We do test them, of course. We’ve spent a lot of time playing video games on these consoles and even more thinking about what they can do. We make sure that everything we like about these products works and delivers like advertised. That includes playing all kinds of games, checking the quality of the internet connectivity, factoring in quality and quantity of exclusives, and checking if developers are currently making games for the platform.
The library of original titles introduced on the PlayStation can read like a history lesson in videogames. The likes of Metal Gear Solid, Gran Turismo, Resident Evil, Tony Hawk and much, much more were seen here for the first time, and these franchises continue to be some of the biggest in all of gaming. Were it not for the PlayStation, a number of genres that we take for granted these days may never have come to fruition, or at least been popularized so well.
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.
Current-gen consoles offer top-tier gaming and premium graphics but for an equally premium price. If you’re watching your budget, consider second-generation consoles like the Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii U or PlayStation 3. You can also opt for a handheld console. Though they lack the power of high-end consoles, the New Nintendo 2DS and 3DS XL both have extensive game libraries and great functionality, and they let you game anywhere.
The PlayStation 4 Pro version antes up the frame rates for its PS4 games – many to 60 fps – bringing 4K high definition gaming and video streaming, as well as twice the GPU power of a standard PS4. The PlayStation 4’s huge library includes 1,648 games, all of which can be played in HD with its Pro version. The system is also good for its multimedia functionality, playing Blu-ray discs, as well as streaming TV, music and more with dedicated apps and downloadable games on its PlayStation Store. Due to its popularity, there’s always someone willing to play online with you, so you’ll never miss out on the fun.
It isn't difficult to prove why the software lineup was so successful considering the recent release and success of Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection. Just tick down the list and you'll find a bundle of absolutely brilliant games. The Phantasy Star and Shining Force series combined to offer role playing options that were equal to, if not better than anything available from the competition and titles like Ecco the Dolphin and Comix Zone offered dashes of edgy action that were highly original at the time.
While it doesn’t quite have the oomph to play the latest 4K, 60 fps releases for Xbox One or PS4, the Switch can play Doom (2016) at a smooth 30 fps anywhere you want to, and that’s more than good enough for a lot of gamers. In addition to contemporary titles like the Wolfenstein II port, the Switch has also proved itself as a fantastic venue for reviving modern classics, such as Skyrim, L.A. Noire, and Dark Souls Remastered.
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.
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.
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.
"Mere weeks after I bought the Dreamcast, my VMU--or "Virtual Memory Unit," aka memory card with a useless LCD screen--started beeping at me in desperate want of new batteries. I never even unplugged the thing from the controller, must've shipped with bum batteries. I dutifully loaded the VMU with a fresh set, and in less than a month it was beeping again. That was the only time I bothered, and now that beeping triggers in me a response not too unlike the salivation of Pavlov's dogs. Except I pine for Marvel vs. Capcom 2, not Kibbles 'n Bits. "
The price tag reflected the power of the system: the NeoGeo home console cost more than 800 dollars, with individual games exceeding $200 a piece. The justification for the price was in the physical size of the games: where Super NES and Genesis cartridges were as large as 16 megabits in size at the time, NeoGeo games could get as big as 330 megabits…more than 20 times bigger!
Enter the Nintendo Wii, a system that put much more emphasis on the user interface than it did on the high definition, surround sound experience. The way we play was the biggest change to what we play: the idea was to introduce something that anyone could pick up and understand, and with the new input, it was hoped, a new market would form and a new audience would step forward to play games.
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.
While Microsoft’s first attempt at a console was a valiant effort, the original Xbox was an insanely bulky and heavy brick that definitely scored at the bottom when it came to looks. The follow-up 360, however, took everything that was great about the first iteration and improved upon it – including a complete aesthetic makeover. This console was to the Playstation 3 what the Genesis was to the SNES, only more so – because it actually got a lot of loyal Sony fans to switch over to Xbox. Unfortunately, the 360’s relative flop of a successor would all but reverse the script back in Sony’s favor. Still, the 360 is Microsoft’s crowning achievement in the gaming console wars and will certainly go down as one of the best consoles ever – despite the “red ring of death” that plagued so many of the systems.
In 1983, the video game business suffered a much more severe crash. A flood of low-quality video games by smaller companies (especially for the 2600), industry leader Atari hyping games such as E.T and a 2600 version of Pac-Man that were poorly received, and a growing number of home computer users caused consumers and retailers to lose faith in video game consoles. Most video game companies filed for bankruptcy, or moved into other industries, abandoning their game consoles. A group of employees from Mattel Electronics formed the INTV Corporation and bought the rights for the Intellivision. INTV alone continued to manufacture the Intellivision in small quantities and release new Intellivision games until 1991. All other North American game consoles were discontinued by 1984. Revenues generated by the video game industry fell by 97% during the crash.