It was the summer of 2003. Since I live in Australia, that means Christmas! (Or the beginning of the year... I guess.)
I don't really remember what my Mother had bought me, or what I had received from Santa, though I don't think I'll ever forget what it was that my Father bought me, or the way it all played out.
I didn't live with my Father, I hadn't since the age of one, so when he showed up at my house on Christmas Day with a small gift in his hands, I was excited enough. He usually didn't visit, I usually had to wait until I went over to his on the weekend.
He handed me the small, wrapped gift. He said nothing, he just watched as I hastily unwrapped it, young and eager to see what it was. Dad had always been great at gift buying, I mean seriously, I had a motorbike at the age of 6. So such a small gift, would have to be something quite awesome.
Inside the tacky Christmas wrapping was a Platinum copy of Gran Turismo 3. Dad had gotten me into both video games and cars, so even though I did not own a PlayStation 2 to play it on, Dad did, and this meant that I now had my first ever PS2 game. Needless to say, I was ecstatic.
I looked up and thanked my Father, he still said nothing, instead just watched as I scanned over the cover and opened the case. Inside was a Platinum silver PlayStation 2 memory card. My very own memory card! For my very own game saves! It just kept getting better. I always looked forward to going to Dad's and playing video games, now I was even more excited.
Still, he said nothing. Instead, my not so evil step mother, who had come with Dad to see me, handed me yet another small item wrapped in tacky Christmas paper. What more could they possibly be giving me? I had my own game and my own memory card. I tore the wrapping from the box, I got the same feeling I had when I opened the game and realised what it was all over again. Inside was a platinum silver PlayStation 2 controller. I couldn't believe it! My own game. My own card. My own controller!
I ran up to my Father and step mother and hugged them both, thanking them for what I had thought to be the best possible gifts I could ever have received. My Dad laughed, hugging me back as my step mother went outside. He looked down at me and told me there was one more thing.
That is when it hit me. There could only be one other thing that Dad was getting me, I stood there, impatiently waiting for my step mother to come back inside. She walked in with a large box in her hands, the same tacky paper wrapped around it.
"Merry Christmas." My step mother announced, passing me the large box. Dad may have said it too, but I was too busy tearing the paper from the box to remember.
The box said it all; PlayStation 2 written in large, stylised letters across the top and front, pictures all over it and writing that I couldn't care less for. There it was, a platinum PlayStation 2. Not the black one, a glorious silver PlayStation 2. My own PlayStation 2. I didn't know what to do, or say, or feel, I was just blown away.
Gaming hadn't been much a part of my life besides a weekend joy. Until Now...
From that day on, I was a gamer. I played GT3 for weeks, every moment I could. I borrowed Dad's games, I borrowed friends' games, I begged my parents to buy me new games. I gamed and I gamed hard.
There are a number of games I'll never forget and never stop playing: Area 51, Driv3r, Need for Speed: Underground 2, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Driver: Parallel Lines, Gran Turismo 4, V8 Supercars 3 and an absolutely boat load more.
In 2007 my Father then bought me a PS3, this wasn't as exciting as the PlayStation 2, I had asked for it and had expected it when it arrived. I loved it, though by then, backwards capability had been removed from the PlayStation 3 system. So, my PS2 was still in need, it still sat right there beside the PS3 for use whenever I wanted to go retro.
In later years, my PlayStation 2 became worse for wear. The R1 and L1 buttons sometimes un-clicked from their place, the R2 and L2 sometimes didn't respond, due to broken parts of plastic from the R1 and L1. The left Analog Stick had a tendency to pull slightly to the right and where a majority of the controller was once a beautiful coat of Platinum, there was now just beige plastic, from 9 years of gripping and gaming. I had worn the paint right off of my controller. And most recently, it seemed to believe I was holding down the right d-pad key.
The console itself started refusing to read my memory cards and games that were completely scratch free. The AV port at the back of the console needed a good wiggle to display video on the screen and another slight movement to make it vanish again.
Last week, I took a screw driver to my PlayStation 2 controller. I pulled it apart and cleaned it, took the broken pieces of plastic out and put it all back together. I was trying to fix it.
Yesterday, I decided I wanted to play NFS: Underground 2. So, I turned on the PS2, unraveled the controller, wiggled with the AV cord, put the disc in, wiggled my memory card, wiggled the AV cord again, ejected and reinserted the disc... Nothing was responding even close to right. But, I had hope.
The disc never read, the controller just didn't respond, the d-pad had given up the ghost.
Nothing. Worked. At. All.
I turned it off, the PlayStation 2 had seen it's day. It had its run. It did its duty.
It survived 10 years.
So this goes out to my PlayStation 2, the console that survived the wrath of a heavy gamer. The console that brought me into the world of gaming; I love you, thank you.
Rest In Peace, You Platinum Beast.
24/12/03 - 6/6/13