With all the rumors about the PlayStation NEO, the Nintendo NX, and an upgraded Xbox One, Game Rant takes a look back at some of gaming's greatest consoles.
From pushing technological boundaries to advancing how games can be played, video game consoles have played a major part in influencing the gaming industry over the past 40 or so years. With all the recent rumors about a new upgraded PlayStation console, the upcoming Nintendo NX, and a new Xbox prototype, we thought we might take a trip down memory lane and take a look at some of gaming's greatest consoles.
Seeing as how this is a topic that will provoke arguments from every corner of the Internet and personal preference can play a huge role, this is an unranked list, and these consoles are in no particular order.
10 Sega Genesis
The current console wars may be lead by the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One, but 25 years ago, it was the Sega Genesis and the SNES going head-to-head for video game supremacy. For all the accolades that the SNES rightfully received - which will be touched upon later - the Sega Genesis was more than a worthy rival.
While it may not have had the graphical power of the SNES, the Genesis more than made up for it with an impressive library of games. From better sports games, superior ports of arcade titles such as Mortal Kombat, and its very own Mario-killer in Sonic the Hedgehog, the Genesis arguably offered a wider variety of gaming experiences. It also didn't hurt that the Genesis was home to the six-button controller.
9 Nintendo 64
As the last ever cartridge-based home console, the Nintendo 64 is unique in that it offers a look at the past and future of gaming. While the old-school cartridge media format limited the Nintendo 64's potential, the console also introduced a number of features that are still used today, such as the then-revolutionary joystick controls, cutting-edge 3D graphics, and vibrating controllers.
But the Nintendo 64's biggest selling point was its library of games. While Sony had stronger third-party support at the time, the Nintendo 64 was home to Super Mario 64, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and Goldeneye 007, games that are now considered to be among the greatest of all-time.
8 Game Boy
On paper, the Game Boy should've failed on every measure. It was bulky, it needed four AA batteries to run, it lacked the grunt of its contemporaries, and the screen had the color and clarity of Shrek's skin. However, the Game Boy made up for its shortcomings with a lower price point and relative simplicity.
By limiting the handheld to just a D-pad and four buttons, Nintendo the Game Boy easily accessible to a wider audience. The Game Boy's simplicity also lent itself to some brilliant games, as landmark titles like Pokemon, Super Mario Land, and Tetris compensated for the lack of processing power with enjoyable gameplay.
7 Nintendo DS
On paper, the Nintendo DS seemed like a list of gimmicks. The touchscreen wasn't in fashion yet, and having two screens seemed excessive. While the initial model of the DS wasn't the prettiest thing to look at, the dual-screen design proved to be revolutionary.
Beyond adding a new dimension to how a game can be played, the touchscreen appealed to casual and hardcore gamers alike. Whether it was steering the Arwing in Star Fox Command, controlling Neku in The World Ends With You, or taking down notes in class, the DS and its touchscreen proved to be far more than just a gimmick.
6 Xbox 360
The Xbox 360 didn't have the processing power of the PlayStation 3, it lacked the mass appeal of the Nintendo Wii, and its software library didn't really elevate it above its competitors. However, the 360 had one thing that its contemporaries didn't have: Xbox Live. Microsoft revamped its Xbox Live service and turned the Xbox 360 into an all-encompassing media platform for video, audio, and of course, gaming.
Online multiplayer gaming was suddenly made easily accessible; movies, games, and songs could now be bought from the sofa; and Xbox Live's extensive online-integration meant that Microsoft could continually offer Xbox owners improvements and additional features.
Sony came into the video game industry with a massive bang when it dropped the PlayStation right into the middle of the Nintendo-SEGA war. Not only did the PlayStation help usher in the era of 3D graphics, it helped transition the industry towards its current disc-based format. Unlike Nintendo's approach of targeting casual gamers, the PlayStation was aimed at a mature audience, and this approach translated to a number of incredibly important and classic games. While Nintendo had Mario and Zelda, the PlayStation gave rise to more mature franchises like Metal Gear Solid, Resident Evil, Final Fantasy, and Grand Theft Auto.
4 Atari 2600
The Atari 2600 is the console that essentially spawned our entire industry. It was one of the first systems to use removable cartridges, handheld controllers, as well as introducing gaming from the comfort of your own home.
This soon opened the door for a number of console ports of popular arcade games such as Pac-Man and Space Invaders, transforming gaming into a billion-dollar industry. While the Atari 2600's mammoth success ultimately led to the infamous video game crash of 1983 and Atari's downfall, gaming wouldn't be where it is if not for this wood-paneled box.
3 Nintendo Entertainment System
While the Atari 2600 may have been responsible for crashing the video game industry in 1983, it was the Nintendo Entertainment System that helped rejuvenate it. Nintendo introduced a strict licensing system and helped usher in higher standards in game quality, something which was sorely missing during the Atari 2600 era. Thanks to Nintendo's quality control standards, not only did the NES offer up some of gaming's most important first-party titles - such as Mario, Metroid, and Zelda - even the console's third party titles were nothing to scoff at.
2 Super Nintendo Entertainment System
After the NES, Nintendo managed to catch lightning in a bottle for a second time when it released the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. The SNES pushed graphical and audio boundaries at the time, and helped develop a software library consisting of some of gaming's greatest ever titles.
With the release of Super Mario World, Super Metroid, and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Nintendo firmly established itself as the king of first-party content. But arguably even more impressive was the third-party support, as the SNES became home to some seminal classics such as Final Fantasy VI, Chrono Trigger, Mega Man X, and Secret of Mana.
1 PlayStation 2
As it currently stands, the PlayStation 2 is the world's best selling console, and there's a very good reason why: it has one of the biggest software libraries in all of gaming. At over 2,000 games, the PlayStation 2 had a library that its competitors couldn't match in terms of quality and quantity.
From the open-world expanses of Grand Theft Auto III, the gory delights of God of War, and the gorgeous playable art-piece that is Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, the PlayStation 2 had something for everyone. But beyond its place in gaming history, the PlayStation 2 also helped popularize the DVD format, and played a big part in making the VHS-format obsolete.
That's our list, but there are definitely a few consoles that unfortunately didn't quite make the cut. That's where we throw the spotlight to you. Do you agree with our list? Is there another worthy console that should've made it in? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.