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.
The Nintendo Switch has 50 third-party publishers in partnership for developing its future games. Hits like Mario Kart 8, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Mario Odyssey have given it a strong lineup. The Switch makes for a great system for parties with its mobile snap-off joy-con controllers – once out of its docking station, it acts like a tablet with its own dedicated screen that can be shared with others through split-screen multiplayer games.
The PlayStation is not just another console, it’s the classic gaming console. While Xbox has emerged as a major contender for the top spot, it’s hard to beat the Playstation’s appeal. The PS 4 does not disappoint, unlike the bulky PS 3 did when it was first released. Right out of the box, the PS 4 is capable of 4k Ultra HD gaming! It comes with high dynamic range graphics. If you want to upgrade the graphics of older games, use the “boost” mode on the PS 4. Now you can play games with the PlayStation VR headset for a truly immersive experience.
The Sega Dreamcast was considered one of the most innovative consoles of its time. It was the first gaming system with a built-in modem for online play and Internet support. Creative games like the fast-paced Crazy Taxi and Jet Set Radio (along with the cinematic experience of Shenmue) opened a new world of gaming innovation. Before the XBOX entered the fray, Microsoft offered support to the system, and HALO was originally planned for it. Sadly, on January 31, 2001, Sega announced the discontinuation of the Dreamcast. There is still a dedicated fan base for the Sega Dreamcast where a small handful of independent developers are still making homebrew games for the system.
Nintendo understands that not all consoles are meant for the living room. The current-gen handheld consoles include the New Nintendo 2DS and 3DS XL, as well as the Nintendo Switch. Though the hardware of the DS XLs isn’t comparable to traditional consoles, they allow you to game wherever you are. You can play AAA titles on them, and some even allow for 3D gameplay. If you want something more powerful and versatile, which allows for handheld gameplay as well as traditional couch-and-TV-based gaming, for both solo and multiplayer fun, go with the Switch.
Ask any 90s kid what the best retro multiplayer game console is and they’ll say the Nintendo 64. Before online multiplayer separated people from long distances, games like Mario Party, Golden Eye: 007 and Mario Kart 64 required you and your friends to physically sit next to one another and bond. Every Friday night, kids all around America would invite their friends over for some pepperoni pizza and game for hours on end with their N64.
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.
"I'll never forget the time my launch Xbox 360 red ringed. It was a rainy day in March. I wore my green cardigan and she wore a FEAR faceplate. It was love. True love. But then she died on me. Maybe I pushed her power button one too many times. I couldn't help myself – I liked playing games in HD and with Microsoft's amazing online service. She just couldn't handle the strain. Sure, she was easy to replace. And so was the next one that died. But I'll never forget my first. Especially not after I had a picture of her red rings tattooed on my chest. Rest in peace, little 360. Rest in peace."
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.
Created by famed gaming company SNK, Neo-Geo is interesting in that their system was launched in two different formats. There was the MVS (Multi Video System), which was a traditional coin-operated arcade cabinet that could support 6 different games at a time, and the AES (Advanced Entertainment System), what started as a rent-only platform in Japan and would become their home console. At the time, the AES was the most powerful gaming system ever launched. But, though it had an impressive lineup of excellent games, it suffered in the U.S. due to its extremely high sale price – $650 (roughly $1,250 today). Regardless, the Neo-Geo is something of a cult classic, which was only bolstered by the portable version of their console.
^ Dvorak, John (September 1999). "The Riddle of the Lynx". Computer Shopper. SX2 Media Labs: 97. ISSN 0886-0556. Archived from the original on 2014-06-11. Retrieved February 13, 2014. (Subscription required (help)). The Jaguar looked to be a winner, with popular new games and hot sales. Around June of 1994 the company decided to stop supporting the Lynx and concentrate on the Jaguar.
eBay offers a wide range of games for all systems. Best-selling new releases like Batman: Return to Arkham or LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens, as well as classic old-school RPG video games like Baldur's Gate or The Elder Scrolls series are affordably priced on eBay. As technology moves at a rapid pace, many consoles get discontinued and become impossible to buy at regular stores. Here's where eBay comes in. Here can find an ongoing auction for any kind of game console you can think of. Looking for a video game from your childhood? It's yours again with a few clicks! With eBay, there's no such thing as obsolete software because you can always buy the obsolete hardware to go with it!
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.
Sony's first foray into the console market kicked off a big change in the long-time, one-on-one war of Nintendo versus SEGA. Not only did the system help open up the doors for Microsoft to enter the market in the following generation, but it also helped transition the industry to a disc-based format, introduced the Dual Shock controller and its classic form (which is still being used and mimicked to this day), and introduced a number of incredibly important and classic titles. Like the SEGA Saturn and Nintendo 64, the PlayStation was among the generation of consoles that helped bring gaming from the 2D days of old to the current 3D content that we're still playing to this day.
"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."
The Master System was essentially a conduit for SEGA to get its arcade hits into the home. Even though the Master System did not have the horsepower to completely replicate the experience of SEGA's enviable stable of arcade smashes like OutRun and Space Harrier, there was no other place to play these games outside of an arcade. But SEGA also released plenty of great, original games for the console over its lifespan, including Alex Kidd in Miracle World and one of the greatest role-playing games of all-time, Phantasy Star. However, thanks to Nintendo's iron-grip agreements, few third-party publishers ever supported the machine and software came out at a very frustrating pace. Months could go by between major releases and that made a dud on the Master System feel even more painful.
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 games combine skills and speed of teams that are trying to dominate over one another. Unreal Tournament, Quake, Half-Life, Counter-Strike – and today, also Call of Duty, Battlefield and Halo are all well-known and notorious names to the gamers – and to parents – for their violent approach. FPS games are leading in graphics and remain the coolest and the most dangerous in the gaming world.
Though it holds only 4GB, the Xbox 360 E console is expandable with an added on media hard drive up to 500 GB. The Xbox 360 E console is a nice staple in the current gaming console market, with over 1,200 Xbox 360 games in its library and counting, on-demand HD movies, TV streaming, as well as a built-in DVD player so gamers will never get bored. Though the Xbox 360 is nearing its lifespan on the current market, its latest model is a well-established updated version of its former self, bettering it in every way from reliability to price, and assuring a long life to come as a complete console.
Many games on new consoles feature online multiplayer gameplay. This means the player is competing against or with other players over the internet and often involves interaction, either via instant messaging and/or voice communications via headsets. This can be restricted using parental controls settings to avoid children playing against people they don’t know, which could open them up to the risk of grooming or bullying.
For a good 10-something years, Nintendo was the undisputed champion of the home video game console market, thanks to their brilliant marketing, exclusives strategy, and overall tech. But the closest they ever came to being dethroned in that time was at the hands of Sega and their Genesis console. Granted the SNES still outsold the Genesis by around 20 million units, but that was a big deal for the much smaller game developer. The Genesis also introduced the world to one of the mainstays of gaming that’s still around today, Sonic the Hedgehog. This gaming machine would go on to become Sega’s greatest achievement from a hardware perspective and still sparks debate today over whether it or the SNES was a better console.
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.
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.