Top 25 Video Game Consoles of All Time
The memories are flooding in…
Maybe you opened your first game console on Christmas morning, or your parents surprised you with a PlayStation on your Birthday, or perhaps you finally saved up the money to buy an Xbox 360 and rushed to the nearest electronics store the second you got the opportunity.
Whenever and however your first experience playing video games came to be, if you are anything like our team at Playmaker HQ , then we know that this was a pivotal point in your life.
Many of us grew up in an era when our moms and dads barked at us to “put down the video games and go outside”, but they didn’t have the insight to predict how rapidly video games would become ingrained in our culture.
According to GeekWire, about 1.2 Billion people play video games around the world, and 700 million of those people engage in online gameplay. The Unites States has seen a drastic increase in game play with nearly 70% of Americans playing some form of video games, so it’s safe to say that the Industry has come a long way since day 1.
Developers and Game System Architects have gifted us with ground-breaking gaming technology throughout each generation; the argument of which game consoles are the best of all time is only getting tough to answer each year, therefore we decided to surf through the history of gaming and analyze the data to bring you a list of the Top 25 Video Game Consoles.
Each console on this list has brought something unique to the table. Whether it was the Magnavox Odyssey laying down the groundwork for future gaming, or the Xbox 360 bringing us the first high definition video game console, each device on this list has a purpose and played a vital role in the ongoing evolution of gaming. Thus, we have ranked each video game console not only by their technological capabilities, but also by their innovativeness and influence during their time.
Let’s take a moment to appreciate the progress that has been made in the video game world while receiving a healthy dose of nostalgia as we journey down memory lane to unveil the Top 25 Video Game Consoles of All Time.
25. Atari Jaguar (1993)
While this was the last Atari console before the company went up in flames, the Atari Jaguar was a success. Unlike the Super NES and Genesis during this era, the Jaguar had 64 bits of processing rather than just 16 bits. In addition to the processing, the Jaguar had superior graphic 2D and 3D capabilities compared to the competition at the time of the consoles release.
24. 3DO by Panasonic (1993)
Panasonic made a play to compete with Sony PlayStation, Nintendo Super NES, and Atari Jaguar. Sales wise they failed miserably, but from a technology perspective, Panasonic was able to create something worth having. The release price was a whopping $700, killing the chances for the 3DO to out sell the competition. However, the console did offer an extensive game library and an array of peripherals for gamers to enjoy. Also, the 32 bit multiplayer system has able to host up to an impressive 8 controllers.
23. Magnavox Odyssey 2 (1978)
This console was equipped with a complete keyboard to support programming along with a speech synthesizer. The needs of a gamer were different back then, and this system satisfied them. The single button joystick and interchangeable cartridges was also a plus for many gamers in the late 70s and early 80s.
22. NeoGeo (1990)
The NeoGeo producers, SNK, were big fish in the arcade gaming pond during in the 80’s. The company wanted a piece of the video game industry, so they crafted this console. The hardware used in this device was near equal to the arcade units, and graphics and audio were second to none for video game consoles at this time. The NeoGeo ultimately beat itself as SNK listed the console starting at $800, even with the games costing roughly $175-$205 a pop. The specs and technology became irrelevant when consumers couldn’t afford the product in the first place.
21. Sega Master System (1986)
This console made it possible to play the Sega arcade classics in the comfort of your own home. The system also came with 3D glasses peripheral that illuminated the gaming experience. If it wasn’t for the Nintendo NES crushing the Sega Master System in popularity, this console would have had much better sales. Also, the pesky legal agreements Nintendo had in place made it difficult for this console to flourish, setting back release dates on numerous occasions.
20. Atari 5200 (1982)
You can thank this system for the analog joy stick as well as the “start”, “pause”, and “reset” buttons. This console was designed to beat out the Intellevision after their big win in 1978, and it did just that. With the ability to produce a maximum resolution up to 320Ã—192 pixels and have 16kb of Ram available, this game console was far superior to the previous generation of gaming.
19. Nintendo GameCube (2001)
The GameCube had so many cherished games, including Super Smash Bros: Melee. The console was unique with its cube shape, but at first got negative feedback. Nevertheless, people were able to catch on to the new design and fall in love eventually.
18. Intellevision (1979)
After the Atari 2600 swept the market, Mattel Manufacturer came out with Intellevision to make a splash in the gaming industry. This console won the graphics battle and introduced a controller that featured 4 action buttons and a keypad. The Intellevision also produced sports games for the console backed by licensing agreements with the NFL, NBA, NHL, & MLB.
17. Xbox One (2013)
This system was well designed and features the finest modern technology that gaming has to offer. If you use the Kinect interface you will get a proper Xbox One experience when using the sensory technology to navigate; yet many have opted out of using the Kinect. The executives and developers at Microsoft were puzzled when they learn the next best feature of the Xbox series was undesirable. Unfortunately, the Xbox One has fell short in sales expectations, not because of any system errors or outdated technology, but because the PS4 has taken over the market.
16. Colecovision (1982)
By now you’ve probably have noticed these old consoles have the worst names…
Coleco couldn’t help but to join the fun after seeing Atari 2600 thrive, so they created Colecovision. This console is responsible for bringing fan favorite arcade games to households, including the Nintendo hit Donkey Kong. Ultimately, Colecovision took a devastating blow when the gaming industry was in shambles because Coleco did not own the rights to any of their best games.
15. Nintendo Switch (2017)
This is the first handled gaming device that is convertible to a console. Nintendo stayed true to their creative roots with this design. The switch handheld features a 720p LCD display, offers the hallmark Nintendo games we have enjoyed over the years, and even has the classic Sega Genesis games available. Also the new Super Smash Bros: Ultimate & the revamped Super Mario Party have been victories. Although there have been complaints about the tiny controllers, the Switch offers various joy con combinations, a pro controller, and traditional GameCube controller capability.
14. PlayStation 3 (2006)
The PS3 didn’t get the respect nor sales it deserved, primarily because the Xbox 360 debuted the year before. However, unlike the Xbox 360 and Xbox Live, Sony launched PlayStation Network, a free online multiplayer experience. Furthermore, PlayStation Network also allowed customers to go online to purchase and access video games from their system for the first time in gaming history. The PS3 was also responsible for launching many of the PlayStation exclusive games that we are enjoying today such as the Uncharted series.
13. Nintendo Wii (2006)
Nintendo got the message that tough competition between Sony and Microsoft has risen, so they needed to distinguish themselves from the pack, and did so by coming up the Wii. This console was the most original during this generation of releases. The Wii introduced a motion sensor controller that was extremely user friendly, especially for new gamers. This console became the perfect fit for families looking for their next “go to” home entertainment option.
12. Nintendo 64 (1996)
One of the most hyped video game consoles of all time, the N64 proved to be a forerunner in the world of gaming. The N64 featured a new controller design that was equipped with a hyper sensitive analog stick and was shaped well. The Nintendo 64 blessed gamers with Super Mario 64, which has gone down as one of the best and crucial video games in history. You can also thank N64 for the first FPS video game, Golden Eye 007.
11. Dreamcast (1998)
The Dreamcast had a lasting impact on the world of gaming with their recreation of Sonic the Hedgehog and release of their new series Crazy Taxi. Fortunately for the Dreamcast, they released a couple of years prior to the Xbox and PS2; if they hadn’t gotten the jump start in the gaming market, the would of taken a big loss to the juggernaut consoles of the 6th generation of gaming.
10. Xbox (2001)
The Xbox was such an underrated system at the time. The graphics were A1 during the early 2000s and the innovation was historic. The Xbox gets all the credit for launching Xbox Live, which has laid down the foundation for every new online feature that millions of gamers are savoring today. You can also thank the Xbox for giving us Halo…
9. PlayStation (1995)
Sonys’ first video game baby, the PlayStation, was a complete success. Sony entered a dog fight with the powerhouse manufactures Nintendo and Sega, and then came out on top. This marked the beginning of Segas’ demise and was the first time Nintendo was truly put on their heels. The PlayStation gave us the Dual Shock controller which we have expanded on and still use today. In addition, the PlayStation made a big shift to 3D gaming and disc-based formatting, improving the landscaping of the industry. Many of the PlayStation exclusive games released such as Metal Gear Solid and Resident Evil have gone on to be efficacious video game series.
8. Sega Genesis (1989)
There was a fleeting moment in video game history when Sega was winning the ongoing saga against Nintendo, all because of the Sega Gensis. This console had so many hit games; including Mortal Kombat, NHL 94, Phantasy Star, Shining Force, and Sonics Ultimate Genesis to top things off. Many still claim the Sega Genesis had the best controller ever created with the signature 6 button.
7. Xbox 360 (2005)
This console plays a special role in gaming history. The release of the Xbox 360 marked the turning point and introduction to modern gaming. More than 84 million consoles were sold worldwide, serving as the advancement of the original Xbox the fans needed and deserved. The 360 was the first high definition video game console and the first console that offered wireless controllers. However, the biggest victory for the Xbox 360 was Xbox Live; users spread like wild fire with over 10s of millions online accounts made. If Xbox 360s across the globe weren’t plagued with notorious hardware issues (Red Rings of Death), this system would have been higher on our list.
6. Super Nintendo Entertainment System (1991)
Nintendo brought the heat to the video game console battle in the early 90s. This console was just superior to the Sega Genesis; the 16-bit graphics was a needed upgrade and the sound card was better than ever. Most importantly, SNES offered games that couldn’t be competed with: Mario Kart, Star Fox, Final Fantasy VI, Mega Man X, Secret of Mana, Chrono Trigger, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, and the list goes on and on. About 49 million SNES consoles were sold worldwide.
5. Magnavox Odyssey (1972)
Coming in at #5 is the first video game console, ever, the Magnavox Odyssey. Even though the Magnavox Odyssey may not be the most impressive game console on paper, lacking color display and sound, this system is the pioneer that has made all future gaming possible. Everything about this console was basic and the controllers were like bricks, but the console allowed gamers to enjoy sports video games for the first time. Also, the Odyssey introduced the original home light gun, known as the Shooting Gallery.
4. PlayStation 2 (2000)
The PlayStation 2 took the gaming world by storm. The excitement leading up to its release was unreal, and the PS2 delivered beyond fans expectations. Over 155 million consoles were sold, making this by far the best-selling video game console of all time. The PS2 was still a hot sell even after the PS3 came out 6 years later. The DVD formatting was crucial to the PS2s success along with hits like Guitar Hero, Grand Theft Auto III, and later God of War. According to PlayStation.com, over 3,500 game titles have been released for the PS2 since the debut.
3. Atari 2600 (1977)
This console is recognized as the bedrock of the video game industry. Following the Magnavox Odyssey, Atari released a vast upgrade only 1 year later. The Atari 2600 transcended the video games into the mainstream and won the hearts of many. Household favorites like Pac-Man, Space Invaders, and Missile Command were sweeping the nation. Eventually, the Atari 2600 propelled the company to become a $2 Billion-dollar business.
2. PlayStation 4 (2013)
The PS4 is a beast, and the best modern gaming has to offer. The PS4 is fully loaded; equipped with a GDDR5 Ram for elite graphic performance and a smooth intuitive operating system to enhance the experience. The system provides superior communication with online friends within the network and supports true multi-tasking. Also, any point during your gameplay the PS4 allows you to easily take screenshots and videos. The various network and operating system features of this PS4 are the greatest we have witnessed thus far. Furthermore, The PS4 Virtual Reality has now elevated the gaming experience to unseen heights, the video game world has now been introduced to the next big thing.
1. Nintendo Entertainment System (1985)
This is holy grail of video game consoles. The NES brought video games back to relevance after the industry took a tough hit in the mid-80s. Nintendo had serious pull in the arcade world with Donkey Kong as their big star, but after the company failed to partner up with Atari, they decided to take over the video game empire on their own. Nintendo’s legal team was first-class, and it paid off when they became bullet proof by installing licensing agreements that assured all NES games must be permitted by Nintendo themselves, allowing just a few third-party developers to create games for them. Nintendo and NES created and hosted the Legend of Zelda, Kirbys Adventures, Super Mario Bros 1 2 & 3, Blade Master, Duck Hunt, Final Fantasy, and a plethora more. About 62 million consoles were sold worldwide.