Open the floodgates of nostalgia and hold your breath as we dive into the masterpieces of the past.
The concept of storytelling has been around as long as man himself. From the very first cave paintings man has had a resilient need to recount the events of the past, or to create his own stories to entertain, to teach, to mystify, to enlighten, to inspire, or to make that fish sound a little bit bigger than it actually was. Whatever the reason, stories are the purest and richest form of any culture, and, as geeky and untraditional as many would claim them to be, video games are but an extenuation of this art.
For a moment I’d like to tune out all the hype and hoopla of the modern day, next-gen console, ’15 year olds arguing over Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3 on some internet forum’ craziness and focus on the past. Like any medium of art, where you’re at is a direct result of who’s come before you and what they did, and the gaming world is no different.
With this in mind let’s take a look at the system that became an instant classic and helped to create and define an industry that has come to challenge the movie industry itself, and while it is not alone in this accomplishment and absolutely shares the credit with other platforms, the Playstation 2 definitely deserves individual attention. It was the heir to the system that challenged the Nintendo Empire and held its own, and the system that let poor college students watch DVD’s without buying a separate player.
Everyone has unique tastes and certain genres and games that they like better than others, and while there is no such thing as an absolute “Top 20” list, there are some games in my opinion more deserving of others to be recognized. The Playstation 2 came into existence during what could be called the golden age of video games. No longer limited to a certain number of pixels or processing power, games at the turn of the century were blazing a new frontier in digital storytelling, each one pushing further than the one before. Not yet able to rely on an extensive online multiplayer experience to be considered great, these games had to have the full package, and THAT is what makes them great.
Without further ado allow me to present what I consider the best 20 games of the Playstation 2 era. I realize that not everyone has the same favorites and that theres nothing like a ‘Top 20’ list to get people all riled up, but before anyone lights the torches and forms a mob, let me say that while I do believe these 20 represent the upper echelon of creativity for this period, they are by no means exhaustive and are not necessarily stuck in the order I have placed them in.
Originally flaunted as the “HALO killer”, Killzone didn’t quite live up to its hype. However, what we did get was an original storyline full of red eyed bad guys with chronic baldness, solid gameplay, and enough bad acting to make it a memorable experience.
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This article was first posted on November 23, 2011