The day was October 26th, 2000. The day had finally arrived. After six years of PlayStation reigning supreme, it was time for a new hero: the PlayStation 2

The North American release of Sony's second console was built with incredible anticipation. Seven months prior it made huge waves in Japan, selling out within hours and earning widespread attention in the media. American PlayStation fans were given just a taste of what was to come in October.

Image Source: LucaDigitalArts

The PlayStation 2 was very well received for a number of factors, the first of which was its support for DVDs. This was a new technology at the time that had more than five times the storage potential, and was on the cusp of becoming the golden standard for both games and film.

Of course, it had great hardware, too. In comparison to the 33mhz CPU and 4MB RAM of the PlayStation, it had a 294 mhz processor with 32MB RAM. While these numbers are infinitesimally small in today's world, it allowed for the single biggest graphical jump in gaming console history.

Image Source: Chris Johnston, EGM

With all the hype built up to own one of these beauties, hundreds of thousands of Americans drove to their local retailer to camp outside hours before launch. This was covered extensively by mainstream news media, making matters worse as seemingly every day more people wanted to buy a PlayStation 2.

Image Source: Chris Johnston, EGM

This was the first time in history that consumers camped outside of retailers for a product launch in mass numbers. It caught many retailers by surprise, resulting in managers having to call in additional workers to help with line management, front desk sales, and customer support.

Image Source: Chris Johnston, EGM

Some gamers made the best of the long wait by bringing things to entertain themselves, even TVs with PlayStation consoles and pillows.

Image Source: Chris Johnston, EGM

You would often see people parked out in chairs with ice chests full of soft drinks. In colder areas of the country this wasn't a whole lot of fun, but seen as necessary to get a PlayStation 2.

Most lines were well-maintained, although there were cases of rowdiness at some locations where people tried to cut in line and steal consoles from others.

Best Buy prepared for the possibility of line cutting by giving out tickets so customers could effectively secure their console purchase while waiting. That is, as long as they didn't have their ticket stolen.

Once inside you could see PlayStation 2 branding all over the place, and people anxiously waiting to check out. This was at a time when quite a few people still paid with cash and check rather than credit card. Add in ticket systems and you have yourself extremely slow moving lines.

The bright blue PlayStation 2 boxes had quite a treasure-like appearance. They could be seen in huge stacks since Sony manufactured millions in preparation for the launch. Even then it wasn't close to enough.

If you look toward the back of this photo you can see the launch library for the PlayStation 2 (which we'll list in a second). You can also see some other popular entertainment media at the time, such as The Matrix, Men in Black, and Pokemon cards.

This was the popular EGM magazine for October 2000 that covered the PlayStation 2 launch. Lots of young gamers would read it hoping their parents would get them the console for Christmas later that year.

There were a lot of small details about the console that made it highly impressionable. Its discs had a distinct purple hue that matched the accents on the console. The controller was jet black instead of white or grey like most similar products. Of course, it also came with an 8MB memory card, a technology that would die out during the next generation of consoles once hard drives became standard.

The boot sequence was also pretty dang cool, giving you the feeling that you were playing a product made for the future.

It was common to see PlayStation 2 consoles (such as this one) selling on eBay for over $2,000. On the first day or two a few even sold for over $5,000. I remember my parents being blown away by this.

As my story goes, I didn't get a PlayStation 2 until after Christmas since they were sold out. One week when I was visiting my cousin and my Aunt had a friend find out that a few consoles had come in, but wouldn't be sold until the day after.

So, my cousin and I camped a few hours that night, and ended up buying our consoles the next morning. We ended up playing it non-stop for days.

The PlayStation 2 launch library actually wasn't very good. I remember enjoying TimeSplitters and Midnight Club a fair bit, but everything else was largely underwhelming. FantaVision was the most well received game of the bunch, but was a rather short game.

Things wouldn't really get better until a few months later when SSX came out, which I played for hours on end. Then, a year later things kicked into gear with Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and Final Fantasy X. But at the time you just got the feeling that within a few years it'd be something special, and that it was.

The PlayStation 2 would cease production just over 12 years later  on January 4th, 2013. By then it had sold over 155 million units, making by far the best-selling home console of all-time.