Top 5 Consoles – Variand
Click the headings below to find out what my Top 5 Consoles are and why.
5) Commodore 64
Easily one of the more influential “Consoles” in history, but one of the most over looked. I know most will argue it’s not a “console,” but at the time the term didn’t exist as it does today. Not only was it the highest selling, but it was also the most supported for the “freeware” and indie fields of the day. Tech/gaming magazines in the day would have code sheets in the back so you could program your own games! Not only did it give you a fun pastime, but it also taught you programming, digital art, and even game design! Talk about getting your money’s worth.
4) Sega Game Gear
Sega was always ahead of its time in the console market, and handhelds were no exception. The Sega Game Gear featured a vibrantly colorful screen and great resolution when compared to other handhelds of its time. The controls handled closely like a Genesis (only missing a button) and the tiny speaker was enough for the simplistic sounds of the day. With peripherals like a TV tuner and a wide selection of games that looked and played just the same as they would on the home console, the Game Gear was easily one of my favorite gaming consoles. The only downfalls were its inexhaustible hungry for batteries, and it’s INCREDIBLY short power supply. The screen also faded quite a bit over time, but regardless, you could always find me with my face plastered the screen with Sonic The Hedgehog.
3) Microsoft Xbox 360
I know the PlayStation 3 was more powerful, more versatile, better made (no RRoD), and had free online, but besides all that, it barely survived the last generation (Thank the fanbois and new management). The reason I choose the Xbox 360 is because it was exactly what a game console SHOULD have been for the generation. It was powerful enough to play games that looked fine, easily played, was easily setup, had loads of functions, and only got better with age. Most importantly, it kept its price point to a level where people could afford it. And in part due to its home saturation (a byproduct of being lower in cost), Xbox 360 was able to develop the online multiplayer aspects of games and truly redefine online social interaction. It also helped promote the DLC for games (something I’m not honestly certain I’m happy about…maybe I’ll write a blog about it). However, the RR0D debacle, its pointless need for a Gold Subscription to use third party apps (Netflix), and its slow, but inevitable, decline into the “Metro” UI loses it several marks. And dropped it most definitely out of what I would have considered an immediate second place, and contender for first. The Xbox One could learn a lot by studying the middle years of the Xbox 360.
Special Note: This one also gets a special place in my heart because it was the first company that supported and helped publish indie developers with the XNA Software Development Kit. Yes, it required people to learn C#, but it was free and came with a full community for help. I was able to use the XNA SDK to create 3 games that would win me 3 awards for “Best Video Game Creation” while in college. So yes, while XNA was not ONLY for Xbox (also worked on Zune and Windows PC), it was Xbox’s desire to unify the realms that lead to XNA.
2) PlayStation 2
It was hard to choose the PS2 over the PlayStation (original). Both were innovative machines that irreversibly changed the path of gaming as it progressed into the modern times, but the PS2 just had the BIGGER innovations. When it really boils down to it though, the PSX real innovations were the use of CDs as the primary media source and the inclusion of Dual-Analogue sticks on a home console. The PlayStation 2 build one of the most powerful processors of its age (though newer technologies would make it shortly obsolete within only a couple years). The Emotion Chip was so powerful that its sale was prohibited in several countries as its processing power rivaled some country’s missile defense systems. Missile Command for real!
And yes, while the Dreamcast had a built in modem 2-3 years before the PS2’s Network adapter would be released, it was during this time when Broadband finally started saturating into the average gamer’s home. This instantly made games like Socom: Navy Seals monstrous hits, and showed that online competitive multiplayer was no longer the soul domain of PCs.
The PlayStation 2 saw one of the more turbulent times for console manufacturers, having seen the death of the Sega consoles, the birth of Xbox, and even after 14 years since its launch, games are STILL sold for it at every GameStop! The PS2 was the pinnacle of what a gaming console should have been. I still to this day have 2 functioning PS2’s and still play them to this day. Soft-modding my ancient PS2 (fat) gave it a whole new lease of life as I was able to burn my own PS2 game backups for games that had long since become too scratched or damaged to play. PS2 was a shining crown of all that was “old school” that doubled as a spear tip as it pierced its way into the next generation of gaming innovations.
Yes, yes, I hear the same arguments from #5, but hear me out. The PC started out to be the home of games, and is quickly coming back to take it’s title. PCs have a number of things going for it, such as upgradable parts to keep older systems still kicking, infinitely more power than consoles, and a gaming library that consoles could not even DREAM of having. True, PC’s usually come with a stiffer learning curve, but the benefits FAR outweigh the costs. Then experience itself can be modified on a PC. You can hook it up to a TV and play it in your living room, or you can even build your own cabinet and create an arcade experience! Controls are endless so long as the software supports it, and more options are available to find that controller/gamepad that feels right to you. Another argument is that the “PC” is becoming a console again with things like the Steam Boxes and other knockoffs.
Here’s the real kicker though, the PC is the retirement home for all other consoles. Every console of days pasted can be emulated on the PC. This is my main argument of why the PC is number 1; it’s ALL consoles! Working hardware on older machines can get expensive as they are becoming collectors items (just ask The Cubist or NerdBerry). For the poor man, or those who don’t much care about playing on original hardware, the great games can still be played by generations who did not have the chance to play them during their prime.
Plus, you just can’t REALLY call yourself a nerd if you haven’t built your own gaming machine. That’s be like a pro race car driver who doesn’t know how to change the oil. So wise up kids, PC is where it began, PC is where consoles go to survive, and PC is the future.
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