It began a couple of months into 2002. My friend, Joe, and I had recently been struck with the bug of nostalgia and decided to hunt down an original NES (I am well aware of free emulation… we were after the real thing). We were also young straight men, so we were on the hunt for some ladies, as well… but that part isn’t very relevant ;-). While unsuccessfully searching for an old Nintendo, the idea of buying a new PlayStation 2 came up. It was so expensive, though, so we decided to wait it out to find what we were originally after. After a day of no luck, we found ourselves sitting in the parking lot of a new club that had just opened – tempted to go inside (for the lady hunting already mentioned), and as we sat there, watching Mexican men in cowboy hats and large chicas entering, we turned to each other and Joe said, “Want to go get a PS2?”
“Let’s go.” And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how it all started…
I’d played the original Grand Theft Auto on my computer, so when I heard of the new one coming out on the PS2, I knew it was going to be awesome. When Joe picked up his PS2, we grabbed a copy of Grand Theft Auto III, as well (though, I believe it was the next day)… and my life was never quite the same ;-). I hadn’t played video games on my own since the days of Sega Genesis, but I became so enraptured by GTA III, that I only lasted a few days before I walked into Walmart and bought my own PlayStation 2. Of course, with my luck, this was just a couple of months before the $100 price drop.
So, this system has been with me for over seven years, and we’ve had some great times, together. I am not some “hard-core gamer,” as folks say… but I certainly enjoy having fun :-). I couldn’t even guess as to how many weeks’ worth of hours I’ve spent in the Grand Theft Auto world or how many millions of people I’ve killed (and saved… I’m not all bad). I remember playing in the NHL with Joe, taking our team to the finals. I remember going to war with him, as well, only to have him run out of ammo, accidentally punch me to death, and run off into an ambush… just feet away from our extraction point. I remember just getting to know Nick, and hanging out with him and some cheat-codes for GTA: Vice City. I remember my first foray into online gaming with this system, as well. In fact, one of my favorite gaming moments came from this. I’ll spare you the details, but I’ll never forget single-handedly holding my own against a handful of very talented players in Star Wars: Battlefront. It was a long and frenetic battle – one that I know left the others confused as to how I even survived. Since I don’t consider myself a very good player, it was a proud moment :-).
Not all of our times were highs, of course. During a very low point in life, as I over-prepared for the acting role of a contract killer, I constantly played one of the Hitman games to help put me in that place. This is an abnormality, though, because I love video games for the one reason that anyone should – they’re really just a heck of alot of fun. That’s the whole point. On Fridays, after working all week, I’d look forward to coming home and relaxing with a new game. I’ll never forget putting in my first Medal of Honor game, and experiencing the chaos and terror of storming Normandy’s beach. My PS2 and I had great times together, with the aforementioned Grand Theft Auto and Hitman series, Star Wars: Battlefront I and II, Red Dead Revolver, Gun, Burnout 3, the Max Payne and God of War sagas, war games, sports games, and everything in-between. Why all of this sudden outpouring, though? No, my original PS2 didn’t die on me… it’s still running strong after all of this time. I wanted to look back at some of the good times, in preparation for what is coming… my PlayStation 3.
The new system has been out for a couple of years, already, but upon its launch I simply couldn’t justify spending that much money for one. So, I waited. When the trailer for Grand Theft Auto IV was released, my jaw dropped… yet, still I waited. When I saw just how fun and imaginative Little Big Planet was, the little Lego-loving boy inside of me jumped… yet, I still waited. After being burned by purchasing my PS2 just months before a price-drop, I vowed to not do it again. That is why, when the announcement of a price reduction for the PS3 came last week (which solidified what may have been the best day ever), I was over-joyed. I literally danced in my room. I was a little kid getting what he wanted at Christmas… so happy. The PS2 had re-ignited my childhood love of video games, and this new system was going to be another huge jolt to that love. I put my order in the next day, and this Saturday I should finally have a system that I’ve been waiting years for. Just like I did so many years ago with the PS2, I’ll be starting my new life with the PS3 with the newest Grand Theft Auto, which is already in my possession. This means that, for now, my PS2 is being retired (I’m very cramped in my room… only space for one at a time). It’s had a great run, though, and in time it shall return for the same reasons Joe and I had originally set out looking for an old Nintendo: childhood nostalgia, good games, and most importantly…