I remember answering a question asking that if I was stranded on an island what game system would I wish was with me. Or something like that. I had some figuring to do as to what systems were my favorites and also had games I could play that I wouldn't get bored with or spend too much time on if power was limited. I had a few other factors to consider as well such as power requirements and how it connected to a screen. All of that played an important role to my final decision.
The overall end result was that I gained personal knowledge on what my favorite consoles were in a specific order. Since then, however, I have added a few new members to the collection which has changed that list. Would you like to know what systems in my collection are my top 10? Here we go...the end result may surprise you.
#10 - Original PlayStation
I jumped on the PlayStation after almost a year after it was released. I had a Saturn alongside it but it soon became clear who the more serious contender was. Saturn was getting games but only a handful were of any personal interest. PlayStation had tons of games that I enjoyed playing from Sony Rally Cross, Destruction Derby, and then Gran Turismo came along. It also rekindled my enjoyment in RPG games with the Final Fantasy series. It's graphics have not held up well but the games are solid entertainment.
#9 - PlayStation 2
Yea...one of the best selling, if not the first, consoles of all time is not exactly number one on my list. Great machine, lots of good games, some of which are still budget friendly, and plays original PS games as well. I do enjoy it but the only reason I picked up a PS2 way back when was because of Gran Turismo 3 A-Spec. But it sort of took a step back in my opinion. After playing GT2 on the PS and having over 400 cars to pick from going to GT3 with only roughly 200 cars just felt odd. I also tagged in FF X which was a lot of fun as was Portal Runner. So why did PS 2 and PS make bottom of my list? It wasn't the games. It was costs of initial setups. While there were 3rd party alternatives, memory cards for those machines were not cheap by any means and regardless of brands in most cases. And Sony seemed to have the most expensive cards on the market that never came down much in price. Great console but expensive accessories.
#8 - GameCube
Just like the PS2 there was only one reason I was after a GameCube...Metroid Prime. That game was absolutely awesome! The visuals and sounds were very impressive and easily one of the best looking games on the system. But the memory cards required to save game progression, again, keep this one at the back of the pack. Neat little system though.
#7 - Sega Master System
Sega's first console to hit U.S. shores wasn't bad but wasn't too impressive either. It was great to finally be able to play those Sega arcade hits starting from the mid eighties in your living room. OutRun was the sole reason I wanted one. And once the systems and games hit clearance bins I started grabbing. Most games I had were arcade ports, some were originals. I still say the Master System did a better job with Double Dragon than the NES did but that's my opinion. The Master System's sound chip is very distinguished and unmistakable.
#6 - XBOX
The original XBOX surprised me the second I started playing a store demo. Built like a tank this machine meant business and it showed in every game produced for the thing. It was extremely nice to finally have a disk based system with no memory cards required. Forza, RallySport Challenge, Burnout series, Jade Empire, and, of course, Halo showcased the system well. There were other titles too that did the same but those are what I remember most. Microsoft making a game console...who would have guessed?
#5 - Atari Jaguar
The Jaguar should have been better supported. But even with mediocre library of games it got it is the sexiest system in my collection. I have lots of fond memories with Cybermorph and Iron Soldier. Wolfenstein 3-D was entertaining if missing some levels and Tempest 2000? Don't even get me on that game. I can spend a whole day on that game without a care in the world. Want me to become invisible? Put me on Tempest 2000.
#4 - Atari 2600
Of course the 2600 is on this list. Literally tons of games and fun dominate this console. Controller options galore and I believe the 2600 was the only console to have paddle and driving controllers. Not very many games used them but they were there. This is also the only console synonymous with the name Atari. Just say Atari and people that have lived it think of the 2600.
#3 - Super Famicom
When the Super NES there was only one game that interested me... F-Zero. That was the only game I was after. Super Mario World came second place. Then Zelda came out and I lost a few months of my teenage years with that game. Top Gear made for a great unexpected 2-player co-op game while Gradius III and Super E.D.F. became most played shoot 'em ups.
About a year ago I imported its older brother, the Super Famicom. I never understood why the design changed so much between the two. I remember seeing the SFC in Nintendo Power magazines and loved the design. When they finally showed the model Americans would get I was confused. Even when their internals were identical the quality between the two are like night and day. The SFC has a better build quality and feel to it. Even putting the games in it has a more satisfying experience over the SNES. The only main downside is the curved shape of the carts makes them difficult to stack and they lack end labels. Otherwise I prefer the SFC over the SNES. Something about its chubby appearance is more appealing to me. I only have two games for it, Super Mario World and Darius Twin but it gets played more often than my SNES...and it has F-Zero.
#2 - Sega Dream cast
The only console I would pre-order along with Sonic Adventure would become my favorite Sega system of all-time. Sega rekindled my faith in them with the Dream cast and it was one helluva adventure I will never forget. Subscriptions to the Official Dreamcast magazine started long before I would get my system and game. But it was a wait well worth waiting for. With all it had to offer I never expected it to have such a short shelf life. Easily Sega's best system. Favorites include Tokyo Xtreme Racing series, Virtually Tennis, Sega Bass Fishing, Skies of Arcadia, Grandia II, Shemue, and Sega Swirl. Thank you, Sega, for that little system. It's still one helluva ride.
And now drum roll please....
#1 - Famicom & Atari 5200
Two consoles now share the number one spot. There simply was no way I could choose between the two. The 5200 started my gaming career (might as well be as much as I play video games) when I was 7 years old at least. It's design still mesmerizes me to this day and I never once had issues with my controllers up to the NES when I was 13. Count it...that's six years. Of course that's different today mainly due to age. Time has not been too friendly to my 5200 controllers. They are getting old.
The Famicom, on the otherhand, has really grown on me. If that was the only console I ever had I would be content with it. While it might not make much sense to some why I would pick it over the NES, which I owe a lot of gratitude to for keeping me off the streets, it has become one of the most played systems in my collection. I have seven games for it...eight if you count the disk version of Metroid. It is neat to experience the games Americans never got like Gradius II and Parodius while seeing the differences between games from both parts of the world like Salamander.
I turn to the 5200 for memories of famed arcade hits that makes up most of its game library. My sentimental feelings with the 5200 will never change and make it impossible for me to knock it off the number one spot. It just has an overall incredible experience that simply can't be found anywhere... Not even in emulation. The Famicom's small size and odd design make it appealing and fun to experience. And playing the games we didn't get add to that experience. It is very hard for me to put it down when I have it setup to enjoy. I didn't see any reason why both couldn't share the number one spot. My game room, my rules, right? This way I can enjoy both sides of video game history.
Favorite 5200 games are Star Raiders, Space Dungeon, Sinistar, Pole Position, and Qix. Favorite Famicom games are Salamander, Parodius, Tetris, Route 16 Turbo and Gradius II even when I suck at it.
Those are my top ten favorite game consoles...at least at the time of this writing. My choices are based on great memories I had with them. Those that didn't make this list are not because I don't like them or play them. I went by the wow factor I got from a system while they were in production. It really is that simple.