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.
The first true battle of the consoles began in 1991 with the US release of the Super Nintendo. Boasting 16-bit graphics and a superior soundcard than its competition (the audio system was entirely standalone), Nintendo pushed its art style and name branding against SEGA's "SEGA does what Nintendon't" campaign, but in the end it was what Nintendo did – or had, rather – that put the SNES higher on our chart. Despite "hardcore-minded" competition, Nintendo pushed a pedigree of original content, starting with the debut Super Mario World and carried on through titles like Super Metroid, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, F-Zero, Mario Kart, and the dawn of the FX chip which brought the debut of Star Fox. Developer Rare continued to push the console in its later years with the help of Nintendo, introducing larger cart sizes with Donkey Kong Country, and a flood of third party support pushed the Super Nintendo to legendary status with games like Final Fantasy VI, Chrono Trigger, Gradius III, Contra III, Mega Man X, Secret of Mana, and many, many more. When it comes to a pure concentration of AAA titles, few consoles – if any – can stand up to the Super NES.
This concerns the quality of the image displayed on your screen. The resolution is between 480 and 1080 pixels. The quality will be better with a higher number of pixels. One must consider the console that is linked to the screen: some models (PS3, Xbox360) reach the best output only on HD screens. In most cases, handheld consoles have 4.3-inch wide screens and 480 x 272 pixels. Touch screen models have a resolution of 256 x 192 pixels.
With the 7800 launch, Atari put a focus on "budget" gaming, with many games selling for less than $19.99. Because the system was all ready to go back in 1984, most of the launch titles were arcade titles from several years prior. The system was very capable in visuals as seen in games like the bundled Pole Position II. But its sound system lacked: the system designers created a cheap sound chip that could be included in cartridges, but to keep costs low, Atari limited the sound chip in very few titles. With Nintendo locking up third-parties with its two-year exclusivity agreement, Atari also had a hard time convincing third-party companies to produce games for its console – as a result, the company went after the rights to popular games that were available only for computers.
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.
The second contribution, Xbox Live, proved a testbed for the version that's become so beloved on Xbox 360. Though the SEGA Dreamcast had broadband gameplay, Xbox's Live service was the first that managed to capture a high level of quality among a large number of games. It gave us the first iteration of a Friends List and even had a few Xbox Live Arcade titles. The service kicked off with MechAssault and continues on through Halo 2, a game which is still played online by hundreds of thousands of gamers. With Live, the Xbox showed us the future of console gaming.
A few years ago, Sony launched the Playstation VR, a virtual reality headset designed for both the PlayStation 4 and PS4 Pro. We really like it, since it's the least expensive and most comfortable of the big-name tethered VR headsets. The selection of games is also pretty strong for new technology; Rez Infinite is a must-play, revelatory experience in VR (which is amazing when you consider it's an updated version of a 15-year-old game). Rigs: Mechanized Combat League and Battlezone are both very fun, fully developed VR titles where you control big mechanical weapons. And for a standalone expansion that heavily reuses assets, Until Dawn: Rush of Blood is a surprisingly fun and visually stunning horror rail shooter.
New gaming consoles cost between $130 and $500, and includes traditional consoles as well as handheld and hybrid consoles. Prices increase according to processing power, but there are other factors to consider such as game selection and home entertainment center multimedia options, like streaming video. Special or limited edition consoles can cost more.
Eighth-generation Nintendo consoles (Nintendo 3DS and Wii U) took advantage of the services provided by the Nintendo Network, including purchase and download of full titles, Virtual Console games, downloadable games (including most DSiWare/WiiWare titles), DLC, non-gaming apps, game demos, and other material. Nintendo Network also allowed online-gaming support to be provided either for free or for a premium cost. Nintendo also offered its own social network in the form of Miiverse, which was shut down in 2017.
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.
The 3DO may not be regarded as one of the most monetarily successful systems in gaming history, but it left its mark on the industry all the same. Released by Panasonic in 1993, the 3DO (aka 3DO Interactive Multiplayer) was a 32-bit, disc-based system that had the technological grit to compete with the leading consoles of its time -- the PlayStation, Sega Saturn, etc -- but was inevitably stifled by its lack of third-party support and high launch price (nearly $700). The system could support up to eight controllers and console expansions such as memory cards, modems, video cartridges and more.
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.
The Wii U is the gaming console between the classic Wii and the latest Nintendo Switch. It’s one of those consoles that you might love or hate. Most people prefer to wait for the Switch, but Wii U has some features that Switch notably lacks. It’s better than the Wii and has backward compatibility Switch lacks. Also, as the older console, Wii U is more affordable than the Switch. That being said, as all Wiis go, the Wii U is highly family friendly. This is the best gaming console if you want to enjoy an interactive game with kids.
The first video games appeared in the 1960s. 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. 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.