Sony PlayStation 2 consoles were designed with region coding built in. This means games only play on consoles from their respective regions, but the machine's popularity has led to both hardware and software fixes that get around these controls.
Get your PlayStation 2 modified with a chip to play NTSC games on a PAL console. You can buy these from online retailers as well as nonchain game shops. They overcome the region coding on your console.
Contact vendors like PS2 Chips (see Resources). This company can send you a mod chip that fits your PS2 model, as many have been released since 2000. Follow the instructions that come with the mod chip, or send the company the console for installation work; the latter is recommended.
Boot up your hardware-modified PS2 once the chip has been installed. The console will now play all regions for both games and DVDs, including "backup" copies of originals.
Avoid intrusive hardware modification with Swap Magic, a legal software tool that comes on a disc and simply acts as an emulator. Swap Magic fools the console into ignoring region coding and enables playback of games and movies from any region.
Look up Swap Magic online for the best deals (see Resources). In addition, this method comes in three types--the flip top, which requires you change your PS2's loading mechanism (takes about 30 minutes), the loading tray slide tool and the magic switch.
Install the flip top yourself; it's easy to do. Get a Philips screwdriver and remove all the screws on the top and bottom of the PS2 console, fit the flip top and screw everything back in.
After installation of the flip top, load the Swap Magic disc into the tray to initiate the emulation software. Then remove this disc, replace it with a game from any region and press "X" to confirm.
Check the Swap Magic site regularly for news on frequent updates that add support for newly released titles.
Mod chips require soldering onto the motherboard and can cause hardware issues for other parts of the console, plus newer games may not be compatible. Compared to Swap Magic, mod chips are less desirable. Modifying your PS2's hardware voids any warranties you may still have on it, and it may be illegal depending on where you live due to the ability to play pirated games. Conversely, Swap Magic doesn't compromise warranties or break any laws because it doesn't enable the playing of backup copies.