As kids growing up, the only graphics we had were 8 and 16-bit. Yes, we are talking about the days before consoles such as the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. And you know what? Those were the days. We feel that modern-day game consoles now only care about the graphics and how many people you can mutilate on MW3; the basic principle of enjoying simplistic games is now a thing of the past.
Back in the 80s and 90s, retro games consoles were all about bringing the arcade in to your own home and with games such as Streets of Rage, Sonic and Mario you were entertained for hours on end. You have to think that this was a time where computer games were like this new form of entertainment – especially for a young boy/girl.
Some of the earlier retro consoles didn’t give you a way to save any game data, so not only did you have to try and complete the game in one sitting, but once you were dead it was back to the start. Which meant every time you booted up the game again you knew it was never just for 10 minutes.
For some real nostalgia see our top ten retro games consoles and free to vote if you don’t agree with the order.
Sega Master System
Popular Games Included: Fantasy Zone, Ghostbusters, Alex Kidd in Miracle World, Phantasy Star, Wonder Boy in Monster Land
The Sega Master System was release in Europe in 1987. The North American version of Master System could play both cartridges and Sega Cards, but the PAL version (Master System II, see picture above) could only play cartridges. At the time the Nintendo Entertainment System and The Sega Master System were huge rival consoles and as a result you were usually either a Nintendo kid or a Sega kid. Because of this Sega adopted the phrase: Sega does what Nintendon’t, which was a cheap shot in our eyes.
Popular Games Included: Shenmue, Soul Calibur, Resident Evil: Code Veronica, Crazy Taxi, Sonic Adventure
The Sega Dreamcast was release in Europe on 14th of October, 1999. The console got a lot of stick as many people believed it failed as a console; however, we would disagree. Although the console is considered to be retro it was in fact the first of the sixth generation of video game consoles. The Dreamcast only lasted 2 years in the market and was Sega’s last piece of hardware. We don’t know about you but we believe that Sega should make a comeback and not go out on the Dreamcast.
Popular Games Included: Panzer Dragoon Saga, Virtua Fighter 2, Guardian Heroes, NiGHTS into Dreams, SEGA Rally Championship
The Sega Saturn was release in Europe on July 8, 1995. The console had fierce rivalry and had to compete with the PlayStation 1 and Nintendo 64 at the time and did lose the battle. The Saturn was Sega’s next major console after their Mega Drive (lesser known consoles such as Sega 32X and Sega Pico were made in between). And from a 16-bit machine to a 32-bit machine there was a lot more power this retro console had.
Popular Games Included: Metal Gear Solid, Gran Turismo, Final Fantasy 7, Tekken 3, Grand Theft Auto
The PlayStation (sometimes referred to as the PSX) was release in Europe on September 29, 1995. Although the PlayStation is considered to be more popular than the Nintendo 64, it was in fact a 32-bit console (with the Nintendo 64 being a 64-bit). The idea for the PlayStation can be dated back to 1986 when Sony and Nintendo were working together to create a console. Nintendo decided not to go ahead with the plans so Sony decided to carry on the project and rename it PlayStation. I bet this is the biggest mistake that Nintendo has ever made.
Sega Mega Drive
Popular Games Included: Sonic the Hedgehog, Golden Axe, Streets of Rage, Mortal Kombat, Disney’s the Lion King
Yes you guessed it: The number one retro games console is the Sega Mega Drive. If it’s not, shame on you for not voting it number 1
The Sega Mega Drive was release in Europe in 1990. Depending on where you live in the world you will either know this epic retro games console as the Sega Mega Drive or the Sega Genesis. The reason for the two names was due to legal reasons. To this day console variations are being produced by licensed 3rd parties, retro game collectors are still investing in games and you can still purchase many titles via the Wii Virtual Console channel.
Popular Games Included: Pac-Man, Pitfall!, Missile Command, Demon Attack, E.T.
The Atari 2600 was release in October 1977. It just shows that you don’t need to have the best graphics and the most power to be popular. With only an 8-bit CPU the Atari 2600 is still considered one of the best retro consoles to date, just like the Wii is today with seventh generation consoles. The Atari 2600 was a retro console that was based on video arcade games by used a Joystick for a pad and it truly changed the world of gaming forever.
Popular Games Included: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, GoldenEye, Super Mario 64, Banjo-Kazooie, Super Smash Bros
The Nintendo 64 was release in Europe on September 1997. The console received its name due to it utilising a 64-bit CPU. Unlike other fifth-generation consoles such as the PlayStation 1, Nintendo 64 and the Sega Saturn, the Nintendo 64 utilised cartages instead of CDs which as you know meant no loading screens. The Nintendo 64’s pad – at the time – was completely innovative which made it a joy to play games such as Zelda. The ability to place memory cards and other add-ons straight into the pad – not the console – was also new at the time.
Popular Games Included: Tetris, Donkey Kong, Dr. Mario, Super Mario Land, Final Fantasy Adventure
The Nintendo Game Boy was released in Europe on September 28, 1990 and for all you Nintendo DS fans, this is where is all began. With only an 8-bit processor, don’t expect anything amazing from the Game Boy. Although the console was bulky and played black and white games, it was portable (using AA batteries) which made the console appealing. Just the idea of being able to take your console wherever you went was amazing at the time. You could even use a link cable to battle your friends.
NES - Nintendo Entertainment System
Popular Games Included: Super Mario Bros, Duck Hunt, Super Mario Bros 3, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Legend of Zelda
The Nintendo Entertainment System – shortened to NES – was release in Europe in 1986. Nintendo tried to storm the game market by branding the NES as a Family Computer and they succeeded. But the funny thing is, they were right, it was in fact a Family Computer (Famicom) that any member of the family could have fun playing. The console even helped revive the gaming industry back in 1985 in North American after the market plummeted a few years before due to the loss of consumer confidence. The decline was so bad that companies such as Atari ended up being bankrupt.
SNES - Super Nintendo Entertainment System
Popular Games Included: Chrono Trigger, Super Metroid, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Mega Man X, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island
Super Nintendo Entertainment System, which was shortened to SNES was release in Europe in 1992. The SNES is Nintendo’s third console release with the second one being the NES, and with the popularity of the NES, Nintendo’s reputation was riding on the SNES. Nintendo had nothing to worry about as the SNES became the best-selling console of the 16-bit era. Instead of trying to design a whole new product, you can tell Nintendo took their previous console (which everyone loved) and completely upgraded it without running it.
The chances are if you didn’t own a Sega Mega Drive you will have owned a Super Nintendo Entertainment System. This will have also decided if you were a Sonic kid or Mario kid – you know this started many fights in the school yard. Either way, if you wish to buy a retro console then one of these on this top ten list is what you want.