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PlayStation 2 FAQ

We first created this guide in 2003, so some information might be a little outdated. Tip: Although I recommend reading through this entire guide, you can use Ctrl+F to quickly search through this page.

Created January 2003
Last Updated April 24, 2012

1. How much does the PlayStation 2 cost?

When the PlayStation 2 launched in North America, the price was $299. However, due to shortages for the system during the first few months of release, many people bought and resold the system for up to hundreds of dollars more than the suggested retail price.

As of April 2012, the PlayStation 2 is still sold brand new at $99.99 in the United States and usually comes bundled with a free game. The unit is still in demand and is still being purchased due to its very strong library of games. You can buy a refurbished PlayStation 2 for about $49.99 or less.

2. When was the PlayStation 2 release date?

Japan: March 4th, 2000
U.S. and Canada: October 26th, 2000
Europe: November 24th, 2000
Australia: November 30th, 2000

3. Can a U.S. PS2 play Japanese or European games? What about a European PS2 playing U.S. and Japanese games?

No, none of them can play games outside of its region without modifications. Japanese systems also have a region lockout system. Region locking is something that Sony has mostly given up on these days, as most PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, and PlayStation Vita games do NOT have region locking.

4. Is the PS2 backward compatible with all older PlayStation games?

Yes. Most of your original PS One games will work with the PS2. Depending on which game you play, the graphics and loading time can be improved by accessing the PS2's hardware menu and selecting "smooth" and "fast."

Games such as Final Fantasy 7, which have prerendered backgrounds, will have little affect since they are obviously prerendered and aren't created in real-time. This is not the case during Final Fantasy 7 battle scenes which don't have prerendered backgrounds, so they should look slightly better on the PS2.

5. Can I play PlayStation 2 games on my original PlayStation?

No. That would be impossible. Besides, what would be the point in buying a PS2 if the PS One could already play them? (Yes, people really do ask me this question from time to time).

6. Which PlayStation One peripherals will work with my PS2?

All of them officially licensed by Sony, including memory cards. The PS One multi-tap is an exception though. You'll need a PlayStation 2 multi-tap. Note: Some PlayStation 2 games are not compatible with the Dual Shock 1 because it does not feature analog symbol buttons.

7. What is the difference between our U.S. PlayStation 2 and the one in Japan?

They are the same. However, the first batch of Japanese systems (SCPH 10000, SCPH 15000 and SCPH 18000) were missing the internal expansion bay for the 3.5" hard drive.

They also came bundled with a 8 MB memory card, but you also had to download the DVD software from the utility disc (disk) and store it on the memory card to watch DVDs. On current models, the DVD software and drivers are built into the console.

8. What kind of stuff can I hide in the expansion bay (see above)?

Money. Drugs. Drug Money. Seriously though, it's not a good idea to store random objects in the expansion bay.

9. Why does it say "Magic Gate" on my PS2 memory card?

MagicGate is a system used to encrypt files on your memory card. It could be useful if you ever need to store sensitive info (such as a credit card number) on your memory card. Although MagicGate technology has been included in PS2 memory cards since the beginning, it has rarely, if ever, been used on the PlayStation 2.

10. Why does the PlayStation 2 only have two controller ports?

To keep the cost of the system down. Sony used to sell each PS2 at a loss (so did Nintendo and Microsoft), so they had to cut corners to save as much money as they could.

These days, they could make it with 4 controller ports and still make a profit, but it would be a waste of money to go back and re-design a system over 10 years old.

11. Does the PS2 come with a demo CD?

No, but you can buy one for about $5. 2011 Update: Most brand new PS2s sold today come bundled with a free game.

12. How fast is the disc drive?

CD-ROM: 24X speed (PS One has 2X)
DVD-ROM: 4X speed

13. Will my PS2 overheat if I leave it on for 8 hours straight?

No. Unlike the PlayStation One, the PS2 has a cooling fan and a heat sink to prevent overheating. As long as you don't block the fan vents, it should run forever without overheating.

14. What is the purpose of putting the PS2 to sleep?

It can damage the Network Adaptor if you simply turn off the main power while you are playing games online, so it is best to put the system to sleep first.

15. How does it compare to the other console systems?

Clock Frequency

PlayStation 2: 300 MHz
Xbox: 733 MHz
Gamecube: 405 MHz
Dreamcast: 200 MHz
PlayStation: 33.86 MHz
PlayStation Portable: 333 MHz
PlayStation 3: 3.2 GHz (7 cores)

16. Does the PS2 DVD player feature parental control locks?

Yes. To unlock the parental lock, press the select button while a movie is playing (or trying to play) to show the system menu and input this number code: 7444. Try it again several times if it does not work. Unlike the PlayStation Portable, the parental controls on the PlayStation 2 do not affect mature-rated videogames.

17. Which PlayStation One games have trouble running on the PS2?

1. Arcade Party Pak
2. Arcade Greatest Hits- Atari 2
3. Fighter Maker
4. Final Fantasy Anthology
5. Judge Dredd
6. Monkey Hero
7. Mortal Kombat Trilogy
8. Tomba!
9. International Track and Field

18. What PS2 games are cabable of local area network (LAN) games?

Unreal Tournament
Armored Core 2
Gran Turismo 3
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4
Tony Hawk's Underground
Gran Turismo 4
TimeSplitters 2
TimeSplitters 3: Future Perfect
Tony Hawk's Underground 2.

19. Where can I get updated PS2 drivers?

The newest model PS2 will have the latest drivers already built-in. If you have a very old PS2, you can get updated DVD drivers if you buy the official PlayStation 2 DVD remote.



20. When will the PlayStation 2 go online?

It can go online right now in all the major regions. It took a few years after release before the PS2 could officially go online. As of 2011, almost all PlayStation 2 online game servers have been shut down to save money and due to lack of use, as most people have switched to PlayStation 3 online games.

21. What are some of the upcoming titles that plan to go online?

See the PS2 Online FAQ page.

22. At what resolution does most PS2 games run at?

Almost all PS2 games run at 640 x 448 interlaced. Only Gran Turismo 4 and Tourist Trophy can run at 1080i resolution.

23. Which PS2 games are capable of progressive-scan output?

Gran Turismo 4, Tekken 4, SOCOM US Navy Seals, SOCOM II, Jak II, Burnout 2, Star Wars: Bounty Hunter, Jak III, and many others. Remember that progressive-scan must be put in by the programmers, so not all games have it. Many game companies feel that not enough people own HDTV's, so don't bother with progressive-scan. (The previous sentence was written in 2005 when most people didn't have a HDTV yet).

Update: Progressive-scan is finally becoming more and more common in PlayStation 2 games.

24. Can you use PS2 memory cards with PS One games when using a PlayStation 2 to play the games?

Nope. However, you can use it to back up your PS One save files through the built-in memory card manager. To access the memory card manager, boot up the PS2 without a game disc, and select "Browser" at the main screen.

25. I have trouble playing blue and/or silver PS2 games. What can I do to fix this?

Questions and e-mails about disc read errors are very, very common. Here is some advice:

1. Apparently, blue PS2 discs are lighter than silver ones, so they tend to move around more when the PS2 is reading them. To fix this, you can put duct tape on the top of the disc. This will make it heavier, so it won't move around too much and it should make reading the disc easier for your poor PS2. People have told me that this indeed works (but not always). Don't go overboard with the tape though. Attempt this at your own risk.

2. If the problems occurs when the PS2 is horizontal, try putting it into its vertical position. Or try putting it horizontal if it is vertical.

3. Use a can of compressed air to clean dust out of the system.

4. Make sure your game discs are not the problem. Keep them as clean as possible. Even small scratches can cause problems.

5. Open up your PS2 and clean it out or try adjusting the lens. Very risky and voids your warranty.

6. Try using a DVD lens cleaner (for problems reading silver discs) or a CD lens cleaner (for blue disc problems).

7. Send your system to Sony for repairs. Due to a lawsuit, Sony may have to repair your PS2 for free even if there is no warranty. Contact Sony for details.

That is all the advice I can give. If the lens cleaners or compressed air don't work, then you are probably just out of luck. There is no magic way to suddenly get your PS2 working again without professional repair.

26. What if I have trouble with DVD based games or movies?

Like I said above, try buying a DVD (not CD) lens cleaner and use it on your system at least twice. Also make sure that the disc is as clean as possible. If the console still skips, you may have to send it in to Sony for repairs. Note: If only one DVD is giving you problems, then it might not be compatible with the movie. If that is the case, no need to send it to Sony.

27. Can you list all of the Greatest Hits Titles?

Ace Combat 4
ATV Off-Road Fury
ATV Off-Road Fury 2
Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance
Crash Bandicoot: Wrath of Cortex
Crazy Taxi
Dark Cloud
Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX 2
Devil May Cry
Dragon Ball Z: Budokai
Final Fantasy X
Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec
Grand Theft Auto 3
Hitman 2
Hot Shots Golf 3
Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy
James Bond 007: Agent Under Fire
Kingdom Hearts
Max Payne
Maximo: Ghosts to Glory
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons Of Liberty
Midnight Club: Street Racing
Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance
Myst III: Exile
Namco Museum
NBA Street
Onimusha: Warlords
Pac-Man Worlds 2
Red Faction
Resident Evil Code: Veronica X
Silent Hill 2
Sly Cooper
Smuggler's Run
SOCOM: U.S. Navy Seals
Spider Man
Spy Hunter
SSX Tricky
Star Wars: Starfighter
Tekken Tag Tournament
Test Drive
The Simpsons Road Rage
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3
Twisted Metal: Black
Virtua Fighter 4
WWE SmackDown! Just Bring It

Note: List last updated March 4, 2004. Source: Sony Computer Entertainment America.

28. Can you list the new features that newer, regular sized PS2s have?

Update: Regular sized PlayStation 2s such as the one described below are very difficult to find in stores. Almost all stores have switched over to the new slim PS2s.

Here is the news article that we did back in April 2003:

Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. announced on April 14, 2003 that it plans on releasing a new model PlayStation 2 and DVD remote on May 15, 2003 in Japan. The new PlayStation 2 (SCPH-50000) will be equipped with new DVD features and it will have a suggested retail price of 25,000 yen, or $207.68 according to current currency exchange rates.

In addition to existing DVD video playback capabilities, the new and improved PS2 will play recordable DVD media (DVD-R/-RW + R/ +RW) right out of the box. According to Sony, the PS2 will further expand various applications in homes by playing discs containing content that has been recorded or edited on other DVD recorders.

The upcoming model will support DVD progressive scan playback as well, which can be enjoyed by consumers with HDTV's and the proper cables. Sony is also thinking ahead, as the new PS2 will have a built-in IR receiver that does not take up the controller port, unlike the current model. Sony also stated that fan noise has been reduced 75% in the new model.

As for the new DVD remote control (SCPH-10420), it will have a price tag of 2,200 Yen ($18.27). One interesting new feature will be the ability turn the system on/off or reset it and open/close the disc tray right from the remote.

SCEI did not mention the i.Link port, but as you can see in the images below that we acquired from Sony, it has been removed in the new model PS2. Sony Computer Entertainment America has not announced whether or not the new model PS2 will be made available in North America yet. More info later.

New PS2 Screenshot
New DVD Remote Screenshot

29. Can I use Japanese memory cards and controllers with my American PS2?

Yes. The official Sony products work just like the domestic ones.

30.Which games are compatible with the USB headset?

This is not a complete list and it hasn't been updated in a while. Sorry.

James Bond: Everything or Nothing
NBA ShootOut 2004
NFL GameDay 2004
NCAA GameBreaker 2004
NCAA Final Four 2004
FIFA Soccer 2004
Madden NFL 2004
NBA Live 2004
NCAA Football 2004
NCAA March Madness 2004
Trivial Pursuit Unhinged
NASCAR Thunder 2004
ESPN NFL Football
ESPN NBA Basketball
ESPN College Hoops
NHL 2004
Medal of Honor Rising Sun
The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Jungle Storm
The Sims Bustin' Out
Karaoke Revolution
SWAT : Global Strike Team
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004

31. If I import a Japanese PlayStation 2, do I have to buy a power converter?

No, not if you live in the United States. If you live in Europe, then you will need one.

32. I heard that the PlayStation 2 can burn DVDs.

The PlayStation 2 cannot burn discs, but Sony's PSX can do it. The PSX can also play PS2 games and record TV shows. It also has plenty of other features. Due to poor sales in Japan, Sony doesn't plan on bring the PSX to the United States.

Note: The Sony PSX is not the Sony PlayStation 1. Sony made a digital video recorde called the "PSX" despite the fact that most people have given the PS1 the "PSX" nickname. Confusing, isn't it?

33. On the Xbox, you can modify it to store Xbox games on the hard drive. Can this be done with the PS2?

Yes, but you need a program called HD Loader ($10-$40, not sold in stores). HD Loader can rip all of the data from a PS2 DVD game and store it onto the HDD (PS One games do not work). The best part is that the game can be booted from the HDD. Since it reads the game completely from the hard drive, the infamous PS2 disc read error will completely vanish. In addition, load times are [usually] greatly decreased. No mod-chips are required to use HDLoader.

We have tested the HD Loader and it works great. The bad part is that some PS2 games do not work. Please note: HD Loader is NOT a licensed Sony product.

Update: Due to Sony's lawyers, production on the official HD Loader has already stopped. No more will be made. There are several HD Loader clones out there and even some illegal HD Loaders being sold. However, please do not ask me where to find these products. They can be found if you do your own research on Google.

Update: The best alternative to HDloader is HD Advance 2.0. Please do not rip games that you do not actually own.

34. How many games can I store on my PlayStation 2 hard drive?

Depends on the size of the hard drive that you install. Also, some people believe that every PS2 game is the same size, which is NOT true. As a result, it is impossible to give an accurate estimate of how many games you can install on one hard drive.

However, a PS2 game can be as small as 600 MB and as large as about 4 GB (such as Xenosaga). If you put a PS2 game into a DVD-ROM drive on a PC, you can get an idea of how big the game is using Windows.

35. Can the HD Loader store MP3s or movies?


36. I want to learn more about the PS2 hard drive, Final Fantasy XI, and HD Loader.

Please see this page.

37. What new features does the new smaller and lighter PS2 offer?

The new smaller PlayStation 2 SCPH-70000 CB (also known as: PStwo, although that is not its official name) is 75% smaller. It is also top-loading, so there won't be a sliding CD tray. The top opens up and you have to place the disc inside, which should bring back some memories, because it is exactly like the PlayStation One. This might be a problem in some home entertainment centers. In addition, there is no need for a network adaptor, as the North American model is equipped with both Ethernet and RJ-11 (56k dial-up) ports built right into the back.

It can read DVD-R/-RW + R/ +RW just like the normal sized PS2 (SCPH-50000 and later -- older PS2s cannot read home-made DVDs out of the box). The power supply is on a "brick" on the power cord instead of inside the unit. Two USB ports, two memory card slots, two controller ports, progressive scan (480p) DVD playback, and IR receiver window are still available. The downfall is that the new smaller PS2 will NOT support any type of hard drive. It simply cannot fit inside the console; Sony probably won't release an external hard drive and memory cards that are 1 GB or higher are too expensive to be worthwhile for the PS2.

38. I want to learn more about the PlayStation Portable (PSP).

Please see this page.

39. Why can't I find any regular sized PS2s anymore?

Sony has phased them out because the slim version is cheaper to produce. Regular sized PlayStation 2s will have to be bought used at most stores.

40. Why has Sony made the PStwo not compatible with a hard drive?

It can't fit inside and Sony basically says that everyone who wants a PS2 hard drive already has one or a normal sized PS2 purchased years ago. In other words, people who buy a PS2 in this stage of its life cycle are typically casual gamers who aren't interested in a hard drive.

41. Is it true that the new slim PlayStation 2 is prone to overheating?

No. The PStwo has an internal fan, despite rumors saying otherwise.

42. How do I connect my PlayStation 2 to my computer monitor?

You need something like this device: Multi Purpose XGA Box (VGA Box).

43. Are there any PlayStation 2 games at all that are capable of native 1080 HDTV output?

Out of its huge library of games, there are only two PlayStation 2 games capable of 1080i output. Those two games are Gran Turismo 4 and Tourist Trophy. Both games were developed by Polyphony Digital and published by Sony.

44. How many PlayStation 2 systems have been sold to date?

As of July 2011, there have been 153.19 million PlayStation 2 systems sold worldwide. As of 2011, it is still the best selling video game console of all time.

45. How many PlayStation 2 games are there in existence?

There are 10,828 PS2 games that have been developed and released in stores. About 1.52 billion PS2 titles have been sold since launch.

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