Written by Ryan Johnson (RyanDJ) Monday, 06 February 2012 06:00
I am a big fan of the PlayStation 2. Soon, GoozerNation has an article coming out on the battle for the Best Console Ever, and for me the PS2 is in a strong fight for the Number One Spot. But thanks to it being so close to my heart, I also remember it's flaws rather easily, much like my wife, who loves me very much, remembers my inability to get my dirty socks into the hamper. The PS2 is full of wonderful games and stinky games, but I'm not here to talk about those today.
Today, I want to talk about the hardware itself. Below, I present to you the Top 5 PS2 Fails. These are hardware-specific issues I had with the system, outside of the whole overheat issue that I never had. And much like an apologetic lover who returns later with roses and sweet words, I will be back very shortly with my Top 5 PS2 Wins, the 5 best things Sony did with their second console.
5) The Disc Tray: Personally, this is the one reason I swapped my beloved old console for a new Slim. I hate mechanical trays, and it bugs me every time I click open my 360 still. Maybe I was traumatized by the time my friend slammed their butt into my open PS2 tray, or when people jokingly used it as a cupholder. Perhaps it's my PC's drive that doesn't like to open all the time and grinds every time. Or I'm being lured by the Wii, with it's soft swooshing noises and calming blue lights telling me my disc will be safe so long as it is in its care. Regardless, mechanical parts break. Even my old Nintendo is wonky when you can't get the click down right on the cartridge. "But Ryan, there's a motor dragging your discs in and out on your Wii!" I know! But there's so much potential for damage to a sliding tray (in fact, I had to exchange the one my friend hit). If there's anything I wish on future consoles, it's no sliding disc tray. (but still let me have discs, please!)
4) Sony's attempt at an internet setup: When a peripheal is made and only one game supports it, that's one thing. When the thing is a hugely expensive hard drive, that's another. Final Fantasy XI tried to bring an online community to the PS2, and while other games did go online, nobody else ever utilized the hard drive. I know many people may argue this point, as they had great experiences with online communities, but all I ever seemed to get was a laggy connection to empty servers. It was frustrating. I'm glad it existed, as it paved the way for things such as Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network, but I would have personally had more on board before releasing the hard drive. Sony must have thought that as well, as the Slim eliminated the ability for the console to use a hard drive.
3) Lost Capabilities: Speaking of losing abilities, the PS3 is not the first Sony product to do such. The PS2 had a specific link cable port, allowing two systems on two TVs to interact with each other. My college buddies and I played that into the ground, until I had to replace my system only to find that the link cable port was gone. Also, when the slim arrived, I was horrified to learn that I would have to go out and buy a brand new multitap, since Sony decided to change the depth ratio of the memory card slot and controller port, making the connections not line up right. (The PS1 lost one small "feature" I remember, when it went to proprietary connectors to the television, as my first system used basic AV cables. One more thing to weasel cash out of us with...)
2) Memory Card Universiality: And on the subject of those memory cards: I loved that you could use your PS1 memory cards on your PS2. A little known fact, though, was you could copy PS1 game saves onto your PS2 memory cards for storage. Unfortunately, it was just that: storage. I know I'm looking a gift horse in the mouth here, but I would think they could have figured out a way for you to section off a piece of your memory card to act as a permanent PS1 card, and let you boot save files from there. Instead, you had to keep a PS1 card handy, copy it over to the original card, and boot from there. And I know I'm nitpicking, and it was how things were done then, but flash memory will eventually wear out, and my 80-hour Final Fantasy saves will disappear into the wind.
1) The Horizontal Stand: Sony gave gamers the first option to put your console in multiple positions, and obviously offered a brace for the rickety vertical position. But then, they sold the Horizontal Stand, a flat piece of plastic with a funky blue triangle on one side, as if the system even needed it. The instructions stated that it was to "hold your system while in a horizontal position" as if it would slide without it. You even had to take out rubber pad feet to install it! This item became a gag gift for us in college. By the end, everyone had a horizontal stand, because come on! you MUST HAVE ONE! I swear if I ever find one in a junk store I'm buying it and sending it off to...well, you know who you are, I know you read my articles.
So there you have it, my five hardware fails of the PS2. Be on the lookout for my five hardware wins! By the way, they're a bit different from what you expect them to be...