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Greatest console of all time


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Great idea for an article, and some fantastic responses in here so far :)

5 Points - SNES - Maybe it's a rose tinted view, but it was my first console, and had some amazing games that still stand the test of time today.

4 Points - N64 - My 2nd console, but don't worry, it's not going to keep going that way! The N64 come into my life when I was in high school. I wasted so many hours playing 2/3/4 player split screen gaming, in my opinion, this was the BEST multiplayer era, and the best multi player console. Nothing better than getting a few mates around and sitting around the same 14 inch TV.. Oddly enough, we always craved a separate TV and now, with xbox live / psn, I very rarely play multiplayer.. and I haven't even mentioned 3D / Mario 64!

3 Points - Xbox 360 - For me, the 360 brought together what the previous generation was trying, and made it all better. The visuals, the controller, Xbox live (for me in the first couple of years anyway), achievements, cross-game chat with friends who had now moved away following uni, and an astronomical number of very good games!

2 Points - GBA (micro if a variety is needed). From my first play of F-Zero not long after launch, right up to 2 months ago when I sat in Stansted airport playing DK Jungle Climber. There are some absolutely amazing titles available, and coding for it when doing my uni dissertation is something I'll always remember fondly (however frustrating the move from emulation to hardware was!!)

1 Point - Gamecube - Of that generation, it's the con sole I remember most fondly. The satisfying click of the triggers, Animal Crossing, and an amazing range of games that we're afraid to try something new.

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Probably a bit late to this particular party but here's mine:

5 pts - N64

Mario 64, Ocarina, Majoras Mask, GoldenEye, Perfect Dark, Banjo Kazooie, ISS 64, WWF No Mercy, Super Smash Bros, 1080, StarFox 64 (Lylat Wars). Spent so much time with these games, and more, all of which are 10's in my book. Local multiplayer doesn't get better than this.

4 pts - Xbox 360

Introduced how online console gaming should be. Before this I had played some Xbox games, Dreamcast games (gah!) and Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, but Xbox 360 made everything so slick and it just worked. Online multiplayer doesn't get better than this.

3 pts - PS2

PS2 just had so many games. It also coincided with the period of life I had most free time and dedicated it to gaming. Many a fond memory of so many games. But mainly a solo affair.

2 pts - SNES

My first console. Well I had a C64 and Amiga before this, but I don't class them as proper consoles, as great as they were. The joy of playing SMW on Christmas day has been unrivalled to this day. (Well maybe Ocarina on Xmas day)

1 pt - Gamecube

Say what you like about the Gamecube. It was just such a jolly happy wee soul. Some really original stuff too, Animal Crossing, Luigis Mansion, Eternal Darkness, Metroid Prime and Viewtiful Joe all spring to mind. Great gaming.

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Late to the party as well, but I'll offer my two cents. Actually, it went a bit beyond two cents to I've spoilered it.

TL:DR

5 points - Dreamcast

4 points - Gamecube

3 points - Megadrive

2 points - Xbox

1 points - N64

5 Points - Dreamcast

It couldn't be anything else I'm afraid. I got this for Christmas '99 (I think) with Shenmue and I of course set it up immediately. Sadly, I didn't get a VMU with it, so I couldn't save any progress in the game. I had to re-watch that 10/15 minute intro where Lan Di bursts into Hazuki-san's dojo looking for the two mirrors, over and over again, just so I could explore the same bit of Sakuragaoka and Dobuita. I didn't care though. The whole experience was simply amazing to me - I'd never seen such an incredibly detailed world that I could interact so much with. The Dreamcast could be my number 1 just for Shenmue I + II alone, but of course the console offered so, so much more than that. 4 player Virtua Tennis and Powerstone, Headhunter, JSR, MSR, Crazy Taxi, House of the Dead, Chu Chu Rocket, Soul Calibur... I'm sure I'm forgetting a ton of others too. All of it crammed into a short life span that made the Dreamcast seem like it was just consistent concentrated joy.

4 Points - GameCube

This was the first Nintendo console I properly owned. I had an N64 but only picked it up at the end of its life and believe it or not, only really owned 2 games for it (not quite sure how that happened). So the GC was the first one I properly owned, and it was also the first one I bought twice and the first one I ever imported. I had a UK one to start with, but then I started hearing about Animal Crossing. I've no idea how this caught my attention as much as it did, but from what I'd read about it and from the pictures I'd seen in magazines, I just had to get it. And that meant importing a Japanese switched Cube. And I think I had to buy a new TV, as my old one wouldn't show NTSC in colour. And I needed a special component/RGB cable that was near enough £50 on its own. WTF was I thinking? For one game? I'd never even played it, I just thought it sounded like something I'd really like. Sadly, I hated Animal Crossing and it was all a waste of money.

Actually, the other thing. I bloody loved it and played it everyday for about 18 months, its charm never fading or ceasing to make me smile. I picked up Metroid Prime at the same time, a game I'd never been interested in at all but the forum wouldn't shut up about it so I thought I'd check what the fuss was about. Needless to say, I wasn't disappointed exploring the lush world of Tallon IV. There's plenty of games on the Cube that put it this high up on my list - Viewtiful Joe, WE6:FE, Chibi Robo, Wind Waker, Pikmin, Super Monkey Ball - but what really seals it for me is Resident Evil 4. Again, a game from a series I wasn't particularly in love with and not even a game I'd followed that much throughout its development. I'd just got it into my head that I wanted it and that was it. Kind of like turning up at a cinema not knowing what's on or what anything is, and going "Goodfellas...well, I like Scorsese and De Niro, lets give this one a go." I pre-ordered it from America and it turned up in the January of my first year at university - the year that doesn't count, thankfully. I could not tear myself away from RE4 at all. I remember trying to force myself to just stop and go to a lecture. "Right, now. Go. Go to the lecture" I said and turned the GC off. Put my coat on. Took my coat off, and flicked the GC back on. "Ahh sod it, I'll be 2 minutes late anyway." That happened quite a lot.

Somewhat as an aside, but I really enjoyed talking about it all with the forum at the time, all of us experiencing this incredible game for the first time and sharing our experiences and impressions. It's time like that that I really do love this forum.

3 Points - MegaDrive

My very first console, and oh man did I love it. I can't believe I've put it third! I had to earn this one. I was 5 and had (still do) some pretty serious issues with my eyesight and had to have a rather nasty operation at Moorfields Eye Hospital. Once I was allowed home my parents had to put drops in my eyes throughout the day. For each drop I had, that I took without a fight or whining, I earnt £1 towards a MegaDrive. As my 6th birthday rolled round, my parents topped my little fund up to whatever amount was required and I got my MegaDrive with Sonic. My dad spent a rather long time setting it up and "checking" it. Not a gamer by any stretch of the imagination, I think he was every bit as taken in by the Green Hill Zone as the rest of us were.

Again, there's any number of games on the console I could list - Bonanza Bros, James Pond 2, Golden Axe 2, Road Rash, Haunting, a lot of the Disney games, Revenge of Shinobi, Alien Storm, Moonwalker - but for me there's one stand out and that's Streets of Rage 2. I don't have to say anything about this, but I used to play this in co-op with my sister all the time. We still talk about it every now and again, and I think it provides some of our fondest memories of growing up together. I later played it on an emulator with a friend at university, and it made me appreciate not just how great the game is, but also how brilliant my sister was at it. The guy I played with at university would just hoover up all the apples and turkeys, no matter how little health I had left. What a dick.

2 Points - Xbox

This makes it in primarily for Halo, and who can blame me? Me and my friends were in our last year of school and going into college when Halo came out, with some of us having our first cars and a bit of cash to spend without relying on mum and dad too much. We'd had get togethers for the N64 and Dreamcast, but for the Xbox we went one step further and linked TWO of them up! It seems so silly now. But back then, 4v4 Halo was the absolute most amazing multiplayer experience ever. We only managed it twice sadly, once at my friend Will's where we took over his front room, tvs and Xboxes in opposite corners, the two teams playing with their backs to each other. We stayed up until about 5am caning capture the flag on Bloodgulch and in particular, Sidewinder. I think a few slunk away to bed and the rest of us watched a bit of GameStation (back before Babestation took over at night) and made jokes about whether the presenter was giving any of us a boner. In the morning we headed in to school for our last GCSE exam, which was only RE, hence why we'd allowed ourselves the all night Halo fest.

We did it all again a year later at another friend's house, this time using a huge system link cable that ran the length of his house so we could keep the teams separated in their own room. It was again a brilliant night, with us all running through to the other room to gloat at the end of whatever epic battle we'd just endured. I must admit I enjoyed the first night more, with us all in the same room, and I think it's these experiences combined with Goldeneye that put me off online multiplayer a bit. It's far more convenient than arranging an evening when everyone's free and getting people to dismantle their setup and bring an extra tv and who's bringing controllers etc. But there's something special about everyone being physically together for it all that I just don't get with online, sadly. I'm glad I got to experience it the way I did though, even if it's unlikely to be repeated (Rock Band aside, to be fair).

1 Point - N64

I feel a bit of a fraud putting this in here. Fraud's perhaps not the right word, but whatever. Like I mentioned above, I only really owned 2 games for the N64, which were Goldeneye and WWF No Mercy. I picked the console up late on having already spent years playing it at friends' houses. And that there is the reason this makes 5th spot. All the years I spent playing Goldeneye with 3 of my best friends at Will's house, everyday after school before his parents got home. 2 v 2, Facility, Golden Gun. Bond, Trevelyan and Ourumov were already taken, assigned during an afternoon when I wasn't present or using the toilet or something, which left me with Boris or Russian Scientist 2 or whatever. Jaws and Oddjob weren't allowed of course. We had all of our own little rules, in-jokes, victories and embarrassments, as I'm sure every else did who played it regularly. We had the "Alex Wheeler Rule", named after a friend (not one of the 3 I played with everyday) who'd get very upset if you killed him when he didn't have a gun. "Are we playing with the Alex Wheeler rule?" we'd ask. "No of course not, he's not here." Getting killed by a Klobb was the ultimate embarrassment. Who get's klobbed to death, really? It was somehow worse than being slapped to death.

But yes, 2 v 2, Facility, Golden Gun. You had to defend the gun obviously, which meant camping in the bathroom, picking up the golden gun whenever it re-spawned and timing your shots carefully whenever an enemy tried to storm in. Did you risk going downstairs to get the armour, knowing you might expose yourself and the gun and give up control of the bathroom? There was always that frantic moment though, where you were trying to break in to the bathroom and the enemy mistimed their shot, and suddenly you were chasing each other round the urinals, trying to dodge golden bullets and get off some Soviet fire. We lived for those special moments where just one of you would break in and manage to dodge everything to take down both of your golden gun holding enemies. Even with just 4 of you playing, the sound of everyone shouting and screaming seemed like you were playing in front of a stadium of Goldeneye enthusiasts.

We did play other modes of course, but that one seemed to be our favourite. Goldeneye, 2 or 3 hours a day, 5 days a week for what must have been at least 2 years. Ahh, to be 14 again. We played other games too as well - Pokemon Stadium was really popular, as was a wrestling game of one kind or another (WWF No Mercy, Wrestlemania 2000 or WCW/NWO Revenge). I'm sure there were other games, but our time was so dominated by Goldeneye and to a lesser extent Pokemon Stadium, that I can barely recall what they would have been.

it doesn't seem enough to justify the N64 over the Playstation, Saturn, 360 or whatever other console I could have put in there. I never played OoT, Mario 64 or well... yeah, pretty much anything else on the N64, despite knowing that there was plenty of quality games to dig into. I don't know why I didn't, I just... didn't. I have nothing else to back up my inclusion of the N64 other than Goldeneye (and No Mercy to a lesser extent), and yet I can't justify not including it in a list of my favourites. So there you go.

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Such a hard list to write, but here we go. Quick list:

5 pts = Dreamcast

4 pts = Saturn

3 pts = Playstation

2 pts = Megadrive

1 pt = Neo Geo AES

Breakdown:

5 pts = Dreamcast

Legend has it that Treble was born on the sticky floor of a Llandudno arcade. Such folly is exaggerated, but my heart resides there, out in the coin-op wilderness.

So for me, in typical arcade style gaming is always going to be about two things: in general, immediacy; a game that connects you to it in an umbilical fashion instantly. Secondly, something with a special quirk of originality. A lot of people say they want originality but are actually much, much happier with iteration and comfortable familiarity. Not so me.

So when the Dreamcast came out with an avalanche of new experiences, I was overwhelmed. I saw Sonic Adventure and the killer whale leap captured my heart; it had a VMU that you could play minigames on; it had a game with a fishing rod (and a great one at that); it had an arcade-perfect House of the Dead 2 with lightgun; it had Quake 3 Arena online... online! It had Phantasy Star Online – an arcade MMO. It had VGA-out. It had Jet Set Radio. It had maracas and Samba de Amigo. It had region-based day/night cycles in Metropolis Street Racer. And arcade games? It had Soul Calibur, Marvel vs. Capcom 1&2, Garou MotW, SFIII, Ikaruga. It had Cosmic Smash and Zero Gunner II. It had Crazy Taxi and Under Defeat.

It was the best console ever, burning bright and short. And I didn’t even like Shenmue!

4 pts = Saturn

A close call between two of the greatest consoles of all time: the ill-fated Saturn and the confident, gorgeous PSone. But Sega’s machine just edges it for me, as when it hit its high notes they were more ear-splittingly fantastic than Sony’s darling. Consider the yet-to-be-imitated Panzer Dragoon Saga – an amazing and unique RPG experience. Or the weightless, beautiful NiGHTS, which remains my favourite game of all time. Or the incomparable Guardian Heroes. An arcade-perfect experience (in execution, if not quite graphically) in Sega Rally.

It out-arcaded any other machine in the era just before the final sigh of the coin-op experience, with Capcom’s amazing CPS2 lineup finding their true home on the console: Darkstalkers, Vampire Saviour, Marvel Super Heroes, Street Fighter Zero series... the incredible lineup of fighters seemed to never end. There were some brilliant originals and conversions that still entertain: Sonic Racing, Elevator Action Returns, Virtua Cop 1&2, an impressive version of Quake, Exhumed, Magic Knight Rayearth, the hilarious Death Tank Zwei, Virtua Fighter 2, Virtual ON. Radiant Silvergun is stunning; Burning Rangers flawed but still special. A remarkable, underrated machine that is any true arcade fan’s console of choice.

3 pts = Playstation

Just missing out to the Saturn by a squeak, the Sony wonder machine has a far better lineup of system-specific games than almost any console before or since. The range of first-in-the-home, polygonal arcade exclusives (particularly from Namco) is just daft: Ridge Racer, Soul Edge, Tekken series, Time Crisis... utter classics. Wipeout invented ‘cool’ gaming, whilst Tomb Raider changed the face of gaming full stop (for good or ill, but there’s no denying the original was a wonderful milestone). Metal Gear Solid was built for the machine, as was Gran Turismo (and its marvellous sequel). Final Fantasy VII was the only JRPG I genuinely loved. Jumping Flash, Vib Ribbon and Parappa showed that original, quirky content could not only find a home but also thrive on the grey box.

So much of a success its originality has been diluted by a slew of inferior sequels to some of its classics, it stays near the top because of its arcade-style entrants & exclusives: R-Type Delta, Einhander, Harmful Park, Strider 2 and a fulsome compliment of other, lovely, arcade games.

2 pts = Megadrive

My first ever import – for Christmas 1989 – Sega’s MD remains the console I have played the most games upon. I could ramble-on forever about how important it remains as an arcade-at-home, so I’ll just pick out a few that rocked my gaming world: the strange and challenging Ranger X; the jaw-dropping Gunstar Heroes; just about every Disney game (major props to Mickey and Donald though); the Strike series, particularly Jungle (better that the equivalent SNES versions); Flashback (ditto); Space Harrier 2 (underrated and true to its predecessor); Super Shinobi and its hilarious rip-offs of Batman and Godzilla) and Thunderforce IV.

1 pt = Neo Geo AES

A difficult one to defend, but almost the ultimate arcade experience. ‘Almost’ because the games are great but not as varied by genre as other machines, but still enough to knock the Nintendo consoles out of my top 5.

As I said before, gaming for me is about immediacy and special moments (sometimes those special moments frequently repeated) and there are not too many Nintendo games outside of Mario that do that for me. Ninty are great at the long-haul: sprawling masterpieces like Super Metroid or the Zelda games. But I was desert island-ing it, I’d want a slug of Metal Slug; a blast of Viewpoint; a hit of Last Blade; a belt of Garou. Shallow and expensive, the AES is unique in being the actual arcade experience, plugged-in to your TV. And I’d be remiss as an arcade child to leave it off the list.

Special mentions have to go to the PS2 (for being a more powerful PSone - which is very high praise indeed – and giving the world Devil May Cry), the SNES for too many reasons to count (but mainly Super Ghouls ‘n’ Ghosts) and the PS3, for PS+

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The poor old Saturn - Tomb Raider is regularly linked to the Playstation, but it was a simultaneous release on the Saturn (and PC)!

Of course, the later Tomb Raiders shunned the console, but for that very first outing Lara was available to all.

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The poor old Saturn - Tomb Raider is regularly linked to the Playstation, but it was a simultaneous release on the Saturn (and PC)!

Of course, the later Tomb Raiders shunned the console, but for that very first outing Lara was available to all.

In fact, it came out on the Saturn first!

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I feel like gaming has left me behind these days; the magic and innocence has long gone, oh well... A little bit of nostalgia for me here:

5pts Dreamcast - already mentioned many times before but SEGA at its best, arcade gaming, blue skies and tons of originality all packed into a little machine that packs a punch, its been nearly 15 yrs yet no game has convinced me that I'm part of a living breathing virtual world like Shenmue has and no game has been as original, creative and damn right awesome as Jet Set Radio.

4pts Saturn - poor in the west but mana from heaven in the far East; quirky games, 2D Sprites and arcade goodness at a time when the whole world seemed to turn 3D the Saturn flew the flag for 2D gaming

3pts SNES - Nintendo at their best

2pts Neo Geo - Arcade perfect gaming!

1 pt PC Engine - little teenie weenie box of wonders

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  • 1 month later...

Being one of two (from what I remember) Dreamcast owners at school, I was almost saddened that more didn't enjoy what we did. The pure quality that the console had was ridiculous. The annoying sound, VMU batteries and tendency to break (them damn pins!) didn't matter, I had some of the best times with MSR, Shenmue, Jet Set Radio, Power Stone and all the rest that it just doesn't matter. I wish they'd release the console again, as the remakes of certain games just don't match up, what with the licencing issues concerning Crazy Taxi and JSR. I have the fondest memories - unsure if they'd be tainted if I went back (only 2D games ever feel the same or close to), as Shenmue is one game that I remember being immaculate and so ridiculously intricate in its design and art direction. Stills of Tom look a little basic now, but aside from the fork-lift driving, I can't see why it wouldn't match up to what we experienced. I still remember looking up at the TV in game, playing the intro with Shenhua over and over and being dumbstruck at how in-game visuals could look so good. I pre-ordered it there and then. Fuck, I want to play Shenmue.

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Being one of two (from what I remember) Dreamcast owners at school, I was almost saddened that more didn't enjoy what we did. The pure quality that the console had was ridiculous. The annoying sound, VMU batteries and tendency to break (them damn pins!) didn't matter, I had some of the best times with MSR, Shenmue, Jet Set Radio, Power Stone and all the rest that it just doesn't matter. I wish they'd release the console again, as the remakes of certain games just don't match up, what with the licencing issues concerning Crazy Taxi and JSR. I have the fondest memories - unsure if they'd be tainted if I went back (only 2D games ever feel the same or close to), as Shenmue is one game that I remember being immaculate and so ridiculously intricate in its design and art direction. Stills of Tom look a little basic now, but aside from the fork-lift driving, I can't see why it wouldn't match up to what we experienced. I still remember looking up at the TV in game, playing the intro with Shenhua over and over and being dumbstruck at how in-game visuals could look so good. I pre-ordered it there and then. Fuck, I want to play Shenmue.

The Jet Set Radio remake is great - there are only a couple of missing songs, and in fact my main issue with it is the opposite, that it has some of the rubbish tracks from the US release.

Shenmue holds up ridiculously well - or, rather, Shenmue II does. I last played it about three years ago, from start to finish over several weeks, at the request of my mother and brother who were fascinated by the story and wanted to watch me play through it on the TV. Which is a bizarre experience - I've never had any other game requested for spectating. The art direction allows it to hold up astonishingly well visually.

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5 Points - PlayStation
The best console ever made. It became the cutting edge console that offered true to life Arcade conversions of next generation 3D games like Tekken and Ridge Racer, brought the cost of gaming down to £30 for new games and the Platinum range for £20, produced some of my favourite single player games such as Metal Gear Solid, Tomb Raider, Resident Evil 2 along with my fondest multi-player memories, sat round the TV with my brother and friends with Tekken 2, Gran Turismo and Quake II.
The late 90's playing PlayStation will forever be stuck in my mind, the perfect, hazy gaming memory.
4 Points - Nintendo 64
Nothing will re-capture that fleeting moment of true wonder, where I walked into Toys 'R Us in Woking and seeing Mario 64.
For the children raised on Xbox, PS2 or Xbox 360, words will never do justice to the feeling of seeing a world rendered in 3D where the worlds you're used to are flat and 2D. If one console was ever designed to purely play one game, the Nintendo 64 was surely designed just so Mario 64 could exist.
3 Points - SEGA Mega Drive
The system I was raised on and I received the perfect game to go with it in the form of Sonic the Hedgehog. Yes, my first console was the Master System, but it was the Mega Drive that hooked me in. Reading game magazines and getting excited about new releases, getting friends round to play Golden Axe, attempting to get my 6 month old brother to play 2 player Sonic the Hedgehog 2, designing games with the debug mode of Sonic 1... My love of games are down to this one, perfect, 2D powerhouse of a machine.
2 Points - Dreamcast
One of my fondest consoles and as this came right after the PSone & N64, it felt like a brief glimpse into the future with online gaming and solid 3D graphics whilst retaining the past, with perfect Arcade conversions being the order of the day.
It'll be remembered in history as a console ahead of it's time and a financial failure that caused Sega to get out of the hardware business. For the fans who were there on day 1 however, the Dreamcast was to experience Sega on it's most brilliant and bright final days. Some of the most eccentric, esoteric and original games were on the Dreamcast, Jet Set Radio, Shenmue, Metropolis Street Racer, Seaman, Sonic Adventure, F355 Challenge, House of the Dead 2, Crazy Taxi, Resident Evil Code Veronica, Soul Calibur, to own that console in the 2 years it was out, the release schedule felt endless.
What a perfect, little console. I don't think we'll get its like again.
1 Point - Xbox 360
The machine that introduced me to reliable online play and full downloadable games. Another great part of owning a Xbox 360 at this stage of my life was that I now completed games from beginning to end. So in total, I think this is and might remain the console with the largest amount of completed titles.
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