As part of our nostalgic look back to the noughties, we bring you our first ever glimpse of the PS2. Enjoy.

Words: Rory Buckeridge (FHM, May 2000)

It's in the game

PlayStation 2 is out in Japan. So FHM got hold of one to see if it’s any cop.

The box: The atmosphere was like Christmas eve in the FHM office as a dozen excitable men greeted the arrival of the helmeted courier. Out of the box, the PlayStation 2 is… surprisingly wee, but the black monolith is way cooler-looking than the utilitarian grey box of its father.

Turn it on: Surprisingly, we miss the power-chord and PlayStation logo as it boots up. Instead, a rather girly will-o’-the-wisp frolics about the screen.

The games: We had GT2000, Ridge Racer V and Street Fighter Ex3. So GT2000 was quickly eased in. One lap was all we needed to decide that it’s breathtakingly awesome. The graphics are crisp and smooth, the lighting effects of sun spearing through angry-looking clouds are genuine eye candy, and the gameplay is just superb. With spot-on car handling and impressive physics we soon had the gaming equivalent of full-on wood.

The sound: Cranked up to hearing-endangering levels, the roar of the engines and squeals of the tyres bite through the air like a charging rhino. We couldn’t give it a proper workout to assess the cinema surround sound quality, but there are games in development – like survival horror Onimusha – being by scored by 100-piece orchestras.

The DVD player: Slap in your disc and the DVD player is pleasingly easy to use. You need a memory card and endure a short set-up procedure, but in under a minute, we had a DVD merrily playing on our screen. Easy.

Verdict: A very slick piece of kit. The graphics are better, clearer and crisper than the Dreamcast’s, but sadly not the giant leap that we were expecting. Ridge Racer V sported disappointing fogging in two player match-up, and Street Fighter Ex3 is little more than a 2D beat ’em up which startles you with pointless 3D flips. But these small grumbles aside, there is absolutely no doubt that we were gawping at the future of gaming. And it looks very good indeed…

And this is how we told you to get hold of one...

Desperate to get your hands on the latest in gaming technology, but can’t wait until September? There are ways…

Internet: 380,000 of the first million PS2s were sold through Sony’s own website. Unfortunately, you have to be a Jap resident. Have a look at: www.jp.playstation.com. Cost of PlayStation 2: 39,800 Yen (plus, of course, a residence in Japan).

Import shops: The most reliable option. In the first week of release it would have set you back around £1,500. But shop around – now you should be able to haggle down to around £700. Try London’s Computer Exchange on: 020 7636 2666. Cost of PlayStation 2: £700.

Go yourself: The most foolish option and fraught with danger. A return flight to Japan will cost you about £1,400, but once there, chances of finding a machine are minimal. Try: Japan Air on: 020 7495 1775. Cost of PlayStation 2: Approx £2,000.

Japanese chum: Check the small ads for something like: “Japanese guy needs English penfriend for gaming, soiled panty chats and photos of schoolgirls”. Get your pal to buy a machine and post it to you – you’ll be looking at £550. www.chat.yahoo.com is a good place to start. Cost of PlayStation 2: Around £550.