The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) includes one of the largest gaming libraries of over 714 known licensed titles. The economic boom of mid-1980s led to more investments in the arts and entertainment that further compounded the market. Not only could you find countless titles like Mega Man, Contra, Final Fantasy, Tetris and Super Mario Bros, but also some of the most diverse genres with games like Duck Hunt, Wall Street Kid and tarot card simulator, Taboo.
"I don't know what it was about the Jaguar – it had to be the Atari brand -- but I was jazzed to pick it up on launch. What a mistake. Other than the occasional game like Tempest 2000, Power Drive Rally, and a really good conversion of NBA Jam, the system had some of the worst designed games ever. It never stood a chance on the market even though I was pulling for it as an advocate of the system."
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.
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.
^ Tabuchi, Hiroko (March 23, 2010). "Nintendo to Make 3-D Version of Its DS Handheld Game". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved April 4, 2010. 'We wanted to give the gaming industry a head’s up about what to expect from Nintendo at E3,' said Ken Toyoda, chief spokesman at Nintendo. 'We'll invite people to play with the new device then.'
One trait that remains peculiar to the fourth generation is the huge number of exclusive games. Both Sega and Nintendo were very successful and their consoles developed massive libraries of games. Both consoles had to be programmed in assembly to get the most out of them. A game optimized for the Genesis could take advantage of its faster CPU and sound chip. A game optimized for the SNES could take advantage of its graphics and its flexible, clean sound chip. Some game series, like Castlevania, saw separate system exclusive releases rather than an attempt to port one game to disparate platforms. When compact disc (CD) technology became available midway through the fourth generation, each company attempted to integrate it into their existing consoles in different ways. NEC and Sega released CD add-ons to their consoles in the form of the TurboGrafx-CD and Sega CD, but both were only moderately successful. NEC also released the TurboDuo which combined the TurboGrafx-16 and its TurboGrafx-CD add-on (along with the RAM and BIOS upgrade from the Super System Card) into one unit. SNK released a third version of the NeoGeo, the Neo Geo CD, allowing the company to release its games on a cheaper medium than the AES's expensive cartridges, but it reached the market after Nintendo and Sega had already sold tens of millions of consoles each. Nintendo partnered with Sony to work on a CD add-on for the SNES, but the deal fell apart when they realized how much control Sony wanted. Sony would use their work with Nintendo as the basis for their PlayStation game console. While CDs became an increasingly visible part of the market, CD-reading technology was still expensive in the 1990s, limiting NEC's and Sega's add-ons' sales.
"Before writing about games for a living, I worked full time as a technician at a cable TV company in Connecticut and was a game hobbyist on the side. When the NFL went on strike in 1982, we thought it'd be a goof to offer a "replacement" to "Monday Night Football" by getting some local kids to play Intellivision Football on our public-access channel and do play-by-play over it. When "MNF" came back on after the strike ended a couple of months later, the public-access director started getting calls asking where our "show" went, so we started doing a sports-based video-game show as a regular thing for a while, taking calls and demonstrating some of the new games. We had no idea people would be so into it."
During its lifetime, Game Boy would face and beat multiple contenders in the mobile gaming market like Sega’s Game Gear and the Atari Lynx. Its launch included hit titles like Super Mario Land, Baseball and Tetris. Players could even buy a cable link to play multiplayer games. Along the way, the chubby grey console got a smaller model called the Game Boy Pocket and a colored iteration called the Game Boy Color. If you’ve ever wondered why games are on smartphones, just look to the Game Boy.
Pre-order the Xbox One S Minecraft Creators Bundle (1TB) and be part of a worldwide phenomenon. Jam-packed with a full-game download plus popular content from Minecraft community creators, the bundle includes the Xbox One S console with 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, 4K video streaming, and a wireless controller. Play Minecraft with friends! Build, dig, and craft together with friends who are on PC, mobile, VR, and console.
"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."
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.
A very large majority of both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One libraries are available on both platforms. Though both platforms have popular exclusive franchises, the PlayStation 4 (Pro or standard) sees more exclusive games each year. The PS4 also has access to a small number of less well-known indie games and niche titles, such as Japanese role-playing games, that the Xbox One does not.
The Xbox is the closest contender up to the PlayStation as the best gaming console ever made. The main reason many players migrated to Microsoft’s platform was to play exclusive titles such as Halo, Forza, and Gears of War. The 360 is a major improvement on the previous Xbox. It’s priced much cheaper, for one. Also, it’s less bulky and more appealingly designed. Microsoft has also boosted hardware capabilities and you can play games with better graphics. It also reduces the need for cables. If the Xbox One S is too expensive for you, 360 is still a great choice.
Whether you want to play games online or watch Netflix, you need to connect your game system to the internet. The Xbox One uses Xbox Live, and the PlayStation 4 uses the PlayStation Network to access online services. In both cases, you need to purchase the premium subscription plan (Xbox Live Gold for Xbox Live, PS Plus for PlayStation Network) to play games online. Both services cost $9.99 per month or $59.99 per year (the better deal by far), and include additional benefits like free games every month.
We researched and evaluated seven gaming consoles to recommend the best ones for your family gaming and entertainment needs. Our overall winner is the Xbox One X. The console has a full artillery of features, powerful hardware and a large selection of current and backwards-compatible games that are fun for new and seasoned gamers of all ages to enjoy. With the Xbox One X, you have access to free apps for streaming videos, listening to music, watching sports, getting gaming news and even chatting online.
In the mid-1990s, various manufacturers shifted to optical media, specifically CD-ROM, for games. Although they were slower at loading game data than the cartridges available at that time, they were significantly cheaper to manufacture and had a larger capacity than the existing cartridge technology. NEC released the first CD-based gaming system, the TurboGrafx-CD (an add-on for the TurboGrafx-16), in December 4, 1988 in Japan and August 1, 1990 in the United States. Sega followed suit with the Sega CD (an add-on for the Sega Genesis) in Japan on December 12, 1991; Commodore stepped into the ring shortly after with the Amiga-CD32, the first 32-bit game console, on September 17, 1993. During the later half of the 1990s, optical media began to supplant cartridges due to their greater storage capacity and cheaper manufacturing costs, with the CD-based PlayStation significantly outpacing the cartridge-based Nintendo 64 in terms of sales. By the early 21st century, all of the major home consoles used optical media, usually DVD-ROM or similar discs, which are widely replacing CD-ROM for data storage. The PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One systems use even higher-capacity Blu-ray optical discs for games and movies, while the Xbox 360 formerly used HD DVDs in the form of an external USB player add-on for video playback before it was discontinued. However, Microsoft still supports those who bought the accessory. Nintendo's GameCube, Wii, and Wii U, meanwhile, use proprietary disc formats based on then-current industry standard discs—the GameCube's discs are based on mini-DVDs, the Wii's on DVDs and the Wii U's are believed to be based on Blu-rays. These discs offer somewhat smaller storage capacities compared to the formats they are based on, though the difference is significantly smaller compared to the gap between the N64's cartridges and CDs.
When the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 first came out, both were used as pawns in the HD DVD/Blu-Ray format war. But since Blu-Ray won out in the end, the PS3 has the retrospective benefit of being the first console to use Blu-Ray discs as the primary storage medium. It was also the first Sony console to integrate a social aspect to gaming with the introduction of the PlayStation Network. Unfortunately, that network was also famously hacked in one of the largest data breaches in history, leaving many users in fear of having their identities stolen and acting as a scar on the story of an otherwise superb gaming console.
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. The proliferation of low-cost games for these devices, such as Angry Birds with over 2 billion downloads worldwide, 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.
Prior to 1985 in the US, Nintendo was a strong name in the arcade with Donkey Kong and it was cleaning up in the toy aisle with its Game & Watch handhelds. But the home console industry was buried under the figurative dust after the industry collapsed on itself, and "videogame" was considered a bad word. Nintendo set to change all that with the Nintendo Entertainment System.
Mattel excelled at marketing the device against Atari to show just how advanced it was, going so far as to hire author George Plimpton as the voice of Intellivision for its advertising campaign. The company also pushed for licenses in its games to strengthen the brand: the company offered MLB, NHL, NFL, and NBA licensed sports games, and even locked down the Tron franchise for a series of games in time for the potentially blockbuster film.
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 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.
With this controller you are not limited to only one way of charging. Now you have different options. To be exact, you have three different ways to charge it. The first one is via micro-USB, which is already used by many. You can also add some juice to your controller when it gets tired through a special charging station. This way you have a dedicated place for your controller that will also charge it. The third option is charging through the console. One benefit of this, among many, is that your console is always close to the controller, so it is easy to put it in. And another good thing is that it charges even when the console is off. That means you can set your PS4 controller in the console, take a break from gaming and come back a few hours later, when it is completely charged.
The gaming community is not without its issues, however. From video game release dates being delayed repeatedly to sexism against female characters and gamers, this dynamic community has as many battles and growing pains to deal with in real life, just as in a video game. But considering how fast this community is growing – and given how many new branches within the community have recently appeared and come to thrive – it’s proof that this is a vibrant community that gamers of any skill level can contribute to, appreciate and share with others.
"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."
The video game console realm is much bigger than you think, ranging from insanely powerful offerings for 4K HDR and virtual reality gaming, through ultra portable picks, all the way to options designed to take you decades down the memory lane. Check out the best picks available on the market at the moment from the likes of Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo, and get ready to get your gaming on!
Arguing about technical specifications for game systems is silly, because different architectures and operating systems, along with a lack of consistent benchmarking across them, makes direct hardware comparisons moot. Game performance and graphical capability is what matters, and at that the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are neck-and-neck. Some games will run slightly better on one, other games slightly better on the other, but both are similar enough that you won't find huge differences between them.
^ Starting with Microsoft's fiscal quarter ending June 2014 (Q4), the company stopped divulging individual platform sales in their fiscal reports. Microsoft stated it will shift focus to the amount of active users on Xbox Live starting in late 2015. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella unveiled at a December 3, 2014 shareholder presentation that 10 million units were sold. Third-party estimates suggest sales reached approximately 25-30 million worldwide by late 2016.
The truth is as well that the PS4 Pro comes incredibly close to taking the Xbox One X's throne, despite not technically being as powerful in terms of raw processing power. That's because while it can't deliver native 4K resolutions, it does have an ace up its sleeve - it's ability to power PlayStation VR, adding in virtual reality gaming. This, on top of arguably an even greater gaming ecosystem that Xbox, makes it a very worthy contender to the best games console throne.
From a slender elf to a trained macho assassin, many people spend a significant part of their life in a virtual world of computer games. Computer games are no longer the attribute of only nerds behind closed blinds but are played today by people of both genders and of all ages. Computer games can gather families for competitions in front of the flat screen and game enthusiasts from all over the world via the Internet, but they can also shield from strangers on the bus or from the complex world outside of the bedroom. Some are sceptic and anxious, while others cannot lower their arms from the excitement about the games’ learning potential.
Everything started with a collaboration with Nintendo. The first game console was introduced in 1994. An innovative platform that brought CD-ROM as a data storage into the market. Marketing was targeted at 15-30-year-old men – and not the children audience that consoles were traditionally oriented towards. This strategy showed to be a huge success and was therefore maintained in connection with the launch of Playstation 2 that came out in 2000. The bestseller sold over 140 million copies. The third one in the series came out in 2007, the forth in 2013.
T3 has reviewed all the best video game consoles going, from Microsoft's 4K powerhouse the Xbox One X, through to Sony's rival PS4 Pro, and onto Nintendo's hot hybrid, the Nintendo Switch, and we've tucked hundreds of hours under our belt playing their best games, too. As such, our tech experts are perfectly positioned to help you find your perfect gaming console.
The Dreamcast was Sega's last video game console and was the first of the generation's consoles to be discontinued. Sega implemented a special type of optical media called the GD-ROM. These discs were created in order to prevent software piracy, which had been more easily done with consoles of the previous generation; however, this format was soon cracked as well. It also sported a 33.6Kb or 56k modem which could be used to access the Internet or play some games that took advantage of this feature, such as Phantasy Star Online, making it the first console with built-in Internet connectivity. An add-on for an Ethernet port allowed one to access broad band Internet though it did not come with the system. The Dreamcast was discontinued in March 2001, and Sega transitioned to software developing/publishing only.