The Best Gaming Consoles
Video games have long since existed as one of the most captivating pastimes anyone could ever indulge in. They provide an escape into another world and allow people to do things they would never be able to in real life. Over the years, gaming consoles have evolved and changed, giving gamers more immersive and realistic experiences. Here is a list of the best gaming consoles of all time.
Though they may have been enjoyed differently, video games have always been a major part of pop culture. Arcades were once the go-to place for gamers, who would crowd around machines to play the latest games. But with the advent of home gaming consoles, everyone could enjoy video games in the comfort of their own home. This list compiles some of the best gaming consoles of all time.
In the early 1970s, Magnavox Odyssey was released, a mega-success. It led to the development of many other commercial gaming consoles that brought gaming to today.
Video gaming is a pastime that people of all ages have enjoyed for decades. So it’s no wonder that countless home consoles have been released over the years. In this article, we look at some of the best machines money can buy, as decided by the major console manufacturers themselves- Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft.
Indeed, gaming consoles have been a staple in many people’s lives for decades. They provide hours upon hours of entertainment and can evoke some of the warmest memories. Whether playing by yourself or with friends, these gaming consoles will always hold a special place in our hearts.
Though it may be hard to remember, gaming has been good. It’s provided countless hours of entertainment and brought friends and families together for generations. So, to show our appreciation, we’re taking a look back at the best gaming consoles of all time.
Atari 2600: Released in September 1977
The Atari 2600 was the definitive gaming console of the early 80s. Thanks to several quality arcade ports and original home releases, it earned major acclaim. The console also used Fairchild Channel F ROM cartridges technology, introduced by engineer Jerry Lawson. This allowed Atari, Inc. to develop one of the most iconic second-generation consoles.
Released in September 1977, the Atari 2600 is one of the most popular gaming consoles. With classic games such as Pitfall!, Space Invaders, and Joust, the Atari 2600 was an instant success. Even to this day, the console remains a popular choice for gamers worldwide.
ColecoVision: Released in August 1982
The ColecoVision was released in August of 1982, and it gave Atari quite the challenge during the golden age of its 2600 and 5200 consoles. It was one of the most popular gaming consoles during its time, and it had a wide variety of games that were available for it. In addition, it was one of the first consoles to provide stronger arcade ports, and it eventually featured an add-on that was compatible with Atari 2600 cartridges.
A game library provided gamers with standout titles such as BurgerTime, River Raid, and Donkey Kong. While it may not have been as popular as systems like the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) or Sega Genesis, it holds a special place in gaming history.
Nintendo Entertainment System: Released on October 18, 1985
The Nintendo Entertainment System was first released in the US on October 18, 1985. It was marketed as a gaming console, but it also had capabilities for other purposes such as home entertainment and education. The system was met with some success, but it took off until the late 1980s. This was partly due to Nintendo’s efforts to market the system more broadly and make it available beyond video game arcades. As a result, the NES helped revive the video game industry after the great video game crash of 1983 and is considered one of the best gaming consoles of all time.
Released in 1985, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) is widely considered one of the best gaming consoles of all time. This 8-bit console gave us classics like Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, and Metroid. What’s more, this Trojan Horse PR move by Nintendo ended up being a smashing success as young gamers everywhere got themselves an NES and a ROB robot to keep them busy.
TurboGrafx-16: Released on August 29, 1989
The TurboGrafx-16 is considered to be the first 16-bit gaming console. It was marketed to a flood of gamers in the US who were ready to move beyond 8-bit pixelated worlds. The console had various features that set it apart from its competitors, including a HuCard slot (which allowed players to use game cartridges), an advanced graphics processor, and support for multiple players.
Released in 1989, the TurboGrafx-16 was a gaming console that had a lot of promise but ultimately failed to make much headway within the United States. This was likely due to its poor marketing strategy; however, that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth mentioning among the best gaming consoles of all time. The TurboGrafx-16 boasts an impressive library of games that gamers still enjoy today.
The TurboGrafx-16 was one of the most underrated gaming consoles during its time. Despite having a meager library of games compared to contemporaries such as the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and Sega Genesis/Mega Drive, it boasted some truly great titles such as Devil’s Crush, Bonk’s Revenge, Soldier Blade, etc.
Sega Genesis: Released on August 14, 1989
The Sega Genesis was a 16-bit gaming console released on August 14, 1989, in North America. It quickly gained a following among gamers for its impressive visuals and wide selection of games in every genre imaginable. The Genesis gave Nintendo some much-needed competition and eventually helped to usher in the era of 3D gaming.
Although it was released after the SNES, Genesis had a powerful early following because of Sonic the Hedgehog. The console boasted impressive graphics and sound for its time and had a library rivaling Nintendo’s. Many classic games were released on the Sega Genesis, such as Streets of Rage, Phantasy Star, Desert Strike, and more.
Game Boy: Released in September 1989
The Game Boy was Nintendo’s second handheld gaming device, released in September 1989. It quickly became the most popular handheld gaming system on the market, thanks to its portability, wide selection of games, and low price. It remained the top-selling handheld gaming console for over a decade and has been credited with popularizing portable gaming.
In addition, the original Game Boy was an instant hit because it allowed gaming on the go. Thanks to its library of classics such as Tetris, Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, and Metroid II: Return of Samus. Not to mention, the Game Boy became every kid’s go-to device for long car rides and super competitive Pokémon link cable battles during recess.
Neo Geo Advanced Entertainment System: Released on July 1, 1991
The Neo Geo Advanced Entertainment System, or AES for short, was a console released on July 1, 1991. It was the first console to feature arcade-perfect ports of popular games. Unfortunately, this console was very expensive when it was first released, and as a result, only a limited number of units were sold. However, those who did manage to get their hands on one were in for a real treat.
It was priced at $650 (which would be around $1,200 today), it was an expensive console to own, but it offered gamers a chance to play arcade-perfect versions of popular games like The King of Fighters, Metal Slug, and Magician Lord.
Super Nintendo Entertainment System: Released on August 23, 1991
The Super Nintendo Entertainment System, or SNES for short, was a 16-bit video game console released by Nintendo on August 23, 1991, in North America. It was the successor to the NES, and it hit the scene with sharper graphics, more pronounced audio, and new & improved renditions of Nintendo’s most prominent IPs. In addition to its gaming capabilities, the SNES also served as a home entertainment hub for families and featured an add-on called the Super Game Boy that allowed players to play their favorite Game Boy games on the big screen. So when it came time to battle against Sega in the 16-bit race, Nintendo entered with one of its greatest consoles of all time – the Super Nintendo Entertainment System.
Among the gaming consoles of all time, one of the most highly praised is the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. It had a very long lifespan and thrived in two different graphical realms. First, gamers experienced some of the best 3D graphics with Star Fox, Stunt Race FX, and Donkey Kong Country. Not to mention, some of gaming’s most Hall of Fame-worthy experiences call the SNES home – The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Super Metroid, Chrono Trigger, Super Mario World, and more.
Sega Saturn: Released on May 11, 1995
The Sega Saturn was released on May 11, 1995, as Sega’s second gaming console. Even though it ultimately fell to Sony’s first gaming console, it still delivered a wealth of amazing games throughout its lifespan. These classics include Nights into Dreams, Sonic 3D Blast, and Panzer Dragoon II Zwei. However, Sega didn’t favor its Genesis follow-up in the US due to an early launch that was misplaced at the time to get out before the PlayStation. Consequently, this resulted in low sales and market share in North America.
Although it was not commercially successful, the Sega Saturn had some of the best gaming titles in every genre. This console boasted arcade ports of classics such as Virtua Fighter and Panzer Dragoon, as well as Nights Into Dreams. The Sega Saturn was also home to Capcom’s finest 2D fighters- which is why it still has a following today.
Sony PlayStation: Released on September 9, 1995
In Japan, the Sony PlayStation was first released on September 9, 1995. Unfortunately, the console resulted from a failed partnership between Sony and Nintendo. If the two companies had gone through with their deal, we might have never seen the iconic PlayStation console. Instead, the console was met with critical acclaim and sold over 102 million units worldwide.
When Nintendo decided to move into the handheld market with the Gameboy, Sony saw an opportunity to enter the console race on its own. And in 1995, they released the Sony PlayStation- a console that would dominate the 32-bit market and bring some of the greatest games of all time ever contained on a compact disk. The console had some of the most well-known and iconic games, including Tekken, Crash Bandicoot, Metal Gear Solid, and Gran Turismo.
Nintendo 64: Released on September 29, 1996
The Nintendo 64 was released on September 29, 1996, and was Nintendo’s full foray into the world of 3D gaming. The console had a very successful lifespan and is often considered one of the best gaming consoles of all time. Its games library was expansive and included classics like Super Mario 64, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and GoldenEye 007.
The Nintendo 64 is considered one of the greatest gaming consoles. Since it had many classic games such as Super Mario 64, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Star Fox 64, and Mario Kart 64, these games were great but continue to be popular among gamers even now. In addition, the N64 also had a variety of multiplayer games that made it a dream machine for gamers who loved to play with friends.
Game Boy Color: Released on November 18, 1998
The Game Boy Color was the first major redesign of the original Game Boy. It was released on November 18, 1998, in North America. The console was available in various colors and featured a slimmer design than the original. Additionally, the Game Boy Color had a backlight that allowed users to play games in low-light conditions.
Sure, the Game Boy Color was essentially a repackaged and updated original Game Boy. But that didn’t stop it from being one of the most popular handheld gaming consoles of all time. It was released in 1998 and featured color graphics and backward compatibility with the original Game Boy games.
The Game Boy Color was an 8-bit handheld gaming console that offered gamers amazing experiences with Wario Land 3, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX, and Metal Gear Solid.
Sega Dreamcast: Released on September 9, 1999
The Sega Dreamcast was the sixth-generation console released by Sega. It was the final official console hardware from the company and marked a departure from past consoles. The Dreamcast is often looked back on fondly by fans, even though it was a commercial failure for Sega. The console offered great games, graphics, and online capabilities ahead of its time. Its controller and cool Visual Memory Unit (VMU) add-on were revolutionary at the time. Plus, the amount of amazing arcade fighting game ports on offer must be applauded.
The Dreamcast was a powerhouse and had some of the best first-party titles of all time, including the Sonic Adventure series, Shenmue franchise, Skies of Arcadia, and so much more. As a result, many consider Dreamcast one of the greatest gaming consoles ever made.
PlayStation 2: Released on October 26, 2000
The PlayStation 2 was Sony’s follow-up to the very first PlayStation. It was released on October 26, 2000, and quickly became the most popular gaming console of its time. It had several features that set it apart from other consoles, including the ability to play disc-based games and function as a DVD player. This made it a popular choice for people who didn’t want to purchase multiple devices.
In 2000, the PlayStation 2 was Sony’s follow-up to their hugely successful original PlayStation console. With a strong library of first-party titles and an even stronger lineup of third-party classics, the PS2 reigned supreme for the sixth generation of video game consoles. Notable games on the console include Grand Theft Auto III, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Shadow of the Colossus, and God of War. The DualShock 2 controller, greatly improved from the original, played a large role in the console’s success.
Game Boy Advance: Released on June 11, 2001
The Game Boy Advance was the successor to the Game Boy Color and was released on June 11, 2001. It featured a 32-bit processor and came in six different colors. The console was more comfortable to hold from a horizontal standpoint and had better graphics than its predecessors.
With games such as Mario Kart: Super Circuit, Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, Metroid: Zero Mission, Golden Sun, and many more, it was easy to get sucked into the world of portable gaming. However, its notoriously bad lighting made it a complete struggle to play in darkened settings. However, with proper lighting nearby, it became easy to lose track of time while playing some of the best games available on the Game Boy Advance.
Nintendo GameCube: Released on November 18, 2001
Released on November 18, 2001, the Nintendo GameCube was Nintendo’s sixth-generation console. This console departed from Nintendo’s traditional cartridge-based gaming consoles and opted for CD-ROMs. The Gamecube was a smaller console with a purple lunchbox design. It offered a variety of popular games, such as Super Smash Bros Melee and Mario Kart Double Dash.
The controller, which had two analog sticks and four shoulder buttons, was not well-liked by some people. However, many gamers loved it because it felt comfortable and natural to use. Besides, the four controller ports at the front of the console made it easier to play alongside your buddies in games like Super Smash Bros. Melee, Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, TimeSplitters 2, etc.
Xbox: Released on November 15, 2001
The Xbox was released on November 15, 2001, in North America. Microsoft’s first foray into console gaming competed with Sony’s PlayStation and Nintendo’s Gamecube. The Xbox was a popular console and had some popular games, including Halo: Combat Evolved.
This console is praised for its impressive library of games, including Halo, Dead or Alive 3, Ninja Gaiden, Jade Empire, etc.
PlayStation Portable: Released on March 24, 2005
The PlayStation Portable (PSP) was a handheld game console released by Sony on March 24, 2005. The first handheld console to use an optical disc format, Universal Media Disc (UMD), for games and movies. The PSP competed directly with Nintendo’s DS handheld console. However, in our opinion, the PSP was a superior device and had a better library of games than the DS.
Even though newer gaming consoles have been released over the years, PlayStation Portable will always hold a dear place in our hearts. Taking amazing games such as Killzone: Liberation, Patapon, and Lumines with us wherever we go was a selling point for many gamers. In addition, the PSP’s reliance on physical media known as the Universal Media Disc (UMD) gave way to a host of great games and formatted films. Watching the latest movies on the go was always a simple joy.
Xbox 360: Released on November 22, 2005
The Xbox 360 was released on November 22, 2005, following the original Xbox. The console was a massive success and is often considered one of the best gaming consoles ever made. However, it was plagued with problems early on, most notably the “Red Ring of Death” issue that caused multiple hardware failures. Despite these issues, the Xbox 360 remained a popular choice for gamers worldwide.
Its predecessor, the Xbox, had a good following, but it was the 360 that took off and became a legend in the gaming world. The main reasons for this were its controller – which was well-produced – and its strong lineup of games. Additionally, Microsoft revamped their Xbox Live service with the 360, making it even better than before. As a result, the console achieved legendary status and is still one of the best gaming consoles around.
PlayStation 3: Released on November 17, 2006
The PlayStation 3 was released in 2006 as the successor to the PlayStation 2. It had a rocky start, with a lack of strong first-party titles and competition from Microsoft’s Xbox 360. After that, however, it gained traction and built up a large library of games. As a result, by the time it was discontinued in 2016, it was considered on par with its competitors.
The PS3 is home to some of the best games, such as the God of War series, Uncharted series, and LittleBigPlanet. Additionally, the earlier PS3 models can play physical PS2 and PS1 games via backward compatibility. This makes the PS3 an all-in-one PlayStation console for any gamer’s needs.
Nintendo Wii: Released on November 19, 2006
The Nintendo Wii was released on November 19, 2006, and quickly became one of the most popular gaming consoles of all time. The console’s motion-control technology was a revolutionary change in how people play video games, and it quickly dominated living rooms across the world.
It became an instant hit because of its motion controls, allowing users to control the game with their body movements. In addition, the console had many exclusive games such as Wii Sports, Super Mario Galaxy, and Donkey Kong Country Returns that appealed to gamers and non-gamers alike. However, some people had difficulty using the Wii Mote and broke their TV sets.
PlayStation 4: Released on November 15, 2013
The PlayStation 4 is a video game console developed by Sony Interactive Entertainment. It was released on November 15, 2013, in North America, and on November 29, 2013, in Europe. The PS4 competed with Microsoft’s Xbox One and Nintendo’s Wii U consoles. The console has successfully sold over 86 million units as of December 2018. It has received positive reviews, with many praising its capabilities and graphics. However, the console had a weak launch title roster that disappointed some consumers.
With games such as The Last of Us Part II, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, Marvel’s Spider-Man, and Horizon Zero Dawn, the PS4 flourished during the rest of its active tenure. Sony’s fourth home console excelled thanks to a combination of top-tier titles, a controller that felt like a dream in everyone’s hands, and an easy-to-navigate user interface that was certainly easy on the eyes.
Xbox One: Released on November 22, 2013
The Xbox One is a gaming console released by Microsoft on November 22, 2013. The console was announced on May 21, 2013, during the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). The Xbox One is the Xbox 360 and competed with Sony’s PlayStation 4 for market share. However, controversy arose during the unveiling of the Xbox One due to Microsoft’s focus on TV and DRM features regarding software.
It had many features that other consoles didn’t have at the time, such as controlling your TV with voice commands. The Xbox One also marked the return of the beloved SNES fighter Killer Instinct, introduced new IPs such as Sunset Overdrive, and proved to be very beneficial for third-party software. However, the Xbox One didn’t start so hot. Many people didn’t like the new design and that it was difficult to use. But as the years passed, Microsoft’s powerful black box earned itself some goodwill thanks to a bevy of strong entries from the Halo, Gears of War, and Forza Motorsport/Horizon franchises.
Nintendo Switch: Released on March 3, 2017
The Nintendo Switch is a hybrid gaming console released on March 3, 2017. It allows players to use it as a handheld device and a home console. Nintendo has always been known for splitting its attention between offering its followers a dedicated home console and one that’s suited to handheld play. By mashing together both types of hardware, they created one of the best hybrid gaming consoles of all time.
Nintendo’s newest console, the Switch, has taken the gaming world by storm. Released in March of 2017, it offers home gaming capabilities like its predecessors and allows players to take their games with them on the go. This new feature has made the Switch essential for any gamer who wants to play the latest versions of their favorite games anywhere they please. So far, the Switch has been a massive success and is sure to continue selling well into the future.