Day 11 in the 30 days’ worth of video game topics I began writing about…probably over a year ago is my gaming system of choice. It’s a pretty straightforward question, and that is why I want to write about more than said console’s amazing selection of games and the other obvious things one would typically think about.
As you may know, I grew up with Nintendo and have owned every console they have released since the SNES. It is no doubt rather ironic, then, that my favorite console does not come from Nintendo. While my childhood consisted of Donkey Kong Country and The Legend of Zelda, everything changed when I finally made the decision, around 2003, to buy my first non-Nintendo console, the PlayStation 2.
The PS2 has countless merits that make me love it so. It is an extremely reliable console and has yet to ever freeze or have any other kind of error that was not, in fact, the game’s fault (Like New copy of FFVII, don’t make me laugh). It also has a wonderful collection of games and is backwards compatible with the PS1, which allows it to encompass some of the best games I have ever had the delight of playing, from the old Final Fantasy games to the original Ratchet and Clank trilogy, the only console Kingdom Hearts that aren’t remakes, and the Jak and Daxter trilogy. It also has pretty spacious memory cards, which is cool, too.
And yet, a video game console can be a very personal thing to a gamer, and so it stands to reason that there is something special to me about the PS2 that does not relate to what it is on the surface. A video game console is far more personal than just a TV or a microwave. It provides us with the ability to walk into another world and do things previously only possible within our minds. It can change us, and the PS2 changed me all those years ago, as I believe it represents my true…awakening as a gamer. You see, while everyone else was playing Final Fantasy (back when it was awesome…) and these other games that had amazing stories and characters, a concept pretty much unheard of in my Nintendo-only household, I was still hopping around with Mario collecting stars and…nitpicking over where my new couch should go in Animal Crossing.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Nintendo. I love Mario and Zelda and Metroid and all those classics. But, I felt like a child gamer back then, in a sense. Not that the games I played were childish, but just that I had experienced such a small slice of what video games had to offer. I began to yearn more and more to venture out from my comfort zone and try something totally different. And when I finally did this, when I finally bought my very first non-Nintendo console, the PS2, it was such an amazing experience that made gaming feel completely fresh and new again. Instead of playing sequels to games I had known since the SNES era, instead of playing the platformers of my youth, I was introduced to RPGs like Final Fantasy X and Kingdom Hearts or unique, platformer/action type games like Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy and Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando.
This was when I finally came into my own as a gamer. I no longer only played the same games my parents enjoyed. I tried new series and even got an XBox a year or two later, and now I am no stranger to the Final Fantasy series, spanning FF6-FF13. I have played Halo and faced the Flood. I have experienced the beauty of Kingdom Hearts and shot tornados at people in Ratchet and Clank. Gaming has never been the same since. And it all began with that one decision to take a chance. I had actually grown bored of gaming back then, but not because I didn’t like them anymore. No, quite the opposite. It was because I did love them so that made me want to get more out of them. The PS2 marks the beginning of a new age for me, and I would not be the gamer I am today if it weren’t for that oddly-shaped beauty. If it weren’t for the PS2, I might not even be here right now.
Duck of Choice
This post was originally published on United We Game on December 29, 2015.