Goodbye PS2, A Non-Asshole Boyfriend's Remembrance
The Sony Playstation 2 is no longer being manufactured. The sixth generation system lasted a good 13 years, and is actually the best selling home console of all time so far. Roughly one person in every seven worldwide has owned one. New games were still being released up to fourth quarter of last year, with Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 being the final official title. An expansion pack for Final Fantasy XI, Seekers of Adoulin is still scheduled for release in Japan in March.
It was reported earlier this week by my colleague Abby Koenig that the demise of the console left mixed feelings in her heart. Though not a gamer herself, she purchased one for an unemployed live-in boyfriend as part of a birthday ultimatum where the only other choice was some sort of unpleasant sex act. Over the course of the rest of their relationship, Abby was tortured as she tried to read in their tiny, one-room apartment while her boyfriend endlessly played whatever Madden was out at the time. His other obsession was Tony Hawk games... known for their equally obnoxious soundtracks.
Eventually, Abby sent this prize gem packing when she caught him cheating on her, and she threw the PS2 out with him as a punishment for his new girlfriend. I understand Abby's point of view, but as long as we're speaking here at the wake of my favorite system I thought I'd offer a different perspective because I feel the Playstation 2 did nothing but enrich the relationship I have with my wife.
Though I was a fanatical gamer through my teens, I all but completely stopped playing in my 20s. While still living at home the Brother With One F had pawned my N64 and all my games, and I never really went out of my way to replace the system. I was rarely home, and the girl I was dating then had little interest in games aside from the occasionally round of Revolution X at Numbers when out dancing. When I left my father's house to move in with the girl who eventually became the Wife With One F, all I took with me gaming-wise was an abandoned PS1 and four games from Final Fantasy series. Even those were just because I treated playing through them as some kind of relaxation exercise.
Then in 2004 I decided that her Christmas gift would be a diamond ring and a request for marriage, a request she accepted. In addition to saying, "yes," she went out and bought me a Playstation 2 as an engagement present. I argued that agreeing to marry me was enough of a present, but she insisted. It had been a bad year... she'd been out of work, reduced to selling sex toys with a $40,000 bachelor's degree, and we'd lost our best friend to a long and painful cancer. Things were finally starting to get a little brighter, and she knew a part of me missed gaming. She fought the Christmas crowds and I ended up with a console and two games, Legacy of Kain: Defiance and The Hobbit.
Now, at this time our entertainment center was this enormous set of stainless steel industrial shelving. It sounds awful, but it was actually really neat. First off, it was the only thing we could find that would hold our enormous television, one of the last big cathode ray TVs that had been a gift from my uncle when he upgraded to plasma. This left us with an extra, much smaller TV which lived down in the bottom right-hand corner. We didn't use it for anything, but it was a perfectly fine TV and we saw no reason to throw it out. Meanwhile, the rest of the center looked like Halloween exploded all over it. It was a glorious gothic centerpiece for the living room, completely overshadowing the ugliest couch in existence.
Even with the new system I still didn't play much, until one day we reached a pretty amazing compromise. I generally let her control the television because I have a very low threshold for enjoyment. I can find amusement in just about anything, but then she started watching all the bride reality shows like Say Yes to the Dress and I found myself on the edge of sanity. We made a deal. I would hang out with her and watch the programs if she would allow me to game on the little TV with the sound off.