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Saving PlayStation 2

The PS2 is not dead. It's preparing for a comeback! How? Oh, you won't get it that easy. Read on!

Having worked at Sony since the PS2's birth in 2000 until its bigger sibling arrived in 2006, you could say my relationship with the system was "intimate." (Keep it clean, people!)

So, upon hearing the PS2 will "cease being relevant," I was compelled to don my cape and gloves and rush to the aid of my poor, defenseless console.  Irrelevant? Hah! There's still a bit of kick left in that old girl, let me tell you.

Oh...You Want Me To Actually Tell You?

The PS2 is in a unique position; It's had a tremendous amount of software support internationally, and it's still available in stores. I'd like to emphasize the "internationally" part, since that is essential to my argument. The "still available" part is also very important, since it means you don't have to purchase anything "virtual" or travel back in time, but I digress.

The number of PS2 titles in the US is staggering, but that is not the complete library. Things like localization, market research, and -- let's face it -- quality have kept many games in their respective territory, never to see the light of day in a foreigner's hands.

Let's change that, shall we? Since the console's "on its way out," isn't it about time to show us what we missed?

So, What Are We Waiting For?

While there's many reasons why a particular game didn't make the journey overseas, its restriction should never be permanent. Although the timing may have been off, the sales projections were low, or -- my personal peeve -- "too foreign," there should be no more excuses at this point.  Not when there's so little to lose and so much to gain!

The fact that these games were released should be reason enough to release them in another territory -- The code is complete, the packaging is ready, and better still, it's passed certification in one territory (or more). The game may require a couple technical tweaks and some added captions, but, by all accounts, it's a complete game. Why deprive the rest of the world from playing it?

How could experiencing a game from another country possibly be a bad thing? A game is much more than a product; it is an expression of a culture. Although a game may require a certain frame of reference to use, it is an opportunity to learn something new about another culture, and how they play games. I think we're all smart enough to be open minded about these things, right?

Where's The Money?

Of course, the first question that comes to mind is, who's going to pay for this? While the cost of releasing a game in another territory is considerably less than developing one from scratch, it's not cheap. However, if you look at some of the smaller publishers like Natsume, Agetec, and Mastiff, you can see how quality controls and limited quantities can support these kinds of projects.

The main support in saving the PS2 from irrelevance should come from Sony. If Sony is concerned about developers leaving PS2 game development, maybe it would be a good time to devote some resources to work on some games that have already been made.

Off the top of my head, I can think of several titles: Siren 2, Initial D, Ultraman Fighting Evolution, Ka 2 (since I only had access to Japanese titles, these are the ones that stood out). Just take a look at the Wikipedia listing, and marvel at the games you may not have played, let alone seen!

The PlayStation 2 is on its last legs, but it is far from irrelevant.  It would be a shame to let some games go, especially when people still have the ability to enjoy them in the format they were designed for.

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