Sony PlayStation 2
Releasing in October of 2000, Sony’s follow-up to the PlayStation was exciting, but only a blip on my radar at the time. I certainly could have afforded to pay full retail price for a release copy, but we had bigger shit going on at the time having not long been married. It wasn’t until well over a year later, when our PS1 croaked that we decided to spring for the next generation, and we really enjoyed games like Grand Theft Auto III and Tekken Tag Tournament.
Then, a couple years later, I managed to score another console for free. I offered it to my brother in law in a trade: I would give him the spare console, if he bought my a network adapter and SOCOM. He did more than that, he bought two of each, and that was the end of my stint as a PC-only online gamer for quite some time.
These were both “fat” PS2 consoles, in NTSC flavor. I managed to kill mine when a heavy ornament fell off the TV and landed on the top of the unit - it never read games again. I’m not sure what happened to Trevor’s PS2. I went back to PC games for some time, until my wife bought me a PS3.
I modded our original PS2 at some point around this time, however at the time Sony were reasonably profficient at keeping illegitimate software off their online servers, so I didn’t actually put any copied games through it. When that unit died some years later, I didn’t bother changing the modchip out to the newer system. I don’t remember the name of the modchip we used, only that it was red and had a bunch of wires to solder in.
In 2017, the FreeMCBoot modification was something I became vaguely aware of, noting that I could put one of the PATA hard drives I had inside a fat PS2, I went looking for one. I finally bought one, but only had one memory card so I still wasn’t ready to give it a shot.
Then, in 2018, while searching for information to fix the drive tray sensors on my Slim NTSC PS2, I learned about FreeHDBoot - essentially the same thing, but booting solely from an internal hard disk. I documented the process of installing FreeHDBoot for later reference.
I presently have a single PAL “fat” PS2, a PAL “slim” PS2, and two NTSC “slim” PS2s. Since modding the fat one, it’s really the only one I use.