Aside from the usual hardware enhancements, consoles of the eighth generation focus on further integration with other media and increased connectivity.[58] The Wii U introduced a controller/tablet hybrid whose features include the possibility of augmented reality in gaming.[59] The PlayStation 4 is Sony's eighth generation console, featuring a "share" button to stream video game content between devices, released on November 15, 2013. Microsoft released their next generation console, the Xbox One, on November 22, 2013.[60] On March 3, 2017, following poor sales of the Wii U, Nintendo released the Nintendo Switch, a 'hybrid' console consisting of a tablet with controller attachments that can be used as a mobile device or connected to a television via a dock.
You could also pick up a mini retro console like the NES Classic Mini or the SNES Classic Mini. These come preloaded with games, which means you can't buy extra titles for them, so they're a bit more limited. They're also less powerful than modern consoles, don't connect to the internet, and are designed with retro-loving big kids in mind. Still, little ones will probably still find them fun too.
^ Associated Press (October 19, 1985). "Coleco's Net In Sharp Rise". The New York Times. p. 45. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 13, 2014. Thursday, Coleco said the entire inventory of its troubled Adam personal computer has been sold, along with much of its Colecovision inventory. The company's chairman, Arnold Greenberg, said Coleco expects no more charges against earnings from the two discontinued products.
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.
Microsoft kicked off the seventh generation with the release of the Xbox 360 on November 22, 2005, in the United States, December 2, 2005, in Europe, December 10, 2005, in Japan and March 23, 2006, in Australia. It featured market-leading processing power until the Sony PlayStation 3 was released one year later. While the original Xbox 360 "Core" did not include an internal HDD, most Xbox 360 models since have included at least the option to have one. The Xbox 360 optical drive is a DVD9 reader, allowing DVD movies to be played. No Blu-ray drive was included, making big games like Battlefield and Wolfenstein: The New Order require two or more DVDs to play. Up to four controllers can be connected to the console wirelessly on the standard 2.4 GHz spectrum. There are 4 discontinued versions of the Xbox 360: the "Arcade," the "Pro," and the "Elite," and the newer "S" or 'slim' model. The "E" version of the Xbox 360 included 3 configurations: a 4GB internal SSD version which acts like a USB hard drive, a 250 GB HDD version, and a branded 320 GB HDD version. The Xbox 360 is backward compatible with about half the games of the original Xbox library. In 2010, Microsoft released Kinect, allowing for motion-controlled games. The Xbox 360 was discontinued on April 20, 2016.
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.
After the sluggish sales in Japan, Sega pursued a different strategy in other areas. The system launched in North America with 18 titles, including the much-anticipated Sonic Adventure. A big part of marketing their system to North America was taking advantage of the turn of the century and North America's tendency to end a products price tag with the number 9. They came up with the slogan "9/9/99 for $199", and the system initially sold briskly. Despite Japan having a year head start on North America, by the end of 1999 the Dreamcast had sold 2 million units in North America versus only 1 million in Japan, and at the end of the year Sega controlled 31% of the American video game market. The Dreamcast went on to launch in Europe on October 14, 1999 and in Australia on November 30, 1999.
"The 2600 had a lot of fabulous games, and I remember playing River Raid so much that I had a callous between my thumb and index finger from the base of the not-too-ergonomic 2600 joystick rubbing on it. But I think the game we played the most was Maze Craze, which randomly generated a new maze every game and offered some great competitive multiplayer gameplay (for its time). That was perhaps the first "party game"—at least at our house."

The Atari 7800 was a sleek and capable videogame console released in 1986. While it had a solid offering of its own games, the 7800 featured a prime system feature: full, built-in compatibility with the Atari 2600. While consoles of the past could play Atari 2600 games through the use of an optional adapter, the 7800 accepted these cartridges right in the main slot and played them without any extra add-ons.
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 is admittedly strange-looking and we can’t begin to fathom what the designers were thinking when creating the controller, the Magnavox Odyssey still ranks amongst the best systems of all time for one simple reason: it was the absolute first commercial home gaming console. In fact, though Pong is technically a separate IP, the Odyssey featured the first ping-pong style video game. Truth be told, the short list of games for the system, numbered 28 in total, were more like novelties than the fully-fledged experiences of later consoles. Whatever the case, this Magnavox-built gaming machine was revolutionary, and that makes it special.
After we decided on, ordered, and finally, received all the parts, the time came for the actual build. As opposed to some builds we've done in the past, no one unusual component in this system added a twist or caused trouble. We've installed strange coolers and built in constraining cases, but the parts in this desktop are straightforward. Because of that, we weren't especially wary going in—but you never know what a build will throw at you.
Stepping up to 4K gaming requires paying a premium, however. The PS4 Pro tacks an extra $100 onto the price, while the Xbox One X adds $200. That means 4K gaming and enhanced PlayStation VR performance on the PlayStation 4 (recommended for the excellent Tetris Effect) will cost you $400, while experiencing Forza Horizon 4 in 4K on the Xbox One will run $500.
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.

Action-adventures is a mixed genre. The reason we include them separately, is that there are so many of these games, that they make up their own genre. Here action element (often in the form of a shooter) is combined with adventure element, where the player needs to solve different tasks. Action-adventure games take their point of departure in many types of fiction genres like gangster genre (Grand Theft Auto), modern action (Tomb Raider) and horror genre (Resident Evil).
In many ways, the case you choose sets the tone for the whole build. It's obviously the most visual piece of the puzzle, so its aesthetic determines the theme and color scheme. Because of the need for some camera-friendly flash, we went with the Lian Li Alpha 550W chassis. This midsize tower was a big factor in deciding to go with a black-and-white theme for the rest of the parts—a clean, modern style.
"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."
Game cartridges consist of a printed circuit board housed inside of a plastic casing, with a connector allowing the device to interface with the console. The circuit board can contain a wide variety of components. All cartridge games contain at the minimum, read only memory with the software written on it. Many cartridges also carry components that increase the original console's power, such as extra RAM or a coprocessor. Components can also be added to extend the original hardware's functionality[81] (such as gyroscopes, rumble packs, tilt-sensors, light sensors, etc.); this is more common on handheld consoles where the user does not interact with the game through a separate video game controller.[82] Cartridges were the first external media to be used with home consoles and remained the most common until continued improvements in capacity in 1995 (the Nintendo 64, released in 1996, was the last mainstream game console to use cartridges).[83] Nevertheless, the relatively high manufacturing costs and limited data capacity compared to optical media at the time saw them completely replaced by the latter for home consoles by the early 21st century, although they are still in use in some handheld video game consoles and in the Nintendo Switch. Due to the aforementioned capabilities of cartridges such as more memory and coprocessors, those factors make it harder to reverse engineer consoles to be used on emulators.

The PlayStation 4 goes a step further, however, with a dedicated Share button right on the DualShock 4 controller. At any point you can tap it to save the last 15 minutes of gameplay, grab a screenshot of what you're playing, or start streaming live to PSN or Twitch. The longer capture length and more convenient setup makes the PS4 the better system for recording or streaming your games.
Currently, the PS4 has the better library of exclusives between the two, though this will obviously depend on your taste. Fantastic games like God of War, Spider-Man, and Tetris Effect came out last year on the PS4 (and only the PS4), along with several other excellent console exclusives since launch like Bloodbourne, Horizon: Zero Dawn, and Until Dawn.
Nintendo's little, purple cube-shaped videogame console is sometimes criticized because it looked almost toy-ish and lacked some technical features present in competing systems -- like, for example, a digital output. But the truth is, GCN was, despite its cute exterior, a very powerful games player which housed an impressive number of outstanding, unforgettable games. GameCube not only marked Nintendo's departure from cartridge-based home systems, a significant development for a company used to following its own path, but the platform's cutting-edge internal guts -- namely the IBM-developed "Gekko" CPU and ATI-created "Flipper" GPU -- have enjoyed one of the longest shelf lives in the history of the industry; it is, after all, this same technology, slightly enhanced, that powers Wii.
"Not since the launch of the Dreamcast had I been as excited to get a new console as I was when the Wii debuted. It looked fresh -- and fresh was definitely something I needed. (Let's face it, how many games have felt truly "new" since the original Jet Set Radio?) I still believe in the machine and think hardcore gamers don't give it the respect it deserves, partially due to loads of shovelware (that Nintendo should have pushed back against from Day One), but also partly because it's easy to poke fun of it. Waggle is for teh babys. Haha. Oh well. It's their loss because there truly are some magnificent videogames on the Wii."
And so, after a lot of rationalizing and budget-slicing, we ended up with a Founders Edition GeForce GTX 1070. Its $399 price means some concessions to storage and memory, but we felt it was worth making them. A graphics card is the main factor in the performance ceiling of a gaming machine, and going with a solid but not great option didn't sit right. This card also allows you to play at a higher resolution than 1080p with better frame rates (say, if you have a 1440p monitor). On the flip side, you might feel, understandably, that a GTX 1060 is plenty for this type of rig—and that choice gives you $100 to put toward other components. Our reviews at the link will give you an idea of the frame rates you will achieve with the different cards in different games.
But the good times were not to last and the skyrocket trajectory of the Atari 2600 was partially to blame. With videogames white-hot, everybody wanted in. And Atari did not have any solid quality-control mechanisms in place. No game epitomizes this lack quite like E.T., a licensed title that was forced to market after a five-week development cycle. Atari took a bath on E.T. and consumers started to sour on the breath of subpar games clogging shelves. Thus began the great video game crash of 1983 which laid waste to the entire industry.
It’s a great choice for serious console gamers and those who just want to watch the latest shows from streaming services or enjoy other online apps. The One X is smaller and more stylish than its predecessor, the One S. It also eliminated the annoying power brick that was the hallmark of older consoles. In fact, this console was designed to be closer to a gaming PC than a traditional console, and it’s got the hardware to back it up. It has an AMD Polaris GPU with 6 teraflops of computer power, a 2.3GHz eight-core AMD Jaguar processor, 8GB of flash memory, 12GB of GDDR5 RAM and 1TB of HDD storage. It supports 4K gameplay and video playback with HDR for the cleanest and sharpest video no matter what you’re using the console for. The Xbox One X offers a huge library of new and classic cross-platform titles and indie games. Though the console is not known for its exclusive games, Xbox offers a multitude of backwards-compatible options so long-time gamers can easily access cherished older titles like Halo: Reach, Bayonetta, Super Meat Boy and Fable II. The console also offers extensive apps that non-gamers can use to watch videos, read news, listen to music and chat with friends online.
As the name suggests, shooter games are about shooting. You have to be fast on the trigger. This applies, no matter if you are on a space station far into the future or at the front in the Second World War, where the bullets are flying past your ears. Shoot or be shot. That is the essence of it. Shooter games are often played with others, and here is where the game activity becomes about more than just mastering the techniques. For example, when playing in a team, it is also important to coordinate your actions with teammates and complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
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.
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.
One of the Master System's quirkiest (and coolest) features, though, was the 3D Glasses peripheral. The thick, wraparound shades may have looked a little clunky from the outside, but the effect was positively stunning. Sadly, like the Master System itself, the peripheral was under-supported with just over a half-dozen games, including Maze Hunter 3D and Space Harrier 3D.
There is no question of sitting carefully on a chair when you play with the wireless gamepads equipped with movement detectors (Wiimote control system). With Wii, you can play tennis, do yoga, boxing or jog, the Wii Fit game also provides you with a virtual coach to guide you install a complete training programme. This game console can store your user profile and enables you to test your physical condition.
Sony couldn’t have dreamt up a better follow-up to their original home gaming console than the PlayStation 2. In fact, this console still sits at the top in regards to numbers, having sold more than any other console in existence – home, handheld, or otherwise. It’s true, however, that those numbers may have been helped by the fact that there weren’t much in the way of competitor’s releases for years – though not by much, as the performance of the gaming machine stands on its own. This console was also the birthplace of some of the most memorable games of all time, including a concept that seemed too strange to work, but ended up being a smash hit: the Disney/Square Enix action RPG, Kingdom Hearts.

The Atari 7800 was originally designed to succeed the Atari 5200 in 1984, but the system's launch was shelved when Atari was sold to new owners who wanted to focus on the computer market instead. The console was, instead, officially launched two years later in response to Nintendo and SEGA entering the US home console market with the Nintendo Entertainment System and Master System respectively. Many of the console's planned features, such as a high score saving cartridge, were never released.
The Atari 5200 was designed and marketed as Atari's answer to the Intellivision, but soon after its release in 1982, it became a more direct competitor to the Colecovision instead, which released that same year. The 5200 had some notable feature variations over its competitors, however, such as its analog joystick, four controller ports, and start, pause, and reset buttons. Based off of the Atari 400/800 home computer systems, the Atari 5200 came with a 1.79 MHz processor, 16KB of RAM, and was capable of producing an image with a maximum resolution of 320x192 pixels. While that may not sound like a lot now with consoles like the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 boasting high-end processors and video output of 1920x1080 resolution, but at the time it blew away the Intellivision's sub-1MHz processor.
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.
You can keep it in its dock to enjoy gaming in TV mode, remove it from its dock to play it in handheld mode or flip out its kickstand and set it on a table. The Switch’s battery life is decent but not outstanding and can last for anywhere from 2.5 to 6.5 hours depending on how intense the game is. The Switch’s controllers – called Joy-Cons – are equally versatile. Each one can slide onto a side of the tablet, creating a comfortable and immersive handheld experience. Or you and a friend can each use a Joy-Con for multiplayer fun. The Switch also comes with a controller frame that you can slide the Joy-Cons onto, or you can buy the Pro controller for a more traditional experience. With the Switch, Nintendo continues its tradition of making gaming devices with simple, intuitive interfaces and family-friendly game titles. You’ll have access to exclusive game franchises like Mario, Xenoblade Chronicles and Zelda. Additionally, Nintendo has now opened the door for third-party indie developers to create games for the Switch, so you’ll have access to additional titles – and even cross-platform titles like Splatoon 2, Disgaea 5, Rayman Legends, Minecraft, Stardew Valley and Skyrim.

It's also worth mentioning that like the PlayStation 2 and DVDs before it, the PlayStation 3 put Blu-ray players into millions of homes world-wide and helped it overtake HD-DVD as the HD format war winner. Coupled with downloadable videos via the PlayStation Network, the PlayStation 3 also serves as much more than a gaming device, which is certainly a plus.
With it, you can browse games in the Official PlayStation Store, which has access to over 500 titles for when you need something new to play. You’ll have access to cross-platform titles, indie games and re-releases from past consoles along with more exclusive titles than any other console on the market, including Uncharted, Spider-Man and Driveclub. Though the console is the largest on the market, its modern design makes it look slim. Plus, its matte black exterior helps it blend in with your other electronics. It ships with a 1TB hard drive, though you can opt to upgrade it to 2TB or plug in an external hard drive. Inside, you’ll find a 2.1GHz eight-core AMD Jaguar CPU and a 4.2 TFLOP AMD Radeon-based graphics card, which is paired with 8GB of GDDR5 RAM. The powerful system consistently maintains 1080p output and high frame rates. The updated DualShock 4 controller boasts Bluetooth connectivity and can charge via micro-USB so you aren’t permanently tethered to your console. The glowing light bar located along the front of each controller helps identify player one from player two, and even adds a little atmospheric lighting. New features on the controller include a capacitive touch pad, a 3.5mm audio jack, a built-in speaker and a dedicated screen capture button for saving screenshots and sharing them online.
"Not since the launch of the Dreamcast had I been as excited to get a new console as I was when the Wii debuted. It looked fresh -- and fresh was definitely something I needed. (Let's face it, how many games have felt truly "new" since the original Jet Set Radio?) I still believe in the machine and think hardcore gamers don't give it the respect it deserves, partially due to loads of shovelware (that Nintendo should have pushed back against from Day One), but also partly because it's easy to poke fun of it. Waggle is for teh babys. Haha. Oh well. It's their loss because there truly are some magnificent videogames on the Wii."
Coming to an insurmountable obstacle in the middle of a live video because of a missing, incompatible, or broken component is the ultimate nightmare—thankfully, that hasn't happened to us yet!. But it's fun to take live questions through Facebook, talk to viewers, and make our build as watchable as possible while we work on it at a reasonable pace. In my experience, it's been an entertaining challenge—as long as we don't make any glaring errors! If we do, we can count on our viewers to let us know. Right away.
We all love a clean and flexible setup. This is what Reddit user u/cfbModsAreAssMyDude’s first build looks like. The wireless keyboard and mouse keeps up the clean aesthetic and ensures there aren’t any unneeded wires hanging around; it looks really clean because of this. Plus, the wall mount lets you change the monitor from portrait to landscape easily-- perfect for streamers and other productivity use.

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


Home computers have long used magnetic storage devices. Both tape drives and floppy disk drives were common on early microcomputers. Their popularity is in large part because a tape drive or disk drive can write to any material it can read. However, magnetic media is volatile and can be more easily damaged than game cartridges or optical discs.[88] Among the first consoles to use magnetic media were the Bally Astrocade and APF-M1000, both of which could use cassette tapes through expansions. In Bally's case, this allowed the console to see new game development even after Bally dropped support for it. While magnetic media remained limited in use as a primary form of distribution, three popular subsequent consoles also had expansions available to allow them to use this format. The Starpath Supercharger can load Atari 2600 games from audio cassettes; Starpath used it to cheaply distribute their own games from 1982 to 1984 and today it is used by many programmers to test, distribute, and play homebrew software. The Disk System, a floppy disk-reading add-on to the Famicom (as the NES was known in Japan), was released by Nintendo in 1986 for the Japanese market. Nintendo sold the disks cheaply and sold vending machines where customers could have new games written to their disks up to 500 times.[89] In 1999, Nintendo released another Japan-only floppy disk add-on, the Nintendo 64DD, for the Nintendo 64.
Bought as a present for someone who's very much into 8-bit retro gaming and he loves it. Console itself looks good and it all works perfectly. Would have been nice if the wireless joysticks weren't quite so directional - but more of a minor gripe. Joysticks are authentic Atari i.e. adequate but not great. There are joystick ports on the front so you could use any better ones you may have kicking around. One thing to watch is that the TV connectors are AV rather than HDMI (wasn't an issue for me).
PS4 controller is the first one to introduce a light function. This function can show different colours that serve different purposes, depending on the game you play. For example, they can notify the player about critical messages like not having a lot of life left in the game. These lights also ensure that the position of the controller in relation to the console is read even more precisely than before.
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During its life, the Jaguar managed to make a few cases for a purchase with a couple of solid efforts from id software, Rebellion, and psychedelic visual artist Jeff Minter. Atari's mismanagement of the hardware and company, its lack of internal development teams, its inability to secure key third-party developers, a disastrously terrible pack-in title called Cybermorph, and the fact that the Jaguar system was insanely difficult to program efficiently all played a part in the system's demise.
"I was in line at Best Buy the morning the GameCube was released. The next few months was a glorious time, filled with Rogue Leader and Pikmin. I couldn't be bothered to buy a PS2 until a year later, and only then because it doubled as a DVD player. Those were the days when we actually got together to play games together in the same room, and the GameCube was simply the better console for that with titles like Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, Super Monkey Ball, and Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour."
The following tables contain video game consoles and handheld game consoles that have sold at least 1 million units worldwide either through to consumers or inside retail channels. Each console include sales from every iteration unless otherwise noted. The years correspond to when the home or handheld game console was first released—excluding test markets. Each year links to the corresponding "year in video gaming".
The first handheld game console released in the fourth generation was the Game Boy, on April 21, 1989. It went on to dominate handheld sales by an extremely large margin, despite featuring a low-contrast, unlit monochrome screen while all three of its leading competitors had color. Three major franchises made their debut on the Game Boy: Tetris, the Game Boy's killer application; Pokémon; and Kirby. With some design (Game Boy Pocket, Game Boy Light) and hardware (Game Boy Color) changes, it continued in production in some form until 2008, enjoying a better than 18-year run. The Atari Lynx included hardware-accelerated color graphics, a backlight, and the ability to link up to sixteen units together in an early example of network play when its competitors could only link 2 or 4 consoles (or none at all),[25] but its comparatively short battery life (approximately 4.5 hours on a set of alkaline cells, versus 35 hours for the Game Boy), high price, and weak games library made it one of the worst-selling handheld game systems of all time, with less than 500,000 units sold.[26][27]
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