Sony's PlayStation 2 Network Gaming service has been available in the UK since June 2003, and allows gamers to experience games such as SOCOM US Navy Seals and Twisted Metal Black, online against other PS2 owners. Setting up your PS2 for online play involves buying a Network Adaptor and registering via their Central Station service, and our guide below gives some helpful pointers to get you started.
How can I get PlayStation 2 Network Gaming, and what do I need?
To use Sony's PlayStation 2 Network Gaming in the UK, you need a PS2 console, PS2 Network Adaptor, and a broadband internet connection. Unlike Xbox Live, Sony have actually bundled a network cable with the adapter, so you don't even need to go out and buy any Ethernet cable. However for users connecting via USB modems then the same issues with regards connecting via Internet Connection Sharing apply - time to buy a router such as the Speedtouch 510v4, if you've not already got one.
How do I fit the network adapter?
Fitting the network adapter on to the back of your PlayStation 2 is fairly simple, but there's a few things that you must do before you fit it, otherwise you'll have to remove it again! Make sure that you note down exactly what your serial number and model number are.
We noted everything which was on the back of our machine before fitting the Network Adaptor, went online to register and found that the details it asks for don't quite match up with what we've got - the serial number of our unit is longer, and the model number bizarrely isn't an exact match.
Once you've made a note of the important information on the back of your PS2, simply pop out the plate which covers the expansion bay, by sliding a fingernail in to the small hole down one side, and then pulling the piece of plastic with metal holders out. You simply need to align the Network Adaptor with the connector inside the bay, and push gently until it connects, and then tighten up both of the thumbscrews with a coin.So I've connected the adapter - now what?
This is where you go online to Central Station using the supplied Network Gaming set-up disc. We didn't find the instructions to match up as well as the on screen information, and the first time we simply selected Central Station from the menu which appears, expecting it to connect us.
Instead you have to press right on the control pad to show "get connected" and then create a profile for your internet connection - it should be possible to automatically configure the settings and let your console and router talk to each other, but you may need to enter a few settings here manually.
Once you've got a profile set up, make sure you run the Network Diagnostics, just to make sure that your PlayStation 2 can connect to the test servers, can ping and trace the route fine, and that the login servers are working - if you get all green lights, then you can go back to the main menu and select Central Station
How do I activate my account, and pick my Username?
Once connected to Central Station, you'll see a "Register" link at the top of the screen - select this by moving the pointer until it's highlighted, and pressing X.
The registration process is fairly simple, and to help there's a test page where you can get accustomed to the text input method using the on-screen keyboard, which can be shown by pressing L1 on your pad.
During the registration process you need to enter your address details, select your username and passcode, and also enter the temporary access code which can be found under a scratch off panel on a sheet of paper in the Network Adaptor packaging.
So unlike Xbox Live, I don't need a credit card to confirm the account, just a pincode?
Yes, there's no need for a credit card to confirm who you are with PS2 Network Gaming. Instead Sony send you a letter about one month after you have registered your details, which has a 10 digit pin number.
To confirm your account you simply have to connect to the Central Station by inserting the Network CD in to the drive, and then once connected selecting the Manage Profile link, where there is the option to Enter a pin.
What happens if I don't confirm my pin?
If you don't enter the PIN number by the date at which your temporary access code runs out, then you will lose your login details. You can find the date which your PIN number needs to be entered by, in the Manage Profile section of Central Station.
Happy PS2 Network Gaming - we'll see you there!Related article: The Broadband Gaming section on GamesPaper