. And I love the start-up jingle, though not quite as much as the PS1 one.



FullbringIchigo said:

@Ralizah i gave up on xbox when my 4th 360 broke, my brother brought me a XB1 last xmas and the only thing it's use for is to watch blu-ray's, DVD's and Netflix in the living room

i have NEVER had any other system break on me before and i have systems from the NES onwards

also i see Nintendo and Sony as great partner systems with both of them you can have a great gaming experience



Ralizah said:

@mookysam The bizarre and slightly eerie sounds associated with the PS1 start up screen always manage to evoke a powerful wave of nostalgic bliss in me when I hear them.



rjejr said:

@Gamer83 We've been replying to each other for 3 years? Time flies, huh? I think the Dream cast might be the only thing we've ever agreed on.

PS2 is still my favorite, library is just too diverse, but I think in retrospect NES has to be the greatest of all time for reigniting the home console market after the industry collapsed.NES came out of nowhere, PS2 had the advantage of PS1 as a lead in with FF7 taking on a life of its own. People may hate the game, but I don't think there is any denying it's popularity among the masses.



Tasuki said:

For me it's a tie between SNES and PS2. Both have such great libraries and a variety of games to choose from. Still have my PS2 hooked up and play it on occasion.



Ralizah said:

@FullbringIchigo I was, sadly, almost exclusively an Xbox gamer last gen, and it was a very disheartening experience for me. I then went back and played through a large number of original Xbox titles as well. I wanted to give Microsoft a fair shake. There are good games on Xbox platforms, of course, but almost no really memorable, system-defining exclusives that weren't shooters. And when I say exclusives, I mean actual exclusives, not console exclusives. I don't consider excellent games like Alan Wake and Viva Pinata to be truly exclusive because they saw PC releases as well.



FullbringIchigo said:

@Ralizah i normally like to get all the systems because it keeps my options open for pretty much any game but your right the 360 didn't have many memorable exclusives at least for me well apart from Lost Odyssey and Tales of Vesperia those games were great (still hope that BNGames re-release it on PS4 like they did with Symphonia on PS3)



NomNom said:

So is this feature a version of a remaster? Lol

As for the topic of discussion, yes PlayStation 2, is the greatest console. And every console should strive to be as enriching experience to their fans. This is my subjective opinion, no need to argue it.



Sir_JBizzle said:

The PS2 didn't do much for me honestly. Did it have great games and a large library? Absolutely. I just can't put my finger on why I didn't dig it as much.

Much like @rjejr, I have to tip my hat to the original NES for the part it played in jumpstarting the video game industry. Not to mention, it hits all my nostalgia buttons. From the surprise gift at Christmas, not even fully knowing what it was at the time (it's interesting that my mom was way ahead of the curve lol) and all the other fond memories I've had with it. Including the tragic time I played so long one day, that my hands cramped and got stuck in some weird position for a couple minutes.

The Dreamcast is a very close second. That machine was life! Followed very closely by the SNES and N64 in which one I wouldn't really choose over the other.



AXEL314 said:

The ps2 was an amazing system. countless days playing that thing after high school with my buds (we adored the dreamcast as well). I still have my fat ps2 hooked up, hdd and all. Playing games off the hard drive is a fantastic.



DerMeister said:

Dunno if it's the best, but the PS2 was certainly my favorite. The time spent with Ratchet, Sly, Jak, FFX, DMC and the like was pretty large. By the time I got my PS3 in 2012, the 7th gen was almost over, and I spent most of it playing on my PS2 while everyone had a 360 or PS3. Sounds sad, but I was also playing a lot of games I liked on it. In the end, that's what matters.



kyleforrester87 said:

Yup, it probably was the best. Oddly, against the ps1,3 and 4 it ranks last to me, but the margins are small.



mookysam said:

@Ralizah It is quite terrifying and awesome in equal measure. I did have the anniversary theme on my PS4 but it wasn't the same. I miss the little sparkly sounds when a game starts up.



Anchorsam_9 said:

@get2sammyb I would definitely say so: no microtransactions and DLC is a huge bonus, plus some of the best games ever came out on the PS2 - or at least started there. Not only that, but it also invented(?) (Or at least globalized) online console multiplayer - I remember playing Battlefront 2 online all the time



Flurpsel said:

Sometimes my ps2 crashes and I have to open the disc tray and give the cd a spin and quickly close it to get it working again. Try that with a ps4.



ricklongo said:

I have fond memories of my PS2, which was my first Sony console. The SNES is still my all-time favorite, though.



FaultyDroid said:

I dont think 'best of all time' is a fair accolade, since all consoles belong to different era's. PS2 was definetely the best of its era.. but maybe you can just put that down to lack of competition? Either way, with PS2 in its slippers & dressing gown now is the perfect time for PS2 playback on PS4..!!



SonyInfinity said:

Thinking back on a favorite console is tough, so I will choose the console that had the most of my favorite games. Probably get crucified for this, but man I loved my Saturn. Panzer Dragoon Saga, Dragon Force, Astal, Shining Force 3 and Shining the Holy Ark. Still haven't owned a system that had so many of my all time favorite games. If we are just looking at the console though and not the software, I'm going with ps4. LOVE my ps4.



Jaz007 said:

No, it isn't. It had a great library with a lot of variety, but I think the PS3 is the best as of now. Honestly though, The PS4 will be the best soon enough. It's lineup is killer right, and it's got so much more to come.



dellyrascal said:

I can only go by the wow factor I got with each one, so my consoles/computers would be:

Tied 1st: Sega Saturn > Megadrive
3rd: Commodore 64
4rd: BBC Micro (It had Elite, the size of the universe blew my mind as a kid)



wittypixel said:

The PS2 Startup image/sounds gave me serious anxiety lol. Like I instantly felt sad listening to it... weird.



banacheck said:

I think the sales speak for themselves, Sony's always had an excellent variety of games more so than other console's.



themcnoisy said:

The ps2 was underpowered compared to the xbox and gamecube. The xbox Brought a hard drive to the party and as they say the rest is history. Best console of all time? I wouldn't say it was the best of its generation. The catalogue is second only to the PC, so in that respect a case could be made for it having the best console game library.



sub12 said:

During that gen, I had an Xbox as my main console as well, I never felt envious of the PS2, I always felt the games looked blury and the ports lacking compared to the Xbox.

I was also a Dreamcast lover and early adopter, and really until the fall of 2001, I thought the PS2 had nothing special in comparison, graphics or games wise.

So yes.....I'm a bit of a hater, although these days I can appreciate the PS2 library much, much more.



3DSWiiUFanatic said:

I'm a Nintendo fan, but even I think the PS2 is the best console, simply because it has many of my favorite games of all time. I'm currently playing SMT: Nocturne and Digital Devil Saga after finishing Persona 4, I will probably get Devil Summoner at some point too. It's nice that I can buy PS2 Classics for a pretty reasonable price. Nintendo has been pretty horrible at drip feeding us their virtual console releases without ever discounting them. Sony's store is much better in that regard.



Spyke said:

I personally think the SNES has the best game library of all time, even though my favorite console is the N64. As much as I love the N64, I can't deny the SNES just has the better library overall.



TheLobster said:

For me first is SNES of course. Second is interestingly Wii U at this point for the same reason many said the Dreamcast before - ratio of good games to bad ones. There are just so many good games on the Wii U. It's a high quality machine. I think that must be a feature of consoles that fail in that way.

PS2 though is my number three. It was my first console that lured me away from Camp Nintendo! Before the PS2 everything I had ever played was Nintendo and I knee-jerk hated anything that wasn't Nintendo. But I was a teenager by the time the PS2 came out and I could afford two consoles (I also had the GameCube that gen) (which is a very close fourth) and I decided to put aside my differences and see what all the hype was about - and I'm really glad I did!

There is no way in hell you'll ever convince me to buy an Xbox though unless it literally creates money for me or something!



Imagremlin said:

I'm going with yes.

I got mine at launch and I remember the incredible, almost magical aura around it at the time. I could scarcely believe I was also getting a DVD player for that price

This is the machine that made consoles serious, not kiddy toys anymore. And it looked the part, I still believe the fat PS2 is the most beautiful console ever made, particularly in its vertical configuration. It looked like it belonged in a high grade entertainment system.

Graphically it would be the last big jump we would ever see. The difference between a PS1 and a PS2 graphics was far greater than PS2 to PS3 or PS3 to PS4.

Mine is still connected and I have another one sealed that may never be opened, but i want it just as an insurance. I hope to always be able to go back to those games.



DragonSlayer1759 said:

I will probably enrage many on this site to say that my favourite console was the xbox 360. The ps2 was great and I loved it, but there was something about the 360 that I really enjoyed. The interface, and, just about everything seemed ro click in place ( despite the rrod problems ). Thats what makes the xbone really disappointing. Ive owned most consoles since the sinclair spectrum and my top 2 are 1. 360
And 2. Ps2
And 3. Ps1



Ps4all said:

Im going to say yes. I think it has the best catalog of all times. Thats why they are still re-releasing ps2 titles.



TheGamingCow said:

I am only a 14 year old but when I was about 4 or 5 we had a ps2 and a PS3 and for games to play I had the choice between civilization revolution or pac man world 2 and I spent hours playing pacman beat it twice by the age 7 now have a ps4 still love ps2 always have always will



AXEL314 said:

Of course it was. The last generation of console to give me that true next gen leap. Stellar library of games. And made even better now that my launch fat is plugged in and still being used today. HDD gaming is bliss.

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