Adventures In Tech: PS2: Gaming's greatest sequel
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Adventures In Tech: PS2: Gaming's greatest sequel

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How do you build the most popular games console ever? CNET explains the magic behind Sony's PlayStation 2.

They say sequels are never as good. But, the Play Station Two proves that's just not the case. Place your brain in the nostalgia position as [UNKNOWN] reminds you why Sony's second console was the most popular games machine ever. [MUSIC] By the turn of the millennium it was clear that a thousand years of human endeavor had been leading to just one thing. Sony's sequel to the 1995 PlayStation console. The first PlayStation had been a huge hit, but dominating two consecutive console generations was unheard of. Sony needed something special, and in September 1999 that's exactly what it showed off. The PS2 had style. Gone was the office equipment gray of the PlayStation One in favor of stealth bomber black. This is a fashion conscience living room accessory. Right down to it's swiveling logo. While inside the emotion C.P.U. built by Sony and Toshiba promised to provide gorgeous visuals. That wasn't all the P.S.2 had to offer however, apart from a new look and a swanky new hardware. Sony's machine had two secret weapons to help it win the console war. Firstly, it was backwards compatible so the millions of PlayStation One owners could keep playing their old games. That gave it an edge over the Gamecube, XBox whose predecessors were the incompatible Nintendo 64 and nothing respectively. The PS2 could also play DVDs at a time when the format, which was co-developed by Sony just becoming popular. It's hard to imagine anyone could've doubted the PS2's powers but at the time its position of future gaming champion didn't feel quite so assured. One concerned was the lineup of launch games. The excellent SFX and Time Splitters would eventually prove to be winners. But with Grand Theft Auto 3 still a year away early shoppers were understandably cautious about the smattering of sports titles or fireworks. A little of phantavision. Meanwhile hardware shortages meant that only half of the plants one million consoles made it to the U.S. in time for launch. While international gamers bemoaned the comparatively high price of Sony's machine. Especially in the U.K. [NOISE]. Hello Madge. These things were obstacles to Sony. But there was one thing beyond hardware, beyond games that bolstered the system's success. The PS2 was really, really cool. Sony had a machine that could appeal to a more mature crowd and it pursued this idea relentlessly. Cooking up bizarre edgy promotions for the console including a series of unsettling ads. It's from surrealist director David Lynch. Welcome to the third Reich. Savvy marketing made Playstation part of millennial pop culture. As essential as The Matrix, Napster or those Budweiser ads. In October 2000 it all fell into place when Sony's cool console and accessories raked in 250 million dollars on launch day. His games followed [INAUDIBLE] accessories and the slim version. All rivals fell by the wayside. The PS2 sold more than 150 million units before it was discontinued in January 2013. But with normal achievements. But even if the PS4 or Xbox 1 somehow sells more, nothing can outstrip the importance of the Play Station 2. Seventy second console is more than just a great piece of text. It's a cultural artifact. The machine that was at the forefront when gaming grew up and the media began to enter the mainstream, the services to video games. Playstation Two: we salute you! What are your PS2 memories? Did you have a favorite game or did you prefer the Game Cube or XBox? Let me know and check back next time for another adventure in Tech.

Luke Westaway is a senior editor at CNET and writer/ presenter of Adventures in Tech, a thrilling gadget show produced in our London office. Luke's focus is on keeping you in the loop with a mix of video, features, expert opinion and analysis.