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Sony PS2

The development of the PS2 was first announced to the public in April 1999.  The PS2 had some unique features, not present in any other console.  At its heart was an Emotion Engine, which was created by both Sony and Toshiba allowing the whole system to be backwards compatible with older Playstation games as well as be able to play games in the newer DVD format.  The PS2 had a hardware mode called Texture Interpolation to anti-alias the edges of graphics.

The PS2 was finally released in Japan in March 2000, in the US in October and in Europe in November and sold incredibly well.  So much so that it was continuously running out stock and causing prices to skyrocket in some areas.

The first wave of PS2s did have a certain bug in them that allowed the DVD region restriction to be bypassed.  According to a nutter whom I know, the CPUs of the original PS2s were so powerful that they could operate long-range missiles and were eventually tuned down.  Go figure.  Another problem was the complexity of the Emotion Engine, which confused  some developers and resulted in a few rushed-through games.  Realizing the problem, Sony provided additional documentation and help for developers and even explained methods of how to achieve certain effects.

In terms of expansion, the PS2 has IEEE 1394 and USB ports allowing a range of accessories and mods such as the S-BOX and the Sony Network Adaptor to be installed.

In 2003, an updated version of the PS2 was released in Europe with a 75% quieter fan, a built-in infrared receiver, 2 Dual Shock controllers all wrapped in a slick silver color casing.  It retails for under £150 in the UK.

The PS2 retailed for $299.

Technical Specs:

CPU: 128-bit "Emotion Engine" (300MHz) with multiple co-processors
RAM: 32MB Rambus DRAM, 4MB Video RAM
Graphics: Dedicated graphics synthesizer connected to CPU via 64-bit 1.2GB/s bus
Colors: 16.7 million
Sprites: 18.75 million
Polygons: 66 million per second
Resolution: Variable from 256x224 to 1280x1024 pixels
Sound: 2MB, 48 voice audio with support for Dolby, AC3 and DTS

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