I was pretty much the perfect age to enjoy the PlayStation 2 in its heyday, having turned eighteen in November 2003. Between then and April 2004, I worked as an assistant manager for my hometown’s branch of a bollocks regional chain of video rental shops – called the Hollywood Movie Store – a low budget group of six shops that were routinely mistaken for Blockbuster. I can’t find any photos of it on Google, it’s not even on Street View (which goes back to 2008 for that location).
I still lived with my parents at the time and the lion’s share of my wages went on video games and nights out. A major purchase when my first paycheck came through was a PS2 with two controllers and about five games; some pack in X-Men title, a couple of budget titles and, most notably, WWE Smackdown: Here Comes The Pain – quite possibly the greatest WWE game and the second greatest wrestling game overall for the PS2.
A couple of years later, probably around 2007, I picked up a flip-top case for my PS2 but never managed to get it to work properly – it’s still fitted to this day and I have the original – I’ve just never swapped it back. Shortly after this, I invested in a slide card and a set of Swap Magic disks and this became my preferred method of playing imported games – I wasn’t exactly happy with this setup as inserting a plastic card into my PS2 when it was turned on was far from ideal – but I NEEDED to play my American imported copy of Fire Pro Wrestling Returns.
Earlier this year, I began to look into other options for playing PS2 games as there are plenty of important titles that completely passed me by and MANY titles that I want to show my girlfriend, who has almost zero experience with the PS2 library. Armed with a pile of old IDE hard drives and an AliExpress account, I took to the internet to find a cheap solution to playing downloaded ISOs of these older games as well as any interesting improvements I can find, however, this will be the topic of another post – this one.