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Playstation 2

Sony

After months of hype and release day chaos, Sony's Playstation 2 finally found its way to America. The original platform almost single-handedly saved the home video game market, and the system resets the standards, bring true arcade quality (and even better) gaming to the home market.

The new system benefits from backward compatibility with the original Playstation, allowing nearly all PS One games to be able to be played with faster loading times and slight graphic sharpening. The real show is in the new PS2 games. The massive DVD storage capability, along with the super fast processor, makes for some simply stunning games. Near photo quality graphics are accentuated in the fine details, like catching reflections of the stadium lights in player's eyes in Madden 2001. The controller is identical to the PS One, and the games have wonderfully responsive controls that don't require you to have three hands with seven fingers on each in order to play.

Aside from the video games, the PS2 is also a decent CD player and quite serviceable DVD player. Despite some glitches in the Japanese release, I've run several different DVDs on my PS2 without any problems. The control of the DVD function with the game controller is a bit awkward, so a separate DVD remote for the PS2 would be recommended, but hardly a necessity.

Sony has also included space for a future hard drive, and the console has USB and Fire Wire ports, which gives the PS2 the potential to be so much more than a game machine. Broadband Internet access could not only give gamers the ability to download game updates (especially helpful updating team rosters for sports games), but music, movies, and online gaming between PS2 users. In short, Sony's Playstation 2 is a terrific centerpiece to a home entertainment center.