Thursday, May 2, 2013

Part 6: Born to Play, or Live in Your World, Play in Ours


We're almost to present day!  But before that happens, I am going to talk a bit about the last console cycle and touch on PlayStation 2, GameCube, and Xbox.  Enjoy Part 6:  Born to Play, or Live in Your World, Play in Ours.

When PlayStation 2 was released, I didn't understand why everyone was losing their mind over it.  Looking at the launch games, there wasn't much that interested me.  Truthfully, the only launch games the PlayStation 2 offered that I thought looked interesting at all were Dead or Alive 2 Hardcore, Fantavision, and Street Fighter EX 3.  I passed on the system initially, opting rather to continue supporting my beloved Dreamcast.

Killer app!  With fireworks, too!  Wow!
As with the original PlayStation, I cut it down any chance I could.  The original had left me with such a hatred for the product that I wasn't willing to give it a chance.  I put off buying the system for a long time, not even giving the games for it a second look when they would be released.  Great games came and went, but I was too blind to see them.  That is until November of 2001 when I had to take notice.

A friend of mine had bought Silent Hill 2 and he would invite me over for Silent Hill sessions where I watched him play the game.  I found the game to be absolutely terrifying, and the atmosphere, characters, and enemies in the game really grabbed me.  He only played the game when I was there, so I ended up seeing the entire game from start to finish.  After this, I had to finally admit I was wrong about the system.  I had to have this game, and the only way to do so was to be a hypocrite and buy a PlayStation 2.

Christmas of 2001 was a big year for PlayStation 2.  I remember selling a ton of consoles, but hardly anyone bought memory cards with it.  As soon as Christmas was over, everyone realized they needed a memory card to save their data, and we quickly sold out of them.  For the first few months of 2002, it was very difficult to find memory cards in stores.  During this drought, someone returned an unopened memory card to the store I worked at.  I was fairly certain I was going to buy a PlayStation 2, and since I knew how scarce the cards were at that time, I went ahead and bought it before I even owned the system.  I also picked up Silent Hill 2 at the same time.  This would be the first of three times where I bought new games for consoles I didn't own at the time.  The other two times being PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita.

Actually, this is the real killer app for me.
By spring I bit the bullet and bought a PlayStation 2 and ICO.  Since the GameCube wasn't getting all the same games the PlayStation 2 was, I liked the idea that I could play almost anything I wanted and wouldn't miss out on anything.  The PlayStation 2's backwards compatibility also meant that I could go back and play some of the original PlayStation games I missed out on.  It was like getting two new consoles at the same time, and I quickly assembled a nice collection of PSone and PS2 games.  In the end, the PlayStation 2 became one of my favorite game consoles of all time, beat out only by the Super Nintendo.

I have to mess up the flow at this point, because I did not mention getting the GameCube.  I actually had a GameCube before a PlayStation 2, but I felt it necessary to talk about the PlayStation 2 first since it was released before the Cube was.

I bought a jet black GameCube on 11/18/01 along with Super Monkey Ball, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3, and Wave Race:  Blue Storm.  The game I devoted the most time to of those three was Tony Hawk, as I was a huge fan of the second game on the Dreamcast.

The concept of Nintendo games being on discs instead of carts was highly intriguing to me, doubly so since they were on mini discs.  I had seen images of the controller before the system was released, and I couldn't wait to "push that red button" and "rotate that [yellow] analog."  While the controller has been criticized for its design, I never found it uncomfortable, though I can admit it does have design flaws.

I don't care.  It's an awesome game.
The GameCube was my primary current gen console for a while until I bought a PlayStation 2.  I really enjoyed The Legend of Zelda:  Wind Waker, P.N. 03, Super Mario Sunshine, Super Smash Bros. Melee, and others.  The game I was obsessed with more than any other, though, was Animal Crossing.  It was so much fun!  I literally played it every day for over a year.  My town was perfect!

As more came out for the PlayStation 2, I spent less and less time with the GameCube.  The last game I devoted any real time to at all was Resident Evil 4 in 2005, and even then I didn't finish the GameCube version of the game.

Right when the GameCube launched, so did the Xbox.  I had watched a looping tape of the launch games at work and didn't see much that looked all that interesting.  I set up the demo kiosk for it at work and played the demo for Oddworld:  Munch's Oddysee.  My initial impressions of it were not positive.  My main complaint with the experience was mainly from the enormous, uncomfortable controller.  I went for a while not paying much attention to the system, but when the controller was redesigned, I gave it another look.  Eventually I decided that since I already had a GameCube and a PlayStation 2, why not go ahead and get an Xbox?  By that point it had a handful of games I wanted to play.

Some time in the winter of 2002 I bought an Xbox.  The system came packaged with Jet Set Radio Future and Sega GT 2002.  I decided to go ahead and buy the system after seeing some previews for upcoming games in an issue of Game Informer.  As I have stated a few times before, I am a fan of the Doom series.  At the time, Doom 3 was coming out, but there was no way my computer could have run it.  Instead of upgrading my computer, I figured getting it for the Xbox would be easier and cheaper.  I wasn't all that concerned that it wouldn't be as good as the PC version; I just wanted to play it.  Another game I was interested in was Ninja Gaiden.  However, after seeing it in action at a friend's house and seeing how crushingly difficult it was, I decided not to get it.  Other than those two games, I was also interested in Dead or Alive 3 and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2x, both of which were franchises I had enjoyed on the Dreamcast.

Time to play through it all again!
Since the Xbox was technically more powerful than either the PlayStation 2 or GameCube, I tried to buy multiplatform games that would benefit the extra power on the Xbox.  Ultimately, however, the Xbox was easily my least liked system of the three.  There's something about it I can't really put my finger on that always put me off of it.  Odd considering I jumped right in with Xbox 360 and vastly prefer it to the PlayStation 3.

Even though I had an Xbox, I feel like I don't know a lot about it.  While typing this up, I had to look at a YouTube video to even remember what the startup screen was.  I didn't play it all that much, but the bulk of my time with it was spent with Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball, Otogi:  Myth of Demons, and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2x.  It had some great games for it, but as I said before, it just has something about it I don't really care for.

And that's all there is to say about that, I believe.  Up next is the final entry in this series of recollections, which will be focused on present day.  You've made it this far, so don't give up now!