How the PlayStation 2 killed console gaming for me

While computer gaming was really important to me in the 80s and 90s, I held an equal fascination for console games. They simply worked, for starters, and that wasn’t always something you could take for granted with loading up PC games and trying to get them to run. They were popular, too, and full of fresh experiences. From the Atari 2600 through the original PlayStation, I spent countless hours playing Super Mario Bros., Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger, and more.

In fact, the PlayStation quickly became my second favorite console of all time. There were SO MANY great games for it, including some terrific RPGs, and I depended on it greatly toward the end of my college years when my laptop was aging and couldn’t really handle any modern titles whatsoever. Getting the PlayStation 2 when it came out in the fall of 2000 seemed like a no-brainer. Yet it turned out to be the move that killed console gaming for me going forward.

Some of this wasn’t the PS2’s fault. I am, at my core, a PC gamer, and when I got a new desktop following my college graduation, I had the ability to play those PC games once more. Throw in the internet and the intriguing field of online games, and I found myself starting to distance myself from the SNES and PlayStation in my gaming time. I simply wasn’t following console market that much any more, and most new systems didn’t set me on the edge of my chair with anticipation.

But the problem was in 2000, I wasn’t married, I had virtually no social life, and I had way too much free time on my hands. If I wasn’t working, I was most likely home, and that gave me a lot of hours to fill up with gaming. A LOT of hours. For those four years prior to meeting my wife and three years prior to really getting into MMOs, I was starving for games. I simply ran through them too quickly and would be prowling Media Play on a regular basis looking for something new and different to experience.

Even though my interest in consoles was waning, when the PS2 came out, I remembered all the great times I had with the PS1 and purchased it on launch week. That did not pan out so well for me, because there really wasn’t that much to play — at least, no games of great interest. I held out for Final Fantasy X, which ended up being the only title on that console that I played to any great length, but for the most part, I’d buy or rent PS2 games, get bored of them quickly, and then despair that I had just wasted that money.

I was in denial that I had outgrown consoles, or at least what consoles were offering. The types of games that interested me — strategy sims, RTS, adventure games, RPGs — were not the games being made for the PS2. Yes, it was pretty, but it felt surface-level and hollow.

After a while, I simply stopped buying anything for the PS2 and used it, as many did back then, as a DVD player. At some point I sold it off, and after that, I never really looked back on the decision to divorce myself from consoles. Sure, I fiddled about on the GameCube and Wii, because who didn’t? But I never got back to those long sessions on the couch or cared much about the console wars after that point.

The PS2 had an amazingly long run, and I’m sure it’s a favorite to many who owned one. But it’s telling that I could not formulate even a top five — nevermind top 10 — personal best game list from that console. It was time to move on, and the PS2’s lackluster launch lineup and subsequent titles showed me that what the console market found interesting and what I wanted to play were quite divergent from each other.

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7 thoughts on “How the PlayStation 2 killed console gaming for me

  1. Dolnor September 14, 2018 / 12:25 pm

    I actually bought the PS2 to play a game…the SSX line of games. But then I realized that all the other games for the platform were not of my liking. Thus ended my console years. And I’ve never repeated that mistake again. Stuck to PCs ever since. -)

    TQQdles™

  2. Yeebo September 14, 2018 / 1:28 pm

    The PS2/ Xbox era was absolutely fantastic in my experience, and is where I played some of my all time favorite RPGs. KoTOR I and II, the Xenosaga series, Dues Ex 1 and 2, Jade Empire, innumerable Diablo light games (Baldur’s Gate 1 and 2 for example). The fact that it could play PS1 games and apply anti-aliasing to clean up the graphics didn’t hurt a bit.

    What eventually sucked me out of consoles was the lack of of MMOs. I got a heck of a lot of fun out of PSO and EQOA. However, FFXI was a poor choice for my play style back then, and there wasn’t really anything else. The PS3 era was nearly as sparse. These days things have circled back around and most of the newer MMOs I’m interested in are available on the PS4. However, I’m much more interested in playing them on a PC since it doesn’t take up the living room.

    From a strict cost to graphics quality and ease of use perspective consoles remain a better value than PCs, imo. They just don’t fit my current life well.

  3. DanVzare September 14, 2018 / 1:45 pm

    The PS2 was my first console (before that, I only used a PC to play games), and I have by far the most games for the PS2. With that all being said, the PS2 wasn’t a very good console.
    The Gamecube gets my number one spot, with the PS3 getting second place simply because it’s good for watching films.

    Still, the PS2 was definitely better than the PS4.

  4. ScytheNoire (@ScytheNoire) September 14, 2018 / 4:55 pm

    Reading this article, it feels like it could’ve been written by me. In my youth, I was both a PC and Console gamer. Since the Atari 2600 and 286 PC, I gamed on both. But the Xbox and PS2 were the last consoles I ever owned. Perhaps that was the point in technology where PC surpassed console so much that I didn’t look back at consoles. Or perhaps my taste in games changed. Maybe I just got too old to care about their marketing. Whatever the case, my story is similar to yours.

  5. vishalicious September 14, 2018 / 6:21 pm

    Same here. Atari 5200, Apple IIGS, 286, 386, consoles up until PS1… then PCs just took over due to the types of games (except fighting games, I prefer those on a console and big screen).

  6. Chordian September 15, 2018 / 3:33 am

    I knew I was a PC gamer, but I still bought a PS2 because of one game – ICO. I completed that as well as Metal Gear Solid 2 and finally Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance together with a friend.

    Then I sold it.

    I have this thing about gaming that I strongly prefer to sit at a desk when I want to seriously play games. To me, the sofa and TV is for relaxing afterwards – not more gaming.

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