The Definitive ranking of (Mostly) Every Home Console Ever

By Nick Edwards

We are so close to the next generation of consoles that I can practically hear my bank account wincing in pain with each passing day as if it is saying “Didn’t we just do this shit like seven years ago?” Yes…Yes we did and we will continue to do it just as we have always done and will do till the oceans rise up to swallow the land. So like six more years, tops. Looking forward has a way of making me look back as well. At all the consoles that have come before, some great, some not so great and some that didn’t really get their time to shine.

This list won’t be based on most units sold because as we all know just because something is popular (Who let the dogs out, Lost, Twilight, the way Stephen King ends his stories) doesn’t actually make it good. So instead I’m going to be using a top secret formula specially designed by top men here at Mega Dads. And because you a smart and discerning reader, you no doubt noticed the parenthesis in the title, so did you know according to Wikipedia there was well over 900 home consoles? No? Now you do and now you know why it says “Mostly” in the title, well that and this is an unpaid gig. And to keep this so I’m not completely talking out of my ass I will only include consoles I have hands on experience with so sorry fans of the Magnavox Odyssey. So with that here is the definitive ranking of mostly every home console.

Releasing in 2016 and selling under 15 million units, the Wii U was not the follow up to the Wii Nintendo had hoped for. Facing many of the same problems the end of cycle Wii faced it also had the hurdle of a poor marketing campaign.

This one is deeply personal for me I bought a 360 after loving my experience with the Xbox. Between being Nickle and dimed to get up to the same experience as on PS3 the kicker were all of the problems people had with the units. The red ring of death was a huge issue, myself experiencing it 4 separate times and finally giving up after failing to transfer saved data.

Both of these Sega entries deserve a spot for almost getting it right and being forerunners for something truly amazing later on. Segas first entry into disc based games sold over 2.5 million units but mostly consisted of Genesis ports. It was abandoned relatively quick. The biggest hit being Sonic CD. Sega Master System sold a respectable 13 million units.

The death rattle of Atari came swiftly as this unit launched in 1993 sold under 250,000. While being the most powerful console on the market at the time, it was the first to boast about 64-bit. But the market was pretty well dominated by mascots like Mario and Sonic at the time.

The 3DO was closer to a gaming PC than a console at the time. It could support up to 8 players, memory card slots and was disc based. At $700 and competing directly against Sony and Sega it wasn’t longed for this world, selling around 2 million.

The 7800 was the worlds first backwards compatible gaming machine, natively accepting cartridges from it’s predecessor, coupled with a major push to not sell games priced over $20 this was the most consumer friendly available. Where Atari struggled and continued to do so was poor management of the company, which was sold during the cycle of the 7800.

Microsoft shot themselves in the foot from day one this, poor messaging and a comical lack of 1st party games and starting at $100 over the PS4. Xbox never truly recovered sales wise. They made big pushes to purchase more game studios, but those aren’t going to pay off anytime in the next year or two.

The 64 was the must have Christmas gift when it was released and who could blame any kid for going nuts about getting this under the tree. The controller was unique if awkward for long periods of gaming and in true Nintendo fashion they stuck with cartridges when everyone else had adopted newer less expensive discs

For a toy company jumping into the bubble of home video consoles, Mattel could have done a lot worse. When I picture consoles older than the NES, I’m picturing the Intellivision. From the faux wood grain to the interesting controllers, I didn’t get to experience them until later in life so it isn’t all nostalgia, but it was cool to see how far we have come.

Nintendo truly does excel in trying to come up with innovative ways for people to play games, but the running them over the years is that no one really wants to make the games to match on a Nintendo System except Nintendo, leaving those long stretches’ between I.P.’s to have your Switch sit and collect dust. Add to the fact that Nintendo still has yet to figure out easy, fun online systems leaves this one in the middle of that pack when it should be higher.

Picking up where Microsoft stumbled the PS4 launched out of the gate hard and never really slowed down. Selling over 110 million units. The PS4 is backed by one of the most impressive libraries of exclusive games to date. It falls short the top ten because of the constant fan noise plaguing both the original and pro versions.

The duke, so many absolutely amazing games came to Microsoft’s first showing in the console market and countless friendships made through Xbox live. There was nothing better than a little underage drinking and Split screen Halo with your friends. Best yet you could mod the console itself to basically be a black and green game emulator.

When the Wii launched, everything changed for Nintendo. It stopped competing with Sony and Microsoft and became the family friendly cheaper auxiliary Mario machine. The Wii encouraged active playing while gaming and soon the Wii was in over 100 million homes. The Wii was popular in Nursing homes and nurseries just not so popular with insurance agents. Sadly many Wii’s where left collecting dust as third party support all but died off quickly.

The price point hurt the PS3 initially, but not when you look at what you got with that money. Blu-ray is now the standard, built in Wi-Fi, rechargeable 6 axis motion controllers and a hefty hard drive and another tremendous line up of exclusive games. Unlike the 360 I still have my original PS3 working today in my bedroom.

One of my first gaming memories is sitting on the floor in a classroom, waiting for my mom to pick me up and playing Spider-Man on the Atari 2600. I couldn’t get enough of it. It kick started a whole generation of middle aged nerds.

Gone from our store shelves far too soon after two years. Sega gave us Powerstone even though we didn’t deserve it. Thinking back at some of the most rapid devotional fan bases, most of them can be traced back to games originating on the Dreamcast; Seaman, crazy taxi, Rez, Jet Set Radio and Shenmue. I’m not saying I was only friends with someone because they had a Dreamcast, but it helped.

Sega got what it needed with the Genesis a true company mascot with Sonic and the ability to be very competitive with Nintendo. It was just two wildly different mascots, but the games themselves seemed to eek more of a trendy, edgy and hip nature that was embodied in Sonic, making Sega to me seem like it was the cooler console to have at the time. After all Genesis does what Nintendon’t.

After a failed collaboration with Nintendo, Sony stuck out on its own with what is probably the most important console since the NES. Sony took the aging fanbase of Sega and Nintendo and delivered an experience for them. Huge blockbuster games like Resident Evil and FF7 are many peoples first and favorite experience on the console.

The GameCube was really the last truly great console from Nintendo. It had a great mix of 1st and 3rd party support and the fact that i could easily carry it from friends houses to play Link in Soul Calibur or MK and right back at home to play Cubivore is a testament to what gaming has always meant to me. A way to bring people together in the same room for a fun experience.

The SNES took a solid foundation a pushed it even further. Not only did they release amazing follow ups in already critically loved series but they were able to add unto their pantheon of titles. The SNES put Sega back on the defensive.

The highest selling consoleā€¦ever. Over 130 million consoles sold. Huge franchise games, like Killzone, God of War and Socom and the start of online multiplayer. Just like I wrote with the PS3, the PS2 helped usher in a new dominate video format with DVD. Whatever new innovation in home entertainment Sony pushes tends to be the norm.

Just kidding, I’m actually really surprised I remembered the Ouya so I could pull of this last minute sike out.

The true number one is the NES. The first console I owned and would still prob own had my brother not sold it for drug money. With amazing 1st party games built on adventure, Nintendo built a whole identity around it’s console and one that really hasn’t changed to this day. I owe a lot to the NES just as I’m sure a lot of you out there do as well. It was there for me after school when Mom had to work and was a constant when we moved around.

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