PlayStation 2

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    200px-PlayStation 2.png

    Live In Your World. Play In Ours.

    The second generation of Sony's PlayStation console, which continued Sony's lead as the top console maker. Instead of the ordinary gray color scheme and top-loading CD drive of the original, the PlayStation 2 featured a sleek black body, a front-loading disc tray, and a much more substantial cooling system.

    It also made use of the emerging DVD format, which was still in its infancy. These factors, coupled with backward compatibility (the games, controllers, and memory cards released for the original PlayStation could be used with the new system) and a relatively-low pricetag, made the PlayStation 2 an extremely attractive system for both players and developers. What certainly didn't hurt was that it was the most powerful gaming console on Earth at the time of its release (or at least the most powerful gaming console people cared about) and one of the first to truly compete with the processing power of PCs, which helped to generate a ton of excitement on its own, especially for those too young or too technophobic to understand the significance of the DVD format and just cared about gaming. The machine had the highest consumer anticipation in the history of video games at the time — its mere announcement two whole years before release effectively killed the Dreamcast in its infancy.

    Of particular note was Squaresoft's continued presence in Sony's lineup — since the days of the original PlayStation, Square had devoted itself to the CD-ROM format, and the PlayStation 2's new DVD-ROM capabilities proved even more versatile.

    The system proved popular among consumers. In fact, the only substantial lasting complaints about the console itself appeared to be the apparent "noisiness" of the large cooling fan, which would later be corrected during a re-release featuring a redesigned, much slimmer PlayStation 2 console. There was also the "Disc Read Error" issues which affected the first-run consoles, and that prompted a class-action lawsuit.

    The most important part of the system was its longevity — there were still games being made for it well into the next generation, and after a great deal of thought Sony decided to continue making the system (now available in white). This is mostly because both PlayStation Portable and Wii games can be ported to and from the old console with minimal effort, and that in Japan both systems were doing better than the Play Station 3 and the Xbox 360.

    The early 2010s marked the death of the PS2, with only seven games released in North America in 2011 and one in 2012. The only America-released games during the 2010s with enough reviews to make it on Metacritic were Sakura Wars: So Long My Love and Silent Hill Shattered Memories. The final game released for the PS2, barring any unexpected future releases, was Major League Baseball 2K12.

    As with many consoles some years after original release, there exists a spirited community of modders and hackers who have written various pieces of homebrew software for the console, including a handful that exploit the untapped potential of the Expansion Bay to allow installing titles onto a compatible hard drive of capacities up to and including 2TB. This can significantly decrease loading times and is especially useful on older consoles which have aging DVD drives that skip or don't function at all. The most popular and compatible is currently Open PS2 Loader, which supersedes HDLoader. In addition, some titles can be forced into HD resolutions (720p and 1080i) using GS Mode Selector, which can drastically improve the visuals on certain games such as Out Run 2006, Fight Night Round 3, Bully and God of War.

    The abbreviation PS2 should never be confused with IBM's attempted successor to the IBM PC, the PS/2 (note the slash), or the mini-DIN keyboard/mouse interface it popularized.

    Late in the systems' life, it got a pink colored version in some regions.

    • A 64-bit "Emotion Engine" RISC CPU at 294.912 MHz. (Most of the time, this was misadvertised as a 128-bit CPU to give Sony a lead in the console-bit-wars as the common thought at the time was "higher bit count equals more realistic graphics", and to counter Sega, who also advertised the competing Dreamcast console as 128-bit. This was only partially true, as the memory bus width was indeed 128-bit, but internally the CPU is 64-bit).
    • Two Vector Units are built inside the CPU.
    • The "Graphics Synthesizer", clocked at 147 MHz.
    • Two audio processors, SPU1 and SPU2.
    • A MIPS R3000A (the main CPU of the original PlayStation) as the I/O processor.

    • 32 MB main RAM, and 4 MB Video RAM. (Bandwidth has a maximum of 3.2 GB/s.)
    • 2 MB for sound memory.
    • 2 MB I/O memory.
    • 8 MB memory cards.

    • Theoretical polygon count is around 66,000,000 polygons per second. In real-time games, the count would be around 15-20 million per second, which is 500-650,000 polygons per frame at 30 fps and 250-325,000 at 60 fps.
    • The GPU could output resolutions up to 1280x1024 pixels. However, Gran Turismo 4 and Tourist Trophy [1] were capable of 1080i output by essentially rendering half of each frame and then combining them together to create a 640x1080 image at 30fps. More detailed explanation here. [dead link]
    • Sony effectively took the opposite approach to Sega with regard to GPU design, as the Graphics Synthesiser excelled at generating lots and lots of polygons very quickly (even being competitive with the much more advanced GPU in the Xbox in that regard), but delivered absolutely horrible performance when any significant degree of anti-aliasing or texture filtering were involved. As a result, the console's games generally looked very similar to those on its two main competitors, albeit with a noticeably more "jagged" look and slightly blurrier textures.

    1. the latter is essentially the former WITH MOTORCYCLES!