Having covered my gaming history through my first console, Sega Genesis, and moving on to my second, the Playstation or PS1, it’s only appropriate that we now move on to talking about the third generation of my gaming history – the Playstation 2 or PS2.
The PS2 began a new era in realism in gaming. Gone were the polygonal, angular models of the PS1 era. The Playstation 2 brought realism to console gaming. And with that realism, it also brought with it a new generation of obsessions for me – one that’s continued to this day: hunting games.
By this time, we also had a PC, and I’d started playing hunting games on that from time to time. I’d gotten into them for the realistic depiction of animals, planning to simply be a nature photographer of sorts – that fell by the wayside fairly quickly. The wolf in me discovered a way to hunt – complete with stalking and taking down prey – that I was physically capable of doing, and this has lead to a love of hunting games that has continued to today.
Today, I mostly play TheHunter when I’m in the mood for a hunting game – or, alternately, Deer Hunter 2016 on my phone. But back in the day, Cabela’s was the big name for hunting games. I started with the 2005 edition of Cabela’s Big Game Hunter, and also had the original Cabela’s Dangerous Hunts. Both were fun in their own ways – Dangerous Hunts quickly became a favorite because it had more of an open world to it than BGH did. And it was, just as it claimed – dangerous.
On every map there was at least one dangerous animal that would attack you, given the opportunity. And while there were dangerous animals in BGH as well, they were still more likely to run away if you spooked them. In Dangerous Hunts, they pretty much always attacked. This lead to a lot of awesome experiences – trying to out-stalk the other predators on the map to complete the mission objectives before they killed you. If I remember correctly, some of the mission objectives involved being unable to kill the predators – take two white-tailed deer without killing a cougar, or something like that. But the cougar…well, she was pretty much stalking you the whole time.
This was thrilling and a lot of fun for me, and while I wasn’t playing a wolf hunting in it’s natural habitat, I was a wolf, and I was hunting. And that made it all incredibly fun – even when there was a cougar bearing down on me while I tried frantically to reload my gun because I’d shot the deer without realizing the cougar was literally right behind me.
The hunting games and the passion they ignited that has continued into today weren’t the only things I loved about the PS2 – and my love for the PS2 became infectious once I moved in with my now wife. We were long term fans of the Neopets website (to the point that I still go back there from time to time…and upon writing this, ended up spending half an hour feeding all my pets…). So when Neopets released a game for the PS2, we were all over it.
The game was surprisingly fun, and had been in development a long time. However, there was very little for it online. When you got stuck (and you will get stuck), no one really knew what to do. So my wife and I took it upon ourselves to write the Definitive Guide to Neopets: The Darkest Faerie. The result is the linked website – which, believe it or not, we still receive emails about to this day!
While there are other guides out there now, ours is still on the front page of a google search for the game, and if I had my PS2 hooked up, I’d probably still play the game from time to time. However, there’s one game for the PS2 that has captured my attention and imagination more than even this title…and that is the game we’ll be going into in the next step of my retrospective in the evolution of my gaming history – Ecco The Dolphin: Defender Of The Future!