Old video game consoles that still rule so hardIf you’re a person who grew up in the ‘90s, there is surely no greater memory than that of sitting on the living room floor, controller in hand, eyes glued to the TV screen. Classic video games are the absolute best, regardless of whatever some 15-year-old has to say about them today. We still think Sonic is a better adventurer than Nathan Drake, to be honest. And those old video game consoles? They’re actually more amazing than you might think. So throw on your favorite windbreaker and pop some Bagel Bites in the oven. We’re about to take a trip down memory lane. Battletoads included.
Game Boy (1989)
Atari 7800 (1986)
Super NES (1991)
Sony Playstation (1995)
As nostalgic as we are for cartridge-based consoles, we’ve got to say Sony’s CD format PlayStation was kind of the shit. Not only could you play all the games, but you could play all the music, too. And in whatever order you so desired! The technology!
Game Boy Color (1998)
Fans of the 8-bit handheld Game Boy only had to wait nine short years for the graphics improvement that would allow for a color screen. And what a color screen it was! In its “high color mode,” more than 2000 colors could be seen on-screen simultaneously — a huge feat for a handheld at the time.
Neo Geo (1990)
SNK’s Neo Geo was one of the most powerful systems at the time of its release in 1990. As well it should have been, seeing as it was essentially a take-home version of an actual coin-operated arcade machine. Its one downside? Its $650 price tag, which adjusted for inflation would have been the equivalent of around $1125. So, you know, not one of those built for middle-class households.
Sega Master System (1986)
Sega’s first direct competitor with the NES, the Master System was a third generation console that actually had better hardware than its Nintendo counterpart. Sadly for Sega, the Master System just couldn’t compete with the NES’ game library. Just goes to show, it doesn’t matter how cool a system is, if its title list is shit.
Sega Dreamcast (1999)
The Dreamcast is important in the history of gaming consoles for a number of reasons. First, it immediately predated both Sony’s Playstation 2 and Microsoft’s Xbox (also Nintendo’s GameCube, but that one’s kind of forgettable, honestly). It was also the last home console Sega created, marking the end of a gaming era for many ‘90s kids worldwide.
Atari 2600 (1977)
If we’re talking revolutionary gaming consoles, the Atari 2600 would be near the top of the list. Although it wasn’t the first of its kind (that honor belongs to the Fairchild Channel F), the 2600 was the system that actually made ROM cartridges popular. Which meant that games didn’t have to built into units. Which opened up a world of possibility for home gamers everywhere.
Or the TurboGrafx-16, depending on where you lived at the time of its release. NEC released the console in 1989 to compete against the NES. Its marketing tactic, however — to push it as a 16-bit platform, in spite of only using an 8-bit CPU — put it up against the SNES and Sega Genesis. Spoiler alert: it didn’t do so well.
Sega Genesis (1989)
The Genesis was both Sega’s followup to 1986’s Master System as well as a direct competitor to the SNES. But even though it boasted an extensive gaming library (more than 900 games) and was marketed to be the “cool” console at the time of its release, it just couldn’t beat out Nintendo for top spot in the console war. We guess Sonic just wasn’t as cool as the company assumed he was…
Nintendo Entertainment System (1985)
Arguably the world’s greatest video game console of all time, the NES completely changed the home video game industry by licensing third-party developers. Essentially, Nintendo opened up the world of gaming to creators outside of the companies responsible for building the hardware. Fun fact: in Korea, it was known as the Hyundai Cowboy, which sort of just makes it all that more lovable.
VTech Socrates (1988)
This one goes out to all you ‘90s nerds out there. The VTech Socrates was the console that parents could feel good about getting for their kids. Sure, they’d be spending hours in front of the TV. But they’d be learning. And learning should be fun.
Atari Lynx (1989)
Sorry, Game Boy Color. Atari had you beat by nine years. Honestly, though, it isn’t the color LCD that makes the Lynx so noteworthy. It might actually be Atari’s history of handheld console names: before the Lynx, we had “Touch Me,” while the Lynx itself was almost called the “Handy Game.” We’re sensing a theme here.
Sega Game Gear (1989)
As Sega’s entry into the handheld console competition of the late ‘80s, the Game Gear was meant to go up against Nintendo’s Game Boy and the Atari Lynx. While it did have a pretty powerful processor and access to the Master System’s library (via an adapter), its battery life basically blew, and Sega didn’t bother to put much out in terms of unique titles. It was discontinued in 1997, and probably for good reason.
Atari Jaguar (1993)
As Atari’s home console swan song, 1993’s Jaguar was the first 64-bit gaming console to hit the market. Of course, all the processing power in the world couldn’t save the Jaguar from its numerous hardware bugs, lack of developer support, and limited game library. It was on the market for only three years before fading away into gaming obscurity forever.
Sega Saturn (1995)
By all accounts, the Sega Saturn should have been a huge success. It was the company’s followup to the Genesis, and it came with a pretty hardcore processor. But it lacked Sonic, and we all know that Sega was nothing without that goddam hedgehog, Couple that with Nintendo’s release of the 64 the following year, and the Saturn just didn’t stand a chance.
Nintendo 64 (1996)
Speaking of, Nintendo’s 64-bit system marked the end of cartridge-based consoles for the company, but f— if it didn’t go out with a bang. It gave us Super Mario 64 and Pilotwings 64, both commercial successes in the gaming world. And aside from being named Time’s Machine of the Year, it remained in production until 2003, two years after the release of the Game Cube.
This second-generation console was Coleco’s answer to the Atari 2600. It was meant to be closer to an arcade game than a regular home gaming system and came with 12 pack-in cartridge games. After the video game crash of 1983, though, sales decreased dramatically, and by 1985 it was pulled from production altogether.
Home Pong (1975)
Ah, the game that started it all. It wasn’t enough to just play Pong in an arcade setting. It was never going to be enough. We needed that electronic table tennis available to us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We got it in 1975, and the home gaming world would never be the same.