But knowledge of this, along with adjusting the parental controls on your console, makes any game console infinitely more kid-friendly. Beyond that, it comes down to game selection: If a console doesn’t have a variety of kid-friendly games, it probably isn’t the best choice for the family room. A handful of games on the Xbox and PlayStation are great for kids, but again, neither console is really geared toward children.
A chief competitor of the Atari 2600, this second generation gaming console was actually released by Mattel Electronics (a sub-brand of the same company that makes board games), like and would remain the company’s only until 2006. It also boasted an impressively long production run, lasting 11 years until it was discontinued in 1990 – though much of that can be credited to technologically updated iterations across that span of time. As it was created in the early days of the video game industry before controllers were somewhat standardized, it featured unique rotary wheeled and number padded remotes connected to the greater system by a telephone-style coiled cables. It also was advertised as having better graphic and sound capabilities than the Atari 2600, leading to it being the first real competitive threat.
With it, you can browse games in the Official PlayStation Store, which has access to over 500 titles for when you need something new to play. You’ll have access to cross-platform titles, indie games and re-releases from past consoles along with more exclusive titles than any other console on the market, including Uncharted, Spider-Man and Driveclub. Though the console is the largest on the market, its modern design makes it look slim. Plus, its matte black exterior helps it blend in with your other electronics. It ships with a 1TB hard drive, though you can opt to upgrade it to 2TB or plug in an external hard drive. Inside, you’ll find a 2.1GHz eight-core AMD Jaguar CPU and a 4.2 TFLOP AMD Radeon-based graphics card, which is paired with 8GB of GDDR5 RAM. The powerful system consistently maintains 1080p output and high frame rates. The updated DualShock 4 controller boasts Bluetooth connectivity and can charge via micro-USB so you aren’t permanently tethered to your console. The glowing light bar located along the front of each controller helps identify player one from player two, and even adds a little atmospheric lighting. New features on the controller include a capacitive touch pad, a 3.5mm audio jack, a built-in speaker and a dedicated screen capture button for saving screenshots and sharing them online.
Several consoles such as the Master System and the TurboGrafx-16 have used different types of smart cards as an external medium. These cards function similar to simple cartridges. Information is stored on a chip that is housed in plastic. Cards are more compact and simpler than cartridges, though. This makes them cheaper to produce and smaller, but limits what can be done with them. Cards cannot hold extra components, and common cartridge techniques like bank switching (a technique used to create very large games) were impossible to miniaturize into a card in the late 1980s. Compact Discs reduced much of the need for cards. Optical Discs can hold more information than cards, and are cheaper to produce. The Nintendo GameCube and the PlayStation 2 use memory cards for storage, but the PlayStation Vita, Nintendo 3DS, and Nintendo Switch are currently the only modern systems to use cards for game distribution. Nintendo has long used cartridges with their Game Boy line of hand held consoles because of their durability, small size, stability (not shaking and vibrating the handheld when it is in use), and low battery consumption. Nintendo switched to cards starting with the DS, because advances in memory technology made putting extra memory on the cartridge unnecessary. The PlayStation Vita uses Sony's own proprietary flash-memory Vita cards as one method of game distribution.
The Switch also has the advantage of third-party controllers. The PS4 and Xbox One are very dedicated to their first-party gamepads, with only a few third-party wired options available unless you want to shell out a significant amount of money for a SCUF or Evil Controllers product. The Switch features the first-party option of the excellent Switch Pro Controller, which feels very similar to the Xbox One wireless controller, and works with third-party gamepads from 8Bitdo and Hori. The ability to switch out your Joy-Cons for an 8Bitdo SN30 Pro or Switch Pro Controller is a huge boon, along with the sheer flexibility afforded by the Joy-Cons themselves.
The Switch is for people who really like Nintendo’s own games. Although other publishers do occasionally support the console (Switch can run Fortnite and Minecraft, for example) it’s the beautiful homegrown titles, such as Super Mario, Mario Kart and The Legend of Zelda, that most Switch owners are here for. Its online store is also packed with most of the best smaller independent games of the past few years.
The hardware specs are stellar, as expected from Sony. The controller is great too. We got the DualShock 4 controllers that have been improved from the previous design. It’s actually hailed as one of the top gamepads ever designed. You can use the DualShock 4 controller as a PC controller too if needed. The PS 4 has an exclusive title library that will not disappoint a devout gamer. The lineup includes a number of legacy titles and even some indie games. Major titles like “The Last of Us” are PlayStation exclusive. With the great library of games, impressive controller, and super duper graphics, this is one of the best gaming consoles to own.
Sony led the charge on the mid-generation console update with the PS4 Pro but, by taking its time, Microsoft gave us the better hardware in the Xbox One X. It offers the same 4K Blu-ray and HDR video playback as the One S, while also bringing that visual enhancement to games. Microsoft wasn’t exaggerating when they told us that the Xbox One X is the most powerful home gaming console ever sold. It won’t be getting VR, however — which may disappoint those hoping it could be an inexpensive entry point to high-quality VR experiences.
"When no amount of solder could salvage my aging 2600, in 1986 I needed a replacement. My mom suggested the 7800 since it played the older games as well as new ones. I bought one with my paper route money and was happy with my purchase...until a week later when Nintendo started airing the "Now You're Playing With Power" commercials and showing Super Mario Bros., an arcade game I was currently playing at a 7-eleven game room. "
The big change in performance didn't come at the start of this console generation, but halfway through it. Both Sony and Microsoft released enhanced, 4K-capable versions of their game systems: the aforementioned PS4 Pro and Xbox One X. They're significantly more powerful than the original models, capable of reaching up to 4K resolution with high dynamic range (HDR) graphics. Notice I say "up to," because not all games will hit 4K even if you have a 4K TV, and often you'll see a bump in rendered resolution to somewhere between 1080p and 4K, which is then upconverted to 4K before going out to the TV.
The PlayStation 3 may still be coming into its own, but it has already had a great number of titles see their release on the system and, along with the Xbox 360, it has helped completely redefine what people think about gaming in terms of online accessibility and functionality. Gone are the days when everything you played on a console was burned onto a disc. Online systems like the PlayStation Network have introduced the ability to buy and play complete games without having to leave your couch, not to mention the advent of downloadable content that can expand games exponentially.
All major gaming consoles give you an impressive mix of cross-platform and exclusive games, from Gears of War to Fifa 16. If you’re keen on multiplayer action, the Xbox offers you Xbox Live, allowing you to hook up online with the worldwide Xbox player community. Across all of our major gaming consoles, jaw-dropping graphics combine with substantial system memory so you can download and store games, videos, music and more for a complete home entertainment system.