One of the most popular consoles of all time, the PlayStation 2 (PS2), celebrated its 20th Anniversary this past March — and today marks 20 years since Sony Computer Entertainment’s successor to the original PlayStation launched the console in North America, with much excitement, anticipation, and hype built all around it.

Way before it was released to the world, the original PS1 was Sony’s entry point to the video game business — helping cement the company’s reputation as a brand to be reckoned with and offering a powerful library of titles and games that soon became household names. This successor system was poised to compete with Sega’s final video game console the Dreamcast, and would be unveiled at the Toyko Game Show in September 10, 1999 — mere days after the North American release of the Dreamcast.

The PlayStation 2 would launch in its native Japan first on March 4, 2000, before going on to have its long awaited US debut on October 26 that same year. It had 29 launch titles, many of which would go on to showcase the system’s graphics and potential.

  • Armored Core 2
  • Dead or Alive 2: Hardcore
  • Dynasty Warriors 2
  • ESPN International Track and Field
  • ESPN X-Games Snowboarding
  • Eternal Ring
  • Evergrace
  • FantaVision
  • GunGriffon Blaze
  • Kessen
  • Madden NFL 2001
  • Midnight Club
  • Moto GP
  • NHL 2001
  • Orphen: Scion of Sorcery
  • Q-Ball Billiards Master
  • Ready 2 Rumble Boxing: Round 2
  • Ridge Racer V
  • Silent Scope
  • Smuggler’s Run
  • SSX
  • Street Fighter EX3
  • Summoner
  • Swing Away
  • Tekken Tag Tournament
  • TimeSplitters
  • Unreal Tournament
  • Wild Wild Racing
  • X-Squad

Thanks to its backwards compatibility feature, the PS2 accepted PS1 games and could also play DVD movies with its DVD disc drive. The system used the Emotion Engine CPU, featured several accessories and an expansion bay for a hard disk drive, and was also one of the first consoles to feature online play via dial-up or broadband connection, but only with select games. The system would also get a smaller revision in the “PS2 Slim”, and it would be home to so many game franchises that would define the console and brand for all time — including the Grand Theft Auto Trilogy, God of War I and II, the Devil May Cry Trilogy, Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3, Silent Hill 2, 3, and 4, Final Fantasy X and X2, and so much more classics.

As it stands, this is why many fans think highly of the PS2 and its legacy — it dominated the market for many years and exceeded its intended lifespan, getting many kinds of games that people still feel strongly about and call the best in their own personal rankings. It’s a testament to how Sony dominated the console market at its peak, helping pave the way for many strategies and innovations in the video game industry that are still utilized to this day. It isn’t called the best selling video game system of all time for nothing, and to this day it’s a record that hasn’t been broken or matched — having sold 155 million units worldwide.

Happy 20 years, PS2! Your legacy still continues with the impending launch of the PS5 this November 12!

(Editor’s note: Views expressed here are solely of the author’s and does not represent SP1st or its staff).