Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans...
October 12, 2015

The quote's John Lennon's, and he was very likely not referring to video games. But in my case, I'm near nine hours into Xenosaga - enjoying it far more than I did Xenogears and eager to get at it and its sequels - when my PS2 decided to stop reading it. Could be the disc - doesn't look damaged but I know from experience that doesn't have to mean anything - or could be the console, which I bought in 2005, used for hundreds and possibly thousands of hours, and has already failed me before on Persona 4. Whatever it is, I can't continue my game. It starts stuttering and then freezes during a specific cutscene, and skipping it is no help because it freezes in that case also.

Since my plan was to restrict my console gaming to getting through Xenogears and the Xenosaga trilogy before anything else - only deviating briefly to pay attention to the horror season after Halloween - that plan is now derailed. Messed around a little with my old Disgaea save to confirm that that, at least, still works, then decided on an early start on the horror season and picked up Silent Hill 4 again. It defeated me in 2013, due to ignoring the rise of hauntings in Room 302. (Pro-tip: don't.) This time I'll follow a guide to make sure I don't miss the items needed to stop the hauntings as they happen. My last save had become unusable, with Henry dying within three seconds after restoring my save.

Meanwhile one review is submitted and the other, for Xenogears, still taking shape in my head. I have a rough idea of what I want to say, but not necessarily how to say it yet, and this is a game that deserves proper attention. Especially if I'm going to put it down.

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joseph_valencia joseph_valencia - October 12, 2015 (08:03 PM)
I'd say it's probably the hardware. My first PS2 became unusable about two years after I got it, and my second one (bought around the same time as yours) started having disc read errors a couple of years ago. I'd recommend looking into a new PS2.
sashanan sashanan - October 12, 2015 (08:49 PM)
Tonight it had some trouble booting up Disgaea and even when it did work, it was a lot more noisy about reading it than it's supposed to be. One complication is that my collection is about 50/50 between PAL and NTSC, so its replacement will either need to have a mod chip again, or I'll need two PS2s. I guess it's all affordable enough by now, though.
jerec jerec - October 13, 2015 (05:59 AM)
I had an old mod chipped PlayStation 1 that had all sorts of disc read errors. I wonder if that contributed to the console's issues?

But yeah, shouldn't be too difficult to pick up some cheap PS2 slims from both regions.
sashanan sashanan - October 13, 2015 (06:49 AM)
Could be. My PS1 is not chipped, but rather uses a boot disc to temporarily ignore regional lockouts. Only thing with that is that it requires you to switch from boot disc to game disc without the PS1 realizing it has been opened, so it came with a little spring and a little weight that let you have the lid open without it knowing that. Felt very MacGyver.

The PS3 finally just dropped regional lockouts I hear, which is what I wanted all along. If they hadn't dropped proper PS2 BC almost straight away this side of the Atlantic, I probably would have bought one.
honestgamer honestgamer - October 13, 2015 (06:11 PM)
The PS3 doesn't have backward support anywhere now, and hasn't for a long while, even here in North America. It plays PS1 stuff, but not PS2. I had a PS3 I bought shortly after launch, when it still cost $600, because just after that, backwards compatibility vanished. It broke on me around a couple of years back, so now I'm stuck with a newer unit that lacks the compatibility.

One side note: a lot of the older, first-generation PS2 systems in particular fail because they seem to suck dust into them during normal use. If you open up the case (carefully), you might find a bunch of dust that you can clean out to give yourself more time with your unit. The only modded system I ever bought was a PS2 "slim." I didn't use it much at all before it randomly broke on me with no warning. Modded systems have that issue, from what I can tell.
sashanan sashanan - October 13, 2015 (07:58 PM)
Mine's a slim also from 2005, from a store that sold them pre-modded. Piracy was never the reason, I just appreciated being able to play games from all regions. Being an RPG die-hard, I didn't want to deal with Europe getting the games late or not at all, and at the time the game stores here weren't of such quality that a game that was technically available in this country could actually be found. So shelled out for the modded system, and imported half my library.

If my PS2 is indeed in its twilight now, I can't complain. I got many hours out of it. But I need many more, either out of this one or its replacement. That backlog is not clear by a long shot.
LeVar_Ravel LeVar_Ravel - October 17, 2015 (12:22 AM)
I've been relatively lucky with my PS2. Purchased in 2003 and still working! -- although I had to conduct elaborate manual operations to fix the disc tray after it got stuck a few times!

The first time I had to open the PS2 to do this, a little metal part, like a bracket or something, fell out. I had no idea where to put it...but the system still works without it!
LeVar_Ravel LeVar_Ravel - October 17, 2015 (12:29 AM)
Sorry to hear about your troubles -- especially frustrating with a story-rich (and fun to play) series like Xenosaga!

"Xenogears...I'm going to put it down."

I reckon the chair speeches and the interminable prison colony section naturally get a lot of flack. Don't put it all *too* down, tho, or giant Chu-Chu will get you!
Genj Genj - October 17, 2015 (10:04 AM)
This is kind of an older post, but as you've figured out it's definitely hardware related. The reason why Xenosaga is so susceptible is likely because it's one of the few dual-layer DVD (DVD-9) titles for PS2. These games tends to get the most disc read errors. I experienced similar issues a couple years ago when my original fat PS2 simply could not boot Yakuza 2 (also a DVD-9 title) at all. I ended up having to borrow someone's slim model just to play it.
sashanan sashanan - October 17, 2015 (07:58 PM)
I find right now Disgaea, for instance, plays fine, but the console is noisier than usual in running it. My PS2 is probably indeed in its twilight. But so it goes. (It's the ciiiiiircle of life...)

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