Nintendo Wii (2006)
While Microsoft and Sony busied themselves with graphical intensity and gutsy hardware, Nintendo introduced an unassuming white box that came with a minimalist remote control with a twist – motion control. You plugged it in, fired up Wii Sports, and ignored “proper” gaming for a few months.
Panasonic 3DO (1993)
It could support eight controllers, had oodles of expansion options and could give its peers – the PSOne and Sega Saturn – a fair fight. So what stopped Panasonic's 3DO changing the world as much as it could’ve? That age old combo of console disappointments: lack of third-party games and a prohibitive price tag.
Nintendo Game Boy (1990)
One word can explain the success of Nintendo’s monochrome portable phenomenon: Tetris. The handheld console shifted nearly 120 million units globally despite the availability of the Atari Lynx, which had colour, a backlit screen and could network with other Lynx. Smart, but it didn’t have Tetris like the Game Boy.
Nintendo DS (2005)
Although its split screen harked back to Nintendo’s single-title Game & Watch handhelds from the ‘80s, the DS’s touchscreen was a gaming reinvention. Such was its popularity, it spawned an evolving franchise that includes the DS Lite, DSi, DSi XL and – most recently – 3DS.
Sony PlayStation 3 (2006)
Following up the PS2’s success was a job akin to having the Rolling Stones as your support band. Sony threw everything it had into its HD offering – the PS3 had a 3.2GHz eight-core CPU, swappable HDD and Blu-ray player. Such was its power, users are still asked to hand over their processing power to medical research when they take a break from Deus Ex: Human Revolution.