GameHax - Console Game Hacking

PS2 Console Information Portal

This Portal Serves to be an information source for understanding and identifying the different versions of the PS2 console as well as determining what each model can or cannot do. This is essential if you plan on continuing your voyage of knowledge. Knowing what equipment you are using and what its limitations are will go along way into determining what you can and cannot do with the console you own.

Console Identification

What console do I have? 

 Following is a list of all the Ps2 consoles manurfactured by Sony:

There are 17 different versions of the Playstation2 game console. Below we have compiled several resourceful information that explain the many versions of the PS2. To start look at the sticker on the back of your unit and use the information below to determine your PS2's version number.

Ps2 Identification By Sticker

PS2 Frequently Asked Questions


Welcome to the Playstation 2 F.A.Q. The purpose to this section is to answer any questions you might have about the system.

Table of Contents

  1. PS2 Hardware
  2. Playstation 2 Networking
  3. Playstation 2 Software
  4. Playstation 2 Launch
  5. System 246
  6. Other Stuff


Q: Is the Playstation 2 more powerful then the Sony Playstation and Nintendo 64?
A: Most definitely. Almost all aspects of the machine are more powerful then current machines from the graphics to the sound everything is top notch. As an estimate the Playstation 2 is probably about 10 times quicker then those older machines resulting in much higher quality graphics.

Q: What about the power of the Playstation 2 compared to the Dreamcast?
A: Many have questioned just how much more powerful the Playstation 2 is then the Dreamcast, especially after seeing near identical ports of games such as Crazy Taxi and Le Mans 24 Hours. It's probably true that for a machine release 18 months after Sega's it's a little disappointing. The Playstation 2 obviously has a big advantage being a DVD player. The games can contain DVD quality video and surround sound. The number of polygons rendered is significantly higher then the Dreamcast as well. The Dreamcast on the other hand has 8MB VRAM compared to only 4MB for the Playstation 2 which means the Dreamcast generally has much higher quality textures in the games giving them a more realistic look, and reducing the impact of the PS2's high polygon abilities. This increase in Video RAM also make it easier for the Dreamcast to do anti-aliasing which smooths out the rough edges in games.

Q: Is the Playstation 2 a 64-bit or 128-bit system?
A: Most definitely 128 bit.

Q: Does the Dual Shock 2 controller have a rumble feature built into the controller?
A: Yes, as with the original Duak Shock controllers the rumble feature is built into the controller.

Q: Do you need batteries to activate the rumble feature in controllers?
No. The Playstation 2 draws the power for the controller from the actual system itself.

Q: Can you play video CD's on the Playstation 2?
A: No, you can't. Let's face it though, DVD's are much better for movies and the number of VCD's is almost nil these days. It would have only added more to the cost of the system.

Q: Can I use my computers' keyboard on the Playstation for the internet?
A: Yes, you can certainly use a USB keyboard on the system. The Playstation 2 has a USB port on the front. Unfortunately few games use the keyboard functionality at the moment, although Moderngroove: Ministry of Sound Edition allows you to input phrases via the keyboard and some titles allow keybaord support - especially those online titles that have messaging.

Q: Will there be a light gun available for the Playstation 2? Can you use the old G-Con 45 from Namco?
A: Indeed the first light gun game, Time Crisis 2 was released in October 2001. At the same time Namco will be releasing a new USB light gun called the G-Con 2 which includes several more buttons then the original. Indeed you can use the original PSOne gun with many games, but not all.

PSOne Compatibility

Q: Can you play the original PSOne games on the Playstation 2?
A: YES!! For the first time in history a major console has been backwards compatible.

Q: Is it true that the games have been improved when you play them back on the Playstation 2?
A: Sort of. Naturally the game will only ever be as good as it was developed to be however the Playstation 2 includes two options to improve performance. The first is the disc speed. It is possible to boost the speed of the disc reducing load times. This can have some side effects such as jumbled sounds or load problems with some games. The perfect example is the PSOne game Atlantis in which the speech plays back all jumbled if set to the higher speed. The second option available is to smooth the graphics. This works for many games and definitely improves the graphics slightly, but once again causes problems with other games.

Q: Where do I change these options?
A: These options are changed in the Playstation 2 BIOS configuration screens. They can be difficult to find as they are actually under the Driver Information page and then under the Playstaion One Drivers. Note: You can not save these settings.

DVD Drive & Playback

Q: What is the a DVD drive? What does it mean?
A: You must have heard about DVD's by now? Digital Versatile Discs are a new way of storing movies, data or games. The discs hold approximately 9GB on a dual layered disc, which is enough to store 2 hours of cinema quality movies with 5.1 surround sound. As you can imagine one DVD is plenty of space for any game available these days. In comparison the PSOne uses normal CD's which hold about 700MB of data, or 1/13 the capacity of a DVD. The Nintendo Gamecube is using a proprietary DVD (obviously so Nintendo can still control production and charge a fortune for games) which stores only 1.5 GB of data. Many people have said that this is enough, but more space generally means better quality graphics, more cinematics or richer sound.
Another major benefit to DVD's is the ability to play back with various audio streams (say English, French or German on one disc), or subtitles in different languages. This means developers don't need to create several different discs for different parts of the world as all the languages can be placed on the one disc. This should lead to a reduction in production costs in the long term.

Q: What is dual layer mentioned above?
A: Dual layer is essenitially a DVD comprised of two discs glued together. If, for instance, you are playing a movie, about half way through the DVD player will finish one layer and basically increases the strength of the laser to reach through the first layer, and onto the second to continue the movie. This will often cause a pause of half a second or less as this process takes place.

Q: What is 5.1 and DTS sound?
A: 5.1 sound is mainly used in the latest DVD movies. It offers 6 different channels of sound (Left front, center, right front, left rear, right rear and separate sub woofer channel). Some game developers are looking at including 5.1 sound in games. DTS sound is a higher quality sound format with less compression then Dolby Digital 5.1 sound.

Q: What games use it?
A: Few games actually use the 5.1 sound at the moment due to the high processing power which it would use in actual gameplay. Games such as The Bouncer use the sound format in the cinematic sections to good effect. At the moment there are around 30 other PS2 titles being developed with the format. Around 10 titles have used DTS sound already - mainly from Electronic Arts and Rockstar North's Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.

Q: Are the DVD's expensive to produce and will they increase the cost of games?
A: Not really. A DVD generally only costs a couple of dollars to produce, and as they begin to reach the mass market they will likely become even cheaper. The cost increase is negligible. The main reason why some PS2 titles have crept over the $AU100 mark in recent years was the extremely week Australian dollar - which has recovered in 2004.

Memory Card

Q: How will games be saved on Playstation 2?
A: Sony have released a PS2 memory card which is available seperately from the console for $AU59.95. These are pretty much compulsory for the system if you want to save games, retain high scores or store the systems settings.

Q: How much save memory does the Memory Card have?
A: 8MB.

Q: How many games can you save?
I depends a lot on what games you have in your collection. Many games require only 50kb or so per save while others are closer to 2MB (NHL 2001 is over 1900kb). On average however most games are between 100kb and 400kb meaning you should be able to save around 20-30 games on one memory card.

Q: Will there be 3rd party Memory Cards with more save memory?
A: As yet there is nothing available in Australia with more memory, but something will certainly appear in future.

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What is happening with the Playstation 2 getting online?
A: It is online!! The first title was an action game called SOCOM: US Navy Seals which includes up to 16 players per game and was released in Australia on July 17th, 2003. Since then over a dozen more titles include significant online gameplay with many more due in the coming years.

Q: What speed will the Playstation 2 modem be when it's released?
A: There is only one type of network conenction available in Australia - Broadband. While American's also have a choice for a 56k modem many games won't support this slower speed.

Q: How much will it cost?
A: In Australia the Network Adapter sells for $AU69.95 - but during July you could pick up Syphon Filter: The Omega Strain for $99.95 and receive the Adapter, and Hardware for free! Some games incur a monthly fee to play - mainly RPG's - but most games are free to play online.

Q: Where will the modem sit on the console?
A: The modem plugs into the back of the Playstation 2.

Q: Is it possible to link Playstation 2's together like the PC?
A: Most certainly and while the number of games is limited (after Unreal Tournament dropped the feature at the last minute) there is one reason to do it alone, Gran Turismo 3. It's possible to link up 3 Playstation 2's and in split screen mode it's possible to have 6 (human) player racing.

Q: Will it be possible for PS2 owners to play PC owners, Gamecube Owners, Xbox owners etc on the same game over the internet?
A: Yes, it is not only possible but it is already happening on other formats. Quake 3 Arena on Dreamcast contains levels which are downloadable by PC players so they can compete against their Dreamcast friends. There are several other developers looking into the possibility and Sega are working on Playstation 2 titles which will be compatible with owners of other systems.

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Q: How much will the games cost in Australia?
A: Playstation 2 games in Australia generally cost $79-$109 when first released. This varies from publisher to publisher with only 2 or 3 titles out of the 50 released so far hitting the $AU109 price point. With soe considered shopping and waiting for sales most titles can be purchased for at least 15% below retail.

Q: Will there be a Platinum range similar to that on the PSOne?
A: Yes, Platinum games are available on Playstation 2, with almost 50 games available at this budget price of $AU49.95.

Q: Why is it that games in Australia are release so much after the US and Japanese versions?
A: There are several reasons. The most common is the time it takes to modify the game to suit the PAL format. Usually when a developer finishes an NTSC version of a game they will then look at the PAL version. This conversion and addition of extra features such as a 60Hz mode, new music, bug fixes and other tweaks such as difficulty can take months. At the very least just converting a game to PAL usually takes several weeks work, especially if they modify the speed or image size.

When is game X coming out in Australia?
A: Fortunately Future Gamez has a complete list right here on the Coming Soon page.


Q: Is it possible to play games from Japan and America on a PAL system?
A: No, not unless someone develops a mod chip.

Q: When will the chip be available?
It may be some time away, and even when it is released it may be pretty hard to get it here in Australia. In early 2001 the Australian Government made such devices, for the purpose of circumventing security measures, illegal. Hence anyone caught installing them can be locked up for a while.

Q: Will all PAL versions of Playstation 2 games be full screen?
A: No. Some 50Hz games have been optimised, but some optimisations have been pretty poor. Have a look at Tekken Tag Tournament or Ridge Racer V to see how much a game can be ruined by large borders, or a 17% speed drop. Unfortunately even though this was utilised so much on the Dreamcast, developers seem to have forgotten to include it on the Playstation 2. C'mon guys 50Hz sucks!


Q: Are there any companies not developing on the Playstation 2?
A: Well not too many. Obviously there are some companies such as Rare or Bungie (both owned by Microsoft) that will only develop for their parent companies, but almost every non-aligned developer is working on at least one Playstation 2 title.


Q: What is SNK Vs Capcom? What does it mean?
A: That's an easy one. Both the companies SNK and Capcom have joined together to create a new fighting game. The characters from Capcom's games (Street Fighter, Star Gladiators) will compete against/with the characters in SNK's games (Fatal Fury, King Of The Fighters). The game was released in Japan in early September 2000 on the Dreamcast, but the Playstation 2 should receive the sequel soon.

Q: What ever happened to Oddworld on Playstation 2?
A: It was cancelled on the system with Oddworld Inhabitants claiming that the system didn't have enough power. Work is continuing to bring the game to the XBox at or very near launch. Can anyone hear the rattle of a lot of coins at the moment? Update: Oddworld Stranger has been confirmed for Playstation 2 release through Electronic Arts in early 2005.

Q: Will the majority of games released in Japan and America be released in Australia as they should be, or should I find a way to import a system and the games?
A: I think that most games will make it to Australia, from America anyway. Many of the obscure Japanese games may miss out, but most of them are pretty crap anyway (love simulators are big there). The only games that I can't see coming out from America in a rush are NFL (they will turn up eventually) and CART Racing (Formula 1 is more popular here). Remember though that Australia will get some games before the USA though. Games like Wipeout Fusion, The Getaway, UEFA Soccer, and most of the European developed titles will be here first.

Q: Will there be a game based on Star Wars?
A: Yes, there already is six in fact. The first was Star Wars: Starfighter which is possibly the best Star Wars game in years. There will also be games released based on the Episode III movie in mid-2005 to coincide with the movies release.

Q: What sports games do you think will make it to Australia on the Playstation 2. I can't stand American sport games, except Baseball? What about Rugby Leauge and Cricket?
A: Most major US games will come out here, as well as Soccer. Your also in luck with the more Australian sport with Electronic Arts recognising the need. Rugby Union, Rugby League, Cricket and AFL titles have all been released on the system already as well. As for Baseball, sadly that's about the only sports game that hasn't made it out here!

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Q: What was the Playstation 2 released?
A: The Playstation 2 was released on November 30th, 2000 in Australia.

Q: How much does the system sell for in Australia?
A: After initially launching at $AU749 the system was dropped in price to $699 in mid 2001. On August 10 Sony release a bundle of the system with Gran Turismo 3. The RRP for that pack is $AU749 however many stores are selling it as low as $AU680. As at August 2004 the system is selling for $AU299.95 with a game such as Sing Star, or Silver console and Gran Turismo 3.

Q: How many games will be available in Australia at launch and by Christmas 2001?
A: The Playstation 2 launched with about 10 titles, with a further 15 by Christmas 2000. By Christmas 2001 Australians should be able to choose from almost 150 titles, an great number considering the console will have only been out for 60 weeks or so. As at August 2004 there were over 600 titles available in Australia.

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Q: What is this System 246 that I keep hearing about?
A: System 246 is basically the arcade version of the Playstation 2. However several graphics chips can be used together and has more RAM then the "off the shelf" Playstation 2. System 246 should allow for moderately easy conversions between the arcade and Playstation 2 rather like Namco's System 11 and 12 arcade boards and the Playstation, or the Naomi arcade chipset and Dreamcast.

Q: What are the advantages to using System 246 then something like Sega's Model 3 or Model 4?
A: The biggest advantage is cost. A Model 4 machine will cost $10,000+ whereas the System 246 arcade unit system costs only $3,000 or so. The graphical difference between the two is noticeable, but not worth that much money. Another advantage is that due to the low cost developers are more likely to get System 246 games into more arcades which then results in more visibility for future Playstation 2 games.

Q: What games make use of System 246 in the arcades?
A: Don't know of any as yet but it is rumoured that Soul Calibur 2 will use the system.

Q: Will all the System 246 games be converted to the PS2?
A: Much like the Naomi/Dreamcast game it would be pretty inconceivable that developers wouldn't spend a few months porting the arcade games to achieve several hundred thousand sales.

Q: Will the Playstation 2 ports have reduced quality over their arcade versions?
A: It's hard to tell until we see some actual games but while many fear that the conversions to the home would loose some quality that will likely not be the case. Some of the textures may loose their high resolutions but unless you stand an arcade game and PS2 version next to each other you would never tell the difference.

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Q: What is PAL and NTSC? What does it have to do with games?
A: PAL is the industry standard for televisions in Europe and Australia while NTSC is for Japanese and American markets. PAL runs at 50Hz compared to NTSC's 60Hz (ie a PAL screen refreshes 50 times per second). But PAL is technically better for two reasons. Firstly the TV's run at a higher resolution then NTSC and secondly PAL has better colour stability. (NTSC is commonly referred to as Not The Same Colour). Borders occur in PAL games when the game isn't converted properly from NTSC vertical size gets squished resulting in the borders. With time and money nearly no games on TV should have borders and slowdown. Unfortunately, games companies can't justify the expense to totally reprogram a game if only 20,000 copies are going to be sold.

Q: Am I right in assuming that the major delay between different language speaking countries is the language conversion of the code? If so, why don't they just program them all at the same time, or have a program that will convert the language for them?
A: There are several factors as to why games are delayed. The main one, as you stated correctly, is the conversion of languages. In RPG type games there can be hundreds, if not thousands, of pages of text to convert. Another problem is that so many games now include speech that they have to re-record all the voices in different languages. A lot of companies can't afford to develop a game in many languages simultaneously, and many Japanese game won't ever be sold here due to a lack of demand. Other factors include conversion from NTSC to PAL and releasing a game according to the season. (ie Cool Boarders comes out in Winter)


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