Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Weekly Top 5: Videogame Consoles

I really need to get back into the swing of writing again. I honestly just haven't felt like it recently. But I thought to myself "I like writing top 5 lists, they're easy to write, and there are topics aplenty." So my goal is to write at least one top 5 list a week, and if I miss a week, don't cry about it. And what better way to get this new venture underway than by ranking my favorite videogame consoles of all-time? Let's get started!

5. Xbox 360

Despite the Red Ring of Death, the atrocious Xbox One launch, and my complete and utter indifference to the original Xbox, somehow Microsoft managed to make my favorite (home) system of the last generation. Let me preface by saying that I don't really care about having apps on my gaming console, even though I spend more time on my Xbox 360 using apps than I do gaming, I can get all of those apps in several different ways. I'll also say that when it comes to console exclusive games, I think the PS3 far exceeds the 360 with games like Metal Gear Solid 4, 3D Dot Game Heroes, Hot Shots Golf: Out of Bounds, The Last of Us, the Uncharted series, and other classic Sony exclusive franchises. So how did the Xbox 360 get the victory? Simply put, it was cheaper, and all of my friends bought a 360 first, so I got it so I could play games with them.

I'll also admit that the Achievement system on the 360 sucked me in, and caused me to play a lot of games I never would have, as well as causing me to play games long after I had stopped having fun with them.

4. Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES)

It was really hard for me to choose between the SNES and the original PlayStation here, but ultimately the SNES won because my all-time favorite game, Super Mario World, is on it. You may be asking "But if you were debating between the SNES and PSone for number 4, then why wouldn't the PSone be number 5?" Because this is my list, so shut up.

In addition to all the classic Nintendo titles like Super Mario World, Donkey Kong Country, Super Metroid, Link to the Past, and Super Mario RPG, there are tons of amazing third-party titles like NBA Jam, Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball, Zombies Ate My Neighbors, etc. I feel the SNES is the pinnacle of Nintendo's home console machines. That's not to say that I don't love the N64, GameCube, Wii, or Wii U, but they haven't reached the caliber of titles again since the SNES.

3. Nintendo DS

The Nintendo DS was the first handheld system I ever owned, and it's home to some of the best games I've played in the past ten years. Normally when you think of handheld systems, you think of games that are more bite-sized and are smaller versions of their home console counterparts, but the Nintendo DS has some legitimately huge (and great) games. The dual screen design seemed like a weird gimmick to me at first, but once developers finally figured out how to use it properly, it lead to games like Picross 3D, Kirby's Canvas Curse, and Elite Beat Agents that used the touch screen to its full potential.

It also became a hotbed for JRPGs and Metroid-style games (one of my favorite types of games): Bowser's Inside Story, Radiant Historia, a port of Chrono Trigger, as well as three CastleVania titles that are all outstanding, just to name a few of each. It was host to a lot of story-based titles as well, like the Professor Layton series, Phoenix Wright, and 9 Hours 9 Persons 9 Doors. It's safe to say that I probably spent more time playing my Nintendo DS than I did my Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii. The DS was my go-to console of the last generation.

2. PlayStation 2 (PS2)

There's a reason the PS2 is the best selling console of all-time, and it's because the system is full of amazing games at every turn...the ability to play DVDs was also a pretty big deal, I guess. The PS2 gave developers the power they needed to create groundbreaking titles like Grand Theft Auto III (and Vice City and San Andreas), Resident Evil 4, and Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3.

It also brought titles like Devil May Cry and God of War, which set a new standard for action games. It's really easy to forget just how many other great series began on the PS2: Splinter Cell, Jak and Daxter, Ratchet and Clank, Sly Cooper. Then you have games that just go beyond words like Shadow of the Colossus and Okami. The survival horror genre ran rampant, but games like Silent Hill 2 and 3 and the Fatal Frame series set the bar high for all future horror games.

I don't play many sports games, but the PS2 allowed EA and other companies to bring sports games to a new level of realism. Without the PS2, games wouldn't be where they are now, as I believe it was the first console to show people that games are no longer a niche market and anyone can be a gamer.

1. Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)

It was the first console I ever owned, or even played for that matter. To this day, nothing reminds me of my childhood more than firing up an NES with a classic like Mega Man or DuckTales. Back when there weren't several games being released every week, back when you couldn't go to the internet to get a walkthrough, back when games didn't hold your freaking hand at all times, the NES ruled the world. While the Atari 2600 certainly has its place in history, the Nintendo Entertainment System is the reason videogames exist today. It showed us that you didn't have to go to arcades to have legitimate gaming experiences, and while Super Mario Bros. doesn't seem like anything special by the standards of today, at the time, that game was huge, and it only got better from there.

There is no shortage of classics, all-time greats, and hidden gems on the NES. There's a laundry list of games I could spit out right now that are required playing for any gamer. The controller was simple, yet perfect, the VCR design was a bit odd compared to its Japanese originator, but at the time, videogames weren't on people's minds, so the design made it look much more high-tech. Best part about it? You can still find 30 year old NES systems that work great today, and I have a feeling you won't be able to say that for some systems of the recent generations.

The NES was a landmark piece of hardware, and while some games don't hold up, a lot of them still do. Also, they made a Hollywood movie with legitimate Hollywood actors to promote Super Mario Bros. 3, and that hasn't been done since.

Thanks for reading.


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