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Nintendo 64Apparently this system lost the sales battle against the PS1... which seems strange to me because back in 1997 or 1999 the N64 was THE place to be for four player gaming bliss. I mean, it had Mario Kart and Goldeneye and Smash Bros. and Mario Party and Star Fox and so on. Whatever. Nowadays its mostly remembered fondly for bringing us 3D gaming, and remembered not-so-fondly for its awkward, silly looking controller.
+ the glorious polygonal third dimension of Super Mario 64
+ Ocarina of Time AND Majora's Mask
+ Four player local multiplayer
- Awkward controllers
- Cartridges were passe, turned off third party developers
- Game quality in this brave new world was a mixed bag. Some franchises made the leap better than others. I mean, collecting things is fun... up to a point.
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Super Nintendo Entertainment SystemNintendo's Golden Age. Everything 16 bit was a realization of what 8bit had promised... it was like 8bit but refined and pretty. All of the true classic 2d games stem from this system. Just thinking about my SNES gets me all misty-eyed.
+ Great controller. More buttons but not at all confusing. Rounder, easier to hold. Light. Perfect.
+ Launched with Super Mario World. Yoshi.
+ Absolutely gorgeous visuals. Great color palette. Sprites and artwork at their best.
+ Mario World is the best Mario game and Link to the Past is the best Zelda game. Also Super Metroid and Donkey Kong Country and Mario Kart and Star Fox live on the SNES.
+ RPGS. Squaresoft. Final Fantasies. Secret of Mana. Chrono Trigger. Super Mario RPG.
- Underpowered compared to its rivals (and yet Nintendo's games were much better)
- less hardcore, less gory.
- Third party games could still be as poorly designed and cheaply difficult as the NES games.
- Not very multiplayer-friendly
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Nintendo Entertainment SystemThis system single-handedly saved videogame-dom and made all of our lives what they are today. It had a totally awesome controller. The soundtracks to its games sound amazing in a nostalgic sort of way. And on top of all that, it came packaged with a freakin' robot! And a gun!
Okay so NES games aren't so much to look at and a lot of them are virtually unplayable. A lot of them are just HARD, and not in a good way... like a poorly designed way. It's great and all that Zelda and Metroid broke from the 'just run to the right' paradigm but DAMN those games are hard to navigate.
But this is the system with Super Mario Bros. and that game is freaking perfect except that you have to blow into the cartridge to get it to work. What was up with that? Looking back on it now, it seems so strange, so foreign.
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Game BoyLooking back on it now this system seems bulky, primitive, and unappealing. Even so, it sold well enough, became a cultural touchstone, and Nintendo has dominated the handheld videogame market ever since (though we all know the times they are a-changin'). Over the years the system was redesigned into the 'Game Boy Pocket', probably because the original was too big to fit into pockets.
+ Portable video games! Like, on the road, in a waiting room, at school... wherever!
+ Link's Awakening is a surprisingly robust title.
+ Long lifespan. This system existed for the entirety of the nineties (this was the decade before people had phones in their pockets).
- Strange colored screen... like... neon vomit.
- Big and heavy
- Batteries. Too many batteries. Buying batteries to play video games is almost as bad as buying tokens in an arcade.
- games without watches
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Nintendo GamecubeThe Gamecube was the first Nintendo console to finish last in its generation's console war (unless you count the Dreamcast as part of that generation, but I don't think it's performance in that race counts as 'finishing'). And the gamecube wasn't even the relatively underpowered punching bag that the Wii was! But the system was seen as 'kiddy' which was a result of all of those gaming kids of the '90s growing up into 'mature' gamers in the '00s. They didn't want a purple system with cute little discs and big colorful buttons on their controllers... or something.
+ Great controller that got greater when it went wireless as the 'Wavebird'
+ No Mario game at launch... instead there was a little game called SUPER SMASH BROS. MELEE, the best Nintendo fanservice game that had ever been produced
+ Great, great games like Metroid Prime 1&2, Resident Evil 4, and Tales of Symphonia (yes it had rpgs)
+ Disc based... finally
+ Umm... it had a handle?
- Needed to be fed memory cards too often
- Not very online
- Third party support problems
- You can disagree with this I suppose, but I have to say that this console's Mario and Zelda games are weak entries in their respective franchises.
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