A friend of mine told me there were some mechanical geniuses on this board, so here goes....
My PS 2 will hardly ever play PS 1 games and takes at least 30 seconds or so to load brand new PS 2 games. And still, they don't boot right up, it goes to the screen with the memory cards and then a CD pops up and you have to click on it.
This hasn't always been the case. It functioned fine a couple of months ago. It progressively got worse. I was re-playing FF9 (PS1) and it always loaded on the first try....then it took a couple of resets...now it won't load it at all.
I know of several people who have had the lasers in their PS2s die. Is it still under warrenty? If so, contact Sony to get it fixed. Otherwise, from what I've heard, you're better off just buying a new PS2.
With my birthday on Friday, this is good timing as I am getting one family member to buy me Assassin's Creed, and another family member is getting me the money for Zelda. Now I just have to continue to not listen to my mind telling me to buy Skyrim.