The coming months will see the launch of the next generation of games consoles, and the Sony Playstation 4 and Microsoft Xbox One are all set to take the world by storm. With more advanced capabilities that ever seen before, including portable gaming between devices and stunning graphics, the pair have drastically exceeded console expectations.
But this progress has come after hundreds of predecessors, with improvements spanning over several years. Since gaming’s birth over thirty years ago we’ve come a long way, and there are plenty of consoles to thank for this.
So, we take a look at the top games consoles of all time and pay homage to their efforts in creating the experience we know and love today. Don’t agree with our picks? Leave a comment below and tells what would have made your list.
Nintendo Game Boy (1989)
Arguably the first handheld to really break into the public consciousness, the Game Boy captured that quintessential Nintendo magic and took it portable, bestowing games like Super Mario and Donkey Kong to the masses.
Yet it was arcade powerhouse Tetris that really captured the public’s imagination, turning the crazy block-based caper and its saccharine soundtrack into a cult hit. Despite being devoid of colour, this and other Game Boy titles turned the console into a massive favourite, spawning several evolutions to this day.
Sega Mega Drive (1990)
Despite the established fan base of Nintendo, Japanese rivals Sega launched a determined challenger with the Mega Drive, complete with an army of loveable characters and top titles. Featuring similar capabilities to the Nintendo Entertainment System, its sleek appearance attracted those passed over by its rival.
And then there were the games, most notably the Sonic franchise and other classics including Golden Axe and Streets of Rage. It proved to be a hard act to follow, and Sega failed to emulate the console’s success despite the cult status held by its Dreamcast effort.
Nintendo 64 (1997)
Another entry from Nintendo, and this time arguably the most iconic in its history. Despite having the unenviable task of following the Super Nintentdo, the N64 was and is one of the most defining consoles in history.
As well as pouring in a raft of new games, it was a pioneer in the 3D platform adventure genre, giving users an extra dimension to play with after years of side-scrolling confinement. Combine this with sumptuous graphics (for the time, anyway) and you had a console that pretty much flew off the shelves.
Sony Playstation 3 (2006)
A controversial choice, but the Playstation 3 crossed the divide between console and entertainment system, and thus makes the list. Although previous efforts such as the Xbox had conquered online gaming, it was one of the first to give it away free, and with much more besides.
With access to Netflix, LoveFilm and various on demand services built in to the PS3, the gaming element is just one thing that makes it so attractive. Despite being imminently replaced by the incoming PS4, the chance to pick it up cheap will ensure it lives on a while longer, and rightly so.