The 16-bit era saw Nintendo at the peak of its creativity, releasing popular acclaimed games like The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and Super Metroid alongside cult hits like Earthbound. Third-party companies didn’t take a backseat, with Square Enix’ Final Fantasy VI and Konami’s Super Castlevania IV among the best games of the entire decade.
Given that there’s a relatively small selection of games for each console that take full advantage of these features, we currently do not recommend that you buy a new TV for the sake of high-resolution console gaming. Currently, no game console requires you to own a 4K or HDR-compatible TV, so you can buy that new console and hold off on buying the TV until you’ve done more research, found games you feel are worth upgrading for, or are otherwise ready to commit.
"I remember getting the dreadful 2600 version of Donkey Kong for Christmas and seeing the god awful Intellivision edition at my friends place. And then I saw the game come out as a pack-in for the Colecovision. Even when I was 10 I knew there was shenanigans at play – clearly Coleco intentionally sabotaged the other versions to make sure that Coleco's own console version was the one everyone wanted. It worked: I really, really wanted a Colecovision after playing its version of Donkey Kong at a toy store. "
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.
"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."
Nintendo has come along way from its eight-bit handheld Gameboy system to its now robust and powerful face-tracking, 3D-capable, Wi-Fi-enabled Nintendo 3DS XL system. It can play local and online multiplayer, so you and other 3DS owners around the world or in the neighborhood can play games such as Super Smash Bros and Mario Kart 7. The Nintendo 3DS XL measures 1.5 x 7.1 x 5.1 inches, weighs 1.1 pounds and comes in a variety of unique colors.
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.
Will Greenwald has been covering consumer technology for a decade, and has served on the editorial staffs of CNET.com, Sound & Vision, and Maximum PC. His work and analysis has been seen in GamePro, Tested.com, Geek.com, and several other publications. He currently covers consumer electronics in the PC Labs as the in-house home entertainment expert... See Full Bio
We’ve tested gaming consoles rigorously for over four years. Our most recent evaluations took over 80 hours. Our writer and product tester is a lifetime avid gamer who thoroughly researched and tested each of the consoles, pushing each to their limit to test their quality, features, performance and ease of use. We considered each console’s interface, gaming and video playback, exclusives, price features and overall ease of use, all while examining how effective each console would be for users of all gaming experience levels and budgets.
The Nintendo Switch is the first Nintendo console to utilize a paid online system instead of a free one. The new service is necessary to play online, and allows users to play emulated games from the Virtual Console service. The paid service was officially launched in 2018, although a free trial of many of its features had been available up until then. The system offers digital software downloads through the Nintendo eShop directly from the console, cloud save backups, and facilitates voice chat and party matching in multiplayer online titles such as Splatoon 2, through use of an external smartphone application.
Nintendo's Wii was released in North America on November 19, 2006, in Japan on December 2, 2006, in Australia on December 7, 2006, and in Europe on December 8, 2006. It is bundled with Wii Sports in all regions except for Japan. Unlike the other systems of the seventh generation, the Wii does not support an internal hard drive, but instead uses 512 MB of internal Flash memory and includes support for removable SD card storage. It also has a maximum resolution output of 480p, making it the only seventh generation console not able to output high-definition graphics. Along with its lower price, the Wii is notable for its unique controller, the Wii Remote, which resembles a TV remote. The system uses a "sensor bar" that emits infrared light that is detected by an infrared camera in the Wii Remote to determine orientation relative to the source of the light. All models, other than the Wii Family Edition and the Wii Mini, are backwards compatible with GameCube games and support up to four GameCube controllers and two memory cards. It also includes the Virtual Console, which allows the purchase and downloading of games from older systems, including those of former competitors. In 2009, Nintendo introduced the 'Wii MotionPlus' expansion, which uses the same technology as the console previously used, but with enhanced motion tracking and sensing to improve gameplay quality.
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.
"I never owned a TurboGrafx and never wanted one, but I do remember one of my co-workers' eyes lighting up when he was describing to me Bonk's Adventure after he went and saw it at a retailer's show. His animated description was enough for me to get excited along with him, and when it eventually came out I was right there with him all jazzed about this crazy prehistoric platformer."
While Sony and Microsoft were battling it out over social networks, graphical and processing capabilities, and a pair of failed motion-camera peripherals, Nintendo was quietly working on what would go down as their most innovative console to date. The Wii was released to wildly successful sales, so much so that they hadn’t actually produced enough consoles to meet demand. And while the controller scheme was foreign to gamers as a whole, it worked well and turned the Wii into something of a party console – which people turned to for entertainment when they had company over. In fact, the game that shipped with the console (Wii Sports) would end up being one of its all-time most popular games. And for good reason: it was a hell of a lot of fun.
^ "Coleco Industries sales report" (Press release). PR Newswire. April 17, 1984. Archived from the original on November 4, 2013. Retrieved November 3, 2013. 'First quarter sales of ColecoVision were substantial, although much less that [sic] those for the year ago quarter,' Greenberg said in a prepared statement. He said the company has sold 2 million ColecoVision games since its introduction in 1982.
The Xbox One X contains six trillion floating point operations per second with 326GB/s and 12GB GDDR5 RAM, giving it the most graphical horsepower in rendering native 4K HD graphics at 60 frames per second. This makes games like Call Of Duty: WWII have a heightened sense of realism, detailing everything from flowing hair, rays of the sun and clothing fiber. All Xbox One games are compatible and run better on the Xbox One X in Full HD display as well. Microsoft even plans on bringing Original Xbox and Xbox 360 backward compatibility to the system too.
Doubling as a Blu-ray/DVD player with built-in Wi-Fi, the PlayStation 3 currently has a library of over 1,400 games. This is not including its playable PlayStation 2 library of 3,874 games and PlayStation One with 2,513. The versatile and current gaming console still packs a punch, delivering a powerful home entertainment system not only good for gaming, but video chat, Internet access, digital photo viewing and digital audio and video.
During this time home computers gained greater prominence as a way of playing video games. The gaming console industry nonetheless continued to thrive alongside home computers, due to the advantages of much lower prices, easier portability, circuitry specifically dedicated towards gaming, the ability to be played on a television set (which PCs of the time could not do in most cases), and intensive first party software support from manufacturers who were essentially banking their entire future on their consoles.