The first video games appeared in the 1960s.[20] They were played on massive computers connected to vector displays, not analog televisions. Ralph H. Baer conceived the idea of a home video game in 1951. In the late 1960s, while working for Sanders Associates, Baer created a series of video game console designs. One of these designs, which gained the nickname of the 1966 "Brown Box", featured changeable game modes and was demonstrated to several TV manufacturers, ultimately leading to an agreement between Sanders Associates and Magnavox.[21] In 1972, Magnavox released the Magnavox Odyssey, the first home video game console which could be connected to a TV set. Ralph Baer's initial design had called for a huge row of switches that would allow players to turn on and off certain components of the console (the Odyssey lacked a CPU) to create slightly different games like tennis, volleyball, hockey, and chase. Magnavox replaced the switch design with separate cartridges for each game. Although Baer had sketched up ideas for cartridges that could include new components for new games, the carts released by Magnavox all served the same function as the switches and allowed players to choose from the Odyssey's built-in games.
"A technology geek to the end, I had greatly anticipated the arrival of high-definition consoles, so when Nintendo chose to stay conservative with Wii's graphics, I wasn't sure what to think of the system. I remember finally getting it, though. Not with Metroid Prime 3: Corruption -- I played it early on and the controls still needed work -- but with Wii Sports bowling. So simple. So effortless. So much flippin' fun! Nintendo had talked blue and red oceans, ranted on about expanded audiences, and it was all gibberish. But rolling that virtual bowling ball with a realistic flick of the wrist felt so incredibly natural that I didn't want to put the Wii remote down. That was when I finally understood what the company really hoped to achieve with the console."
“Though it has an expensive upfront cost, it pays out tenfold with a wide selection of games that fit anyone’s style, mind-blowing graphics, and a variety of entertainment options,” one of our testers declared of the PlayStation 4 Pro 1TB Console. Our reviewers also liked the simple setup — “You can easily get connected in under five minutes,” noted one tester. And while the online functionality, which you need to play most of the popular games, requires a $60/year membership, one of our reviewers explained its value: “It is worth noting, however, that you get a lot in return for this service, including free games every month that you keep for as long as your membership is active.” Our testers also mentioned long update times and download speeds, but felt the overall product was a great buy “for serious gamers.”
As a platform, the Dreamcast brought SEGA's biggest franchises to the next generation, including Sonic the Hedgehog and Virtua Fighter, but also introduced new series like Crazy Taxi to the gaming community. Unfortunately, the Dreamcast was SEGA's last venture into console territory; but its impact, legacy, and notable franchises are still evidenced today.

You can choose a model with 500GB, 1TB or 2TB of storage in the default white color scheme, or opt for a special edition or a bundle for a more unique look. The One S is 40 percent smaller than the original Xbox One, and its elimination of the bulky power brick lets it fit neatly into your home entertainment center. Along with its refined size and high-quality hardware come HDR and 4K capabilities, although they aren’t fully available for gaming. Inside its modern-looking chassis, the Xbox One S houses a 1.75GHz eight-core AMD custom CPU and 8GB of DDR3 RAM. Microsoft offers unique controller customization options – you can customize colors for the controller, joysticks and other buttons, with over a billion combinations available including sports team themes and metallic touches. And although Xbox consoles aren’t known for having many exclusive titles, they have tons of backward-compatible games and a variety of apps available, like YouTube, HBO, Pandora, ESPN and others.

Even if you look at it from just a numbers standpoint, it’s clear that the PlayStation 4 is the reigning champion of the current generation of video game consoles, beating out the Xbox One in sales by a rate of about 3-to-1. It gets a boost, too, due to the fact that the PS4 boasts better base performance figures, has some of the best exclusives available right now, and has an extremely active social community on the PSN. We’re also very fond of the fact that Sony has embraced the future of gaming in the form of PSVR – though we’d like to see more titles for the peripheral gear. If this is a sign of things to come, we might be watching the beginning of the end for Microsoft as a console developer.


A major new addition to the market was the trend for corporations to include a large number of "non-gaming" features into their handheld consoles, including cell phones, MP3 players, portable movie players, and PDA-like features. The handheld that started this trend was Nokia's N-Gage, which was released in 2003 and doubled primarily as a mobile phone. It went through a redesign in 2004 and was renamed the N-Gage QD. A second handheld, the Zodiac from Tapwave, was released in 2004; based on the Palm OS, it offered specialized gaming-oriented video and sound capabilities, but it had an unwieldy development kit due to the underlying Palm OS foundation. With more and more PDAs arriving during the previous generation, the difference between consumer electronics and traditional computing began to blur and cheap console technology grew as a result. It was said of PDAs that they were "the computers of handheld gaming" because of their multi-purpose capabilities and the increasingly powerful computer hardware that resided within them. This capability existed to move gaming beyond the last generation's 16-bit limitations; however, PDAs were still geared towards the typical businessman and lacked new, affordable software franchises to compete with dedicated handheld gaming consoles.
^ Starting with Microsoft's fiscal quarter ending June 2014 (Q4), the company stopped divulging individual platform sales in their fiscal reports.[24][25] Microsoft stated it will shift focus to the amount of active users on Xbox Live starting in late 2015.[26] Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella unveiled at a December 3, 2014 shareholder presentation that 10 million units were sold.[27] Third-party estimates suggest sales reached approximately 25-30 million worldwide by late 2016.[28]

Meanwhile, the commercial failure of the Virtual Boy reportedly did little to alter Nintendo's development approach and focus on innovation.[31] According to Game Over, Nintendo laid blame for the machine's faults directly on its creator, Gunpei Yokoi.[39] The commercial failure of the Virtual Boy was said by members of the video game press to be a contributing factor to Yokoi's withdrawal from Nintendo, although he had planned to retire years prior and finished another more successful project for the company, the Game Boy Pocket, which was released shortly before his departure.[40]
But the good times were not to last and the skyrocket trajectory of the Atari 2600 was partially to blame. With videogames white-hot, everybody wanted in. And Atari did not have any solid quality-control mechanisms in place. No game epitomizes this lack quite like E.T., a licensed title that was forced to market after a five-week development cycle. Atari took a bath on E.T. and consumers started to sour on the breath of subpar games clogging shelves. Thus began the great video game crash of 1983 which laid waste to the entire industry.
If you ever wondered why we have ESRB ratings, you can blame the Sega Genesis. The console was marketed more towards the big boys and can be seen in the subtle differences in cross platform games; Mortal Kombat for Genesis has blood compared to the SNES. Sega’s games carried a different tonality to the market, too – Sonic The Hedgehog brought faster game play; Streets of Rage gave players nitty-gritty beat ‘em ups; and multiple sports games series with leagues like the NHL, NFL, NBA and FIFA. Sega would later introduce the well-received six-button control pad that’d replicate the arcade button scheme joysticks for gaming familiarity.
There are three major consoles: the Sony PlayStation 4, the Microsoft Xbox One and the Nintendo Switch. The PS4 and Xbox One are very similar in terms of technology (they’re basically mid-range PCs), providing high-end graphical performance, especially if you purchase the more expensive PS4 Pro or Xbox One X, which include full support for 4K television displays. Both machines also let you easily stream your gaming online so others can watch, if you have teens who care about that.
"I actually liked the Atari 5200, primarily because of the games I had for it, such as Pengo, Mountain King, The Dreadnaught Factor, and one of my favorite games of all-time, Pitfall II: The Lost Caverns. Now, was the machine an over-sized mess with controllers that broke way too easy? Yes. But if consoles are defined by their games, then on a personal level, the 5200 remains near and dear for not only these titles, but for being a part of my discovery of videogames in the early eighties."
"A technology geek to the end, I had greatly anticipated the arrival of high-definition consoles, so when Nintendo chose to stay conservative with Wii's graphics, I wasn't sure what to think of the system. I remember finally getting it, though. Not with Metroid Prime 3: Corruption -- I played it early on and the controls still needed work -- but with Wii Sports bowling. So simple. So effortless. So much flippin' fun! Nintendo had talked blue and red oceans, ranted on about expanded audiences, and it was all gibberish. But rolling that virtual bowling ball with a realistic flick of the wrist felt so incredibly natural that I didn't want to put the Wii remote down. That was when I finally understood what the company really hoped to achieve with the console."
"It's hard to narrow down my fondest PS3 memory -- namely because I'm still making them. I guess through all the SingStar parties at my apartment, getting my first Platinum Trophy, and getting goose bumps while watching the E3 2009 Uncharted 2: Among Thieves demo, my favorite memory is when I was lugging my PS3 back into work, my IGN bag broke, and the system tumbled to the concrete. Other than a dinged corner, the system was still in tip-top shape. An Xbox 360 would've shattered like the T-1000 in Terminator 2."
Ask any 90s kid what the best retro multiplayer game console is and they’ll say the Nintendo 64. Before online multiplayer separated people from long distances, games like Mario Party, Golden Eye: 007 and Mario Kart 64 required you and your friends to physically sit next to one another and bond. Every Friday night, kids all around America would invite their friends over for some pepperoni pizza and game for hours on end with their N64.
^ Pereira, Joseph (November 16, 1992). "Technology (A Special Report): At Our Leisure --- (Not So) Great Expectations: Hand-held Video Games Will Get Better, But Big Improvements May Take a While". The Wall Street Journal. p. R10. ISSN 0099-9660. Meanwhile, Nintendo, the first on the market with its black-and-white Game Boy, has sold approximately 7.5 million portable systems, analysts estimate. Sega has sold about 1.6 million units of its color Game Gear system, while Atari Inc. has sold about one million units of its $99 Lynx color portable system.
Sony's flagship, the PS4 Pro is a powerhouse system in its own right, allowing gamers to play their games in dynamic 4K (resolutions can upscale up to 4K with some tech wizardry) and with HDR enabled, too. The latest revision of the console is also quieter than ever (CUH-7200), which fixed one of the more minor issues some reviewers found with the launch model.
Gamers around the world share videos with friends and fans alike on websites such as YouTube and Twitch. Here you can find live streams of your favorite gamers playing the latest AAA and indie titles, or even watch e-sports competitions. There are also millions of other popular gaming-related videos, including strategies, gaming news, rage quits, walkthroughs, fail compilations, achievements, tips, game reviews and more. Individual games and gamers alike have garnered cult followings online. It’s also easy to find more niche subcultures. They exist for bigger topics, like for certain console or game studios, as well as for more precise interests, such as a particular game franchise or character.
Each new generation of console hardware made use of the rapid development of processing technology. Newer machines could output a greater range of colors, more sprites, and introduced graphical technologies such as scaling, and vector graphics. One way console makers marketed these advances to consumers was through the measurement of "bits". The TurboGrafx-16, Genesis, and Super NES were among the first consoles to advertise the fact that they contained 16-bit processors. This fourth generation of console hardware was often referred to as the 16-bit era and the previous generation as the 8-bit. The bit-value of a console referred to the word length of a console's processor (although the value was sometimes misused, for example, the TurboGrafx 16 had only an 8-bit CPU, and the Genesis/Mega Drive had the 16/32-bit Motorola 68000, but both had a 16-bit dedicated graphics processor). As the graphical performance of console hardware is dependent on many factors, using bits was a crude way to gauge a console's overall ability. For example, the NES, Commodore 64, Apple II, and Atari 2600 all used a very similar 8-bit CPU. The difference in their processing power is due to other causes. For example, the Commodore 64 contains 64 kilobytes of RAM and the Atari 2600 has much less at 128 bytes of RAM. The jump from 8-bit machines to 16-bit machines to 32-bit machines made a noticeable difference in performance, so consoles from certain generations are frequently referred to as 8-bit or 16-bit consoles. However, the "bits" in a console are no longer a major factor in their performance. The Nintendo 64, for example, has been outpaced by several 32-bit machines.[91] Aside from some "128 Bit" advertising slogans at the beginning of the sixth generation, marketing with bits largely stopped after the fifth generation.
The library of original titles introduced on the PlayStation can read like a history lesson in videogames. The likes of Metal Gear Solid, Gran Turismo, Resident Evil, Tony Hawk and much, much more were seen here for the first time, and these franchises continue to be some of the biggest in all of gaming. Were it not for the PlayStation, a number of genres that we take for granted these days may never have come to fruition, or at least been popularized so well.
"For me, I'll never forget my best friend and I renting Army Men and Metal Gear Solid a few days after I finally picked up a PlayStation. Army Men sucked (of course), so we popped MGS in and kicked back in my basement. In an instant, our lives changed. One game blew the doors off what I thought a videogame could be, and my perspective hasn't been the same since."
Each console on the list ahead was selected for its influence on the industry and the gaming culture as a whole, with special consideration for their benchmark titles, peripherals, monetary success, and total hardware sold. But beyond sales figures and critical reception, one of the biggest contributing factors in our ranking process was our lasting impressions of each console, and how it contributed to our love for gaming and inspired us to become involved in the industry.
"Despite the fact that I played the heck out of the NES, it was more than just a great videogame system to me. It was also the platform that grew my social and bargaining skills. Not only did my friends and family bond with me over sessions of Super Mario Bros. and Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!, but my friends in particular started haggling with me because of my obsession with getting new NES games. Baseball cards, comic books, and toys were commodities that I used weekly to talk my way into getting new games out of pals via trade all the time, and the feeling of accomplishment from those trades and the fun I had playing those titles afterward is still something that sticks with me to this day."
"My best friend had an Odyssey 2, and I have to say that even though I loved my Atari 2600, I secretly wanted his console as well. K.C. Munchkin was so much better than Pac-Man, Pick Axe Pete was way beyond Donkey Kong on the 2600, and Smithereens was one of the most fun two-player games I had ever played at the time. It may not be as well-known as the Atari 2600, but I will always remember the Odyssey 2 with kind regard."
"The PS2 holds the honor of being my first major purchase on my own -- as in my parents didn't help me one bit. I worked all summer at Wal-Mart dreaming of Smugglers Run, Silent Scope, and the ability to finally play DVDs. I even started buying DVDs in June preparing for the October launch date. I waited nine hours in line at Meijer (I was No. 1, bitches) to get that blue box, and I loved every second of it."
Given that there’s a relatively small selection of games for each console that take full advantage of these features, we currently do not recommend that you buy a new TV for the sake of high-resolution console gaming. Currently, no game console requires you to own a 4K or HDR-compatible TV, so you can buy that new console and hold off on buying the TV until you’ve done more research, found games you feel are worth upgrading for, or are otherwise ready to commit.

^ Jump up to: a b Ricciardi, John (October 1, 2002). "Hands-On With Bandai's SwanCrystal ; Move over, Game Boy Advance - there's a new bird in town". Electronic Gaming Monthly. EGM Media Group (159): 58. ISSN 1058-918X. On July 12, toy giant Bandai unleashed a third iteration (in stylish red and blue models) of their handheld WonderSwan system, the new-and- improved SwanCrystal, in Japan.
"By the time the Atari 7800 launched, it looked like old news to me. I was hooked on my Commodore 64 and the NES was exploding. However, all that changed when the 7800 became the only place to play one of my all-time favorite arcade games: Food Fight. Then I suddenly coveted the console. It became my "Food Fight machine" that also happened to play pretty good ports of Joust, Dig Dug, Donkey Kong, and Xevious." 

The Wii console is highly family friendly. So it’s one of the best consoles to enjoy playing games with kids. Wii has many exclusive titles, and the controller comes with different variations. You can buy different types of controllers to improve the interactivity of games. For example, you can get a controller shaped like a steering wheel to play racing games. You even get free games with an original purchase. Wii is super fun to use and the whole family can join in. It’s still one of the few consoles that promote physical activity with games.
The advertised transaction is a rental-purchase agreement (rent-to-own agreement, consumer rental-purchase agreement or a lease/lease-purchase agreement, depending on your state). You will not own the merchandise until the total amount necessary to acquire ownership is paid in full or you exercise your early purchase option (“EPO”). Ownership is optional. MA and RI consumers: after the first 184 days, you may purchase the merchandise for 50% of the remaining Total Cost, plus applicable sales tax. Product availability and pricing may vary by store. Advertised offers good while supplies last and cannot be combined together or with any other promotions. See Store Manager for complete details. Consulta con el Gerente de la Tienda para los detalles completos. ”Closeout Corner” quantities are limited. Product, condition and selection vary by location. Participating locations only. Smaller Payments refers to reduced weekly rental rate and may not reduce total cost to own in all cases. See store for details.
Graphics processors keep getting updated, and video games follow suit, becoming more spectacular but also quite demanding. PC gamers are painfully familiar with the trend of needing a video card upgrade every couple of years when they want to play the latest games at an acceptable frame rate. But you don't need to be sitting around waiting for a new game's release date to come when eBay has such an enormous back-catalogue of older games to choose from!
"Finding the good videogames on Saturn was like a game in itself. By the end of the system's short life, stores rarely carried more than one or two copies of even the biggest games and so my friends and I would go on massive road trips around the state to track them down. I still remember the joy we had when we found Panzer Dragoon Saga. That single copy got passed around until everyone had a go before we set off in search of the next rare release."

"There were two kinds of kids on the playground in 1986: those that thought the NES was the most powerful, most awesome videogame system ever... and those who knew they were wrong. I was a member of the latter group, merrily playing Alex Kidd, Wonder Boy, Fantasy Zone, and Quartet. (I used to even write and draw game manuals for made-up Master System games, that's how over-the-moon I was about vids.) It's not that I didn't like the NES. I certainly did. But I could argue until the sun went down about how Phantasy Star was better than Dragon Warrior. And when the sun did indeed go down, I went home and put on those crazy 3D Glasses that set me back many, many weeks of allowance. I still have them. And 2 back-up pair."
The Nomad was released in October 1995 in North America only.[34][35] The release was five years into the market span of the Genesis, with an existing library of more than 500 Genesis games. According to former Sega of America research and development head Joe Miller, the Nomad was not intended to be the Game Gear's replacement and believes that there was little planning from Sega of Japan for the new handheld.[36] Sega was supporting five different consoles: Saturn, Genesis, Game Gear, Pico, and the Master System, as well as the Sega CD and 32X add-ons. In Japan, the Mega Drive had never been successful and the Saturn was more successful than Sony's PlayStation, so Sega Enterprises CEO Hayao Nakayama decided to focus on the Saturn.[37] By 1999, the Nomad was being sold at less than a third of its original price.[38]
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