Let’s Do Launch: The want, envy, and satisfaction of the PlayStation 2 launch

PS2 legit to quit

[The PlayStation 2 is my favorite console, and it’s easy to see why. 16-Bit Blast Processing relives his experience with the PS2 launch for the March Bloggers Wanted prompt. Here’s a pro tip: If you write a blog, it could make its way to the front page – just like this one! Now, finish reading this, get out there, and write your butt off! – Wes]

The PlayStation 2, in my opinion, is the greatest console of all time in terms of library, exclusive games, and in a large part for myself due to nostalgia. The PlayStation 2, for me, holds so many memories growing up as a kid watching random Japanese footage of it being unveiled for the first time and looking up footage online on Canadian dial-up internet, waiting upwards of five minutes for a thirty second video to load properly without any buffering and hoping nobody in the house wanted to use the phone.

I didn’t quite get my PlayStation 2 at launch but I have tons of memories of the launch itself and experiencing the launch through family and friends. I remember after seeing it for the first time online…I wanted one.

The Want

Being only eight or nine years old with a paper route that maybe earned me $30 – $40 a month and with the North American retail price of the PlayStation 2 being announced at around $299.99 US, I knew it would probably take me a good long while to actually buy a PlayStation 2 for myself – especially when I kept blowing half my money on Pokémon cards, the odd copy of EGM I’d buy at my local store, and other video games in general for my PlayStation and Dreamcast, which I’d buy at a pawn shop with my dad because in general I couldn’t afford new games.

So I hatched the plan instead to basically remind my parents daily about the PlayStation 2 in hopes of getting one on launch or for Christmas that year. It was highly unlikely considering my dad already got me the Sega Dreamcast for Christmas the year prior, but I attempted to push my luck. Whether it was me leaving random articles about it in magazines or newspapers at my dad’s desk or just constantly talking about it on the way home from school, it got to the point where it drove my parents crazy.

Unfortunately, as expected I didn’t get one at launch, and worse yet they were almost completely sold out here in Winnipeg. I remember talking with friends at school who even tried getting one with their parents after or on the launch day itself and they simply couldn’t because most stores around here only got limited stock and were sold out from the midnight launches alone.

I love the Dreamcast, but sadly the PlayStation 2 murdered it execution style in cold blood out in the open for everyone to see, then afterwards Xbox and GameCube looted the corpse.

The Envy

During the Christmas holidays my family visited my brother and cousins who got their own place in Thunder Bay, Ontario, who were basically splitting rent while they went to school. Now for perspective, my brother and cousins weren’t really big on video games, so to my complete surprise walking into their crushed-beer-can-littered living room for the first time…they had a PlayStation 2! I remember never being so excited in my life just to play some crappy sports games and to watch my first ever DVD – THE MATRIX!

So that week I spent my Christmas holiday playing some random sports games with my brother and cousins, and going with my family to rent DVDs for the first time – which at the local Blockbuster in Thunder Bay was basically a single shelf for DVDs, while the rest of the store was still primarily VHS tapes.

Then sure enough Christmas day rolled around and big shock…I still didn’t get a PlayStation 2. It was a Christmas in which I remember being a selfish brat opening gifts in front of my family and putting on the best fake excited reaction I could as I got random toys, a Harry Potter book, and a bunch of Pokémon cards I mostly already had.

As I realized this would be my last night with a PlayStation 2 for a good long while, my dad came up to me and told me if I could save up the money from my paper route and buy my own PlayStation 2 he would get me any game I want for it the following Christmas.

The Satisfaction

So after doing my paper route and spending almost my entire summer break mowing lawns for easy cash, in mid August of 2001 I finally amassed a sum of around $400. That weekend we went down to my local Futureshop (think Best Buy for you Americans) and I proudly walked out with my PlayStation 2 and copies of Twisted Metal Black and Tekken 4 in hand.

Still as gorgeous as the day I bought it.

I was immediately the cool kid in class that September as all my friends came over to take turns playing Tekken 4 and Because I only had a single controller and didn’t think ahead too much when I spent my remaining money on those games. I also didn’t have a memory card for the first month I had my PlayStation 2. So, I was just more or less stuck replaying the same segments of Twisted Metal Black and Tekken 4 over and over, unlocking nothing new. 

But then came along that 2001 holiday season…

Dare I say no other console will ever top this holiday line up of exclusive games. I was basically foaming at the mouth.

So as promised, my dad and I went to Futureshop during the 2001 holiday season and I picked out some games I wanted to buy with my own money, which I continued saving up, those games being Final Fantaxy X and Gran Turismo 3: A-SpecMeanwhile I also somehow convinced my dad to buy me Grand Theft Auto III from the local pawn shop because I knew the employees at Futureshop wouldn’t dare let me walk out of the store with it, even if my dad was there with me; the pawn shop guy just didn’t really care though and I took full advantage of this.

For some perspective my dad didn’t care at all about video games or understand the whole rating system in the bottom left corner, so the idea of a “mature rating” went completely over his head. Pretty awful parenting on his part, I know – but I couldn’t complain because later that day I’d come home and play GTA III and it blew my mind.

Lots of fun memories of going on rampages with the tank and playing around with all the different cheats.

I spent every day after school for weeks, maybe months, on end playing nothing but GTA III collecting every hidden package, doing every mission, and inviting friends over to watch them just simply gasp at the sight of it.

To this day I still play my PlayStation 2 fairly often. Here’s my current active console set up!

But I hope you guys enjoyed my Let’s Do Launch of the PlayStation 2, thanks for reading!

About The Author
Dan Roemer
Contributor / Video Editor - Local video person. I've been enjoying and dabbling in Destructoid since 2014, became staff in 2017, co-hosted Podtoid, and my spirit animal is that of wild garbage. Disclosure: I backed Shenmue 3 on Kickstarter and I'm a current Patreon supporter of Nextlander, NoClip, and Mega64.
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