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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 N64 was a bit of a dud, but I was still stoked about GameCube's release when I was a senior in high school in 2001 (especially with that big, ugly black and green box coming out in the same week). The console went underappreciated for its entire lifecycle, but I never understood why. By the time I was a young college student, I dumped hundreds of hours into the likes of Eternal Darkness, Wind Waker, Viewtiful Joe and, of course, Resident Evil 4. Thankfully, my grades didn't suffer as a result."
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.
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.
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.
"It's sad the TG-16 didn't catch on here, but after being the most popular game system in Japan (where it was called PC Engine), NEC was sure it was going to explode in the U.S. Developers and publishers I spoke at the time said that NEC was hard to work with and charged high fees to put games on the system, so many of them decided to wait for the TG-16 to build for a larger user base before devoting their efforts to it, which in turn made for a pretty weak game library at its debut (and with few third-party games). It's very likely that NEC's cocky attitude ended up destroying the potential for a game console that should have sold much better here."
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.
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.
A handheld game console is a lightweight device with a built-in screen, games controls, speakers, and has greater portability than a standard video game console. It is capable of playing multiple games unlike tabletop and handheld electronic game devices. Tabletop and handheld electronic game devices of the 1970s and 1980s are the precursors of handheld game consoles. Mattel introduced the first handheld electronic game with the 1977 release of Auto Race. Later, several companies—including Coleco and Milton Bradley—made their own single-game, lightweight tabletop or handheld electronic game devices. The oldest handheld game console with interchangeable cartridges is the Milton Bradley Microvision in 1979. Nintendo is credited with popularizing the handheld console concept with the Game Boy's release in 1989 and continues to dominate the handheld console market.
^ 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.
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.
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.
Nintendo is the obvious choice for family-friendly gaming. It’s known for the kid-safe titles in its library, like the Mario, Donkey Kong and Pokémon franchises as well as other arcade classics that typically don’t have unsavory content. The Nintendo Switch also has a ton of exclusive and indie titles available that kids should enjoy, although it is slightly pricier than the DS consoles. The Switch supports both solo and multiplayer gaming on its small screen, and you can choose to play it on your TV or handheld on the go. With their small designs and simple interfaces, the Nintendo consoles are great options for younger kids.
Perhaps more than anything else, the Saturn was a gem for importers and hardcore gamers. The hardware's architecture made it inferior to the PlayStation for three dimensional games (like the popular Tomb Raider) but many proud Saturn owners knew that it was the only console to enjoy the best versions of many 2D fighters, just ask any real Street Fighter fan.
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.
Nintendo was the last to release a fifth generation console with their Nintendo 64, and when they finally released their console in North America, it came with only two launch titles. Partly to curb piracy and partly as a result of Nintendo's failed disc projects with Sony (as SNES-CD) and Philips, Nintendo used cartridges for their console. The higher cost of cartridges drove many third party developers to the PlayStation. The Nintendo 64 could handle 3D polygons better than any console released before it, but its games often lacked the cut-scenes, soundtracks, and voice-overs that became standard on PlayStation discs. Nintendo released several highly acclaimed titles, such as Super Mario 64 and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and the Nintendo 64 was able to sell tens of millions of units on the strength of first-party titles alone, but its constant struggles against Sony would make the Nintendo 64 the last home console to use cartridges as a medium for game distribution until the Nintendo Switch in 2017.
Fairchild released the Fairchild Video Entertainment System (VES) in 1976. While there had been previous game consoles that used cartridges, either the cartridges had no information and served the same function as flipping switches (the Odyssey) or the console itself was empty (Coleco Telstar) and the cartridge contained all of the game components. The VES, however, contained a programmable microprocessor so its cartridges only needed a single ROM chip to store microprocessor instructions. RCA and Atari soon released their own cartridge-based consoles, the RCA Studio II and the Atari 2600 (originally branded as the Atari Video Computer System), respectively.