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I couldn’t disagree more. That generation started out well with the Dreamcast, but when the PS2 took over and dominated the market it was all the same dull console AAA titles for years and years. The Xbox 1 didn’t make it any better with Halo being pretty much the only good game on that console.
The PS2 era started the long dull AAA period (with lots of bad console ports on PC) lasting pretty much until mid of the PS4 generation when finally quirky indie games were allowed on these platforms and PC became a big hit again with cheap (indie) games on Steam. On the console side the only good console was the Nintendo Wii during that time and for hand-helds maybe the original PSP.
But to answer the original question: Either the last couple of years with more nice indie games on steam then ever before (and cool VR titles), or the last 16bit generation (SNES, Megadrive) as it resulted in some of the nicest 2D games ever made.
edit: the PS1/N64 era was a bit of an odd one. Lots of innovation with 3D and some cool games as a result, but hardly any of it aged well, so I don’t think it resulted in particularly good games.
If you’re looking from the perspective of a PC gamer, then yeah, I see where you’re coming from. Console to PC ports only got tolerable relatively recently. But if you were playing on the PS2 at the time, it was soooo good. Even now, the versatility, not to mention the sheer size of PS2’s game library is insane.
I admit that is part of why I immensely dislike the PS2/PS3 era, but that is only part of the problem. That era was dominated by AAA games catering to a mainstream audience with extreme market access barriers for any other type of games.
Yes, there were a lot of PS2 games, but except for some rare Japanese titles that never reached the western market it was all the same expensive but boring mass market crap with fancy graphics.
I suspect you remember it differently because you were a teenager easily impressed by fancy graphics at the time?
Edit: I recently did the experiment with PS2 emulation, as cheap mobile devices are now able to emulate it well. But I literally could not find any PS2 games other than Shadow of the Collosus that I was interested to even try, and that game also got boring really fast.
As far as a lot of Sony’s AAA and first party stuff, it was all fairly drab. Quite a bit on Xbox too, for that matter. Considering the sheer library available on the PS2, however, calling it all drab is doing a massive misservice to the system and a lot of the gen itself.
As far as genuinely good games went, the 6th gen gave us MGS 2 and 3, copious Tony Hawk games, DOA 2 and 3 (plus 4 on the 360), Burnout 3, Mercenaries, Blinx, the best of the Silent Hill series, arguably the best of the GTA series, some of FromSofts’s best non-SoulsBourne output (Otogi 1-2 and the Japan exclusive Metal Wolf Chaos we eventually got), Puyo Puyo Fever, the PSP Ridge Racers, Soul Calibur, Crazy Taxi, Jet Set Radio + Future, a good chunk of Xbox’s first/second party racers (Ralisport Challenge, Project Gotham Racing, Midtown Madness 3), those weird Simple Series PS2 releases that got localised, and those are just a few off the top of my head. I could probably go on and on (mainly because I forgot about the Gamecube).
I experienced most of these and more later on, as the family jumped from SNES to Win 98 to Xbox by about 2005. We eventuslly got a PS2 later on but still long after the hayday of the platform.
PS3 era being drab? I can totally understand. HD was the hot ticket item, and cinematic photo realism was usually done at the expense of performance and any real sense of style. Unreal 3 was big, but it had issues. The big push for HD “remasters” of games released 5-10 years back probably didn’t help either.
The only good games on your list are Dreamcast (later ported to PS2) and PSP titles though 😅
Agree to disagree?
It’s part of the reason, sure, but I still do like to play PS2 games once every so often just because some games never made it off the system, like Burnout 3 (I don’t like Paradise’s open world). In fact, I softmodded my PS2 just recently so I can play games off its hard drive.
btw, if you enjoy Shadow of the Collossus, I would suggest emulating the PS3 version instead. I’ve seen powerpoint presentations that have more frames than the PS2 original.