Gadget Hall of Fame: Vote for the best games console ever
Which of these five classic games machines should we induct into our Hall of Fame?
So what’s the greatest games console ever then? The all-conquering original Sony PlayStation? The innovative Nintendo Wii? Or a handheld such as the Nintendo Gameboy maybe?
Well, now’s your chance to have your say. We’re going to induct one classic games console into the Stuff Gadget Hall of Fame for a special issue of Stuff magazine, out on September 1, and we want you to choose the winner.
Below we’ve assembled a shortlist – itself compiled after a mammoth debating session among the Stuff team – and all you need to do is vote for which you think is most worthy. Over to you…
1) Atari 2600 (1977)
This, children, is what games consoles used to look like: (faux) wood panelling, two joysticks, a whole lot of analogue-style buttons and 128 gigabytes of RAM. No, hang on – that’s 128 bytes of RAM. Sheesh.
Forget the seemingly unimpressive specs, though, because the Atari 2600 was state-of-the-art on its release in 1977. As one of the first home consoles to use cartridges rather than only being able to play built-in games it had access to a massive library of titles: Pitfall, Space Invaders, Breakout, Adventure and many other titles which came to define the early years of gaming. Oh, and E.T, which pretty much killed console sales for a few years, but that’s a different story.
It sold close to 30 million units and ushered in the age of home gaming. Without it, you’d be spending your evenings playing noughts and crosses.
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2) Nintendo Game Boy (1989)
The only handheld in our shortlist is the only handheld anyone’s ever really cared about (well, until the 3DS at least): namely Nintendo’s peerless Game Boy.
It was wonderfully simple, with just two main gaming buttons and a d-pad to worry about; it took AA batteries, which might seem quaint nowadays but which was a godsend when you were on a 10-hour flight with no way to charge anything; and it had games. Such lovely, lovely games.
Chief among them were Super Mario Land, Pokémon and Tetris, the latter of which came bundled with every console, but there were hundreds of others. The were mostly all brilliant and the world duly went mad for the thing – Nintendo shipped some 120m of them. Mobile gaming at its finest.
3) Nintendo Wii (2006)
If innovation’s what you’re after then cast your vote thisaway, because the Wii was one of the biggest risk-takers ever in home gaming. And also one of the most successful ever, finding its way into more than 100 million homes.
By marrying so-simple-your-gran-could-use-it motion control with so-much-fun-even-your-killjoy-dad-would-love-them games, it swiftly invented a bunch of new audiences for itself – families, casual gamers, party animals, post-pub-bowling-fans and all the rest.
Sure, it wasn’t so hot at the things that ‘serious’ gamers desire, such as graphics and depth and the ability to take part in online frag fests, but we were too busy trying to punch each other’s blocks off in Wii Sports Boxing to care about that sort of thing. Oh, and it had Mario too, which is always a good thing.
4) Sega Mega Drive (1988)
It’s a tough call between including this or the Super Nintendo in our shortlist but the Mega Drive just gets the nod by virtue of being the more grown-up console.
Although Nintendo’s rival was technically superior, Sega’s had a fantastic controller, loads of great sports games and was brilliant for multiplayer action. You even got masses of blood in Mortal Kombat. Plus, it had Sonic – for a time a genuine rival to Mario.
It all added up to a console which gave you street cred. Maybe that shouldn’t matter, but at the time it seemed Very Important, and that’s why we remember it so fondly.
5) Sony PlayStation (1994)
If the Sega Mega Drive made us feel like teenagers when we were really still kids, then the Sony PlayStation was the first truly adult console. That was partly due to the hardware, which looked right at home next to your stereo and TV and which could also play music CDs, but mostly due to the games.
Sure, it had regular bouncy platform fare such as Crash Bandicoot but it also had much darker fare with proper stories and characters such as Resident Evil, Metal Gear Solid and Silent Hill, plus the super-cool likes of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater and Wipeout.
It was the console that marked gaming’s coming of age as an artform, basically – and for that we’ll always love it.
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