A handheld game console is a lightweight device with a built-in screen, games controls, speakers, and has greater portability than a standard video game console. It is capable of playing multiple games unlike tabletop and handheld electronic game devices. Tabletop and handheld electronic game devices of the 1970s and 1980s are the precursors of handheld game consoles. Mattel introduced the first handheld electronic game with the 1977 release of Auto Race. Later, several companies—including Coleco and Milton Bradley—made their own single-game, lightweight tabletop or handheld electronic game devices. The oldest handheld game console with interchangeable cartridges is the Milton Bradley Microvision in 1979. Nintendo is credited with popularizing the handheld console concept with the Game Boy's release in 1989 and continues to dominate the handheld console market.
Shepherded to market in 1977 by visionary Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari, and his head engineer Allan Alcorn, the Atari 2600 was the second home videogame console to use removable, programmable cartridges instead of being a dedicated machine like Atari's own Pong (The Fairchild F beat Atari to the punch by a year). The system was not an immediate success, though. It wasn't until 1979 when the videogame craze truly exploded did the 2600 begin its meteoric path. Atari was quick to license popular arcade games for the machine like Space Invaders, Missile Command, and Pac-Man, which also helped it become the dominant console in American living rooms. By 1982, the 2600 was a $2 billion business for Atari.
The sales showed it as well, with the first true console war ending in an important Nintendo victory on both the hardware and software front. The Super NES's library was the start, or continuation in some cases, of franchises that are still alive and well today both on a first party and third party front – proof of its legacy. The Super NES controller laid groundwork for the now-mainstream four-button face of both the PlayStation and Xbox controllers, and the experimental first steps into 3D gaming (both real and faked via the FX chip and Mode 7 technology respectively) laid the groundwork for the industry’s future.
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.
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The Xbox One X came highly recommended by our testers for serious gamers looking for incredible display quality, tons of storage, and the added bonus of being able to use the device for streaming TV and video. “This console is able to process a massive open world video game worth ~40 GB of space,” explained one of our reviewers. “With such a huge game, graphics are still displayed in 4K and looks phenomenal.” Our testers didn’t like that downloading a game could be quite time consuming, and one of our reviewers wished the controller came with a USB wire for charging. Bottom line: “For the retail price, this 1TB device with 4K display, that is capable of multitasking on many different things is incredible,” gushed one of our reviewers.
There are different types of gamepads suitable for video games: pistols, fishing rods, tennis rackets, golf clubs, boxing gloves, dance mats, joysticks and even musical instruments for games like Guitar Hero, DJ Hero, or Rock Band. Some steering wheels have a gearshift, pedals and force feedback to feel the acceleration, loss of speed, jolts, crashes, etc.
Though the Genesis is undoubtedly the brand’s most famous video game console, it was not their first. In fact, there were actually three predecessors: the SG-1000, the SG-1000 II (a slightly updated version of the former), and the Master System – of which the latter was the most commercially successful. The Master System’s biggest problem? Nintendo already had a stellar reputation around much of the world and had a brilliant licensing strategy that kept Sega from acquiring NES-exclusive titles that were in high demand. Still, most agree that without the Master System, the Genesis may never have come to fruition – and that’s something.
Many consoles have media streaming apps such as Netflix, YouTube, Hulu and more. These let you watch your favorite shows or listen to music directly on your console; some consoles can even connect to your cable source, thus centralizing your home’s entertainment center. Consoles also have parental controls, which give concerned parents more control than ever over the kinds of games, apps and videos their kids can access.
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The first handheld game console with interchangeable cartridges was the Microvision designed by Smith Engineering, and distributed and sold by Milton-Bradley in 1979. Crippled by a small, fragile LCD display and a very narrow selection of games, it was discontinued two years later. The Epoch Game Pocket Computer was released in Japan in 1984. The Game Pocket Computer featured an LCD screen with 75 X 64 resolution and could produce graphics at about the same level as early Atari 2600 games. The system sold very poorly, and as a result, only five games were made for it. Nintendo's Game & Watch series of dedicated game systems proved more successful. It helped to establish handheld gaming as popular and lasted until 1991. Many Game & Watch games were later re-released on Nintendo's subsequent handheld systems.