The Playstation 2 Edition of the Totes Mathematical Top Ten Game List for Every Console Ever!

This entry is part 11 of 16 in the series Console Lists

The way these ranking lists work is simple. I use a weighted system which takes into account game sales, player review scores, and professional review scores for a whole bunch of games on a given system. My personal opinions are irrelevant. All of our opinions are irrelevant. We are all pawns in the hand of the algorithm.

Were I to apply this same algorithm to the consoles themselves, I’m pretty sure that the console we’ll be reviewing today would take the number one position. It is by far, the best selling, home console of all time. And when I say “by far”, I mean it. With over 155 million units sold, It outsold the number two home console on the list by over fifty million units!

It’s time then to discuss the undisputed king of console history. The PlayStation 2!

Live in your world. Play in ours.

PlayStation 2
Released: 2000
Generation of Home Consoles: Sixth
Graphics: Technically 150 MHz Graphics Synthesizer
Rating: It’s the top selling console ever for a reason.

In 1999, PlayStation announced that it would be releasing the follow up to their remarkably successful first console. There was certainly a lot of excitement for the unit to start, and as the months went by, that excitement grew to something of a fever pitch. Particularly since Sony kept on announcing the amazing extra features which were going to be included with the unit. A built in DVD player for one. And this was at a time when not a lot of people owned DVD players. Additionally, Sony offered backwards compatibility with their own controllers and all of the PS1 games. The system was going to have A LOT of power, and to finish things off, they were going to offer it at an extremely reasonable price of $299.

This. At every store, everywhere.

Not long after the announcement, demos of games started being showcased and it was clear that this machine was easily going to have the prettiest graphics of the sixth generation of consoles. (Technically, both the GameCube and the Xbox were specced higher, but the perception was there.) When the thing actually launched in 2000, people went a little nuts for it and an interesting phenomenon occurred. There weren’t enough consoles to keep up with demand and a brand new internet sales platform called Ebay launched, allowing people who did find one to resell the units.


That, in turn, inflated the price of the consoles to over a thousand dollars in some cases. That drew a lot of media attention, which then got people asking, “Why are people willing to pay so much for this thing?” That led to the inevitable answer of, “It must be worth it. Or if it’s not worth $1,500 to me personally, it sure as hell might be worth the $299 asking price at the stores…if they ever get some in stock.” Stock became even harder to come by because in addition to all of the fans, there were also a large number of people who saw a way to make money by reselling the units. As such, re-sellers bought as many as they could, knowing that Christmas was right around the corner. Thus making the things even scarcer. And the circle of commerce went round and round.

It was a perfect storm of new technologies, new ways to buy things, and frankly a new way to look at a video game console. No longer was this a toy. This was high end, electronic equipment. An item that a sophisticated adult could buy and not feel nerdy or childish. Hell, the PS2 was more or less the same price as a lot of DVD players at the time. So if you were in the market for one of those anyway, why not also get the ability to play games. And not just any games…games with better graphics than any other console which had ever been released.

A classy product for classy people.

And buy those consoles, the people did. As stated above, the PlayStation 2 is the best selling console in history. To this day, the only game system to almost match it was the Nintendo DS. (The DS, of course, is far and away the top selling hand held of all time.)

As time went on, both Nintendo and the Microsoft tried to compete. As stated above, the GameCube and the Xbox actually had more powerful graphics chips, but it didn’t matter. The GameCube was also $100 cheaper than the PS2 but that didn’t matter much either. In short order, the PS2 dropped their price to match the GameCube which really hurt Nintendo’s chance of competing. The Xbox did okay, but being so new to the game, didn’t make much of a mark until their subsequent console, the 360.

Taken all together it pushed PS2 sales to heights never seen again. It was a HELL of a ride for the console. But of course, what good is a console without games? Well…the PS2 could play DVDs but that’s beside the point.

Let’s get into what matters here! Ladies and gentlemen, I, in association with my game ranking algorithm, proudly present to you the top ten games for the best selling console of all time.

10. Kingdom Hearts. 2002. (Square-Enix)
Disney does not let people play with their properties all that often. That said, Square isn’t exactly some shlub off the street. So when Disney wanted to make an epic Disney themed RPG, Square was the logical choice for a collaborator. And what a collaboration! This is the first of about a dozen games in the series, across a number of different platforms, all of which have been fairly well received. You play as Sora, a somewhat standard Square RPG character and team up with various Disney all stars, traveling around various Disney themed levels and saving the world from an evil entitiy called the Heartless. KH was one of the best selling games on the system, and it’s unique blend of action and RPG elements has cemented it’s legacy around the world and of course, the TMTT.

9. Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy. 2001. (Naughty Dog)
Jak and Daxter: TPL is a platform game, PS2 exclusive, and the first game of a long standing franchise which continues to this day. Along with your standard platforming, fighting, and item collection activities, there were also a good number of minigames and puzzles. You play as the titular Jak, and your ottsel (Half otter, half weasel) friend Daxter and run around trying to collect Eco in order to progress through the game and stop a big bad named Sage Gol Acheron and his sister Maia from flooding the world with some sort of evil energy. The game was incredibly well received for both its gameplay and some truly inspired graphics.

8. Guitar Hero II. 2006. (Harmonix)
As evidenced by how different all of the games on this list are, it’s clear that Sony was into trying new things and Guitar Hero certainly fits the bill. While rhythm games had been around for years on consoles, they’d mostly been in the Parappa the Rapper style of just hitting a button at the right time. Dance Dance Revolution was one of the few alternate input rhythm games to make it big in the US, but even that was mostly relegated to the arcades. Guitar Hero took a big financial risk in releasing a game which required a completely new controller, which would only work Guitar Hero, but it paid off. In this, the sequel, Harmonix was able to not only capitalize on the zeitgeist which developed around the first, but they could also sell the game both with and without the controller. Additionally the song list was expanded a lot, and thus the people did purchase the game, and then they did rock most heartily.

7. Madden NFL 2005. 2004. (EA)
It’s Madden! Madden is an American Football game simulator. This game has a bit of a weird history. EA had been in a bit of a war with ESPN’s 2K series each year and in 2004, ESPN opted to release their 2K5 game for a cool $19.99 which began cutting into Madden’s sales. This in turn caused EA to panic and drop their own price from the standard $49.99 to $29.99. That caused the game sales for Madden ’05 to go through the roof and find its way onto the top ten. Luckily, EA signed an exclusivity deal with the NFL after this year and effectively ended ESPN’s football dreams. Good times. That said, it was a pretty great game in its own right and had very high scores from reviewers and players alike.

6. Tekken 5. 2005. (Namco)
A port of the arcade game of the same name, Namco decided to switch things up for the sixth game in the series, by switching back to basics. Tekken 4, while great, had introduced a number of game play elements which tended to slow the game down. A slower style fighting game is great and all, but Namco didn’t feel it was quite Tekken enough and went back to a simpler style and faster, more fluid movements. They also put in much prettier graphics. There were also some character customizations you could add, such as new costumes and accessories. The game had 32 playable characters and everyone just loved the hell out of both of the arcade version and this, the remarkably great port.

5. God of War. 2005. (Sony – Santa Monica Studio)
Ahh. Kratos and his blades of chaos. Do you like third person hack and slash games? Do you like combo moves? How about Greek mythology, boss characters, and puzzle solving? Because if you like all of those things, (and it’s apparent that a lot of people did) God of War was made for you. Ares, the god of war has tricked you into killing your own family, and in what can best be described as a disproportionate response, you go on a fairly epic and violent murder spree of people, monsters, and gods alike. Barring the puzzle solving elements, it was generally fast paced, well designed, and the start of a long running and beloved series of games which followed along the same basic plot point of, “I’m angry. I shall kill EVERYTHING”. Sometimes a simple plan really is the best option.

4. Final Fantasy X. 2001. (Squaresoft)
You can’t make it to the tenth game in a series without a lot of effort and a lot of good games. Luckily for Squaresoft, the Final Fantasy series had been delivering (mostly) quality games since 1987. After having a very successful run of games on the PS1, Square was able to kick the graphics up a notch for FFX, the first game on the PS2. In typical fashion, you play as a young hero in a half fantasy and half sort of steam punk futureish world which, without your efforts, will most likely be destroyed by a great evil. This time the evil was in the form of a beastie named Sin. In addition to upping the graphics, Square also changed up the battle system and world navigation systems, which made for a much smoother, although considerably more linear, gaming experience. Critics and fans of the series alike praised almost everything about FFX and I feel that praise is well deserved.

3. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. 2001. (Konami)
SOL was technically the sixth game of the Metal Gear series, the second fully 3D game, and a direct sequel to Metal Gear Solid, which had been released 3 years prior on the PS1. Terrorists have kidnapped the president! And they’ve brought him to an off shore cleanup facility. They threaten to both kill the president and cause a massive eco disaster by blowing up the facility if a healthy ransom isn’t paid. It’s up to a young soldier named Raiden to save everyone and kill the terrorists, who are being led by a clone of the protagonist of the previous Metal Gear games, Solid Snake. (Video games!) Gameplay was essentially the same as Metal Gear Solid, although there was a considerable improvement in graphics and music. The game has received a lot of love over the years and remains the fourth highest rated PS2 game on Metacritic.

2. Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec. 2001. (Polyphony Digital)
A-Spec is the 48th bestselling video game of all time and the 5th bestselling racing games of all time. Number 2 if you don’t count Mario Kart games. There’s not really a plot. You just have to win all of the races and championships, with some races lasting hours. In addition to extremely good driving mechanics, the game was a car lover’s dream, featuring over 180 real world cars. While the previous GT game had considerably more cars at 650, GT3’s vastly improved graphics and insane attention to detail for the cars, limited the amount Polyphony could realistically add to the game. (Though 180 cars is nothing to sneeze at.) Car fanatics, casual players, and critics alike adored the game, and rightfully so! It’s great. Really great!…

But not the greatest. It’s not even the greatest game for the PS2 which heavily features cars and driving. No sir. That honor goes to the 15th bestselling game of all time and by far the best selling game on the PS2. It’s the one…the only…

1. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. 2004. (Rockstar)


There really wasn’t a lot of other choice, was there? Certainly not, if you, like me, are basing your list off of reviews and copies sold. Taking the Grand Theft Auto 3 concept of running around, stealing cars, and shooting places up, mixed with a healthy dose of gang wars, drugs, and rampant police corruption, GTA3:SA truly expanded on what one could do with the “third person shooting/car theft” concept. While GTA 3 and GTA 3:Vice City, had storylines, they weren’t quite as in depth or frankly, emotional as San Andreas.

You play as CJ, who returns home from far off Liberty City, to deal with the murder of his mother, the fallout and breakdown of his family and friends, and the protagonist’s journey to reestablish familial bonds and get revenge on those who wronged him.

Which, frankly, when I write out, sounds pretty damned epic! and meaningful. The game was set in the nineties, which both allowed the writers to add a healthy dose of realism in the form of the war on drugs, as well as events such as the L.A. street riots. This also meant that the soundtrack was from the nineties and frankly, dope as hell. Rockstar also added a number of elements more usually found in RPGs such as player customization and skill development. The amount of drivable vehicles was wildly expanded, and included a number of upgrades you could add to them.

Despite the controversy that comes with games dealing with murder, gangs, strippers, car theft, drugs, and home invasion, the game was very well received by critics and players, and the sales numbers plainly reinforce that. It was pretty amazing and truly deserves the number one spot on the TMTT games list.

 

So that’s the PlayStation 2! Did I leave something off the list? Wondering where Silent Hill 2 and Devil May Cry 3 are? Leave a message in the comments! And always remember. The world outside is full of bright sunshine and dark terrors. Stay inside and play games instead!

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Philippe L.

About Philippe L.

When not out exploring the stars with his good friend Hotblack Desiato, he makes his living here on Earth keeping other people’s money safe from the hands of thieves and spinning the occasional yarn.

He enjoys beer and coffee very much, but unfortunately he can’t eat shellfish or tomatoes.

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