We all remember our first videogame console -- the moment we brought it home, the first time we powered it on, and the instant we first played a game that radiated our screen with beautiful graphic goodness. If you're anything like us, your first console was only the tip of the proverbial iceberg, and what began as a one-system household quickly evolved into a gamer's Mecca with consoles littering your living room. In the spirit of our healthy gaming obsession, IGN has forged a list of the Top 25 Videogame Consoles of All Time, where we have selected and ranked the most influential systems in the history of gaming to be revealed five consoles at a time for five straight days. While it may seem like a simple task on paper, sifting through 37+ years of console history for the best and brightest, while getting IGN's editorial staff to agree on one comprehensive list was an undertaking for the ages.
^ 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.
Though the Intellivision never managed to dethrone the Atari 2600 as the top system of its era, the console brought forth many considerable innovations: along with the advanced graphics, the system offered an add-on that brought speech to games, and it also introduced the concept of downloadable games with its ahead-of-its-time, test-marketed PlayCable that offered Intellivision games distributed over television cable.

Second only to the NES, the Atari 2600 was the first truly revolutionary step in home gaming from a sheer numbers standpoint. For a long time, this console was far and away the most popular in the world, which was only bolstered by an excellent development platform that allowed for a wide variety of interesting games. From Frogger, to Space Invaders, to Asteroids, and more, the Atari 2600 was many folks’ introduction to the concept that you could play video games at home and the experience could be great. Hell, even the bad games (like the legendary E.T. ’80s movie tie-in) have a great story behind them.
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.
If you or your child wants to play games such as Destiny, Battlefield or Fifa with friends online, check which consoles those friends have. If you buy your daughter a PS4 and it turns out all her friends have Xbox Ones, it will be harder for her to join and chat with them in-game. Xbox One and PS4 charge monthly fees for accessing online play, but the services are very reliable and offer in-depth parental controls.
While it can be difficult to take advantage of the PlayStation 4 Pro’s advanced features, namely HDR support, the improvements it provides to even unoptimized games make it the most technically impressive way to play the largest number of games on a console. Most major games offer some form of support for the system, whether it be improved framerate, 4K resolution, HDR support, or all three.
Nintendo recently launched its own premium online service, Nintendo Switch Online, which is also now required to play most Switch games online. It doesn't offer nearly as many features on the system as Xbox Live Gold and PS Plus, but at $19.99 for a year it costs a third as much. It also offers free games, with a library of NES titles that expands monthly.
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.
Most cities have small, local game stores where you can often find deeply discounted – albeit used – consoles and games. If that doesn’t bother you, it’s a wonderful way to save money. You can also save a ton by buying used accessories. By shopping at these local retailers, not only are you helping out a small business, but you’re also connecting with your local gaming scene – a value that’s too great to pass up. Most of the time, the people running these stores are avid gamers as well and can give you recommendations and keep you notified of upcoming releases, sales and in-store events.
For most gamers, a functional console, a comfortable place to sit and a steady supply of new games is all they need. Other gamers, however, have discovered that they want more, like a community built around gaming – a place where video game lovers can come together to share strategies alongside tales of victory and failure, and maybe even some laughs along the way. Luckily, such a place exists: the internet.
"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."

"I begged Santa to get us an Atari for Christmas 1980, and my parents decided to give me my wish...but they planned it as the final present I opened by stuffing it as far behind the tree as possible. Unfortunately, I grabbed a present I probably shouldn't have, "Bowling" for the 2600...pretty much destroying any Christmastime strategy my folks planned out. I still feel guilty about that."


Is the console primarily for young children, teenagers or adults? Or do you want something everyone can play together? If it’s the latter, the Switch is a great family option: most of Nintendo’s own games are suitable for children, they’re intuitive (which makes them great for parties where some participants aren’t gamers), but they’re also challenging enough to appeal to experienced players. However, teenagers and adults are more likely to want to play the sort of action adventure and shooter games (such as Assassin’s Creed, Tomb Raider and Red Dead Redemption) that don’t come to Switch. A PS4 or Xbox One may be better if you have a mature household.
With over 725 games in its library, the SNES was one of the best consoles that came into the market with third-party support. Due to its previous promising history and savvy business deals, Nintendo got an early public relations advantage with third-party developer Capcom, giving them the first console port of Street Fighter II. Nintendo went above and beyond with the SNES by developing the Super FX chip, allowing 3D capabilities with titles like Starfox and Doom without adding on any unnecessary hardware. For anyone wanting to relive the definitive early 90s gaming experience, the SNES wins hands down. 
"After mastering Pitfall II on my Atari 2600, a friend of mine invited me over to his house to help him get through the 5200 version of the game – it was a spot-on conversion, so all my skills carried over. But where the 2600 version ended, the 5200 edition continued on with Pitfall Harry wandering into a new cave with harder enemies and a new area to explore. Unfortunately, after about two minutes in the new area my friend had to bolt for dinner...and then he moved away the next week. So I never got a chance to play that extra part of Pitfall II."
The Wii was a huge hit when it was originally introduced. It’s still one of the most fun gaming consoles to own. You know all the bad rep gaming consoles get because everyone is sitting down and pushing buttons on a controller? Well, the Wii lets you get up and play video games. It’s highly interactive. For example, you can use the Wii controller as a tennis racket to play virtual tennis in front of your TV screen. There are games specifically designed for the Wii to play as close to real-life as possible. It’s almost like augmented reality in a sense.
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.
Though they have been relegated to a game developer role, Sega used to be one of the most prolific console producers in video game history. Their biggest problem was that they tended to tackle technologies that were a bit before their time and, therefore, not consumer- or developer-friendly. The Sega Saturn was one such console. It enjoyed moderate success and boasted an impressive technological package, but the lack of support and unreasonable complexity led to a lack of original titles, resulting in a game library comprised largely of arcade ports. Still, the system was an excellent attempt at being on the cutting edge of gaming, even if it wasn’t strictly a win for Sega.
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.
Game systems in the eighth generation also faced increasing competition from mobile device platforms such as Apple's iOS and Google's Android operating systems. Smartphone ownership was estimated to reach roughly a quarter of the world's population by the end of 2014.[61] The proliferation of low-cost games for these devices, such as Angry Birds with over 2 billion downloads worldwide,[62] presents a new challenge to classic video game systems. Microconsoles, cheaper stand-alone devices designed to play games from previously established platforms, also increased options for consumers. Many of these projects were spurred on by the use of new crowdfunding techniques through sites such as Kickstarter. Notable competitors include the GamePop, OUYA, GameStick Android-based systems, the PlayStation TV, the NVIDIA SHIELD and Steam Machines.[63]
The hybrid design system of the Switch isn’t a gimmick. You can plug the Switch to a TV, unlike any other portable console that came before. Once plugged in, you can play multiplayer games like the ever amazing Mario Kart. The control paddles are removable, so you can use it as a conventional gaming console. Plus, multiple people can join in on the play with a single console. You will have to pay for Nintendo’s online multiplayer games, but it’s far cheaper than what the Xbox Live offers. The Switch is really a one of a kind gaming console you can own and there’s none other like it in the market right now.
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 strategy worked. The Wii isn't much more advanced than the GameCube, but the controller – a device Nintendo has stated began as a GameCube peripheral – has converted millions of casual gamers to become system owners. The idea of bundling Wii Sports with the system was an incredibly smart move, as people immediately understood what the Wii was and what it could do in a simple to play, well designed experience.
The Atari 7800 was originally designed to succeed the Atari 5200 in 1984, but the system's launch was shelved when Atari was sold to new owners who wanted to focus on the computer market instead. The console was, instead, officially launched two years later in response to Nintendo and SEGA entering the US home console market with the Nintendo Entertainment System and Master System respectively. Many of the console's planned features, such as a high score saving cartridge, were never released.
Is the console primarily for young children, teenagers or adults? Or do you want something everyone can play together? If it’s the latter, the Switch is a great family option: most of Nintendo’s own games are suitable for children, they’re intuitive (which makes them great for parties where some participants aren’t gamers), but they’re also challenging enough to appeal to experienced players. However, teenagers and adults are more likely to want to play the sort of action adventure and shooter games (such as Assassin’s Creed, Tomb Raider and Red Dead Redemption) that don’t come to Switch. A PS4 or Xbox One may be better if you have a mature household.
Both the Xbox One S and the PlayStation 4 can play Blu-ray movies and access a variety of online streaming services like Netflix and Hulu Plus. The Xbox One S goes two extra steps with television integration and Ultra HD Blu-ray playback. An HDMI pass-through lets you run your cable or satellite box through the system, though without a Kinect you'll need a third-party infrared blaster to control it. This incorporates live television through your cable or satellite provider into the Xbox One's menu system. You can also add over-the-air television with a third-party USB tuner. The OneGuide program guide displays both live television and what content is available on services like Hulu Plus and Machinima, giving you total control over what you watch, and you can even enjoy a split screen view of what's on television while you play your favorite game or browse the web, thanks to the Xbox One's Snap feature. If that isn't enough, the Xbox One S can play Ultra HD Blu-ray discs, which means you can watch 4K HDR movies on physical media. Bizarrely, Sony didn't add this feature to the PS4 Pro.
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.
Sony's PlayStation 3 was released in Japan on November 11, 2006, in North America on November 17, 2006, and in Europe and Australia on March 23, 2007. All PlayStation 3's come with a hard drive and are able to play Blu-ray Disc games and Blu-ray Disc movies out of the box. The PlayStation 3 was the first video game console to support HDMI output out of the box, using full 1080p resolution. Up to seven controllers can connect to the console using Bluetooth. There are 6 discontinued versions of the PS3: a 20 GB HDD version (discontinued in North America and Japan, and was never released in PAL territories), a 40 GB HDD version (discontinued), a 60 GB HDD version (discontinued in North America, Japan and PAL territories), 80 GB HDD version (only in some NTSC territories and PAL territories), a "slim" 120GB HDD version (discontinued), and a "slim" 250 GB version (discontinued). The two current shipping versions of the PlayStation 3 are: a "slim" 160 GB HDD version and a "slim" 320 GB HDD version. The hard drive can be replaced with any standard 2.5" Serial ATA drive and the system has support for removable media storage, such as Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick PRO Duo, USB, SD, MiniSD, and CompactFlash (CF) digital media, but only the PlayStation versions up to 80 GB support this. The slim PlayStation 3 consoles (120 GB and up) had removable storage discontinued.[50] All models are backward compatible with the original PlayStation's software library, and the launch models, since discontinued, are also backward compatible with PlayStation 2 games. As a cost-cutting measure, later models removed the Emotion Engine, making them incompatible with PlayStation 2 discs. In 2010, Sony released PlayStation Move, allowing for motion-controlled games. With recent software updates, the PlayStation 3 can play 3D Blu-ray movies and 3D games.
Because of the cost of the system very few retailers were willing to stock the NeoGeo home console and it quietly disappeared less than two years after its debut. SNK attempted to revive the unit with the NeoGeo CD, but it, too, failed to attract the necessary audience. The arcade version, however, has seen extremely fantastic success and has been the vehicle that drove many fighting hits including the King of Fighter, Fatal Fury, and Samurai Shodown series.
You can keep it in its dock to enjoy gaming in TV mode, remove it from its dock to play it in handheld mode or flip out its kickstand and set it on a table. The Switch’s battery life is decent but not outstanding and can last for anywhere from 2.5 to 6.5 hours depending on how intense the game is. The Switch’s controllers – called Joy-Cons – are equally versatile. Each one can slide onto a side of the tablet, creating a comfortable and immersive handheld experience. Or you and a friend can each use a Joy-Con for multiplayer fun. The Switch also comes with a controller frame that you can slide the Joy-Cons onto, or you can buy the Pro controller for a more traditional experience. With the Switch, Nintendo continues its tradition of making gaming devices with simple, intuitive interfaces and family-friendly game titles. You’ll have access to exclusive game franchises like Mario, Xenoblade Chronicles and Zelda. Additionally, Nintendo has now opened the door for third-party indie developers to create games for the Switch, so you’ll have access to additional titles – and even cross-platform titles like Splatoon 2, Disgaea 5, Rayman Legends, Minecraft, Stardew Valley and Skyrim.
The Xbox 360 has a special place in the hearts of many gamers as the console that really boosted the Xbox brand. The console comes with the famed black wireless controller which you can directly connect to the internet. There’s no need for cable issues like with the Playstations of yore. Also, this console has a whopping 500GB of memory. That’s as much memory as a $500 laptop. You can definitely store dozens of titles and still never run out of memory. The 360 is well designed for hardcore gamers. It’s affordable and you will definitely not regret your purchase.
But beyond its hardware innovations, the Xbox 360 marked a huge software push in terms of creating an all encompassing media and gaming platform. The Xbox 360 launched with a completely revised Xbox Live online networking system, which enabled new and unprecedented ways of accessing video, audio, and game content, as well as connecting with friends. Xbox Live has since grown to be one of the most successful console-based online gaming networks ever created, with over 17 million members as of January, 2009. Through its extensive online-integration, which allows for practically boundless optimization, feature additions, and improvements, the Xbox 360 has drastically extended the lasting appeal and life expectancy of the average console.
We know, it isn’t exactly a legacy name in the gaming industry. But we’d like to point out the Fire TV gaming edition as a great pick for those looking for an affordable console. Keep in mind that this works only with the Amazon Fire TV. So if you already own one, then this is probably the best console you can own. If not, you will get an Amazon Fire TV, a game controller, and a 32GB microSD card with the package. Right off the shelf, the Gaming Edition includes two critically acclaimed games! So that’s a major plus.
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.
^ Jump up to: a b "Revisions to Annual Results Forecasts" (PDF). Sega Corporation. October 23, 2001. p. 4. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 26, 2015. Retrieved November 2, 2015. Regarding sales of Dreamcast hardware from inventory resulting from the withdrawal from Dreamcast production [...] the Company exceeded initial targets with domestic sales of 130,000 units and U.S. sales of 530,000 units for the first half. Consequently, at the end of the half, Dreamcast inventories totaled 40,000 units domestically and 230,000 units for the United States, and we anticipate being able to sell all remaining units by the holiday season as initially planned.
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.

It also comes with new exclusive game titles, additional buttons and a lower price, making it a smart choice for both seasoned gamers and new Nintendo fans. The redesign of the 2DS, in comparison with the 3DS, is mostly physical. Certain features, like the speakers, card slot, stylus and power button, were relocated. It has additional new buttons, including an analog C stick and secondary trigger ZL/ZR buttons to enhance gameplay. The clamshell’s hinge now protrudes behind the device, instead of being more internally hidden, and houses the front-facing camera and microphones. This destroys the clean lines of the 2DS XL when closed and makes selfies look awkward unless you take that into account and adjust the angle. The included stylus is much smaller than its previous iteration, making it slightly harder for adults to grip. However, Nintendo’s choice to completely omit the 3D display makes the device less top-heavy and more balanced and easier to hold. In fact, the 2DS XL is thinner and lighter overall, making it easier to hold for lengthy gaming sessions. All existing DS and 3DS games can be played, though now only in 2D. New exclusive titles that launched with the 2DS XL include Xenoblade Chronicles and Fire Emblem Warriors, as well as the Super NES Virtual Console games.
Whether it’s the NES Classic Edition, the Xbox One’s ability to play Xbox 360 games through backward compatibility, or the revival of nostalgic game consoles from generations past, the retro gaming craze has never been higher. Satisfy your retro fix with Best Buy’s wide selection of retro consoles and accessories, and show off your retro pride with Figures & Plush Toys of your favourite video game characters.
Nintendo Switch: Not as powerful as the other two but offers lots of its own innovative child-friendly features, including a built-in screen for playing on the bus, making it the best choice for younger families (and also time-pressed parents whose home gaming time is minimal). Plus, this is the only place you’ll be able to play The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe – some of the greatest games of the decade.

There’s never been a more exciting time to be a gamer. The range of experiences offered by today’s games is unprecedented, and knowing what you want is the first step in creating your dream gaming getup. Do you want cutting-edge graphics and gameplay that only 4K and HDR provide? Prefer to take your game worlds on-the-go? Enjoy revisiting amazing retro games from yesteryear? Think of Best Buy as your well-stocked gaming quartermaster, ready at a moment's notice with all of the best video game deals, gadgets, games, and high-powered consoles to elevate your gaming to the highest level.
The first fifth-generation consoles were the Amiga CD32, 3DO and the Atari Jaguar. Although all three consoles were more powerful than the fourth generation systems, none of them would become serious threats to Sega or Nintendo. The 3DO initially generated a great deal of hype in part because of a licensing scheme where 3DO licensed the manufacturing of its console out to third parties, similar to VCR or DVD players. However, unlike its competitors who could sell their consoles at a loss, all 3DO manufacturers had to sell for profit. The Jaguar had three processors and no C libraries to help developers cope with it. Atari was ineffective at courting third parties and many of their first party games were poorly received. Many of the Jaguar's games used mainly the slowest (but most familiar) of the console's processors, resulting in titles that could easily have been released on the SNES or Genesis.
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