Thursday, March 31, 2016

After 16 years, PlayStation 2 support ends tonight

I bet you thought that the PlayStation 2, Sony’s 155 million selling video game console, wasn’t still being supported, right? Well, the good news is that that the PS2 is still alive! The bad news is that it will probably be dead by the time you read this.

Sorry for that roller-coaster ride.

Anyway, according to this article, Square Enix will be supporting the online servers for the PS2 version Final Fantasy XI through the end of the night on March 31, 2016. If you use the March 2000 release date of the Japanese version of the console, that means that Sony’s little black box that could has been officially supported for more than 16 years.

When I got my first PS2, I was a junior in high school. Since then, I’ve earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees, gotten married, and my wife will be giving birth to our first child about three weeks. All while someone has apparently been playing the PS2 version of FFXI for a dozen years.

Seriously, who’s still rocking a dialup PS2? I guess somebody must be, or they wouldn’t have kept the servers up for so long. Man, that one white mage must be level 80,000 or so by now.

Up until recently, I assumed the last bastion of PlayStation 2 support was FIFA 14, released in September 2013. While it’s generally agreed upon that FIFA 14 was the last PS2 game ever released, I never considered that there would still be online support for a system predominantly used for offline gaming. Color me surprised – but not so much that it was a Final Fantasy game keeping the PS2 flame burning.

During the holiday season in the year 2000, the prospect of obtaining the popular PlayStation 2 was pretty grim. So imagine my surprise when, on Christmas morning, I found a shiny new PS2 under the tree. My mother had come through! I guess it helped that she was walking by a GameStop when they were hanging a sign that PS2s were back in stock. Whatever gets the job done.

They didn’t have any memory cards though, so I wound up unlocking the same few characters in Tekken Tag Tournament over and over again for a few weeks until we finally found one. Good times.

Having let go of the PlayStation 2 a few years ago, this news isn’t the most difficult to take. It’s the opposite: one of the greatest consoles ever has still been chugging along all this time, and that warms my heart. Final Fantasy IX on PS2 will be no more by morning, but the system’s legacy has become timeless.

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