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What was the very first PlayStation 2 game you ever played?

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The PS2 turns 15 today!

Today marks the 15th anniversary of the PlayStation 2. In those 15 years, we've already had two more Sony console releases, but the PS2 is still near and dear to many of our hearts. The console gave us many of our favorite games, from huge hits like Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Kingdom Hearts, and Metal Gear Solid 3, to more experimental titles such as Shadow of the Colossus, Persona 4, and Katamari Damacy. The PS2 had something for everyone, and many people consider it to be one of the greatest consoles of all time.

But where did it all begin? Everyone has their own special memories of when they first saw the PlayStation 2 in action, and of their very first time playing a game on the console. Whether you got the PS2 at launch, waited a few years before diving in, or played it at a friend's house, everyone had to start somewhere.

So what was the very first PlayStation 2 game you played? Here's what our staff had to say:

Ben Davis

My first experience with the PlayStation 2 was at a friend's house during his birthday party. I walked down to the basement to see a group of guys playing a racing game -- ATV Offroad Fury 2. I'm normally not a huge fan of racing games, but it looked gorgeous (compared to the PS1 graphics I was used to), and instead of racing, they were playing some weird tag mini-game where one player has a ball and the others try to ram into them with their ATVs to steal it. It looked like a lot of fun. I asked to play next turn, and once I started driving around, I immediately decided that I needed a PS2 as soon as possible.

I got my own console a few months later, and of course, one of the first games I bought for it was ATV Offroad Fury 2. I actually really enjoyed it. Not just the mini-games, but the racing too. Plus, the soundtrack introduced me to Jurassic 5 and Garbage (still one of my favorite bands, actually), so that was nice. The tag mini-game is still my favorite thing about the game, though. I played that mode to death with my cousins back in the day.

Chris Carter

The first game I ever played on the PlayStation 2 was a launch title from the relatively niche developer From Software -- Eternal Ring. Before it was world renowned for the Souls series, From had crafted multiple sprawling worlds by way of the King's Field series, a personal favorite of mine. Eternal Ring was more of a successor of sorts in that it wasn't nearly as good, but I still got plenty of enjoyment out of it.

Although many of you know what it's like to roam sandboxes in recent games like Fallout 3 and Skyrim, I remember the childlike wonder of exploring From Software's creations. Everything was unknown, and the stark difficulty level ensured that you had to adjust quickly if you wanted to actually get anywhere. I wouldn't recommend Eternal Ring to anyone today as it hasn't aged well, but it will always have a special place in my library.

Josh Tolentino

My very first PlayStation 2 game was a Japanese copy of Dead or Alive 2. I bought it alongside my Japanese PS2 just after the launch of the American version late in 2000. Why would I buy a Japanese edition when the American version was available? For one, it was cheaper, and second, I had heard via rumors that it had been cracked to allow the playing of pirated games. Living in the Philippines back then, you had to go bootleg to get games in a timely and affordable fashion, unless you were some senator's kid using public money to "buy original" and import from the US or Hong Kong.

I also sprung for a Japanese copy of Devil May Cry, which came in handy, as it -- not Dead or Alive 2 -- proved to be the Great Enabler, in time. By March of 2001 it could be used alongside an Action Replay cheating device, and a weird little box that plugged into the PS2's front USB port to "hot swap" the legit game for the many bootleg copies that had begun to proliferate.

Such were the things you did as a high schooler with a limited amount of discretionary income, and though I don't do it now, I have no excuses...or regrets. Without the bootlegging scene, a great many games of that golden age of PS2 gaming would have been unavailable to me, and not just for reasons of cost. Playing them, however I could, helped turn me from a kid with too much time and not enough money into a full-blown hobbyist.

Stephen Turner

First PlayStation 2 game I ever saw was Grand Theft Auto III, but the first one I ever played was Silent Hill 2. I'd just moved to the city for a new job and a new girlfriend, and spent my first paycheck on a PS2 bundle. I remember going to GAME, which I think was Electronics Boutique at the time, and specifically asking for Silent Hill 2. So I had that (the last Limited Edition copy), GTA3, and a choice between two DVDs -- one was Reservoir Dogs and the other was a family-friendly movie. Everybody picked Reservoir Dogs.

I loved the original Silent Hill for the scares, and right off the bat, I went looking for them in Silent Hill 2. Then I reached the first apartment and made the decision to reset the game. You see, I went looking for something that intentionally wasn't there. Silent Hill 2 isn't really about jump scares or screaming terrors beyond the flashlight. It's a dark, melancholic metaphor for relationships, about moving on to the next woman. I came to realize how it mirrored my own situation at the time. I felt displaced as much as James Sunderland. It spooked me like no other game could (not until Forbidden Siren) because it found surrealism in the mundane. It was the first time I realized that games could be so much more than "shoot the thing." And it hasn't been topped since.

Jonathan Holmes

I was sour on the PlayStation 2 from the start. I had recently graduated from Art School with a focus on "handmade" animation (hand-drawn, sprites, stop motion, collage) with the dream of someday doing art for videogames. I studied the frames of animation in My Neighbor Totoro, A Nightmare Before Christmas and Street Fighter III like a theologian studies the Bible. The culture wide move during the PS1/N64/Saturn era to make games more like movies using crappy (at the time) polygon-based graphics filled me with fear and resentment. The PS2 seemed like it was moving things even further in that direction. It truly felt like they were "taking away my games," turning a medium I loved into something that felt ugly, bumbling, and worst of all "for somebody else who clearly isn't me."

Thankfully, I've grown up a lot since then.

So when I saw that the first Street Fighter game for the PS2 was not the beautiful Street Fighter III, and instead was the polygon-based Street Fighter EX3, I immediately resented the console. I also thought the "cheap gimmick" of including DVD playback was a lame way to appeal to "casuals and non-gamers," and was therefore stupid. Shortly after that I ended up dating a girl whose older brother had a PS2, and they showed me Dark Cloud and Okage: Shadow King. They weren't as awful as I thought they'd be, but I still wasn't all that impressed. "Both of these games would look a lot better if they had 2D graphics," I said, and then went back to playing whatever used Dreamcast game I'd picked up that month.

I'd eventually warm up to the PS2, learning that every kind of game, polygon-based or not, can be a lot of fun if you let it. It's a lesson I wish I had learned a lot earlier. The only one who could ever stand to lose in my "battle to not like videogames that look a certain way" was me.

Darren Nakamura

I didn't have a PlayStation 2 at launch, but once Final Fantasy X released, I wanted to make sure I had one. The problem was that I was a jobless high school student, so I didn't have any way to get one. By some strange fortune, my sister bought a PS2 even though she hadn't really played games since Yoshi's Island on the SNES. (I think maybe she bought the PS2 because she was dating a guy who liked videogames.)

I remember her telling me, "Just so we're clear, this is my PS2, not yours." Despite that, I bought games for it and played it more than she ever did, until she eventually sold it to me when I went off to college. The first game I played was Final Fantasy X, and it blew my mind how good the cutscenes looked compared to the previous three titles in the series. It didn't end up being my favorite Final Fantasy, but it was still great, and those first few moments with it were incredible at the time.

Occams Electric Toothbrush

As I walk the cobblestone streets of my mind, I try to recall the very first PlayStation 2 game I played. However, the lights of the city are dim. So let me tell you about the first PS2 game I remember playing. It was called Summoner, an RPG that in hindsight wasn’t particularly impressive or noteworthy except for the fact that you could summon creatures to fight for you. I was immediately drawn to this element as I’ve always been fond of Summoner classes. Something about calling out to some terrible and awesome thing to fight on your behalf just hit all the right power fantasy buttons for me.

So all those years ago I am at my friend's house and he had purchased Summoner. We took turns playing it. We became lost in the story and the world and finding every new creature to tame. I think we were just enamored with capabilities of the PS2, capabilities that felt so far beyond what our childhood experiences had shown us. For the first time playing a videogame, the world felt real. We spent hours upon hours with that game. When we finally beat it, there was this electricity in the air. We both saw, maybe for the first time, the potential that videogames held.

Andy Dixon

I never actually owned a PlayStation 2 until about four years ago, when Dtoider Xzyliac mailed me one of his extras. (Sacrilege, I know.) But just because my name wasn't etched in Sharpie on any PS2 games back in the early 2000s doesn't mean I didn't get plenty of playtime with the console at friends' houses. And my first foray into that world was Grand Theft Auto III.

I was a big fan of the original GTA when I played it on PC, but boy did I have no idea what I was in for this time around. The pure scope and vibrancy of the game world was so much bigger and more alive than anything I had ever played before, and I had so much fun blocking intersections and blowing up cars they probably should have had me checked out. It took me forever to actually beat the game I spent so much time just tooling around and listening to the radio, but by the time I was done with it, I had memorized every nook, cranny, and rampage of Liberty City, and there was no going back.

Jason Faulkner

Ever since the Metal Gear Solid series debuted, it's been a system-seller for me. I bought my second PlayStation (the first was destroyed in a move) just to play the debut title, and when a sequel was announced, I saved for months to buy a PlayStation 2. I wasn't able to get the full $299 together to purchase it, so my mom covered the rest and gave it to me for Christmas. I remember being blown away by the smooth curves of the character models in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, and feeling for the first time that the line was blurring between traditional cinematic experience and videogaming. My mom also forgot to get a memory card, so I got to sit in fear of a power outage destroying my progress.

The PlayStation 2 was, in my opinion, the divide between gaming as a niche hobby and a form of mainstream entertainment, and the industry owes its current success to the great games and marketing produced for it.


Brittany Vincent

I wasn't able to get my PlayStation 2 until a while after its release, when I finally convinced my parents to go ahead and get it for me from a local used game shop. It came with two games upon purchase, and I chose Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy X, the two biggest reasons I wanted to get the system in the first place. I eagerly tore into Final Fantasy X after having asked my father to watch the opening scenes, and it certainly didn't disappoint. I was a longtime Final Fantasy fan becoming acclimated with a whole new world of improved graphical presentation and so many interesting things to come, and everything felt so vibrant, new, and exciting.

When I tore through Final Fantasy X I returned it to the store for Final Fantasy X-2 and blew threw it as well, replaying the first few moments to watch the "Y-R-P" scene so many times I could practically choreograph it in real life now. I was in awe of how smooth and realistic the CG was then. It may sound bizarre, but I can't remember a time I felt more "in-tune" with what games were and where they would be going. I amassed what would eventually be the largest collection of games from one singular console, and I've never looked back. The PlayStation 2 remains firmly planted within my memory as a massive turning point in my career as a gamer, and I proudly remain loyal to it after all these years.

Steven Hansen

I keep asking the rest of our staff if they've played Orphen: Scion of Sorcery and they don't even answer me, let alone say no. It's like I'm a ghost shouting at my children to love me. I'm here, I'm here, can't you see me?! Thanks to the magic of "search engines" on the "world wide web," I have been able to confirm that Orphen is a videogame that exists. I didn't dream it up.

I can't remember much else about it, though. I remember thinking it was cool 15 years ago, probably because its lead had a red headbanded Domon Kasshu look going on and I also thought G Gundam was cool 15 years ago. But in my Googling I went back and watched some footage from this odd, quasi-realtime JRPG and it's pretty dang bad. But I won't ever forget it! Or I won't ever forget not being able to remember it.

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What was the very first PS2 game you played? Let us know in the comments!

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Ben Davis
Ben DavisFormer Contributor   gamer profile

bbain, has been a member of the Dtoid community since He enjoys the happier things in life, like whales, Katamari Damacy, yams, and The more + disclosures


 


 



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