Game cartridges consist of a printed circuit board housed inside of a plastic casing, with a connector allowing the device to interface with the console. The circuit board can contain a wide variety of components. All cartridge games contain at the minimum, read only memory with the software written on it. Many cartridges also carry components that increase the original console's power, such as extra RAM or a coprocessor. Components can also be added to extend the original hardware's functionality[81] (such as gyroscopes, rumble packs, tilt-sensors, light sensors, etc.); this is more common on handheld consoles where the user does not interact with the game through a separate video game controller.[82] Cartridges were the first external media to be used with home consoles and remained the most common until continued improvements in capacity in 1995 (the Nintendo 64, released in 1996, was the last mainstream game console to use cartridges).[83] Nevertheless, the relatively high manufacturing costs and limited data capacity compared to optical media at the time saw them completely replaced by the latter for home consoles by the early 21st century, although they are still in use in some handheld video game consoles and in the Nintendo Switch. Due to the aforementioned capabilities of cartridges such as more memory and coprocessors, those factors make it harder to reverse engineer consoles to be used on emulators.
Gaming consoles are obviously a luxury, but they are rapidly becoming the center of living rooms and entertainment centers, since they combine gaming, listening to music, watching videos, chatting with friends, browsing the web, livestreaming, shopping and more. Consoles are a fantastic way to combine all of your digital entertainment into a single place. Consider your gaming habits, title preferences (past, present and future) along with your budget to ensure you find the perfect console for your needs.
The PS 3 was the first Sony console to introduce connected gaming. You can definitely play online multiplayer games on the console and even connect the console to various streaming services. The PS 3 has its own Blu Ray disc player. So you can play HD games and also movies without buying a separate Blu Ray player. It comes with solid internal memory as well, ranging from 16 GB to 500 GB. We pitch this mainly as an affordable gaming console with streaming. You can definitely get more with PS 4 in terms of gaming, but if you are cash-strapped, then the PS 3 is the way to go.

*”$15 Starts any new agreement” or “$15 pays your first week” offer is valid only on new agreements entered into 1/27/19-2/23/19. Customers eligible for this offer will pay $15 for the initial rental period until first renewal, up to seven days. Offer does not include tax and fees and charges you may incur. Customer must pay processing fee of $25 in California & New York and $10 in Hawaii. After the first week, regular rental rates will apply. Regular rate, term and total cost vary by item selected. Offers will not reduce the total amount necessary to acquire ownership or purchase-option amounts. Cannot be combined with any other promotion. Participating locations only. See Store Manager for complete details.
The Odyssey initially sold about 100,000 units,[22] making it moderately successful, and it was not until Atari's arcade game Pong popularized video games that the public began to take more notice of the emerging industry. By autumn 1975, Magnavox, bowing to the popularity of Pong, canceled the Odyssey and released a scaled-down version that played only Pong and hockey, the Odyssey 100. A second, "higher end" console, the Odyssey 200, was released with the 100 and added on-screen scoring, up to four players, and a third game—Smash. Almost simultaneously released with Atari's own home Pong console through Sears, these consoles jump-started the consumer market. All three of the new consoles used simpler designs than the original Odyssey did with no board game pieces or extra cartridges. In the years that followed, the market saw many companies rushing similar consoles to market. After General Instrument released their inexpensive microchips, each containing a complete console on a single chip, many small developers began releasing consoles that looked different externally, but internally were playing exactly the same games. Most of the consoles from this era were dedicated consoles playing only the games that came with the console. These video game consoles were often just called video games because there was little reason to distinguish the two yet. While a few companies like Atari, Magnavox, and newcomer Coleco pushed the envelope, the market became flooded with simple, similar video games.
Many video games are available for multiple platforms, like Minecraft for example. However, some games are made exclusively for a specific console. So if you’re dying to play Halo or Forza, you'll need an Xbox. Heard great things about Uncharted or The Last of Us? Sony’s PlayStation is the only place they are available. Likewise, any title in Nintendo’s Mario or Zelda franchises can only be played on its devices.
"Yeah, the PS2 is the system that helped land me a permanent job at IGN, but that's one of just many a fond memory of Sony's awesome console sequel. What really sticks out for me, though, was the huge buzz that the system had garnered in my neighborhood because it had Tekken Tag Tournament. Tekken Tag was THE game in our local arcades, and when a friend of mine convinced his girlfriend to buy him an import PS2 with Tekken Tag along with it, it was like having an extra Christmas. Our whole crew spent months learning techniques, brushing up on our skills and having an all around great time with our Tekken parties."

PlayStation Vita is a handheld game console developed by Sony Computer Entertainment.[75] It is the successor to the PlayStation Portable as part of the PlayStation brand of gaming devices. It was released in Japan on December 17, 2011[76] and was released in Europe and North America on February 22, 2012.[77][78] The handheld includes two analog sticks, a 5-inch (130 mm) OLED/LCD multi-touch capacitive touchscreen, and supports Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and optional 3G. Internally, the PS Vita features a 4 core ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore processor and a 4 core SGX543MP4+ graphics processing unit, as well as LiveArea software as its main user interface, which succeeds the XrossMediaBar.[79][80]
Probably the best example of a system that was marred by bad timing, the Dreamcast should, from a technological standpoint, go down as one of Sega’s crowning achievements. Unfortunately, after a largely successful release, the console was eclipsed by news of the upcoming release of the PlayStation 2. Regardless, the Dreamcast was a wonderful gaming machine and afforded many the opportunity to play some of the most immersive and stylized games of their time – including a port of the extremely popular arcade game, Crazy Taxi. Though it was another step in Sega’s inevitable downfall, the Dreamcast was a much better console than for which it was given credit.
"I remember being the first of the game magazines to get a demo of the 3DO "Interactive Multiplayer" from Trip Hawkins for VideoGames & Computer Entertainment magazine. Trip is a great marketing guy, and I was fascinated by his presentation. However, despite the cool concept and some decent games, it was clear an $800 game system was never going to compete."
"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."
We then evaluated each console’s interface, looking for a smart layout that’s easy to use. We navigated through menus, adjusted the settings and compared ease of use. We approached this process twice over, first as gamers looking for quick access to new titles and already-installed games, and secondly as novice or non-gamer users looking for multimedia tools and apps. We found that the best consoles are the ones that make your favorite apps and games easy to access from a central place.

You don’t have to buy the current machines if all you fancy is a few hours of nostalgic button bashing. Nintendo has released two retro machines, The Mini NES (£50) and Mini SNES (£70), which both provide more than 20 built-in games, while Sony’s PlayStation Classic (£90) comes crammed with favourites from the original PlayStation. Nothing brings a family together at Christmas like Double Dragon II: The Revenge.

Another option is local multiplayer. You can play using two TVs in a single location or using the split-screen feature on a single TV. Many modern games don’t support local multiplayer on a single TV, as it consumes too much processing power to render a game twice over on one screen. However, Nintendo continues to create games and consoles that can abide by this option, making its consoles great for local gaming.
It isn't difficult to prove why the software lineup was so successful considering the recent release and success of Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection. Just tick down the list and you'll find a bundle of absolutely brilliant games. The Phantasy Star and Shining Force series combined to offer role playing options that were equal to, if not better than anything available from the competition and titles like Ecco the Dolphin and Comix Zone offered dashes of edgy action that were highly original at the time.
But a lack of sales does not necessarily mean the console is without merit. The TurboGrafx-16 is home to a solid catalog of games worth playing, such as NEC's attempt at a Mario-like mascot with Bonk's Adventure, the top-down shooter Blazing Lasers, and Namco's side-scrolling horror classic Splatterhouse. These are games worth playing. The Turbo was also the first system to have a CD-drive attachment, the $399 Turbo CD, which was grossly overpriced at $399, but was recognition that the days of cartridges were coming to a close as the new disc medium offered vastly superior storage.
Nintendo is the obvious choice for family-friendly gaming. It’s known for the kid-safe titles in its library, like the Mario, Donkey Kong and Pokémon franchises as well as other arcade classics that typically don’t have unsavory content. The Nintendo Switch also has a ton of exclusive and indie titles available that kids should enjoy, although it is slightly pricier than the DS consoles. The Switch supports both solo and multiplayer gaming on its small screen, and you can choose to play it on your TV or handheld on the go. With their small designs and simple interfaces, the Nintendo consoles are great options for younger kids.
The Atari 7800 was a sleek and capable videogame console released in 1986. While it had a solid offering of its own games, the 7800 featured a prime system feature: full, built-in compatibility with the Atari 2600. While consoles of the past could play Atari 2600 games through the use of an optional adapter, the 7800 accepted these cartridges right in the main slot and played them without any extra add-ons.
"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."
Finally, those looking for some great retro gaming action should not overlook Nintendo's NES Classic Mini or SNES Classic Mini, as both are tidy little emulation stations that allow you to play plenty of classic video games from the 80s and 90s, while Sony lovers should not less the PlayStation Classic pass them by either, which is a remake of the original PlayStation that allows you play 20 fan favourites by emulation, too.

Today's games are bigger, better, and more immersive than ever. You can find incredible games across a wide range of genres. Most major game franchises are available on both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, while the Nintendo Switch offers a large selection of games suited for kids and families. For the most realistic visual experiences, upgrade to the PlayStation 4 Pro or Xbox One S to enjoy breathtaking 4K and HDR gaming. Exclusive titles are available for each console, which further underscores the need to plan ahead and pick up the right system for your must-own games. Explore the massive collections of previously played games at great deals and give your older consoles like the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Nintendo Wii U continued life.
Order the Xbox One X Battlefield V Gold Rush Special Edition Bundle and enter mankind's greatest conflict: World War 2. Join the ranks on the unique Gold Rush special edition console with full-game downloads of Battlefield V Deluxe Edition, Battlefield 1943, and Battlefield 1 Revolution, one month of EA Access, plus a matching wireless controller. All games require Xbox Live Gold, sold separately.

If you're looking for Xbox One deals on consoles, games, and accessories, Amazon, Best Buy, Newegg, and Walmart have your back. Newegg continues to offer the Xbox One X Fallout 76 Bundle for $349.99 which is $150 off its $500 list price. This bundle includes a 1TB Xbox One X console in jet black, a matching controller, and one full-game download of Fallout 76. 


"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."
Many believe that games are sheer entertainment: they are fun! And that can possibly make video games sound a little mundane – but there are countless gamers out there that see video games as exactly that: simple and comfortable way to pass time. There does not necessarily have to be an emotional connection to the game – it is played for sheer amusement.
One of the Master System's quirkiest (and coolest) features, though, was the 3D Glasses peripheral. The thick, wraparound shades may have looked a little clunky from the outside, but the effect was positively stunning. Sadly, like the Master System itself, the peripheral was under-supported with just over a half-dozen games, including Maze Hunter 3D and Space Harrier 3D.

As the name suggests, shooter games are about shooting. You have to be fast on the trigger. This applies, no matter if you are on a space station far into the future or at the front in the Second World War, where the bullets are flying past your ears. Shoot or be shot. That is the essence of it. Shooter games are often played with others, and here is where the game activity becomes about more than just mastering the techniques. For example, when playing in a team, it is also important to coordinate your actions with teammates and complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses.


Welcome to the eighth game console generation. The rise of 4K gaming. The remarkable arrival of the hybrid console-handheld. It's been several years since the Microsoft Xbox One and the Sony PlayStation 4 came out, with both systems getting more powerful variants partway through their life cycles. If that isn't enough, the newer Nintendo Switch has established itself as a retail powerhouse (even if it isn't a graphical powerhouse), with the ability to play connected to a TV like a home console or on the go like a handheld. Let's see how these systems compare against each other.
The 16-bit era saw Nintendo at the peak of its creativity, releasing popular acclaimed games like The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and Super Metroid alongside cult hits like Earthbound. Third-party companies didn’t take a backseat, with Square Enix’ Final Fantasy VI and Konami’s Super Castlevania IV among the best games of the entire decade.
Handheld game consoles are great for gaming in a comfy bed, on your morning commute or just someplace out of the house. Unlike your mobile phone, a handheld console is designed specifically for gaming and offers a large library that isn't full of Bejeweled or Candy Crush clones. Whether you want a quick, relaxing experience (like Animal Crossing or Stardew Valley) or something you can really sink your teeth into (like the latest Zelda and Mario games), consoles like PlayStation Vita and Nintendo Switch offer a lot of different experiences to choose from.
Another option is local multiplayer. You can play using two TVs in a single location or using the split-screen feature on a single TV. Many modern games don’t support local multiplayer on a single TV, as it consumes too much processing power to render a game twice over on one screen. However, Nintendo continues to create games and consoles that can abide by this option, making its consoles great for local gaming.
Will Greenwald has been covering consumer technology for a decade, and has served on the editorial staffs of CNET.com, Sound & Vision, and Maximum PC. His work and analysis has been seen in GamePro, Tested.com, Geek.com, and several other publications. He currently covers consumer electronics in the PC Labs as the in-house home entertainment expert... See Full Bio
At Rent-A-Center, you have your pick of state-of-the-art game consoles, including the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One. How do you know which rent-to-own video game console to select? It comes down to comfort, ease of control, and the selection of video games. The best way to determine if you prefer the Xbox or PlayStation is to stop by your nearest Rent-A-Center location to try the gaming systems.
Nintendo launched the Nintendo Wi-Fi connection alongside the Wii and Nintendo DS, which utilized GameSpy's servers to offer free online multiplayer. In addition, Nintendo's Wii Shop Channel allowed for the digital distribution of downloadable games, emulated titles, and Wii applications known as "Channels", which provided functionality such as access to Netflix, YouTube and an Internet browser, as well as online-enabled contests such as the Check Mii Out Channel and Everybody Votes Channel. Nintendo's WiiConnect24 service offered information and videos of upcoming software through the Wii's downloadable Nintendo Channel, which also allowed users to download demos from the Wii console to a nearby Nintendo DS through a local wireless connection. Other WiiConnect24 services included dedicated channels for weather and news. WiiConnect24 also enabled a message board that allowed a connected Wii to receive messages from games, installed Channels and other users' consoles. In the summer of 2014, these services were discontinued, reportedly to let developers work harder on Wii U functionality. In 2018, the Wii Shop Channel was discontinued, ending digital distribution of Virtual Console games, WiiWare, and Wii Channels to Wii consoles.

The PS4 may still have a stronger gaming library than the Xbox One, but the Pro’s improvements are only noticeable in games that have been specifically enhanced for it. The Xbox One X has proven far better at using its extra horsepower to improve the visuals of all games on the platform, enhanced or not. Microsoft is also doubling down on investing in first-party studios, such as Rare, which recently released Sea of Thieves, and the company recently acquired big-name studios like Ninja Theory and Playground Games, as well.

Even as Sony successfully marketed the slick and cool PlayStation 2 as a high-tech home media device, Nintendo tried to sell GCN as a simple games player for the whole family -- in hindsight, probably a mistake. GameCube looked like a lunchbox and, save for the fantastic Nintendo-published exclusives like Metroid Prime and Super Mario Sunshine -- it didn't really sport any distinguishing features over its competitors. The machine sold almost exclusively to Nintendo fans and younger gamers, which is why it was also largely shunned by third-parties, whose software usually performed better on other platforms. Nintendo ultimately sold about 22 million GameCube systems worldwide -- roughly 118 million units less than PlayStation 2.
Stepping up to 4K gaming requires paying a premium, however. The PS4 Pro tacks an extra $100 onto the price, while the Xbox One X adds $200. That means 4K gaming and enhanced PlayStation VR performance on the PlayStation 4 (recommended for the excellent Tetris Effect) will cost you $400, while experiencing Forza Horizon 4 in 4K on the Xbox One will run $500.
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.
During its life, the Jaguar managed to make a few cases for a purchase with a couple of solid efforts from id software, Rebellion, and psychedelic visual artist Jeff Minter. Atari's mismanagement of the hardware and company, its lack of internal development teams, its inability to secure key third-party developers, a disastrously terrible pack-in title called Cybermorph, and the fact that the Jaguar system was insanely difficult to program efficiently all played a part in the system's demise.

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.

The Odyssey also launched the very first home light gun ever produced, called the Shooting Gallery. The games for the Odyssey consisted of straightforward, single-function titles like Baseball, Basketball, Ski, and more. Due to the simplicity of the console, there weren’t any third-party games designed for it. But the precedent established by the Odyssey paved the way for subsequent systems -- a legacy that has secured the console a place in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.
Ralph Baer's original Odyssey is the machine that started the home videogame industry. Others may have popularized it beyond measure, such as the Atari 2600 and NES, but the Odyssey series is truly the genesis. The Odyssey was limited, though (all games were onboard, the paddle-like controller was clumsy compared to the joystick), and so Magnavox, the manufacturer of the console, pressed forward with the Odyssey 2. It aped the blockbuster Atari 2600 -- now its chief rival in 1978 -- in many ways, such as using the then-traditional one-button joystick and interchangeable cartridges. While the Odyssey 2's resolution is lower than the 2600, the console surpassed Atari’s in a handful of technical areas -- such as the out-of-the-box inclusion of a full keyboard for easy programming and edutainment software and the availability of an optional speech synthesizer.

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.
A games console is the perfect Christmas present – it’s exciting, it’s cool and everyone can join in on the day (as long as you’ve had the foresight to sneak it out of its packaging on Christmas Eve to download the inevitable six hours of system updates). But selecting which machine to opt for is complicated and confusing, and if you get it wrong you may end up with yet another unloved gadget crammed in the cupboard where you keep the air fryer and mini candyfloss machine.

Fairchild released the Fairchild Video Entertainment System (VES) in 1976. While there had been previous game consoles that used cartridges, either the cartridges had no information and served the same function as flipping switches (the Odyssey) or the console itself was empty (Coleco Telstar) and the cartridge contained all of the game components. The VES, however, contained a programmable microprocessor so its cartridges only needed a single ROM chip to store microprocessor instructions. RCA and Atari soon released their own cartridge-based consoles, the RCA Studio II and the Atari 2600 (originally branded as the Atari Video Computer System), respectively.
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