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Game (is still) on

Posted January 10th, 2020, 11:02 AM IST

Game (is still) on

One of the most memorable releases of Y2K, the PlayStation 2 (PS2), changed the face of video gaming. Launched 16 years after PlayStation by Sony Computer Entertainment, PS2 became a global phenomenon. With 157.7 million units sold till date, it remains the largest selling gaming console in the market.

PlayStation 2, which turns twenty years old in 2020, is still the largest selling gaming console in the world. We speak with Hyderabad's ever-expanding gaming communities to understand how the home-console gaming set the stage for gaming in the city.

What’s more, PS2 set off a journey that made video games not only a cultural phenomenon but also a lucrative profession.

Back home, among Hyderabad’s ever-expanding gaming community, many gaming professionals and enthusiasts sharing some of the fondest memories around PS2, still sitting proudly in their video games' hall of fame.

Bari Naser Anwar, a professional gamer who was also the captain of one of the top DOTA 2 teams in the country, remembers what it was like to lay his hand on the console that was the dream of every gamer in the country.

“When PS2 was launched, it was the best version of gaming we could've imagined. I was a teenager back then, and I remember it was my only request to my dad for a birthday gift. I spent many teenage days playing the PS2 games. A majority of many other gamers of my age share similar gaming experience with PS2. The PS2 had such amazing games such as Tekken, FIFA and Mortal Kombat,which are still playable, and that was the major cause of its success,” says Anwar.

Playing it right

Despite the unimaginable progress gaming industry made around technology, variety, animation or VFX, any true-blue gamer still names PS2 as their all-time favourite. PS2 stood out among most rivals such as Nintendo GameCube and Sega Dreamcast as it came with a DVD player, which added to its popularity among gamers despite its considerably high pricing.

Super Tuxon, the handle for a professional gamer and YouTuber from the city, agrees. He adds, “Sony PS2 was the first console to have a DVD player, backward compatibility and a vast library of games. While the best video games back then — God of War, Shadow of the Colossus, Final Fantasy X and Metal Gear Solid 3 — were exclusive to the PS2, most popular games such as GTA Vice City, Bully and GTA San Andreas first released on PS2 before coming out on PC.”

Super Tuxon further recalls Sony’s introducing the console in a portable form. “Back when online gaming was scarce, portability meant one could carry PS2 over to a friend’s house. I remember playing games such as God of War; my friends would come over and gather aroundwatchingit.It was as intense as a Hollywood film."

The thrill of the ride

Gaming has evolved beyond belief. Today, consoles such as PS4, Xbox One, or Nintendo Switch use cutting-edge technology that’s only getting better by the day. PS5, too, is set to launch in 2020. So, is it just nostalgia that gamers hold on to their old PS2 for?

Tanvi Jasmine, a professional gamer, explains. “When I first played on PS2 in 2008-09, it had better graphics than other consoles. Besides being budget-friendly, it had many games to play, so if I were to lose one game, I could switch to another. It had the complete backward compatibility with endless games.”

Even in the age of technology, which has given rise to new media and streaming platforms that increasingly isolate each day, the memories of a generation coming together because of PS2 is assuring.