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The consoles we have today are amazing entertainment units but sometimes we like to reminisce about the good old days and look back at the pioneering consoles that paved the way for modern console gaming. There are plenty of retro consoles that are still playable today with libraries full of classic titles that you should play at least once.
The Dreamcast was the final console Sega released and was far ahead of its time. In fact, being technologically advanced was the reason the console failed in the first place. In 1999 the small white box launched Sega’s 6th console generation, it delivered online play and solid graphics. Dreamcast controllers have their own screens with the systems unique Visual Memory Unit, allowing you to play mini games within a game, or gain a tactical advantage. When it comes to the Dreamcast's library of games there are classics like Crazy Taxi, Jet Set Radio, Shenmue, and Sonic Adventure are still enjoyable today.
While the Nintendo Switch is known for being a hyper console capable of being played anywhere at any time, the Super Nintendo is known for one thing: games. This 16-bit power house released in 1991 is arguably the most well-known console of all time and it shaped the gaming industry. The console appeared to gamers of all ages whether they preferred exploring dungeons in the Legend of Zelda or stomping on Goombas in Super Mario 3. If you prefer something a bit more fast paced, there is Mario Kart; there is something special about cruising down the tastefully pixelated Rainbow Road in its original incarnation.
Atari enthusiasts probably have the fondest memories of the Atari 2600, it was one of the earliest consoles available. It’s actually the Atari 7800 released in 1986 that has the widest range of 2D games. The 7800 is a sleeker version of all those other Atari consoles that preceded it, and it was able to play the Atari 2600 classics like Joust and Hubert as well as 7800 titles like Alien Brigade, Dig Dug and Food Fight. If you are lucky enough to own one of these classic Atari consoles, you own a part of gaming history. These consoles do not come cheap today but the Atari games provide a good time.
Magnavox Odyssey 2
The original Magnavox Odyssey was the true pioneer of home video game console being released in 1972. The 1978 sequel was an improvement in every way, the odyssey 2 was one of few consoles to provide a built-in keyboard, which was a nice compliment to the systems range of educational games. Nowadays the keyboard is sold separately, and many consoles do not even work with the consoles at all, unless you mess around with them. The Odyssey 2 probably will not wow your kids, but it is worth dusting off just to play classic titles like the Pac-Man clone KC Crazy Chase and the board game/video game hybrid The Quest for the Rings.
The Sega Saturn is an easily forgettable 32bit console since it was ultimately eclipsed by 64bit consoles like Playstation One and Nintendo 64, but that does not mean it has not left a legacy of great games. The Saturn was released in 1995, while it was a 32bit power house released in a 64bit era, it was still capable of playing well loved adventure games like Guardian Heroes and Panzer Dragoon and had ports of classic arcade games like Virtua Cop and Virtua Fighter 2. Sega currently develops games for just about every platform out there but many of the company’s highlights were on the Saturn.
Game Boy Advance
While Nintendo’s first Gameboy started, like most consoles, as a black and white box in 1999. The Game Boy Advance evolved the machine into sleek perfection in 2001, there are so many classic games for the Game Boy Advance. The 32bit handheld device has legendary role playing games like Golden Sun, Fire Emblem, and Sword of Mana. The console even evolved classic Nintendo titles like Metroid Fusion, Pokemon Ruby & Sapphire, and Final Fantasy. To top it all off the Game Boy Advance could play Game Boy, Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance titles so it is an easy way to play all of Nintendo’s handheld history.
This console created by SNK Playmore was released in 1990 as both an arcade system and home console. It could be considered as one of the first hybrid consoles, especially if you remember playing games like Metal Slug and Bust-A-Move and Blaking Star in the local arcade. The Neogeo gives you the ability to play these classic games at home in all their 2D glory. If you are more of a fighting gamer then there are classic titles like King of Fighters, Samuari Showdown, Fatal Fury, and Art of Fighting. The Neogeo is infamous for being launched at the ridiculous price of £600/$649 but you can get the new Neogeo X rerelease with 23 preloaded games including Alpha Mission II, Fatal Fury, Mutation Nation, and Puzzled.
Nintendo’s Gameboy might have been the cool kid when it comes to early 90s handhelds but the Sega Game Gear released in 1991 had a full color backlit screen and richer graphics. This console essentially was a Master System in your pocket, allowing you to play classics like Sonic the Hedgehog, Shinobi II, and Shining Forces: The Sword of Hajya. Today you can download many popular Game Gear titles on the Nintendo 3DS but there is something special about playing them on the actual Game Gear.
While the Gamecube may have lacked the pure power of the Playstation 2 and Xbox, which became a trend for Nintendo later on, it made up for it with one of the best libraries to ever grace consoles. Super Mario Sunshine and Metroid Prime gave life to classic Nintendo characters, while franchises like Pikmin and Animal Crossing got their start on the Gamecube. Super Smash Bros Melee, the second instalment in the franchise, still has a huge competitive community and Star Wars Rogue Leader still stands as one of the most exhilarating Star Wars games to date. Even though it was released back in 2001, the Gamecube is still without a doubt a classic.
It is hard to classify the Playstation 2 as a classic console considering it was getting new releases until 2014, but it is nearly two decades old now. The Playstation 2’s incredible game library with more than 3,700 titles has something for everyone, whether you want to immerse yourself in Role Playing Games like Final Fantasy X, save the world in Spider Man 2, or win the Super Bowl in some of the best instalments of Madden NFL. If you have never experienced the stunning visuals of Ico or yet to kick some virtual ass in God of War, it is time to make some new Playstation 2 memories.