Though the PlayStation 2 has been essentially démodé ever since its bigger, bulkier, more technologically advanced replacement came along in 2006, that doesn't mean the system just disappeared. In fact, it's been right there all along, still appearing on store shelves, and occasionally even maintaining just enough interest to ensure that, for a number of years after the PlayStation 3's arrival, PlayStation 2 ports of major titles still popped into existence.
No longer will this be the case, however. As of last week, Sony quietly shut down further production of the console in Japan, and over the weekend the console maker confirmed to The Guardian that the PlayStation 2 had reached its inevitable end.
The PlayStation 2 leaves the field as essentially the most successful home console ever produced. Over the course of its 12-year run, more than 150 million units were sold at retail, alongside countless titles produced by myriad publishers. Many of Sony's biggest current exclusive franchises, including Ratchet and Clank, Killzone, and God of War all originated on the system, while numerous major third party franchises, like Guitar Hero, Katamari Damacy, and, of course, Rockstar's 3D-flavored Grand Theft Auto III, all made their debuts there as well.
While it's always sad to hear about an old favorite finally exiting production, the truth is that the PS2 hasn't existed in any impactful capacity in years. Units have continued to sell in spurts, primarily in Japan (where the last few volleys of software have mostly originated as well), and there is even purportedly one remaining game releasing sometime in 2013--the Final Fantasy XI expansion Adoulin no Makyou. But trickling Final Fantasy XI expansions do not a console make. It's clear that the PS2's time was up a while ago. This is just the final death knell.
It was a legendary run, one that it seems increasingly unlikely any new console will overtake in the foreseeable future. But instead of hand-wringing over the future, let's take today to remember the past and bust out some of our most favorite PlayStation 2 games. I've already pulled out copies of Ape Escape 3, Tony Hawk 3, and the original Guitar Hero. Now if I could just find my original PS2 guitar controller...