I present to you readers of Poisonous Paragraphs, The 15 Greatest Gaming Consoles Of All Times (According To Us). I decided to update this post from the one I did around this same time last year as a lead in to the Top 50 TurboGrafx 16/TGCD/TurboDuo & Sega Genesis lists coming later on this Summer. Enough lead in, time to go in!:
15. Nintendo Wii (2006)
I have a love/hate relationship with this particular console but it has achieved ultimate success in it's main aim to bring people together and appeal to casual gamers and people of all ages. The Wii games are engaging and fun and the Virtual Console is one of it's saving graces (even though it's hella slow in bringing in the games you REALLY want to play from other older consoles). The Wii's choices of third party titles are underwhelming at best and I can go weeks without turning it on personally. My 7 year old niece and 9 year old nephew LOVE IT, however. My brothers & I mostly just play old NES, SNES, TG-16 & Neo Geo games on it.
14. Sega Master System (SMS) (1986)
The Sega Master System had better graphics, comparable games to the best NES titles, nice gaming accessories and they had a strong library of classics ported over from the arcade. They had the REAL "Double Dragon", "Shinobi", "Rastan", "Black Belt", "Zillion", "Phantasy Star" and the list went on. They just couldn't make a dent in the huge lead that the NES had on the marketplace no matter what they did. The SMS packed it up and packed it in (no House Of Pain) in 1989 to concede the 8 bit marketplace to Nintendo due to a lack of third party support because Nintendo made their contributors promise to only provide software for them.
13. Sega Saturn (1995)
The folks at Sega are the undisputed videogame console kings of the clusterfuck! They pissed away a 5 month lead on the Sony PlayStation by not releasing RPG's, having a terribad marketing plan and just failing at every imaginable level execution wise by not only Sega's Japanese staff but it's North American offices as well. The ystill somehow managed to carry Europe (go figure!).
Games like "Shenmue", "Virtua Fighter", "Panzer Dragoon", and others ended up getting buried by not only the PlayStation and the N64 *cough!* strong showings out the gate but Sega continously shot themselves in the foot (no Charles Hamilton) following their epic failure of a launch. Not to mention that the Saturn cost $100 more than the PlayStation and had very little 3rd party support and picked bad titles repeatedly. Sega jumped ship from the Saturn and by 1998 they completely stopped production on it. Dammit Sega! Y'all are worse than the Sweathogs...you never fuckin' learn!
12. Microsoft XBox 360 (2005)
This console is the leading next generation gaming console in North America right now and had sold 28 million units plus as of the writing of this blog entry. With such popular titles as "Halo 2", "Gears Of War", "Dead Space", "Far Cry" series, "Bioshock", the "Fallout" series, "Left 4 Dead", "Call Of Duty" series, "Fable" series, "Ikaruga", "Braid", "Saints Row" series, "Too Human" and many other exclusive titles helped to keep the XBox 360 on top.
The price drop helped to move even more units although the dreaded Red Ring Of Death often claims XBox 360 units seemingly out of the blue. That doesn't stem the tide hardcore gamers that gravitate to the system for it's exclusive titles. With the news of their new upcoming titles and projects clear through 2010 (including "Project Natal" *yawn*) there was no way I could keep the XBox 360 off of this list in good conscience. Fuck! (Did I mention that I detest Microsoft? Well, I do!)
11. Sony PlayStation 3 (PS3) (2006)
The PlayStation started out with an incredibly high price point in comparison to the other next generation gaming consoles. It had trouble producing units at the beginning of it's life to keep in stores, The different models they had available for purchase at first were problematic seeing as how a 20 & a 60 GB model were both produced with the brand new Blu-Ray technology built-in. At first Microsoft was touting the HD DVD format and it would take quite a while before Sony finally won the DVD format wars. Sony would also have to learn from it's mistakes and produce PS3's with different specs later on.
The PS3 now comes in 80 & 160 GB models and they can not only play Blu-Ray discs but any form of audio or video from your laptops & desktops via WiFi networks with a free online network (PSN or PlayStation Network) with thousands of game and film option from both North America/Europe or Japan. It has since made some headway and cut into the XBox's lead and has sold approximately 23 million units as of the writing of this particular entry.
After overcoming seemingly unsurmountable obstacles and stumbling out of the gate the future is looking good for the PS3 after a banner 2008 where it sold 10 million plus units and with popular titles like the "God Of War" series, "Metal Gear Solid" series, "Assassin's Creed" series, "Final Fantasy" series, "Tekken" series, "Drake: Uncharted" series, "Killzone" series, "Little Big Planet", "InFamous", "Resistance" series and the "Jax and Daxter" series it stands to have a breakout 2009. Given the Sony showing at E3 last week the PS3 will continue it's upsurge of momentum clear until 2010.
10. SNK Neo Geo (1990)
The Neo Geo was the BAPE of video game systems. Every neighborhood dope boy could prove that he got that paper by shelling out between $600-$700 just for the base system packages and $199 per cartridge. The payoff was you got to play aracde games in your own home...not translations of arcade games, either! The actual goddamn game!
"Fatal Fury: King Of Fighters", "Magician Lord", "World Heroes", "Art Of Fighting", "Baseball Stars Professional", "NAM 1975", "8 Man", "Sengoku" and "Metal Slug" were among the most popular games for this console. It had a CD player add-on in 1993 but it was single speed so the load times were hella long on the CD-ROM titles. SNK kept releasing games for the NEO GEO until 2004 even though they had filed for bankruptcy way back in 2000. The Wii releases games for the NEO GEO on it's Virtual Console.
9. Sega Dreamcast (DC) (1999)
I got to hand it to Sega, this gaming system was the shit! It had some great games like "Soul Calibur", "Sonic Adventure", "NFL 2K", "NBA 2K", "Power Stone", "Jet Grind Radio", "Phantasy Star Online" and "Shenmue" plus it was the first gaming console to provide internet access, online play and had a gaming network built in. It sold extremely well initially and bulit up quite a rabid, loyal fanbase.
After Sony released the PlayStation 2, support for the Dreamcast all but jumped ship for Sony due to Sega's past track record with failed consoles. Several Japanese game manufacturers held grudges with Sega for abruptly abandoning the Sega Saturn and refused to make games for them. Sega panicked and responded with drastic price cuts and giveaways as fans rushed out to get their hands on the PS2.
By January 2001, the bigwigs at Sega threw in the towel and announced that they were discontinuing the Dreamcast which just 17 months prior had set the world record for console sales in a 24 hour span. Damn shame. Way to fuck up a good thing, clownshoes!
8. TurboDuo (1992)
To quote Edward Grimley, this console was "as doomed as doomed could be, yunno". It had damn near no third party support, no name recognition in North America and it's price point was too goddamn high. What it did have, however, was a gang of good games on both HuCard and on CD from it's failed incarnation as the TurboGrafx 16 from 1989 to 1992.
Not only could you play the library of old games and CD's but Hudson Soft finally committed to releasing some of the popular PC Engine titles from Japan in North America like "Gate Of Thunder", "Dragon Slayer: The Legend Of Heroes", "Vasteel", "Exile", "Forgotten Worlds", "Riot Zone" and "Prince Of Persia". This system survived on the niche market for years until the PlayStation and Sega Saturn came along in 1995. The TurboDuo's games live on with the Wii's Virtual Console.
7. ColecoVision (1982)
The ColecoVision was the last successful gaming console before the grand event known as the Video Game Crash Of 1983 happened. The ColecoVision was the must have gaming system, it could even play all of the old Atari 2600 cartridges so it was the official gaming jumpoff of that era. You could play games like "Donkey Kong", "Donkey Kong Jr.", "Mr. Do" and "Zaxxon" until the wee hours in the comfort of your own home.
By 1984, the gaming industry was in dire straits and it was a wrap for the ColecoVision when it was discontinued after selling upwards of 6 million units. The next year, the gaming industry would be saved by Nintendo...but that is another story.
6. Super Nintendo (SNES) (1991)
The Super Nintendo furthered cemented Nintendo's dominance in the marketplace with improved graphics, strong third party support and a gang of popular titles like "Chrono Trigger", "The Legend Of Zelda: A Link To The Past", "Street Fighter II", "F-Zero", "Super Mario Kart", "Super Mario World", "Final Fight", "Donkey Kong Country", "Live '96", "NBA Jam", "Final Fantasy III", "Secret Of Mana", "Pilotwings" and "Super Metroid".
The games that Nintendo brought to the console are ultimately what sold it in millions of households because the SNES was a stripped down, basic next generation gaming system in comparison to the machines that led the 32 bit revolution to come. The wide array of colors and Mode 7 capabilities were a hit with gamers and consumers as a whole well into the dawn of the 32 bit gaming era. I wasn't that big a fan of the SNES but almost everyone was.
Nintendo stuck to it's guns and survived by selling copies of sequels of their super popular franchises. All I ever did with my SNES was play "Live 96", "Killer Instinct" and few other games. My friends all rated it hella high but I had this joint below the Sega Saturn.
5. Sega Genesis (GEN) (1989)
For those of you that weren't old enough to remember, gaming system loyalty was a fierce business. People repped their gaming system of choice like a set but minus the gang signs and colors. Nintendo fans and Genesis heads used to have arguments all the time about which system was the best. All of it was funny to me because my gaming system of choice was a TurboGrafx 16 so I just stood by and watched folks spit out specs for each system and yell about Megs and RAM. Who gives a fuck? I thought to myself. What kind of games does it have? The Genesis had games, son!
"Phantasy Star II", "Sonic The Hedgehog", "Altered Beast", "Mortal Kombat", "Shining Force", "Streets Of Rage 2", "Eternal Champions", "Lakers Versus Celtics And The NBA Playoffs", "Joe Montana Football" and "NBA Jam" were all very popular. Sega was adept at getting third party support and bringing their arcade hits to the Genesis. The Genesis was popular but in 1991, Sega Of Japan and Sega Of America began developing add ons and more hardware (Sega CD, 32X, etc.) that all failed miserably and ultimately eroded most third party companies belief in Sega's future systems and endeavors. Way to go, asshats!
4. PlayStation 2 (PS2) (2000)
The PlayStation 2 took quite a while to really get going due to stock shortages but once that initial bump in the road cleared, the PlayStation 2 has since become the best selling gaming console of all times selling in excess of 130 million estimated units. Games like "Jax & Daxter", "Twisted Metal: Black", "Final Fantasy X", "Grand Theft Auto", "Grand Turismo 3", "Tekken Tag Tournament" and "Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons Of Liberty" drew in gamers of all walks of life. If you include the fact that the PlayStation 2 was also backwards compatible and it also served as a DVD/CD player it was a no brainer purchase.
The PlayStation 2 still moves units to this day in it's new slimmed down version and used PlayStation/PlayStation 2 games don't sell for much. Somewhere someone is playing "The Bouncer", "Zone Of The Enders" and "Onimusha" on their PS2 with hella cash in their bank account.
3. Atari 2600 (1977)
How do you know you're old as hell? When you pick the Atari 2600 as the greatest gaming console of all times! The Atari 2600 was the first home video game system to really be a hit after a gang of companies tried to beat them to the punch. Intellivsion, Magnavox, M Network and several other companies tried and failed but with games like "Defender","Space Invaders", "Pac Man", "Dig Dug", "Asteroids", "Breakout", "Centipede", "Frogger". "Galaxian", "Omega Race", "Missile Command", "Joust", "Pitfall", "Q-bert" and "Yar's Revenge" it was hard to deny the Atari 2600 a place in your home.
The Atari 2600 reigned supreme until 1982 when Atari switched to the Atari 5200 and ColecoVision came on the scene and took the title. After the Video Game Crash happened in 1983 Atari became a shell of it's former self. It did make a come back years later after another gaming console revitalized the ailing video game industry.
2. PlayStation (PSX) (1995)
The PlayStation was the first gaming console to sell an excess of 100 million units worldwide, that is a tremendous feat in itself. The PlayStation had ultra popular titles like "Resident Evil", "Final Fantasy VII", "Tekken 2", "Silent Hill", "Grand Turismo", "Chrono Cross", "Crash Bandicoot", "Tomb Raider", "Twisted Metal", "Parasite Eve", "Syphon Filter", "Wild Arms" and "Metal Gear Solid" and it just took of immediately after it was launched.
Sony was a buzzsaw that couldn't be stopped. It took the idea of being a CD based console that was first introduced by the TurboGrafx 16/TurboDuo and improved on it dramatically. Several other gaming systems were destroyed in it's wake and the PS One ruled the marketplace until Sony introduced the PS2 which went on to shatter all of the previous sales records that the PS One set.
1. Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) (1985)
The NES singlehandedly saved the entire video game industry and then proceeded to write the book on how to brand your system, create a niche in the marketplace and survive with the changing times and technology. Even to this day, the Nintendo Entertainment System remains the most influential game system ever created. The proof lies here for anyone who disputes our claim. Got it? I'm gone.