When Official PlayStation 2 bid us adieu

Every month Matt pulls a magazine out for under his bed and gives it a fine going over. Stop giggling at the back there – we’re talking about video game magazines. This month: issue 100 of The Official PlayStation 2 Magazine from July 2008.

When a magazine reaches its 100th issue it’s a time for celebration. In a bizarre twist of fate, the 100th issue of the Official PlayStation 2 Magazine was also the last. As you may expect, it’s a bit of a strange issue. The current editor starts the magazine off by bidding farewell in a typical “We hope you’ve had as much fun reading them as we’ve had making them” fashion, while the news pages featured no actual news but rather a six page look at the highlights from past issues.

The last page was usually dedicated to showing off a game’s ending but this month they had not one but two rundowns of how the magazine was made – a serious look, and one not so serious. In the not so serious one they joked that people left them bags of cash in return for putting games on the cover but I doubt that’s far from the truth. We all remember that review for Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness, don’t we?

When the magazine was in its prime you couldn’t knock it for content. The amount of playable demos on the disc was often in double figures while during the busy winter release periods it wasn’t uncommon for the review section to contain over 30 games. Some of the features they ran though did make the magazine hard to like, such as the “rate your mate” competition where readers were encouraged to send in photos of their girlfriends. See also: “Which videogame character would you have a go on?”

Still, their heart was in the right place. Their Disgaea review was adorned with photos of scantily clad women in order to draw people’s attention to it, and in their ‘top 100 titles’ the likes of Okami, Persona 3, Ico, Shadow of the Colossus and Dark Chronicle all make the top 25.

Undoubtedly, OPS2M was killed off rather early. The Official PlayStation Magazine ran right up until the point where the only games being released for it were £9.99 budget titles and the demo discs were void of all new content. OPS2M on the other hand was killed off when there were plenty of games in the pipeline – there were actually more previews than reviews in the final issue – and it had only then recently received a revamp.

Why was it killed off so soon? It could be down to poor sales figures, although inside the magazine the writers often reported how hard it became to get review code and even harder to get screenshots of PlayStation 2 versions of the multi-format releases. Their preview of Sonic Unleashed is a good example, featuring not one single PS2 screenshot. New demos were thin on the ground too, with the last disc being a mere collection of “the greatest PlayStation 2 games”.

Issue 100 Highlights

  • Best feature: Sonic Unleashed preview, with a Q&A with the producer
  • Best quote from above article: Q: Have you felt limited by the PS2 hardware? Is there anything you might have to cut? A: The PS2 version is designed to fit PS2.”
  • Lowest review score: Alone in the Dark and SBK08: Superbike World Championship both scored 7
  • Highest review score: LEGO Indiana Jones scored an 8
  • Best quote from letters page: “Will Metal Gear Solid 4 ever come out on PS2?”

OPS2M may have had some dubious content, but back in its heyday you could guarantee that the demo disc would contain demos of all the biggest games out that month making it an invaluable source. It’s just a shame that’s the only thing it should be remembered for.

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