Eighteen years ago I asked my father for a PS2 because of Hikaru Utada’s “Simple & Clean” commercial for Kingdom Hearts grabbed my neck and made mine Final Fantasy and Disney loving ass believe I couldn’t live without playing this game. I don’t remember seeing any other PS2 commercials. My mother never allowed me to have one Game Informer Subscription, so I haven’t seen any printed ads. Most of my friends didn’t play video games, and by that point I was well out of the bright and colorful Toys-R-Us ads that crammed into every Sunday newspaper. Two years after its release, I was blissfully ignorant that there was such a thing as a PS2. The Kingdom Hearts Advertising is the only reason I have one now. And she’s still here, living and kicking 18 years later.
My PS2 takes pride of place on my entertainment console, open and free and permanently connected to my TV, even though it has lived in its original packaging for most of its life, even when it was used regularly. Yes, I said “she”. All of my consoles are women – my PS2 even has a name, Lucy, a naming convention I borrowed from my mom who gives it to all of the old, revered family items (like her 20 year old Toyota Corolla and her very tall plant child). Since my PS2 is my own old, revered family item, it has the honor of having that name.
I like my milkshakes like my PS2s: thicc… and full of dust. (Photo: Ash Parrish / Kotaku)
Lucy is covered in dust and her video-out cable loosens from the back of the console at the slightest touch. Only one of the two controllers I have left works, but the left thumb pin is missing the rubber cover and part of the plastic shell around the cable has rubbed off, exposing the wires underneath. But despite her dusty exterior, Lucy is still working and still seeing occasional use.
Three years ago, before I owned a Nintendo Switch that would make traveling easier with a console, I went to my home office for Christmas. Although I love my family very much, sometimes I don’t want to be disturbed, so I had to bring something with me to take advantage of my downtime. My mother, bless her heart, is not the most prolific television viewer. Although my sister and I have since introduced her into the world of streaming television, in 2017 she had the same TV she had when I went to college about 10 years ago – a 32-inch Sony Trinitron. This relic wasn’t compatible with an Xbox or PS4, but I knew it would go with my PS2 … because it was the same TV I played on when I was 16 years old. This Christmas I was nostalgic and played my favorite PS2 games on the same PS2 console and TV as I was a kid.
Not pictured: a handful of PS1 games that I also play on my PS2. Ah, do you remember the days of universal backward compatibility? (Photo: Ash Parrish / Kotaku)
My library of PS2 games is small as I didn’t have the disposable income to buy a new game every few months when Sony was making them. I had to be very picky about my purchases: everything Final Fantasyeverything Kingdom Heartseverything Grave robbers, the only Yu Yu Hakusho PS2 game released in America, and Dragon Ball Z: Budokai for my DBZ loving cousin who is no longer there. The other games pictured above were owned by my ex and somehow got tangled up in my possession when we untangled (I’ve never played this copy before Shadow of the colossus, and this separation is why I have copies of Final Fantasy XII.).
My largest video game storage is tied to the PS2. When Kingdom Hearts 2 When I came out (another game that sold me just for the power of Hikaru Utada’s singing) I constructed a plan to maximize my experience on the first day. I fondly remember skipping classes – I was in college at the time, so don’t worry my overprotective mom found me out and literally killed me – and walked miles to GameStop near campus . Not only did I buy the game there, but also bought the Prima Games guide for $ 40 ($ 56) and The warranty for $ 2 ($ 3) worth of discs just for a bit more security (and to my friends for saving $ 100 + ($ 140) + on one win a single video game purchase). I took my prize back to my dorm, where weeks in advance I had reserved the big screen TV room for a full afternoon of non-stop playtime with Sora, Donald, and Goofy. My friends came over, we ordered pizza and played well beyond my reserved time slot. When heaven is the place where you’ll forever float in your happiest memories Kingdom Hearts 2 Release day will be mine.
It’s hard to believe that the PlayStation 2 is 20 years old. For me, 20 years ago is the era of Sega Genesis and 16-bit Final fantasies, but
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