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What's the Best Game Console of All Time?

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the duh-obviously-the-fairchild dept.

Games 479

The C|Net Crave blog has up an article exploring the history of console gaming, and wonders aloud about the pecking order of the various systems. "Gaming is so subjective that there is no single "greatest" system ever. It might sound like a cop-out, but it really depends on what standards you're using and what generation you grew up in. I loved the SNES, and would personally call it the greatest system of all time. However, the NES and PlayStation could both easily be called the best, based on the standards they set and the advances they presented to gaming." The Guardian follows up this piece, noting that the article's rose-colored recollections of the SNES days may not be entirely accurate. Subjective or not, it's a good question: which consoles have a valid place in history and which ones should be forgotten?

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Hmmmmm (4, Interesting)

Orange Crush (934731) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224256)

I grew up with the NES. My parents refused to buy me a SNES when they came out, but I'm not at all bitter (bastards! *cries*). Aside from playing SNES games at friend's houses, I lost interest fairly quickly. I'd occasionally play a brief game at a friend's house on their playstation and i don't think I ever even touched a PS2 beyond using it to play DVDs back when it was the cheapest DVD player on the market. So I basically skipped the past two console generations alltogether.

The NES was the "greatest" system for me, simply because that was the one I interacted with the most, however I can definitely agree with this guy's argument that Sony's embrace of third party developers with the PlayStations made the game industry what it is today.

One minor nitpick, from the article:

Once you've read David Sheff's Game Over, it's almost impossible to play a Super Mario game without imagining the young Miyamoto gamboling through the woodland close to his boyhood home, discovering hidden caves and lakes.

I've always heard that was his inspiration for Zelda, not Mario.

Re:Hmmmmm (4, Interesting)

flitty (981864) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224620)

You are correct, The article is wrong. Zelda, not mario, was inspired by Miyamoto's exploration.

I do have to say that my old SNES got the most playtime out of a single game for me. I think i've played S.Metroid 6 or 7 times through? Same with Link to the Past. It seemed to be the perfect form for 2d sidescrollers and the kind of games that Nintendo Made. Enough power to allow for Saves and bigger environments, and gameplay that matched; difficult, but not frustrating (the majority of NES games were hard because of controls, not because the games were designed that way, i'm looking at you TMNT). I'll never be able to play the 64 because I couldn't afford one at the time and going back to play it now is almost impossible because the 3d geometry is analogous to the NES:SNES upgrade. However, (this might just be the old man in me) I have no problem going back and playing any SNES game that I missed. I feel the same will hold true for the 360 and ps3, and even the xbox and ps2 (later gen games). The graphics are not intrusive into the enjoyment of the game, even if graphics do get better.

Re:Hmmmmm (5, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224758)

You are correct, The article is wrong. Zelda, not mario, was inspired by Miyamoto's exploration.

Actually, both are correct. Various aspects of Super Mario came from his trips into the woods (e.g. Miyamoto would daydream about climbing a tree high enough to get above the clouds, finding a magical castle, etc.), while the game of Zelda was more of a direct translation of his exploration of the woods and caves around his home. To tie it all together, Miyamoto basically had a very active imagination that he was able to translate into the games he designed. The latter part is a rare gift that is what made him so successful. :-)

Re:Hmmmmm (4, Interesting)

beckerist (985855) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224794)

I am a social, casual gamer. I submit the N64 as the greatest console of all time. No such thing as calling online play "multiplayer." I remember the days of me, 3 of my best friends, a bottle of JD, a few packages of Penguin mints and a 2-night bender where all we did for 60 hours straight was eat, drink, stay awake (thank you caffeine!) and throw the controllers at each other in fits of rage.

Goldeneye, Mario Tennis, Smash Brothers, Mario Party 1-3 and Mario Kart...we didn't need anything else.

Re:Hmmmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22224654)

without doubt the Atari 2600 and why u may say, because it was the 1st time you could have an arcade in your home. All other consoles stand on the shoulders of the 2600. Space invaders, Pac man, Kaboom (the most insane shooter ever).

Which game system is it? (1)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224264)

. . . that has Duke Nukem Forever as a game option?

Re:Which game system is it? (1)

meta coder (752563) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224334)

only if you hear democracy chinese while you're playing

Re:Which game system is it? (4, Funny)

Enuratique (993250) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224480)

Rumor has it that's the launch title of the Phantom [wikipedia.org]

Lose the Nostalgia, Do a Trade Study (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224270)

Gaming is so subjective that there is no single "greatest" system ever.
Well put. And yet we attempt a discussion.

What disappoints me massively here is that there is no establishment of values. Have you ever done a trade study? Why weren't the performance parameters isolated and discussed between consoles? Instead, all I saw was opinionated statements often tied to nostalgia with little or no scientific basis.

It's not even discussed about what the delivery method is (cartridge or disc) or even whether doing something well in 8-bit is more desired than something bad in 32-bit. Hardware maintenance, sound capabilities, exclusive franchise titles, I could probably come up with 10 or so factors in deciding how to rank my consoles. Then I would define the scales and think of a novel way to weight them (probably by year and technological limitations).

Last but not least, I would need someone with enough time to play through all of them. Most importantly, this subject(s) would need to be non-interested meaning they have no previous gaming experience. And yet, I don't even see an attempt for this article to do the above while trying to forget that Donky Kong Country entertained them for months in their past.

Why will pong always be better than NES Contra for my dad? Because it was his generation's game. Why is NES Contra always better for me than Souped Up Console Gears of War? Because that was my generation's game. Why will Gears of War always beat Super Lucid Brain Implants Choco Serial Murder Hospital Mystery for my ... well, you see this trend now.

If you want me to be impressed with a comprehensive study, I expect a cold hard naive matrix and not some subjective highly tailored prose laden essay written by an avid gamer.

Re:Lose the Nostalgia, Do a Trade Study (4, Funny)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224410)

Nah easy answer here. Atari 2600 wins hands down.

Hell, look at the 'icon' for this article...and see which console controller they picked!!

Re:Lose the Nostalgia, Do a Trade Study (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224730)

Every idiot knows that the best system ever was the TurboGrafx-16.

However, I am not sure what the non-idiots think.

Re:Lose the Nostalgia, Do a Trade Study (2, Insightful)

riseoftheindividual (1214958) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224822)

Nah easy answer here. Atari 2600 wins hands down.

based on this from the summary:
"However, the NES and PlayStation could both easily be called the best, based on the standards they set and the advances they presented to gaming."

I would say that argument could be reasonably made within the context of advancing gaming. Obviously NES and Playstation were more advanced in and of themselves, but did they really advance console gaming as much as the 2600 did in its day by comparison? NES maybe, but definetly not playstation. Play station was largely a console offered as an upgrade to a pre-existing marketplace. Atari 2600 was a console that pioneered that marketplace. The same could be said about the NES later, but even then it still started its journey down the path the 2600 first blazed before it.

I'm not saying I would vote the 2600 as the best, so far in my opinion I vote the N64(loved that console). It's just really hard to top the 2600s feat of not just being a successful console, but being a successful console when there was no real established market for it before hand.

Re:Lose the Nostalgia, Do a Trade Study (5, Funny)

skavenger (1219006) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224580)

My thoughts exactly. The article reads like countless conversations I've had with friends over lunch in the school cafeteria. As far as I can tell the author isn't even concerned with consoles, just the games that are played on them. It seems like he unwittingly endorses the PC running emulation software as the greatest system of all time. Pointless.

Re:Lose the Nostalgia, Do a Trade Study (1)

timster (32400) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224678)

Last but not least, I would need someone with enough time to play through all of them. Most importantly, this subject(s) would need to be non-interested meaning they have no previous gaming experience.

Why would someone with no experience in gaming be a good judge of video games? Do you like to read movie reviews by people who have never seen a movie before?

In your obsession with objective metrics, you have lost sight of the nature of art. I give your method a big fat zero, on my own subjective scale (of course).

Re:Lose the Nostalgia, Do a Trade Study (1)

Hellad (691810) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224746)

You are trying to quantify the unquantifiable. The "best" console is limited for those very reasons that you stated and regardless of the cold hard facts, a person is going to love the system that spoke to them. Best system is like best song, it is going to come down to the person and their experience. You have said as much, to bother with the cold hard naive matrix would be a waste of time as it really doesn't mean anything to the world.

Re:Lose the Nostalgia, Do a Trade Study (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224922)

Slashdot: the place where blaming the article for not doing a rigorous scientific study of the value of different forms of entertainment gets you +4, insightful.

Phantom (0, Redundant)

jfim (1167051) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224284)

Clearly the best videogame console is the Infinium Labs Phantom [wikipedia.org] . It even plays Duke Nukem Forever!

The Phantom, hands down (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22224288)

I have yet to play a game on the Phantom that I hated. No other console can boast that claim.

N64 (1)

Crock23A (1124275) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224308)

It still used Cartridges which meant less loading times than optical media. Goldeneye brought my family together like no thanksgiving dinner could. On my PS1, the word Loading flashed across the scoreboard in Madden 98 eighteen times before I could play a game. Waaaay worse than waiting for Windows XP to load on an old PC. ;)

Re:N64 (1)

Mercano (826132) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224850)

Yes, but Nintendo did a fairly impressive job masking the load times in allot of their flagship titles on the Cube. I mean, the longest loading screen you'd see in Smash Bros. Melee was the second it took to start the fight after you selected a level.

ans: the next one (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224312)

consoles are omprovning all the time - better hardware, better graphics, better peripherals the potential for better games.

People probably have find memories of a console they used when they were (are?( children, but they're probably just remembering the good old days.

Consoles are improving the whole time, just don't wait for the "best", because you'll never find it

modded XBOX (1)

saladami (827277) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224320)

A modded xbox loaded with emulators to play every NES and SNES game ever made? Sure, a PC can do this but the xbox controller is the same as the SNES/NES with more buttons. Trying to play genesis games is not as simple. Xbox 360/PS3 all i see are first person shooters, I got tired of those around Quake 2.

Re:modded XBOX (1)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224698)

If the latest FPS you played was Quake 2 then you are missing out. All Quake 2 consists of is shooting everything around as quickly as possible. COD4 on the otherhand has team games with Friendly Fire. In addition sneaking up on your enemy and knifing them is way more fun then trying to be a woyboy and running out into the middle of the battle field where you most likely get shot by like 5 enemies at once.

Any console's relative merit (1)

jockeys (753885) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224326)

will be judged by the games for it.
With that in mind, I'd like to nominate the Genesis and the N64 because I think I've whiled away more hours of my life playing games from those 2 consoles than all the others combined.

Runner Up: Neo Geo, but mostly for the Metal Slug series

Everybody knows it's Pong! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22224332)

nuff said

Magnavox Odyssey (1)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224344)

'nuff said.

Huh? (4, Informative)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224362)

FTA: "The 8-bit console found dozens of great games, from franchise firsts like Super Mario Brothers,..."

What exactly is Super Mario Brothers the first of? It's not the first Mario game. In fact, it's a direct sequel to Mario Brothers and arguably it's the 5th Donkey Kong game. It's not even the first 2D platformer as Pac-Land has that locked up. Super Mario Brothers was a great game but it's not the first anything.

Re:Huh? (2, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224664)

What exactly is Super Mario Brothers the first of?

It's the first of the "Super" Mario franchise--it's the first game featuring Mario where he could go from regular Mario to Super Mario. This is something that never occurred in any of the Mario games before that, but that occurs in just about every Mario game after that.

Re:Huh? (3, Insightful)

ChibiOne (716763) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224722)

What exactly is Super Mario Brothers the first of?

The first in the "Super" Mario Brothers franchise? Others before were not "Super", or were "Donkey Kong something", no?

Atari 2600 (1)

mir@ge (25727) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224380)

Who needs anything more?

The NES (1)

Bob of Dole (453013) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224388)

No technical reasons, just the games.

And screw "rose tinted glasses", I played it today.
I beat half a dozen Contra levels, I played some Blaster Master and Iron Tank, I watched a movie "100 NES games in 10 minutes", I'm working on a port of Fire 'n' Ice so I spent a while romhacking and screenshotting it, I played a few levels of Lolo and Wario's Woods, and I played through the first two levels of Super Mario Bros in order to compare something against the Java remake/mod of it I'm working on translating.

NES FOREVER.

Re:The NES (1)

joggle (594025) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224990)

If you're basing it off of games then I would pick the Sega Saturn. That game system has some awsome games, including Radiant Silvergun [wikipedia.org] and many, many others. It's a system I didn't grow up with. A roommate of mine in college had a Sega Saturn and probably over 100 games for it (many he downloaded from FTP sites I think) and they were generally very fun to play.

Side note for Radiant Silvergun fans: There's rumors that it will soon be available on Xbox Arcade with high-def visuals. I really hope that's true and I also hope there's a cheat code for infinite lives...

SNES (1)

jfclavette (961511) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224392)

I'd go with the SNES as well, but like the summary said, there's a lot going on for the NES. I just don't see the Playstation there however. I'd give a shout to the PS2 who, IMHO was the first totally mainstream console. It's EVERYWHERE. Nintendo's handhelds should not be dismissed either, if they fit in your definition of 'video game console.'

Re:SNES (1)

Trent Hawkins (1093109) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224784)

For that reason the PSP is the best. Nothing beast having the entire SNES, NES, Sega Genesis, PSX and PSP game library on one portable system along with Tyrian ;-)

Obviously the 360 (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22224404)

The XBOX 360 is clearly superior to any previous gaming system. Not only can you play games you can download games, download movies, connect to a Media Center PC and watch TV, play all your music, Instant message, etc. It does almost everything a central media machine should do...minus having a built-in TV tuner.

Atari 2600 (0, Redundant)

ccandreva (409807) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224414)


For sheer longevity, if not volume of games.

Re:Atari 2600 (1)

jshackney (99735) | more than 6 years ago | (#22225130)

For sheer longevity, if not volume of games.

And some of those games were actually pretty good. I loved River Raid. And despite the numbing simplicity of Combat, I loved that one too. However, many were duds or just bad implementations of arcade games (e.g. Pac Man).

The sad thing about consoles is that the best console will always be the next console. I can remember my neighbor had the Odyssey (or maybe it was Odyssey II--whatever...) and I thought that was pretty amazing. Then, my uncle had the Intellivision. Whoa! Talk about awesome graphics!! The baseball characters now had arms AND legs! We've come a hell of a long way in the last 30-ish years, and I look forward to the future.

I know we're not voting here, but I think the most underrated console was the Neo-Geo. If you had the finances, you really could bring the arcade home.

There were so many other good machines that just didn't survive: the PC Engine/TG16 and the Sega Genesis come to mind. I wish I could have seen the Jaguar. Then there was Sony. Where the NES lifted the gaming industry out of their coma, the Playstation was the beginning of rehab on steroids.

Man, I gotta go find some emulators. I'm getting a wist of nostalgia.

As much as I like Nintendo and dislike Sony... (5, Insightful)

Draconix (653959) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224430)

I'd have to say it's pretty much a tie between the NES and the PSX. Why? Because both essentially saved console gaming in their times. The NES pulled gaming out of a hell of utter lack of game production standards, and it introduced one of the greatest controller innovations ever: the D-Pad. The PSX was moderately priced and used CD-ROM media, which let its games be inexpensive and contain more content than cartridge-based games. This combined what would grow to be possibly the largest library of games ever, with many truly wonderful games (Final Fantasy 7, Metal Gear Solid, Silent Hill, etc.) that brought console gaming into the mainstream. And after the N64 introduced analog sticks on controllers, Sony trumped it with the best-designed controller ever, the Dual Shock. Ever since then, with the exception of the Wii, controllers have primarily tended to be some variation of the Dual Shock, and that's a good thing.

Nintendo Wii (3, Interesting)

KillerBob (217953) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224432)

People prolly won't like me saying this. Seems the obvious choice to me, though... Plays Wii and Gamecube games out of the box, and the virtual console plays games from the NES, SNES, N64, Sega Genesis, Neo Geo, etc.... It doesn't play games for XBox or Playstation, but the library it brings to the table is much bigger, and covers a much wider array of playstyles. There's simply more variety with the Wii.

The Wiimote is also the only *fun* controller that I've run across in years. Actually changes the gameplay significantly. Some people hate it, some people love it. I love it.

So that'd be my vote. *shrugs*

Nerd pissing constest.... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22224448)

To begin in three, two, one...

Playstation Not It (4, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224458)

The Playstation was definitely not the greatest console of all time. Its philosophy was, "Let's throw a bunch of crud against the wall and see what sticks." As a standardized platform for home entertainment it was highly successful. (In part, due to the low cost of its CD media.) However, if you want to actually look at a system that captured the hearts and minds of the market, the NES is probably IT.

The NES drug the console market out of a complete collapse into a thriving and expansive market. The quality was kept reasonably high through careful controls on the number of games that could be produced by each licensee. (To prevent the "game dumping" problem that occurred in the Atari generation.) It set the stage for the modern video game market, brought the arcade home in ways that even the Colecovision couldn't, introduced the idea of story-driven action games rather than arcade console games, reorganized the market around a control scheme that lives on even today (i.e. the venerable gamepad), and is fondly remembered by nearly every generation of gamer.

There simply has never been a console that has had the impact on the market that the original NES had. In its time it was without equal. I love the SNES as well, but the title for the "greatest" always has been and always will be on the NES.

Re:Playstation Not It (2, Insightful)

phillymjs (234426) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224694)

...brought the arcade home in ways that even the Colecovision couldn't...

If I had points, I'd mod you up for this nod to the Colecovision. Definitely the best home conversions of arcade games available until the NES came along.

~Philly

Re:Playstation Not It (1)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224778)

The Playstation was definitely not the greatest console of all time. Its philosophy was, "Let's throw a bunch of crud against the wall and see what sticks." As a standardized platform for home entertainment it was highly successful. (In part, due to the low cost of its CD media.) However, if you want to actually look at a system that captured the hearts and minds of the market, the NES is probably IT.
Are you certain that is not nostalgia speaking? I started with the intellivision and grew up a gamer. If you look at penetration the PS2 is the "greatest of all time" by number of games, number of great games, number of consoles out there etc... The NES revived the industry after Atari killed it through mis management, the SNEs wa sgreat as well, but you write off the PSX and PS2's contributions which were significant as well. I'm not sure if you remember but 99% of the NES library would be unplayable to gamers now. And there was a ton of dreck for NES, SNES, PSX, PS2, etc.. but there always is.

Re:Playstation Not It (4, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224956)

It's not nostalgia. I'm an avid collector of classic consoles and I can tell you from both history and the consoles sitting in my living room that the Playstation's impact was nowhere near that of the NES. The majority of the games for the PSX were, in fact, quite poor. The achievement of the Playstation was that it succeeded where the 3DO and the CD-i failed. It brought a standard multimedia computer platform* to the market in the form of a console, and succeeded in providing a "standard" base for developers to work from.

From a market perspective, it built heavily on the market that Nintendo and Sega had already built. Had the Playstation been introduced in the wake of the market crash it would have never succeeded. Instead, the market was already excited about the possibility of a multimedia console that catered to all ages. The Playstation was the first to deliver the right mixture of technology to meet demand, ergo it won by default.

* A multimedia computer platform at the time was considered a computer with a sound card, high resolution graphics, mpeg decoding, and a CD-ROM drive. Bit of a misnomer in modern terms, but it was high-tech stuff back then.

Why NES was the best jump in technohlogy for me (1)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224486)

NES went from Atari2600 and arcades to a home system that finally allowed developers to do a full 2d game. If you were born before 1980 and you were a video game fanatic, you'd know the advances that the NES brought. Some NES games are fun today still, but people tend to walk away from the Atari 2600. Some people went from Intellivision,Colleco, or even the early days of the C64 to NES. Even so, NES was a huge jump forward in technology. If you want to argue, let me bring down the hammer: Today people are gaming all sorts of games across different genre and game stations. When the NES was out, it was the thing! All the kids would talk about what games they beat like status symbols, and you could trade games with your friends.

For the worst system: I played the Odessey on occassion, and overlaying different screens so you can switch from tennis, to ping pong, to air hockey was so lame it was sad. On the plus side, some versions of the Odessey came with a lightgun that looked like a .45 magnum because that was before the days where they put orange stripes on guns.

Coolest (5, Interesting)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224502)

All platforms had good and bad games, it's useless to compare them. BUT -- in terms of technical coolness and uniqueness, I have to give it to my good ol' Vectrex [wikipedia.org] . Clearly vector graphics don't work for every type of game, but for the games it did work with, it was awesome.

Re:Coolest (2, Insightful)

BunnyClaws (753889) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224896)

All platforms had good and bad games, it's useless to compare them. BUT -- in terms of technical coolness and uniqueness, I have to give it to my good ol' Vectrex [wikipedia.org]. Clearly vector graphics don't work for every type of game, but for the games it did work with, it was awesome.

I was going to say NES is the best console of all time. Mainly because I remember the dry period of console gaming that occurred between the Atari 2600 and NES.

Then you mentioned Vectrex! Vectrex was awesome for its time. I still have a working Vectrex in my storage room. I take it out every now and then to play for the sake of nostalgia.

The Vectrex was/is also self-contained & porta (1)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 6 years ago | (#22225146)

I didn't carry mine around that much, but I could have -- the original controller snapped right onto the front of the unit under the screen, and of course the screen was part of the unit itself (no TV required). The fact that it had Minestorm built in meant you didn't even have to bring a cartridge along to impress your friends, and in those days it didn't take much to make an impression! :-)

65 Million People Can't Be Wrong (1)

Kid Moxie (1201749) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224522)

My vote: Nintendo DS. The portability, accessibility, and interactivity (through the touch screen) have helped Nintendo capture an entirely new generation of game-players. Young or old, there is something appealing to anyone. Heck, even my parents enjoy the DS! Seriously, go anywhere in Japan and you'll see someone playing one--I challenge anyone *not* to find someone playing a DS on the Tokyo subway.

The Sega Entertainment System (1)

DJ Jones (997846) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224524)

I can't say it was the "best" system, but I think it deserves serious credit.

No, I'm not talking about SEGA Genesis. This was a little known competitor to the original Nintendo. Not only did it come equipped with a bad-ass gun, it had not one, but two different sized cartridge slots. Why? I have no idea.... but it was awesome.

Deserved mentioning...

Re:The Sega Entertainment System (1)

LBArrettAnderson (655246) | more than 6 years ago | (#22225182)

I'm going to have to agree with you on th is one. Sega a handful of games that I remember enjoying very much as kid. I think this one game was called Wonderboy... or something like that... it was awesome. Then there was the game that you could play on the system itself without a cartridge (this maze game)... that one was also very addicting and fun.

So no to teleology (1)

DingerX (847589) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224554)

and yes to Vectrex [wikipedia.org] !

Seriously, TFA seems concerned with a presentist understanding of "The greatest machine of all time", as in "Which consoles make the greatest advancement." Who cares about advancement? It's about the games, dude.

Systems are irrelevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22224566)

It's all about the games.

Nintendo DS (4, Interesting)

_xeno_ (155264) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224572)

I was originally going to say it would be the GameBoy Advance SP, but then I remembered that the DS can play GameBoy Advance games too.

It's a nicely-sized portable, which I've found means that I can actually play the game instead of requiring a TV. Many of the great SNES games were re-released for the GBA (like The Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past, basically all the Final Fantasy games before VII, Super Mario Bros. 3, and Donkey Kong Country 2).

Unfortunately Nintendo took the time to screw with some of them (Link shouldn't be yelling "Ha!" all the time in Link to the Past!), and not all of them translated quite as well as I might like (the music in Final Fantasy VI Advance was screwed up in some places, but on the plus side the bugs were fixed).

Add in original DS games and other original GBA games, and you've got a very nice portable handheld console, which in my mind at least makes it the Best Game Console of All Time, So Far.

Of course, that's probably because I'm getting older and have less free time to play games. It's easier to sneak some game time when you can just drop the console in your pocket or man-purs-- I mean, laptop bag. It's a laptop bag.

Playstation? Bah (5, Insightful)

el_munkie (145510) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224584)

That piece of junk's only innovation was the introduction of ridiculous load times and boring cutscenes to gaming, and we've been cursed with them even since.

Sega Master System (3, Interesting)

LazyPhoenix (773952) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224590)

I was the odd-ball without an NES, but oh the love I had for my Sega Master System -- Phantasy Star, Ys, Miracle Warriors, Alex Kidd in Miracle World, Zillion, Walter Payton Football, Quartet, Space Harrier -- oh the hours of my mis-spent youth

Re:Sega Master System (1)

MrSteveSD (801820) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224938)

I had the Sega Master System too. I thought it was absolutely fantastic. It was the first computer gaming system I had that felt like it was as good as going to the arcades. There's a good emulator for it which I downloaded a while back. I've been playing all my old favourites, including "The Ninja", which is the first game I had.

Odyssey, of course (1)

realsilly (186931) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224594)

This was the ultimate game console for those kids who's parents were too poor or cheap to buy the Atari.

It had games like ....
Blackjack
KC Munchkin (rip off of Pac Man)
err.....
um some learning game.

Oh hell, it sucked, but I sure do miss it.

At my house we test console staying power (1)

netsavior (627338) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224596)

In my game room I have the following set up and ready to play:
Sega Master, NES, Genesis, SNES, Saturn, Dreamcast, PS2, Wii
Between 30-70 games each for the others, and about 8 for the Wii
Based on those options, the SNES gets the most play time by far. Followed closely by the Wii, then NES, then Genesis.

My household includes me (the kook who collected all these systems), My non-gamer (Wii or Ducktails on NES only), and my two children (who keep the SNES warm for me).

Of all time? (1)

Nos. (179609) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224618)

Impossible to say at this point. We'd have to wait until the end of time and then do a review. Now if you want to talk about the best console so far, I'd vote for either the NES or the Wii. Both were massively popular.

Truly the best system (3, Interesting)

Generic Guy (678542) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224632)

Even though it isn't really covered in the article, I'd have to pick the original Xbox as the greatest system. Wait! Before you mod me into oblivion let me explain: I claim that a lot of interest in a particular console seems to be how well you can modify it for other purposes. In other words, versatility can be of great importance.

Xbox (original): Once you easily softmod the machine, and possible install a larger internal hardrive, the Xbox is a self-sufficient machine with excellent graphics capabilities and emulation ability. Even by today's console standards, on any 'regular' standard-definition TV, the Xbox games are surprising good looking and perform well. Yeah, a lot of Xbox titles are cross-platform. But even so, usually the Xbox edition of any title was as good or superior to the others. Plus, with UnleashX or other dashboard replacement, you have customizable menus from which to launch programs or games stored on the hard drive. It's also reliable as hell, almost impossible to kill.

Emulation. The Xbox can run those precious SNES games listed in the article. It can also run NES, Genesis, Atari, and even some PSone games. There's even a working Daphne emulator for those old laserdisc titles such as Space Ace and Dragon's Lair. You can also run a number of select N64 titles, although not a complete list.

Multi-Media. Xbox has the famous XBMC, XBoxMediaCenter from which you can play movies, music, photos and the like from local or network storage. XBMC can also be used as a game launcher instead of other dashboards if you prefer. The only caveat is that newer H264 and other Hi-Def high-bandwidth material is a bit too much for the 700MHx intel CPU on the aging beast.

Computing. That's right, the Xbox is a 700MHz intel PC in a console case. You can use it to run Linux as a basic computing platform if you like. This is Slashdot, is it not? Nothing can be taken seriously here until it runs linux. :)

Don't get me wrong... I loved the SNES as well in its day. You could even use pliers to break away the little plastic tabs in the cartridge slot to play those Ranma 1/2 import games. But any other utility was pretty much non-existant. Ans let's face it, there were a ton of crappy platformer clones (maybe not as many as the infamous NES).

P.S.What I find most amusing is how much I *hated* the big and heavy XBox when it first came out, and conversely how much I love it today.

As a thousand /.ers get a thousand answers (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224642)

What's the best $FOO of all time?

Expect at least as many unique answers as there are replies.

Nintendo 64 (3, Interesting)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224668)

My vote has to go to the Nintendo 64. Watching Super Mario 64, and later Zelda Ocarina of Time, run around in 3 dimensions was just such a quantum leap from Pong and Tank (yes I go back to the very beginning) that there is no way to say anyone else ever brought such a leap to gaming.

Re:Nintendo 64 (4, Interesting)

Sciros (986030) | more than 6 years ago | (#22225128)

For me it would be N64, followed by SNES, followed by NES, but all 3 being close.

IMO the two *best-made games ever* are Ocarina and SM64. They're the games that I judge all others against in all sorts of respects.

The N64 was to me the silver age of gaming. You had the best Zelda/Mario games ever, IMO the best Mario Kart, a revolution in console FPS games with Goldeneye, the first Smash Bros, etc. 3D gaming at its most memorable and finest. Many games on the N64 are yet to be outdone in their respective genres.

The SNES was the golden age. Link to the Past, Super Mario World, DKC and DKC2 setting new standards in side-scrolling platformers, Killer Instinct revolutionizing fighting games, Super Mario Kart popularizing a new genre, Final Fantasy III (VI in Japan), Super Metroid, the Super Star Wars games, the list goes on and on. The SNES had so many good games to play every year it's scary.

NES did so much for console gaming it's hard to put it in scope. With Super Mario Bros. it took things to a whole new level right away. Add the Zelda games, Gradius shootemups, co-op Ninja Turtles games, Metroid, the Castlevanias, the Ninja Gaidens, and you are talking about a system with the predecessors to the majority of franchises anyone cares about.

The PC is the best game console of all time (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22224674)

At any given time, individual consoles have had particular examples that were superior to the wealth of options on the PC, but over time the PC has established itself as king.

The graphics options are superior to the speciality boxes. The keyboard/mouse reigns in fps, and the rumble controllers are now common on the PC. The noob wii controller I would say now owns the PC, but time will tell.

And online play is still far ahead on the PC, though that may change.

Everyone loves the SNES (1)

Kenoli (934612) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224686)

But I'm actually a bit partial to the, uh... SNES.
I just can't get enough Chrono Trigger / Tales of Phantasia / Super Mario RPG
FF3 / Earthbound / Secret of Evermore / Zelda:ALinkToThePast / Megaman X
Yoshi's Island / Zombies ate my neighbors / etc.
Yeah, Zombies ate my neighbors, I said it.

There's really no shortage of great SNES games. They're fun and memorable and that kind of crap.

My best console wasn't a console (4, Insightful)

WidescreenFreak (830043) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224688)

If the whole premise of this is the best "game machine" of all time, I have to argue that the Commodore 64 was the best game console of all time.

Yes, yes, I know. It's not a dedicated gaming system like a true "console" is, but you will be hard-pressed to find people who used it for more than a gaming system. Even when the NES came out, the C64 was the king of the gaming machines with a ton of top-notch games out for it. When C64 users got together, very few cared about GEOS or MultiCALC. It was all about the games, from Mail Order Monsters to Space Taxi to the original Castle Wolfenstein to the Ultima series to The Last Ninja. Gaming was what made the C64 as popular as it was.

So, you can debate about the best "console" of all time, but as far as I'm concerned the best gaming platform was the C64.

Re:My best console wasn't a console (1)

josteos (455905) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224856)

I'd agree. not only did I type up school papers on it for years & years, but it had the most enjoyable games. I still love the various Epyx olympic games (Winter games FTW!!!) using a crufty old atari joystick & a squeeky Epyx-stick...

Re:My best console wasn't a console (1)

WidescreenFreak (830043) | more than 6 years ago | (#22225046)

Absolutely. Just about everything that Epyx, EA, Activision, and Muse did for the C64 was instant gold. (Definitely agree with Winter Games.) Someone above made the joke that the Atari 2600 should be the winner because that's what Slashdot uses for the Gaming icon. They obviously don't know that the C64 used the exact, same joysticks. :)

Re:My best console wasn't a console (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224860)


>Yes, yes, I know. It's not a dedicated gaming system like a true "console" is, but you will be hard-pressed to
>find people who used it for more than a gaming system.

On one hand, I don't know more than one person who didn't play games on their C64, but on the other hand,
everybody I knew with a C64 used it primarily for music applications. I even had a MIDI controller device (still have, and it still works, and I still occasionally introduce SID sounds into my compositions.)

The Bally Astrocade was tops for geeks (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224708)

...why? Because you could put in the BASIC programming cartridge and enter 1Kb of your own code on the built-in numeric keypad!

Lord Palmerston! (1)

Hawthorne01 (575586) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224736)

Wait, wrong argument. Sorry.

I'll answer for all of you (5, Funny)

indros13 (531405) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224744)

"The [console name] is the best one, because I played it when I was 12."

The best console is: (1)

nuzak (959558) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224752)

The next one.

Best game console (1)

Eun-HjZjiNeD (1001079) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224796)

I'd have to put my vote in for 3DO. It was, after all, the first console to use optical media.

Re:Best game console (1)

Freeside1 (1140901) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224872)

Sega CD came out before 3do. and there was probably a console before that that used optical discs.

best games console (1)

shar303 (944843) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224802)

That's a fairly easy question for me to answer.

Pilotwings & Mario cart are great, but with games like Jungle Strike, Herzog Zwei, RoadRash 2, Speedball 2, PGA Tour Golf and Micro Machines 2, the Sega Megadrive wins hands down.

I noticed the other day that someone was suggesting otherwise, because of the various ill-fated attachments that were knocked out (32X and Megacd). That seems a rather weak reason to dismiss a particular console; surely you didn't have to buy them?

PLATO (3, Informative)

RealProgrammer (723725) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224808)

512x512 monochrome amber plasma display. Programmable keyboard. Online chat during multiplayer dungeon games, chess, etc., with users from across town or across the ocean.

In 1978.

Sega Mega-CD (Sega CD) (1)

Freeside1 (1140901) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224832)

It came with Sewer Shark!

Coleco, TurboGrafx , Sega Master System, Pong TV (2, Insightful)

Liquidrage (640463) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224836)

It's sorta like debating which movie studio makes the best movies. Does total count? High signal to noise ratio? Do we adjust for overall popularity? Our feelings as they've changed with time?

I had a TV with a pong-like game built into it in the 70's. Then a 2600. Odyssey. Intellivison. Coleco (really an Adam). Sega Master System. TurboGrafx 16. SNES. PS. N64. PS2. Xbox. Gamecube. 360. Wii.

I bet that's more hands on then most people who comment on such things. But even still it's worthless to me. The 2600 came when I was so young that I just longed to do things grown ups could. It was the first to make major headway into homes. The SMS was those 7th-8th grade type years. The SMS probably wins in signal to noise. Alex Kidd, Phantasy Star, Miracle Warriors, Zillion, Shinobi, After Burner, Califnornia games, MK, Ninja Gaiden, Space Harrier. And I'm sure I'm missing a bunch. But compared to the low number of total games for the system, that's a huge amount of A list games.

Then agian, The TurboGrafx 16 and Bonks and Slaughterhouse. 2 great games for a system that only had like 10 games total.
The NES to me was the clear winner as far as the system that brought home gaming back after fading away after the 2600. Probably had the most "great" games of any system. Even more then the followup SNES had IMO.

I don't know. I like being nostalgic here. But the arguement as to which was the best really can't be won.

Re:Coleco, TurboGrafx , Sega Master System, Pong T (1)

vrmlguy (120854) | more than 6 years ago | (#22225094)

It's sorta like debating which movie studio makes the best movies. Does total count? High signal to noise ratio? Do we adjust for overall popularity? Our feelings as they've changed with time?

One word: Pixar

Answer: Apple II (1)

BuckBundy (781446) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224888)

of course ;-)
Sorry for stealing someone's sig: ASCII a stupid question, get a stupis ANSI.

What's the best arcade game of all time? (1)

graphicsguy (710710) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224920)

To start it off, I love the control inputs for Battlezone!

Atari 8-bit computer + Star Raiders cart (1)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224936)

No contest.
Well, except probably the Amiga a few years later.

Re:Atari 8-bit computer + Star Raiders cart (1)

Discgolferusa (711112) | more than 6 years ago | (#22225100)

Star Raiders, still one of my all time favorite games from that era. Good call!

Re:Atari 8-bit computer + Star Raiders cart (1)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 6 years ago | (#22225106)

woops just realised this probably doesn't fit into being a console.
In which case, I'll change my vote to Atari 2600.
Man I wasted so many hours on that thing playing Adventure.

Atari 400/800 was... (1)

DriveDog (822962) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224942)

simply the best of its time and stayed the best up until NES. I would include the Atari 5200, but not all games were available for both (at least where I could find). Coleco did, however, do a good job of running Zaxxon.

What's the best... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22224966)

This is a lot like asking "what's the best car in history" or "what's the best food in history"....

1) Ask stupid purely subjective question, designed to invoke emotional attachment
2) Serve up ads
3) Profit...

Dreamcast for the drunk (3, Funny)

Zebraheaded (1229302) | more than 6 years ago | (#22224972)

Sorry, but Dreamcast has to win. If for no other reason than the (sad) realization that more alcohol was consumed in college in front of Virtua Tennis than in front of tits. :(

Sega Dreamcast (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 6 years ago | (#22225002)

A very well-designed machine, an excellent controller, and (if you play imports) the finest game library ever. Shameless plug time: check out the Propeller Arena Fan Site. [gametribute.com]

Videogame genre? (1)

WaroDaBeast (1211048) | more than 6 years ago | (#22225006)

Actually, it depends on what type of videogame you're into. I am quite an eclectic player, meaning I play almost any kind of videogames, but I have to admit that the NeoGeo AES [wikipedia.org] was a damn good console for people who were into fighting games. Its only drawback was its expensive games, due to the high price of memory back then -- the "ROM size was up to 330 megabits."

In fact, this platform has been a good choice for anybody who was keen on arcade games generally speaking: for instance, shooters or run 'n gun games (and perhaps quizzes if you can understand Japanese).

Aggregate to figure out the greatest game of all (1)

wastedbrains (588579) | more than 6 years ago | (#22225036)

Another cool approach to figuring out the greatest game of all time is to aggregate a bunch of peoples favorite games, and then merge the results. This is what is going on in the list below. It has users and critics lists of the best games and combines to create the overall communities best game of all time. I added my list in to vote.

aggregate best video games ever [seekler.com]

Currently if your curious these are the top 3:
1. GoldenEye 007
2. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
3. Super Mario 64

The best gaming console wasn't a console (1)

merc (115854) | more than 6 years ago | (#22225038)

Not trolling, but I think MAME and MESS are the best gaming platform via emulation :-)

http://mamedev.org/ [mamedev.org]

http://mess.org/ [mess.org]

Pinball (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 6 years ago | (#22225060)

I have never, ever had a console system, although I did once borrow an Atari Pong for a while in 76.

I have always had at least one mechanical pinball machine, though. And the bar table Galaga, naturally.

Console games have never held the least interest for me. I was always painfully aware that, even though they *could*, they intentionally chose not to make the console games equivalent to the arcade games, back when people still played arcade games like mad for 25 and 50 cents a pop.

So until MAME made it possible to strictly reproduce the arcade games from the early 80s, I never gave a damn about any console machine I ever saw.

That said, I did enjoy playing Zelda.

"Best", or "Most Influential"? (1)

Anonymous Freak (16973) | more than 6 years ago | (#22225088)

The most influential have to be the Atari 2600, NES, PlayStation 2, and Wii.

The 'best', well... Best at what? I would argue that the PlayStation 3 is the 'best' game console ever, as it has the most powerful processor and graphics, Blu-ray, and the controller contains most of the capabilities of the Wii-mote, while retaining the best of previous generation controllers. (Well, with the Japanese DualShock 3, anyway.) Even so, it hasn't been very influential. (Other than maybe the slight benefit it has given to Blu-ray over HD DVD.) (Oh, and I have a Wii, might buy an XB360, and have never even CONSIDERED buying a PS3, so my statements aren't Sony fanboyism.)

If we're going to ask for 'best' of each generation, then it's just going to be a pissing match of one-ups.

As for my list up top? 2600 essentially created the home game console market. Yes, there were better (technically) consoles at the same time, and even Atari made better ones. But the 2600 was the grandaddy of game consoles. NES has an obvious place in history, reviving the game console market after the crash. PlayStation 2 is a bit of a tough call, but it was probably responsible for the creation of true 'fanboys' more than anything. The first console to have lines and sellouts at launch, and at the time, it really was a major leap over the competition. And, well, we know what the Wii has done. It has made technical power irrelevant. It has re-focused on actual gameplay. (I'm sure soon we'll see just as 'revolutionary' games for the XB360 and PS3, which will make their technical power an important selling point again. But we haven't seen it quite yet. When/if that happens, I expect the PS3 to start to out-sell the XB360.)

a good ol' fashioned general purpose PC... (1)

maxconfus (522536) | more than 6 years ago | (#22225120)

nothing better, games made for PC platform +1, games made for consoles but run under emulator on PC +2...

Wii know (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 6 years ago | (#22225136)

Wiith its wiinning design and wiifi capability, wii think it is the best.

Apple Pippin! (1)

oatworm (969674) | more than 6 years ago | (#22225178)

Everyone knows that the best gaming console was the Apple Pippin [wikipedia.org] ! I mean, it was designed by the same company as the Quadra and the Performa, so it has to be great!
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