Best Retro Gaming Consoles

Review & Comparison, Last Update November 23, 2018
A retro gaming console is all you need to take a break from the adult stuff and let the inner child soar. After all, a little bit of nostalgia never hurt anybody. Plus, a lot of these games aged far better than you would expect. So get one of these retro gaming consoles and explore everything that the worlds of 8- and 16-bit architecture have to offer. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2018
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Type
Release Date (World / North America)
Interfaces
Power Source
Games
Extras
Warranty
 
PROS

For every game, you will be able to create up to 4 save points. You will also get a nice little Rewind feature that will allow you to rewind a minute or more, depending on the last suspend point. The Frame feature will let you create a nice little border around your game. The portable console can fit the palm of your hand.

CONS

The controllers' cables are a tad too short (less than 5 feet).

OUR VERDICT

If you've spent the bulk of your childhood riding Yoshi, getting to the final heart-pounding escape scene from Planet Zebes, or cleaning up the crime-ridden alleys of Street Fighter 2, we can't think of one reason not to get this new and improved version the classic Super NES console.

detailed parameters
Type

Dedicated console

Release Date (World / North America)

September 29, 2017

Interfaces

2 ports for controllers, HDMI out (cable included)

Power Source

AC, USB port (USB cable and AC adapter included) 

Games

21 built-in classic games 

Extras

2 wired controllers included, My Game Play Demo feature, Frame feature, save/pause/rewind feature

Warranty

1 year

PROS

The 720p HDMI output gives you a convenient one-cable connection to modern-day TVs. The model comes with 2 wireless controllers and 2 wired paddles. The wireless controllers work at a 2.4 GHz frequency, so you get no delay and no interference, even with a dozen wireless devices in the nearby vicinity.

CONS

There's no Pac-Man in the built-in game collection. 

OUR VERDICT

The Atari 2600 is the original home gaming system. The console's games have shaped the gaming world for decades to come and paved the way for future generations of gamers. Atari Flashback 8 Gold gives you all of the best Atari 2600 titles with a few improvements to the overall experience.

detailed parameters
Type

Dedicated console

Release Date (World / North America)

September 22, 2017

Interfaces

2 ports for controllers, HDMI out (cable included)

Power Source

AC (AC adapter included)

Games

120 built-in Atari games

Extras

2 wireless controllers (2.4 GHz) and 2 wired paddles included, save/pause/rewind feature

Warranty

1 year

PROS

The CRT filter mode mimics the visual effect of the CRT televisions. It adds extra blur and scanlines, making the overall experience as authentic as possible. The Pixel Perfect technology will let you view the games the way its developers designed and intended them to be viewed.

CONS

The package doesn't include a secondary controller. 

OUR VERDICT

The Nintendo NES (CLV-001) is a fantastic take on the classic NES, easily the best retro gaming console of the mid and late 80s. You'll get to revisit all of your favorite games. The console emulates the original NES experience to a tee. But it also adds a few extra options, like the ability to save the game or pause it.

detailed parameters
Type

Dedicated console

Release Date (World / North America)

November 11, 2016

Interfaces

2 ports for controllers, HDMI out (cable included)

Power Source

AC, USB port (USB cable and AC adapter included)

Games

30 built-in classic games

Extras

1 wired controller included, 3 display modes (CRT filter, 4:3, Pixel Perfect), save/pause feature

Warranty

1 year

PROS

The device has a dedicated slot for NES and SNES cartridges and will let you play every 8- and 16-bit title ever released on these consoles. The S-Video out can be used to connect the console directly to an old CRT TV. A number of specially placed air-through vents prevent the system from overheating.

CONS

Doesn't come with built-in games. 

OUR VERDICT

If you have a lot of old 8- and 16-bit cartridges lying around in your parent's locker, you owe it to yourself to give this console a shot. With it, the only thing standing between you and a trip down a memory lane is a light flip of the power switch.

detailed parameters
Type

Dedicated console

Release Date (World / North America)

N/A

Interfaces

2 ports for controllers, S-Video out, composite video out, stereo analog audio out (RCA cables included)

Power Source

AC (AC adapter included)

Games

No built-in games, dedicated slots for NES™ and SNES™ cartridges

Extras

2 wired controllers included, reinforced cartridge doors

Warranty

Amazon's 30-day return policy

PROS

The controllers, even by today's standards, are great. Their responsiveness is off the charts. They have no input delay. They're also really durable, built to withstand countless feats of epic rage. The six-button pad is particularly suitable for fighting and sports games. The console has 81 games pre-installed. 

CONS

The quality of the RCA cables is underwhelming. 

OUR VERDICT

If you've never had any of these devices but would like to give some of the more old-school titles a go, we couldn't recommend this retro gaming console highly enough. For our taste, Sega Genesis has some of the best 16-bit titles, most of which have aged like fine wine.

detailed parameters
Type

Dedicated console

Release Date (World / North America)

August 14, 1989

Interfaces

2 ports for controllers, composite video out, stereo analog audio out (RCA cables included)

Power Source

AC (AC adapter included)

Games

81 built-in classic games, a slot for Sega Genesis cartridges

Extras

2 wired controllers included, reinforced cartridge door

Warranty

Amazon's 30-day return policy

Nintendo NES (CLV-201)

The 90s Called; They Want Their Awesome Games Back

If you've spent most of your childhood in the late 80s or early 90s, this console doesn't require any introduction now, does it? Super NES is as synonymous with that period of time as those terrible Jnco jeans, Capri Suns commercials, yo-yos, and questionable fashion choices.

But what we have here isn't exactly the same console that you probably had as a kid. No, all of the good parts are still there. It wasn't designed to be just a throwback to that original console. The convenient Super NES controller that was a huge improvement upon the impractical, rectangular nightmare of the classic NES didn't go anywhere. In fact, with this console, you get two of these controllers. With them, you will be able to live out the golden age of 16-bit gaming. And, as hard to believe as it may be, you'll be able to do that like never before.

For one, the newest iteration of the classic console is much smaller than its original predecessor. The whole thing adds up to 3 x 8.9 x 6.5 inches in overall dimensions, so you'll be able to fit it in the palm of your hand. Plus, it weighs just 1.76 pounds, so you can take it to work for a retro gaming Friday or bring it to a friend for a few hours of pure nostalgic joy.

Fortunately, the manufacturers haven't changed too much. It still looks and feels exactly like the original console, just in a much smaller frame.

Review of Nintendo NES (CLV-201) Classic Edition Console

Ready Player Two

But it isn't just about the practicality and ergonomics. We did say that you'll be able to experience 16-bit gaming like never before and we stand by those words. For one, using this mini console, you will have the ability to save the so-called Suspend Points. Remember Earthworld Jim? What about The Lost Vikings? Remember how nail-bitingly difficult were the Chrono Trigger and the Final Fantasy VI?

Well, with this little feature, you'll get quite a bit of help. For every game, you will be able to create up to 4 save points. It isn't enough to take all of the fun out of these difficult games but just enough assistance to make the experience as fun as possible.

You will also get a nice little Rewind feature that will allow you to rewind a minute or more, depending on the game’s last suspend point. Some developers didn't include a pause function to make their title artificially more difficult. This console solves that issue by introducing a Pause function with a very self-explanatory purpose.

The retro gaming console in question comes equipped with a My Game Play Demo feature. A bit gimmicky for our taste, this feature will let you replay one of those saved suspend points as a part of the demo game footage. It's better than the usual approach with the built-in demos but nothing to write home about, in our humble opinion.

But we wouldn't say the same about the Frame feature. Though seemingly small, it can make the overall experience quite a bit more fun and exciting. Using this feature, you'll be able to create a nice little border around your game. Plus, some of these frames change their color based on the game being played, a nice little touch that can make the game even more immersive.

Finally, the retro console comes equipped with 21 built-in games, including Super Mario Kart, Street Fighter, and 18 extra classics. On top of that, you get the never-before-released Star Fox 2, a sequel that took almost 30 years to arrive at the scene.

In short, if you've spent the bulk of your childhood riding Yoshi, getting to the final heart-pounding escape scene from Planet Zebes, or cleaning up the crime-ridden streets of the Street Fighter 2 world, we can't think of one reason not to get this new and improved version the classic Super NES console.

Nintendo NES (CLV-201) Classic Edition Console in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Atari Flashback 8 Gold

The Original Retro Console

In our "What Is It" section, we have implied that the target audience for these retro gaming consoles is the people who grew up in the late 80s and 90s. And, you know what, Gen Xers? That's a bit of a mistake on our part so, sorry about that.

Sure, our generation was the one that popularized video gaming as a hobby, the one that expanded the horizons of just about every genre, and the one that is largely responsible for shaping the modern-day gaming scene. But you guys were the OGs. Without you and Atari 2600, released in the ever-so-distant 1977, we probably wouldn't have had home gaming systems to begin with. Without the platform in question, the majority of our most beloved games would have never seen the light of day.

Atari 2600 is a console that puts the "classic" in the "classic game console". And, with the all-new Atari Flashback 8 Gold, you will be able to explore everything that the former console had and has to offer.

As the product's name suggests, Atari Flashback 8 wasn't the first iteration of this new take on the classic console. But it really ups the ante on just about every aspect compared to the previous Atari game collection attempts.

Of course, it is all about the games. And, with this console, you get a ridiculous collection of 120 built-in titles. In that collection, you will find the oldest and the most influential 2600 games like the Adventure, Space War, Night driver, and Combat.

You will also get some of the newer titles, including Haunted House, Yars' Revenge, as well as the beloved Swordquest series. Feel like revisiting original Activision games? Have at it, with H.E.R.O., River Raid, Chopper Command, Pitfall, and Kaboom.

The only real issue we have with this console on the gaming front (and, honestly, the only issue in general) is that it doesn't work with vintage cartridges, so you're limited to the 120 games that come with the Flashback 8. But it isn't that big of a deal since, as you'd imagine, 120 titles is one hell of a collection. The only game it doesn't include that we would love to re-play is Pac-Man. Other than that, it has all that we need.

Review of Atari Flashback 8 Gold Classic Game Console

Step Aside, Young Bucks

Now, we have focused most of our time at attention on the games, but it isn't like this console doesn't have anything going for it other than nostalgia points. On the contrary, there is a lot to it.

For one, the model includes a 720p HDMI output. And, sure, it won't fix the primitive by today's standards graphics of the games but, at the very least, it gives you a convenient one-cable connection to modern-day TVs. Plus, the scan line filtering feature will make the best out of the otherwise unimpressive image.

You also get the pause and save features that you will often find in these new iterations of the classic consoles. The rewind feature is a nice touch too. Using this feature, you will be able to rewind the game a few seconds. And, trust us, you'll need it. The games may seem simplistic but they're also far more unforgiving than 99% of the triple-A titles we see today.

Finally, the model comes with 2 wireless controllers and 2 wired paddles. The said wireless controllers work at the 2.4 GHz frequency, so you get no delay and no interference, even with a dozen wireless devices in the nearby vicinity.

To sum it up, Atari 2600 is the grandpa of video gaming and the original home gaming system. The console's games shaped the gaming world for decades to come and paved the way for future generations of gamers. The Atari Flashback 8 Gold gives you all of the best Atari 2600 titles with a few improvements to the overall experience.

Atari Flashback 8 Gold Classic Game Console in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Nintendo NES (CLV-001)

Same Games, Better Console

Before 16-bit gaming, there was the wonderful world of 8-bit. Before Super NES, there was the slightly simpler but no less thrilling NES, the original Nintendo Entertainment System. What we're dealing with here is the newest take on the best console of the late 80s.

With this particular console, the folk at Nintendo went with the same approach that they tried and tested on the new Super NES. It remains the look and feel of the original NES. Except, this time, it comes in a much more compact frame.

You get the original NES look with a gaming system that features just 3 x 8.9 x 6.5 inches in overall dimensions and weighs less than a pound and a half. A slight horizontal stretch makes the console more convenient.

But it doesn't contribute as much to the model's overall convenience and practicality as an HDMI output. Using the latter, you will be able to effortlessly connect the legacy console to any even the most expensive cutting-edge TV. With just 1 cable, you will get both audio and video, a much more convenient alternative to the old school composite video and analog audio solutions.

While we're still on the subject of interfaces, one thing we like in particular about this console is the USB port and a USB cable that come with it. Of course, you also get the usual AC adapter. But it is nice to have that USB alternative. This way, you'll be able to bring the console with you on a road trip or just take it to the office without occupying the socket.

Review of Nintendo NES (CLV-001) Classic Edition Console

The Authentic CRT Experience

Of course, we didn't play the NES on a huge flat-panel 4k display. No, more often than not, we used to play on a small CRT TV. So, even though the former option is better from the technical standpoint, it doesn't emulate that old-school CRT experience particularly well. Fortunately, the people behind this console have thought this thing through.

Equipped with a number of display modes, you'll be able to make the visual part of the experience as authentic and enticing as possible. There's a 4:3 mode, the preferred aspect ratio of the old CRT TVs that is slightly wider than tall. You'll also get the option to choose CRT filter, a display mode that mimics the visual effect of the aforementioned CRT televisions. The mode adds extra blur and scanlines, again, a nice little addition to make the overall experience as authentic as possible.

Finally, there's Pixel Perfect, a technology that fixes the issue with the original NES where the console's hardware would stretch its internal 8:7 aspect ratio onto a 4:3 screen. Thanks to this technology, you'll be able to view the games exactly as they developers designed and intended them to be.

Having said all of that, at the end of the day, it is all about the games. And, with this console, you get a collection of 30 pre-installed classic titles, including the original Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong, Metroid, Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros. 3, Balloon Fight, Pac-Man, Dr. Mario, and more. All of these games are an all-time favorite of just about every old-school gaming enthusiast.

A lot of the games in question have a 2-player option. Unfortunately, with this console, you only get a single controller, so you will have to buy the second one separately if you'd like to play with some friends.

But, other than that, the Nintendo NES (CLV-001) is a fantastic take on the classic NES, easily the best retro gaming console of the late 80s. You'll get to revisit all of your favorite games. The console emulates the original NES experience to a tee. But it also adds a few extra options, like the ability to save the game or pause it.

Nintendo NES (CLV-001) Classic Edition Console in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Retro-Bit Duo Twin

Two Consoles for the Price of One

What we have here is a retro gaming console that's a bit of an oddball. An awesome oddball, but an oddball nonetheless. What makes it so? Well, mostly the fact that what we have here is a combination of two consoles.

That's right, just as the name of the product suggests, Retro-Bit Duo Twin will allow you to play both NES and SNES games. Of course, with a console like that, why would anyone invest in a dedicated, standalone NES/SNES replica when you can get the two for the price of one? Well, to make the distinction, we would first have to start with the consoles downsides. They aren't plentiful but there is a couple that is worth pointing out before you make your choice.

First, unlike the redesigned NES and SNES classic edition consoles that we've reviewed earlier, this one doesn't include a pre-installed game library nor is there an option to do so on your own.

Second, it doesn't include an HDMI output. Of course, nor did the original NES and Super Nintendo, but the televisions back then didn't have an HDMI interface. Obviously, they do now, so you will have to tinker with adapters to connect this console to a modern-day TV.

Having said that, the device in question does come equipped with an S-Video out. With it, you will be able to connect the console directly to an old CRT TV and immerse yourself in the authentic 90s gaming experience.

Review of Retro-Bit Duo Twin NES and SNES System

Take a Trip Down the Memory Lane

Alright, we've been harsh on the console up until now, but that's only because we thought it's important to explain the model's shortcomings as its advantages are pretty obvious.

It doesn't cost any more than these new renditions of NES and SNES. So to say that you get two consoles for the price of one wouldn't be an exaggeration at all. With this lovely device, you will be able to play all of the original 8- and 16-bit NES and SNES games.

Plus, unlike its predecessors, the home gaming system in question has no issues with imports from Japan. And if you've been around the gaming scene back in the early 90s (give or take a few years), you know how huge of a deal that is. From Contra and The Legend of Zelda to Ninja Gaiden and Castlevania. From the differences in audio to the shape and the size of the cartridges, there was a lot of differences between the American NES and Japanese Famicom.

By the way, the console itself is no slouch either. The cartridge doors are reinforced. A number of specially placed air-through vents prevent the system from overheating, making sure that no stops or unfortunate delays will stand between you and your trip down the memory lane.

As you'd imagine, compared to 2 separate consoles, the slim and sleek design of this device will save you quite a bit of space. A couple of controllers that come with the model aren't too bad either. Though, for the most part, they incorporate the original SNES controller design, these gamepads work just as fine with NES games.

In other words, if you have a lot of old 8- and 16-bit cartridges lying around in your parent's locker, you owe it to yourself to give this console a shot. With it, the only thing standing between you and a trip down a memory lane is a light flip of the power switch. Use the NES cartridge slot to defeat the evil cult in Ninja Gaiden, then switch to the SNES one and explore the multitude of ridiculously convoluted and intricate, even by today's standards, realms of Chrono Trigger.

Retro-Bit Duo Twin NES and SNES System in the use

Additional Info

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Sega Genesis

16 Bits of Fun

Sega Genesis is a blast. The only reason we have this version of the retro gaming console so far down our list is that Sega never really took off in North America, at least not the way it did in Europe, Asia, and other regions. Since fewer people played this console when they were kids, there's less of a chance they'd feel inclined to purchase one today.

And it is a real shame since Sega Genesis was easily one of the most innovative game consoles of its time and definitely the more innovative of the two compared to its Nintendo 16-bit counterpart. At a certain point in time, Sonic the Hedgehog, the official mascot of Sega, was even more popular than a certain Italian plumber.

There's a lot to like about Sega Genesis and even more about this particular slightly updated version of the original Genesis platform. The controllers, even by today's standards, are remarkable. Their responsiveness is off the charts. They have no input delay. On top of that, they were (and still are) ridiculously durable, built to withstand countless feats of epic rage. The six-button pad that was designed to replicate the arcade button scheme joysticks is particularly suitable for fighting and sports games.

Speaking of which, Sega Genesis may not have been the first ever console to introduce sports games but the sheer quantity and the quality of its sports titles made every other console at the time pale in comparison. You had your NHL, NFL, NBA, and FIFA series, as well as a multitude of other less popular titles that didn't revolve around the familiar franchises.

Back in those days, the developers weren't afraid to try out new things, dabble in comedy, mix genres, and make the most out of the 16-bit architecture. Hell, at the time, even EA had a sense of humor, which is how we ended up with the brilliant Mutant League Football.

Review of Sega Genesis Classic Game Console

Pushing the Boundaries

As we've said earlier, Sega Genesis as a console was all about innovation, pushing the boundaries, and re-drawing the old lines to get the gaming scene going in a different direction. The console in question and both Sega's in-house and third-party developers are the ones who we have to blame for the ESRB ratings.

Mortal Kombat introduced a level of bloodshed and violence that was previously unheard of. Sonic the Hedgehog was the one responsible for accelerating gameplay and kicking the whole fast-paced gaming phenomenon into gear. And did we see anything that reveled in the artistic aesthetics of comic books as Comix Zone before the titular title arrived on the scene? Hardly.

The technological limits often render classic games obsolete. And though Sega was known for its games' stunning visuals as much as the next console, plenty of the Genesis titles hold up surprisingly well. Gunstar Heroes does it with easy-to-grasp mechanics, a clean art style, quick pacing, and clever bosses.

Earthworm Jim (both the original and its sequel) is still hilarious. Its gameplay is as diverse, creative, and challenging as ever. And though the innovative level design isn't as impressive as it seemed at the time, it is still interactive and attractive enough for hours of unadulterated fun.

Now, we've been raving mostly about the console's games, but Sega Genesis is all about its games. Sure, we could talk about the Motorola 68000 CPU and the Zilog Z80 sub-processor that are responsible for gorgeous (by the early 90s standards) 16-bit animation. We could also talk about the stereo sound, a huge improvement upon the 8-bit predecessor.

Or we could focus on the console in question that, in addition to all of the original version's advantages, incorporates 81 pre-installed games, including a number of Sonic the Hedgehog titles, Mortal Kombat, Virtual Fighter 2, Altered Beast, Phantasy Star, and so many more.

Of course, as Sega Genesis is bolstered by about a thousand titles, there's a decent chance the collection doesn't include quite a few games that you'd find interesting. But, as the console comes equipped with a slot for Sega Genesis cartridges, you can always get yourself a physical copy and enjoy one of those games to the fullest.

All in all, if you've never had any of these consoles but would like to give some of these old games a go, we couldn't recommend this retro console highly enough. For our taste, Sega Genesis has some of the best 16-bit titles and the games that have aged a lot better than their competition.

Sega Genesis Classic Game Console in the use

 

What Is a Retro Gaming Console?

Nostalgia is a helluva drug, isn't it? It feeds you a rose-colored but ultimately bogus narrative, presenting an image of a perfect past that was never there in the first place. Of course, not all of it is false. David Walliams, a British children's books writer, once said: "I had a happy childhood but I wasn't that happy a child". If you ask us, one of the takeaways here is that most of our childhoods, no matter how troubled, had their moments. And for our generation, the people who grew up in the latter half of the 80s and most of the 90s, it is mostly gaming consoles that we ought to thank for those moments.

These days, the consoles in question are usually referred to as retro gaming consoles. "Retro" is a bit of a loose term but, when it comes to this particular subject, anything that is at least a couple of decades old can be considered retro. With one of these consoles, you will be able to play hundreds of awesome games, bring back some of the happiest memories of your childhood, and simply spend a few dozen evenings having loads of fun. Besides, there's a lot more to these consoles and their games than you would think, so we wouldn't recommend underestimating them and shrugging it all off as simplistic and outdated.

But, we get it, if you don't care for old-school content, it is perfectly fine. Instead, you can check out our reviews of the best modern-day video game consoles or handheld game consoles.

What Features to Compare

Games

Though relatively outdated, there is a lot to these consoles. They may not seem like it, especially compared to modern-day consoles and other pieces of present-day consumer electronics, but these gaming stations are quite complex and intricate. Just like any other computing device, they have their hardware, integrated circuitry, chips, transistors etc.

But, at the end of the day, with retro gaming consoles, it really isn't about the hardware. And it is even less about all that we've just described. It isn't even about the controllers or interfaces (though those aren't unimportant either). The most important part of a legacy console is the games, the games that it will allow you to play. The number and the quality of these games is the deciding factor here, the one that really shows the console's worth and value.

Part of it can be quantified. For one, some of these new-age classic edition consoles that have been popping up the past couple of years already come with a collection of built-in games, so that's always a plus. But, no matter how many games there are inside the console, there's a decent chance that a few of your favorites aren't going to make the list. Which is why a lot of it is subjective and really up to your personal taste.

For example, if you happen to be a huge fan of Sonic the Hedgehog, there are a few consoles that could help you with that. But none of them could hold a candle to Sega Genesis as far as the number and the quality of these Sonic games are concerned. Plus, if you want to play, say, Comix Zone, you just can't do that on any other console other than the aforementioned Sega Genesis since the game is a Sega exclusive.

Of course, the same goes for other consoles. If you'd like to dabble in the original Legend of Zelda and all you have is a Sega Genesis, well, you're all out of luck. The game is an NES exclusive, so your only option is the original NES (or a new version of the original console). The Mega Man, on the other hand, was developed and released for Nintendo. But, since 1987, the game has seen over 50 different iterations and has been released on a variety of different platforms.

Interfaces and Power Sources

This one is simple. If you're looking to buy a retro gaming console, you have to make sure that the interfaces are compatible with your TV. With these new renditions of the classic gaming systems, you will often have an HDMI out, so you won't have any issues connecting it to any modern-day television set.

But if you're going for a legit legacy console that was released decades ago, there's a good chance you will have to tinker with adapters as these consoles usually rely on a composite video and stereo analog audio outs.

Of course, with power sources, you're unlikely to have any problems since these consoles use the same alternating current (AC) that your modern-day electronics usually rely upon.

Controllers

We don't have to explain this one, do we? Two controllers are always better than one. Of course, you will often have to pay a little extra for the second gamepad. But, with retro gaming consoles, we'd say it is well worth it.

First, there's nothing like playing an old-school game with your friend, relative, or your significant other sitting right next to you. Other than that, finding a new controller for legacy gaming systems can be quite a hassle, so we would recommend getting a second one right away if the console you're going for doesn't include it already.

Extras

Again, it all depends whether you're going for a new device or an old console. With those retro gaming consoles that have been released 2-3 decades ago, you won't get any particular extra features. But if you, say, get a SNES that was actually built and released a couple of years ago, you might get a few extra features, like a save, rewind, or a pause function, for example.

Fun Facts About Retro Gaming Consoles

Sonic the Usurper

Many people associate Microsoft's gaming division with Master Chief. And there's no doubt that our favorite Italian plumber, along with his often forgotten brother, is the face of Nintendo. With Sega Genesis (known outside of North America as Sega Mega Drive), that role was given to Sonic the Hedgehog that, at the time, could rival the aforementioned Mario in popularity.

Funny thing is, Sega Genesis was released in 1988 and the very first Sonic game didn't see the light of day until 1991. Before our beloved spiky protagonist burst onto the gaming scene in the early 90s, Sega already had a mascot. His name was Alex Kidd. The titular character starred in six different platformers that were surprisingly complex and sophisticated.

Unlike his Italian rival, he didn't just jump on top of his opponents. No, Alex punched them. In the face. With an enormous fast. In certain games, you had the ability to save money. Some of them had different vehicles. You were able to buy items and even upgrade your weapons, a pretty impressive feat for the time. Nevertheless, the character never really took off. We don't know what it is. Maybe it was the somewhat bland design. Maybe it is because he didn't have a cool catchphrase. For whatever reason, the public didn't really care much for him, which is why he was later replaced with Sonic.

Older Than You'd Think

The gaming industry really isn't that old. The very first arcade game was introduced in 1971. Oddly enough, it wasn't Pong. That's a common misconception. Computer Space was released in 1971, a year before the aforementioned game would hit the streets. Nevertheless, that still makes the industry less than 50 years old. It is mature, experienced, but a far cry from a senior citizen.

Which is all the more baffling that a certain little-known game publisher called Nintendo is actually over 125 years old. That's right, the Kyoto-based company was founded in the 19th century. Originally, the company was in the playing cards and mechanical toys business. It wasn't until the 1970s when Hiroshi Yamauchi, the third-generation owner of the longtime family-owned company, took the company in a different direction and decided to focus on the newly emerging video games industry.

The Game to Die For

Many are familiar with Golden Axe, one of the very first commercially successful Sega Genesis games. And though the game is almost 30 years old, there's still a lot of mystery that surrounds it. For example, many people believe that the whole game was voiced by prisoners on death row. Now, we haven't been able to confirm the rumor. Besides, it doesn't make any logistical sense. But, one way or the other, it is a fascinating story, so let's leave it at that.

Jump Man

Though video games have only recently taken a seat at the big boys' entertainment table, Super Mario is a character that is about as recognized as Mickey Mouse, Batman, or Luke Skywalker. But he wasn't always known as Mario. Originally, Mario was the protagonist of another popular NES title by the name of Donkey Kong. Only he wasn't called Mario. In Nintendo's trademark fashion, our favorite plumber was going by the name Jumpman. And he wasn't even a plumber but a carpenter, though that's beside the point.

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Publish Date: 2018-11-23 14:09:46