As far as game collecting goes, Goodwill can be incredibly hit or miss. Some Goodwills seem to have no idea what they have and price things nice and cheap. Others will gouge the shit out of you.
I made a pretty good find last night with a PlayStation 2 slim. Generally, I prefer to have the original models of a console. This can be a risky preference, given that the initial models are usually plagued with problems which are fixed with a re-release. I'm not really sure why I have this preference. I guess because the original models are usually what everyone remembers getting excited about and in my case, it's the model that I usually associate with the games for that system.
This doesn't apply to the model 1 Genesis. You're an ugly piece of shit.
The PlayStation 2 I found was only $11.99. Normally, I'd probably pass on it because I've never had a PlayStation 2 and I'm not terribly familiar with the hardware and repairing it, the pros and cons of the different models and the fact that it's not the original model. On the other hand, I've never had a PlayStation 2 and I have a job now. I tried to pick up a game to go with it so I could test it out, but the only one I found that I wouldn't mind having was too scratched up for me to want to buy it.
Before I get into that, let's talk about some of the other consoles from that era and some things that I like about this system. The first thing that jumped out to me was the inclusion of an optical audio output for surround sound.
No other consoles from this era had optical ports without an adapter.
Since I recently got a nice surround sound setup, this was a big deal to me. Surround sound makes games much more immersive, especially action games. The Gamecube, Xbox and Dreamcast all lacked any kind of optical audio output.
The Gamecube was incapable of true surround sound; it supported Dolby Pro Logic II, which is a stereo audio signal carried over the standard red/white audio plugs with a single rear channel matrixed into the L/R channels.
The Xbox was capable of true surround sound with Dolby Digital 5.1. The downside of this? They went through the effort of including this, but they didn't include an optical out on the back of the console. You have to buy a special media adapter to go into their proprietary port on the back. Microsoft released a few of these, and I haven't found one (outside of ebay) that is capable of optical output and component video (for HDTVs).
The Dreamcast was never even intended to support surround sound. Oddly enough, when Sega released the last SDK (software development kit) for the Dreamcast after they had already announced they were no longer making the system, it included support for Dolby Pro Logic.
Optical audio ports were still sort of an oddity until recently on game consoles. The original Xbox 360 didn't include an optical audio port (although the models which included component cables in the box had optical ports built into the cables). Nintendo continued their Gamecube habits with the Wii and didn't offer a full surround sound experience. Sony stayed on the ball though, and carried over this aspect of the PlayStation 2.
There is one small detail that I really like which shows someone at Sony was paying attention to the design of the PS2, even if it came out looking like someone at Atari in 1982's idea of a game console from the future.
The console is designed so you can set it on its side, or stand it up. That PlayStation logo right there can be turned so that it faces the right way depending on which way your console is sitting. This is a picture of the original PS2, but it applies to the slim as well.
While I'm ecstatic about the optical audio port and the turning logo, there's a lot about this system that I don't like. Mostly, it's the size. It's about the size of two DVD cases stacked together, little wider and an inch and a half or so taller. Besides this, it's light. Really light. It's light and small enough that I'm worried it'll be pulled off of a shelf really easily during a game.
This bothers me, but the biggest sin is this...
The lid flips open. It doesn't have a tray that ejects like the original PlayStation 2, it just pops open like the PlayStation 1. Not only is this ugly and shitty, but it limits where I can put it in my entertainment center since it opens to the left. I was trying to see if there were any marketing shots that Sony released which showed the lid open, but there aren't any. They knew it was ugly and shitty, too.
For a Goodwill find, this console was in pretty good shape. While I'm too lazy to take pictures of it now, it does need a tiny bit of cleaning. When I opened it, the system was pretty clean inside, with hardly any dust. It either wasn't used very much, or disc read errors lead the previous owner to try to clean it out with compressed air.
I tried testing it out with some PlayStation games, but it kept freezing up on load screens for most of them. The system played a DVD fine, but I'm still going to get a replacement laser for it. So, once that shows up, I'll take some pictures of mine and document the process of replacing the laser.
That's all for now!