5) Wii (2006)
For many, the Wii will always be the hype train that lost steam. Nintendo's motion-controlled console was the hottest thing around for a couple years, and then, once the buzz faded, many players realized they'd rather have the power and library of an Xbox 360 or PS3. Welp.
Why does it rank so high on this list, then? The truth is beyond the buzz: the Wii helped expand gaming in ways we hadn't seen before, delivered some truly fun motion games amidst the junk, and was in many ways as delightful as it was weird. And any console that brought us two awesome Super Mario Galaxy games and two new Zelda games deserves massive praise.
4) Nintendo 64 (1996)
Coming off of the 16-bit era, the Nintendo 64 looked like pure magic: stunning 3D gaming and all new kinds of genres and experiences. It might seem awfully rudimentary now - and, sure, the PlayStation ultimately won out that generation - but at the time it was pretty incredible.
Launch leader Super Mario 64 remains one of the most amazing and influential games of all time, and we can't forget about GoldenEye 007, Mario Kart 64, or Super Smash Bros. – all local multiplayer essentials, of course. And that's just a sampling of what made the N64 such a brilliant and revolutionary machine, even if using cartridges ultimately cramped its abilities.
3) Nintendo Entertainment System (1986)
Why did millions covet the NES Classic last Christmas? Because it's the Nintendo, the original console that started it all. The NES established the company as a gaming juggernaut, almost singlehandedly saved the industry, and spawned some of the greatest franchises of all time.
Super Mario? The Legend of Zelda? Final Fantasy? Mega Man? Castlevania? The list goes on and on and, while we'd put another home console just ahead (spoilers!), the NES remains legendary today. The NES Classic proved that, but the reminder wasn't necessary.