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(Guardian)   Ranking the 25 greatest consoles. I'm sure this discussion will be calm and rational. Also, swap #1 with #2 and we are good   (theguardian.com) divider line
    More: Interesting, Video game console, Wii, Nintendo, Nintendo Entertainment System, Mega Drive, Nintendo 64, rival consoles, broad games catalogue  
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1085 clicks; posted to Fandom » on 16 Jul 2020 at 8:36 AM (18 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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2020-07-16 12:27:17 PM  

kukukupo: fallingcow: Oh and the first Bases Loaded on the NES is the only good console baseball game that's not on the Neo Geo and not named Base Wars. I will not budge from this fundamental and absolute truth.

Sorry, you misspelled Baseball Stars.  Just thought I'd point that out for you


My man!
 
2020-07-16 12:30:40 PM  

cew-smoke: Ketchuponsteak: The Amiga CD32 ought to be there. Although it was released as Commodore was going bankrupt, it still managed to be the best selling console during Christmas 1993, in relevant markets, until stock ran out, or rather, the stock they had, was locked up in the Philippines.

So what, it was still good, had an on game collection, and was compatible with the Amiga 1200 (it was an Amiga 1200 with a CD-drive and FMV module).

By adding a keyboard and mouse, you'd have a full computer, with its massive software library.


Who ever wrote this piece probably never heard of it, meaning the rest of their opinions are crap.

Die hard Amiga nerd here (had a 1000, 500, 2000, 3000, 1200 and a 4000). It does not deserve to be on the list.  It had damn near 0% penetration in the market. If you're making a list of your favorite console. Sure, you can put it on there.  But no, it does not belong on any serious list of greatest consoles. It did nothing to change the market and virtually nobody had one.


Being that it was one of the greatest consoles, it does.

If you owned an a1200 or or a4000, you could play CD32 games btw., as we "helpfully" converted them for you. ;)

And as I believe I said, it was ranked #1 in sales, until it sold out, that ought to help you along in reassessing your opinion.
 
2020-07-16 12:30:53 PM  

cew-smoke: Die hard Amiga nerd here (had a 1000, 500, 2000, 3000, 1200 and a 4000). It does not deserve to be on the list.  It had damn near 0% penetration in the market. If you're making a list of your favorite console. Sure, you can put it on there.  But no, it does not belong on any serious list of greatest consoles. It did nothing to change the market and virtually nobody had one.


Eh, almost 5 million Amigas were sold - all on essentially the same OS and interoperable. That's more than about half of the consoles on that list. It sold much better in Europe with only moderate penetration in the US.

I still have my 105MB SCSI hard disk from my Amiga 2000 as a souvenir. I gave away the 2000 about ten years ago. The HDD failed, but everything else worked so it found a new home.

FYI - my Apple 2e still works perfectly. I am astounded that 40 year old 5.25 floppies haven't lost their data. I turn it on every couple years. Gotta get me some Hard Hat Mack action.
 
2020-07-16 12:44:21 PM  

Marcos P: Wow Sewer Shark and Ground Zero Texas in a higher resolution whoopee.


But isn't that still the case with the current generation of consoles? GTA 16 now in 4K on the PS5! Whee!


/ducks
//only console we currently use is the Swich others were collecting dust
///three, three slashies
 
2020-07-16 12:45:54 PM  

Gleeman: Marcos P: Wow Sewer Shark and Ground Zero Texas in a higher resolution whoopee.

But isn't that still the case with the current generation of consoles? GTA 16 now in 4K on the PS5! Whee!


/ducks
//only console we currently use is the Swich others were collecting dust
///three, three slashies


You're not wrong!
 
2020-07-16 1:28:44 PM  

stuhayes2010: Atari 2600 deserves #1 just for being the consol that started it all.


Came here to say this. Atari 2600 got my PARENTS playing video games, and Atari 2600 was the only game in town for quite a while, as I seem to recall.
 
2020-07-16 1:35:06 PM  

Slow To Return: stuhayes2010: Atari 2600 deserves #1 just for being the consol that started it all.

Came here to say this. Atari 2600 got my PARENTS playing video games, and Atari 2600 was the only game in town for quite a while, as I seem to recall.


Also, while I believe A2600 is by far and away the greatest console in the history of everything, my favorite console to date is the Switch.

My only complaints are the glacial pace at which first-party games are released and the incredible annoyance of "Joy-con drift"
 
2020-07-16 1:43:43 PM  

Marcos P: "25. 3D0"

I guess there's only 25 consoles....


They left off the Coleco Adam.  What my parents bought after our Commodore 64 crashed & my dad's friend couldn't fix it.   Probably would've been a cheap repair but this guy said he'd fix it so my dad let him try.  Turns out he had no idea what he was doing & we ended up with the crappy Adam with cassette tape games.

Still remember getting it for Christmas & having no idea what the hell it was.  My parents though, thought it was great & the cutting edge of what all computers & gaming systems would be like.

The next summer we pooled our cash & bought an NES.
 
2020-07-16 1:56:09 PM  

italie: Super NES was #1? There is zero rationale for that.

Also, Lynx was far more impressive than Jaguar. It was a color screen handheld in the market way before anyone else, with a better catalog.


It was ahead of its time in hardware, forced controllers to have enough buttons to actually do things, and had a massive library of good games that I don't think has been matched since... except perhaps by the PS2, which does very well on the same criteria, and is in fact is #2 on their list.

The problem with any of these lists of course, is that different criteria will get greatly different results. The NES basically saved the console industry after the clash of '83, so if influence is the main factor, that probably wins. If we're talking tech advancement, the Atari's the first one that really went anywhere, so it probably wins. If we're going by how many people had the thing, I think that's actually the Wii. If we're going by how many total game copies across all games were purchased for a given console, I think PS2 wins in raw numbers... but adjusted for how many countries PS2 could sell to that didn't have consoles in the 90s, SNES might take that.

So yeah, the SNES really isn't all that out-there of a choice, it's all a matter of what variables you're ranking by, and how you weight them.
 
2020-07-16 2:12:56 PM  
LOL @ Megadrive and not Genesis. Don't you know tech history is written by the Americans? Not to mention NES and Famicom being 2 completely different things. Maybe if I didn't have to import an AV Famicom so I didn't have to go to channel 95 to play my disk games? Also, floppy disk based games.

These lists are always a joke.

I see it as skipping this generation. So no switch, PS4, XBONEXX.

1) NES
2) ATARI
3) PS1
4) Wii
5) PS2
6) Dreamcast
7) Xbox 360
8) SNES
9) Genesis
10) TurboGrafx

Full disclosure, I am one of those morons who spends money on these things.
 
2020-07-16 2:18:30 PM  
Funny thing, of all my hardware the one thing I pick up and play the most is my Gameboy. If you have one, get the IPS mod Castlevania Games sells. The drop in version is super easy to deal with. Or find yourself an AGS-101. But those are $pendy.
 
2020-07-16 2:40:18 PM  

madgonad: Their list is a mess.

There have only been five dominant consoles that were actually consoles. Modern 'consoles' are just PCs with a specialized OS, so what we think of as consoles now are just PCs for people that want simple, portable, cheap, and with a controller included.

There have only been five actual consoles that dominated their eras:
Atari 2600/VCS - 1977-83
NES - 1983-90
SNES - 1990-95
Playstation - 1995-2000
Playstation 2 - 2000-2008

After that is just off-the-shelf PC parts in a small case.


Kind of defeats your point when the two first consoles you name were powered by the MOS6502 - the chip that was in basically every big platform since 1977.
 
2020-07-16 2:50:35 PM  
I'll judge a console by what games were specifically released for it, not for what older games it could play.  Otherwise, I'd have to list my current computer at the top, since it can play everything up to PS2 games with relative ease.

1. SNES - Easily the best library of stand-out games.  Squaresoft gave us the golden age of RPGs (Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana, FF4 through FF6), Super Mario World is arguably the most impressive platform game of all time, there were plenty of good shooters, Link to the Past is the best Zelda, Earthbound is the most hilarious game ever, and so on.

2. PS2 - Just edges out the PSX.  Barely.  The PS2 had the best Megaten games, some great fighting games, Metal Gear Solid 3, Shadow Hearts, Xenosaga, Star Ocean 3, Suikoden 3-5, Wild Arms, Tales, and probably some others I'm forgetting.

3. PSX - Xenogears is my favorite game of all time, and the PSX had Final Fantasy Tactics, Star Ocean 2, Vagrant Story, Suikoden 1 and 2, and some other gems.

4. NES - Mega Man, Blaster Master, Bionic Commando, Super Mario Bros. 3, Castlevania, two good Zelda games, Star Tropics, Contra, and more.  The SNES may have more of my favorites than any other console, but when I think of the concept of a prototypical video game, I think of an NES game.  So, uh, now you know my age plus or minus three years.

5. Gameboy - I tend to think of the Nintendo handheld systems as one continuous entity, and it was always inferior to the main console of the era.  Still, I had my share of fun with Tetris, and later on I enjoyed Phoenix Wright on the DS.

6. Don't care.  PS3, maybe?  I stopped caring after the PS2's run ended.
 
2020-07-16 3:55:39 PM  

Slow To Return: stuhayes2010: Atari 2600 deserves #1 just for being the consol that started it all.

Came here to say this. Atari 2600 got my PARENTS playing video games, and Atari 2600 was the only game in town for quite a while, as I seem to recall.


Except that it was a terrible console, even among its peers of the time.  Well over 95% of the games were absolute garbage, its technical capabilities were non-existent and utterly ruined the recreated pseudo-ports, and it's pretty much responsible for the temporary death of the industry until the Famicom/NES rose up.

I still had one, and played it a lot between ages 5 and 9, but it wasn't a good system.
 
2020-07-16 4:04:22 PM  
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2020-07-16 4:04:47 PM  

I Like Bread: Kind of defeats your point when the two first consoles you name were powered by the MOS6502 - the chip that was in basically every big platform since 1977.


Atari was the cheap-ass 6507.
I would also point out that consoles back then weren't SoCs like today. The CPU was just the 'central' processor. Hell, Atari didn't even have a frame buffer. The TIA is bigger than the CPU (yeah, GPUs are bigger than CPUs are now too). There is also one or two RIOT chips.

Compare to the NES which used the full 6502 with way more memory. The NES also brings in the PPU which improved the graphics immensely. Better RF modulator for making actual sound versus a handful of beep tones. It also let the cartridges run the audio channels.
 
2020-07-16 4:05:25 PM  

kukukupo: fallingcow: Oh and the first Bases Loaded on the NES is the only good console baseball game that's not on the Neo Geo and not named Base Wars. I will not budge from this fundamental and absolute truth.

Sorry, you misspelled Baseball Stars.  Just thought I'd point that out for you


I carved out an exception for the Neo Geo for a reason, and half of that reason is Baseball Stars 2.

Is NES Baseball Stars one of the many on that platform with no computer control of your outfielders, and also no way to see any part of the outfield until the ball's there, making almost any hit that makes it past the infield at least a double, and often an in-the-park home run? That's the flaw that immediately removes most of them from the competition.
 
2020-07-16 4:22:52 PM  
My Atari VCS still works and is hooked up to my HD TV.  I can play ET on a 65" screen.  I have about 40 cartridges for it and pick up a few rare ones here and there when I find them.
 
2020-07-16 5:12:30 PM  

Khellendros: Slow To Return: stuhayes2010: Atari 2600 deserves #1 just for being the consol that started it all.

Came here to say this. Atari 2600 got my PARENTS playing video games, and Atari 2600 was the only game in town for quite a while, as I seem to recall.

Except that it was a terrible console, even among its peers of the time.  Well over 95% of the games were absolute garbage, its technical capabilities were non-existent and utterly ruined the recreated pseudo-ports, and it's pretty much responsible for the temporary death of the industry until the Famicom/NES rose up.

I still had one, and played it a lot between ages 5 and 9, but it wasn't a good system.


Who are you counting as its peers?  Atari VCS came out in 1977, Odyssey in 1978 and Intellivision in 1980.  Granted, the 2600 aged quickly, but by the time it was five years old and the Colecovision came out in 1982, the video game industry was still going strong.  George Plimpton was prime time advertising.  The "temporary death of the industry" didn't really happen until the Atari 2600 was already in its sunset years, and the PC was coming onto the scene.

I don't disagree that most of the games were crap and its technical abilities pale in comparison to the PS4.
 
2020-07-16 5:56:05 PM  
Sorry, subby. It was all over after Super Nintendo.
 
2020-07-16 6:05:57 PM  

Antimatter: kukukupo: Marcos P: Like every modern game takes stuff from ps2 era games.

And 99% of modern games suck.

99% of old games sucked as well.  We only tend to remember the stand outs in the sea of crap.

The best thing modern games took from the ps2 era was twin stick controls.  When timesplitters mapped Turoks C-buttons to a stick, it set the standard and at last fixed the camera issues that had so plagued 3d games to that point.

The lack of a second stick is what really hampered the Dreamcast in retrospect.  DC was great for single stick using arcade games, but couldn't handle the 3d games that were designed for consoles post ps2.

Kind of hampered the Wii as well.  Bounding boxes and waggle were no real substitute for proper twin stick camera controls.


As for the main topic, I find it difficult to rank the ps1 in retrospect.  At the time I thought it was an amazing console with a ton of great games, which is true.  It's just camera kills so many of those games in retrospect, more so than the sometimes wonky graphics.  There was so much innovation and experimentation that gen that it easily ranks in the top 10, it's just difficult to say exactly where.

SNES is pretty easy: it was the golden age of 2d pixel games.  It wasn't until the rise of modern indie games that we saw a proper resurgence there.
N64 was a great party console, but outside of about a dozen games it's total library was a small fraction of the number the ps1 had, including the number of stand out classic franchises.Ps3 is...the ps3.  the 60 gig version is one of the all time greats, but without BC it was always a bit inferior to the XB360 in many games, though it had far stronger asian development support.PS4 is all around better then the XB1, top 10 easily.  It's got a great library and strong support across the map.XB1 is good, but lags behind others if you had say, a PC.  Otherwise it's kind of in the same place as the ps3: everything was pretty much better on another console.Switch is good, but many of it's great games are last gen ports.  It always seems to feel more like playing a docked handheld rather then a portable home console though.  I'd rank it above the wii U and wii though.


You could play GoldenEye with dual sticks. You just had to use two controllers to do it.
 
2020-07-16 6:33:18 PM  

madgonad: I Like Bread: Kind of defeats your point when the two first consoles you name were powered by the MOS6502 - the chip that was in basically every big platform since 1977.

Atari was the cheap-ass 6507.
I would also point out that consoles back then weren't SoCs like today. The CPU was just the 'central' processor. Hell, Atari didn't even have a frame buffer. The TIA is bigger than the CPU (yeah, GPUs are bigger than CPUs are now too). There is also one or two RIOT chips.

Compare to the NES which used the full 6502 with way more memory. The NES also brings in the PPU which improved the graphics immensely. Better RF modulator for making actual sound versus a handful of beep tones. It also let the cartridges run the audio channels.


The MOS6502 had many revisions but is still considered one family. And yes: some platforms had different amounts of memory, different sound and video capabilities, et cetera. Still a diversion from your original point that older consoles weren't just low-spec PCs when the MOS chip was as conventional as it gets (to a lesser extent, Zilog Z80 or Motorola 68k).

So I think we can agree that, all things considered, developing for every 6502-based platform then is relative to developing for every amd64-based platform today.
 
2020-07-16 7:05:30 PM  

neveranything: They put the Atari Jaguar at #24. This list, the person who wrote it, the person who gave it a green light, and the Guardian are now permanently invalid.


They left the TI 99-4/A off the list for the Jaguar and the 3DO. There is no justice in this world for Munch Man.
 
2020-07-16 9:07:57 PM  

Shakin_Haitian: Antimatter: kukukupo: Marcos P: Like every modern game takes stuff from ps2 era games.

And 99% of modern games suck.

99% of old games sucked as well.  We only tend to remember the stand outs in the sea of crap.

The best thing modern games took from the ps2 era was twin stick controls.  When timesplitters mapped Turoks C-buttons to a stick, it set the standard and at last fixed the camera issues that had so plagued 3d games to that point.

The lack of a second stick is what really hampered the Dreamcast in retrospect.  DC was great for single stick using arcade games, but couldn't handle the 3d games that were designed for consoles post ps2.

Kind of hampered the Wii as well.  Bounding boxes and waggle were no real substitute for proper twin stick camera controls.


As for the main topic, I find it difficult to rank the ps1 in retrospect.  At the time I thought it was an amazing console with a ton of great games, which is true.  It's just camera kills so many of those games in retrospect, more so than the sometimes wonky graphics.  There was so much innovation and experimentation that gen that it easily ranks in the top 10, it's just difficult to say exactly where.

SNES is pretty easy: it was the golden age of 2d pixel games.  It wasn't until the rise of modern indie games that we saw a proper resurgence there.
N64 was a great party console, but outside of about a dozen games it's total library was a small fraction of the number the ps1 had, including the number of stand out classic franchises.Ps3 is...the ps3.  the 60 gig version is one of the all time greats, but without BC it was always a bit inferior to the XB360 in many games, though it had far stronger asian development support.PS4 is all around better then the XB1, top 10 easily.  It's got a great library and strong support across the map.XB1 is good, but lags behind others if you had say, a PC.  Otherwise it's kind of in the same place as the ps3: everything was pretty much better on another console.Switch is good, but many of it's great games are last gen ports.  It always seems to feel more like playing a docked handheld rather then a portable home console though.  I'd rank it above the wii U and wii though.

You could play GoldenEye with dual sticks. You just had to use two controllers to do it.


Perfect Dark on the Xbox 360 is the exact same game as it was on the N64, but with upscaled textures and 720p (1080p maybe?) output... and modern two-stick controls. It's glorious.
 
2020-07-16 10:55:29 PM  

Khellendros: italie: Super NES was #1? There is zero rationale for that.

Odd, since the second I read the headline, I assumed it would be #1.  It wasn't even in doubt for me.  And for most people my age (~40), a plurality would figure it had the top spot.

Of course, much of it will be based on age and what was in your gaming generation's "golden" age.  Slightly younger people will lean more towards the PS, PS2, XB360, etc.


NES ran circles around SNES with titles, originality, and just plain fun.You can't beat the OG.
 
2020-07-17 10:27:04 AM  

I Like Bread: The MOS6502 had many revisions but is still considered one family. And yes: some platforms had different amounts of memory, different sound and video capabilities, et cetera. Still a diversion from your original point that older consoles weren't just low-spec PCs when the MOS chip was as conventional as it gets (to a lesser extent, Zilog Z80 or Motorola 68k).

So I think we can agree that, all things considered, developing for every 6502-based platform then is relative to developing for every amd64-based platform today.


Kinda, but AMD64 can be a SoC. Some even include the GPU. Consoles in the 80s had a significant number of what we consider computer components on the CARTRIDGE. Hell, some cartridges could save your games. The design was completely different back then. The CPU was just the central controller and all of the other parts that defined the platform were specialized. Maybe compare it to the Raspberry Pi when constructing elaborate 'things' today. The performance of the central core was good enough for a lot of things, it is just the components attached to it that make new products.
 
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