The Nintendo NES was released in Japan in 1983 and North America in 1985 and changed home console gaming as we know it. They took a dying industry and pioneered innovation, changing the way people play games forever. Super Mario Bros. changed everything. The Legend of Zelda was like no other game before it. Other home consoles slowly but surely started to appear in the market. Sega came out with their own 16-bit console, the Sega Genesis. After Nintendo’s second console came out, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, the company continued to pioneer the industry.

The PlayStation was born after a partnership with Nintendo fell through and subsequently brought us some of the best consoles to date. Microsoft jumped into the mix with their Xbox console. While it is incredibly difficult to rank the best consoles of all time because there are so many good ones, there are some that stand out as the best with both superior hardware and software.

First and foremost though, an honorable mention goes to the Wii. It was an innovative, fantastic console, but it was bogged down by too many subpar games from third-parties. It did have two of the top five Zelda games of all time in Skyward Sword and Twilight Princess and the Mario Galaxy games are two of the best in the franchise. The biggest problem was the machine was severely underpowered. The watercolor painting effect in Skyward Sword never really worked because of the hardware, although the gaming was superb. It was a fantastic console, but it’s right behind our number five pick for the best video game consoles of all time.

5. PlayStation 4

There is no denying that the PlayStation 4 is an incredible console. It has the best lineup of games of any current generation. With that being said, the PlayStation 4 didn’t come into its own with high-quality original content until 2016. Before this, most games were remasters or titles that also came out on last-generation consoles. This split development and caused many games to be sub-par. The PlayStation 4 does not have that problem anymore though and is well on its way to being one of the greatest consoles of all time. They had a fantastic year in 2017 with too many high-quality exclusives to count,and they have even more coming in 2018, including a new God of War game and a Spider-Man exclusive. The Last of Us 2 is on its way as well, although it’s unlikely to come in 2018.

4. Xbox 360

The Xbox 360 was the best console of its generation. It had amazing exclusives, such as four Gears of War games, several games from the Halo franchise, and Mass Effect, which was originally a Microsoft exclusive, and so much more. It offered the best online experience through Microsoft’s Xbox Live subscription program and the controller is still the best in the business; the Xbox One took the 360 controller and made it even better. Kinect was a failure, but this doesn’t take away from the accomplishments of the Xbox 360. It was the best console of its generation.

3. Nintendo Switch

This may be somewhat controversial, as the Nintendo Switch is a brand new console. Some may even argue it’s not a console at all but more of a handheld. Regardless of that, the Switch is the most innovative piece of hardware that Nintendo has ever created. There is a reason why it is selling so well. It also has high-quality software and is receiving a consistent release schedule. There are no droughts in software releases like in the past. Nintendo has learned from their mistakes. The Switch had Zelda and Mario release within the first seven months of the console’s release, and Zelda was a launch title. It also has one of the greatest RPGs of the modern era (perhaps the best), Xenoblade Chronicles 2.

Almost every month through December Nintendo released a AAA title. Software sales have been more than stellar. As a portable console, the system works incredibly well and there are many options on how to play. You can use the console as a tablet and play with a standard controller (I did this on a 5-hour flight, it worked splendidly), or you can connect the Joy-Cons and play it as a standard portable device. Considering the games already announced for the Switch for the upcoming year and what has already come out, the console is well on its way to perhaps being the best console of all time.

2. PlayStation 2

Project Zohar

While sales don’t always equate with quality, in this case, it does. The PlayStation 2 sold approximately 155 million units over its lifespan. There’s no other home console that’s even close to having that level of success. The PlayStation 2 wasn’t the most powerful system out, but it had the best games. Final Fantasy X is one of the best RPGs ever made. The console also featured Persona 3God of War I and IIShadow of the ColossusKingdom Hearts I & IIOkamiXenosaga I-IIIIcoFinal Fantasy XIIStar Ocean: Till the End of TimeRatchet and Clank; the list simply goes on. The PlayStation 2 is by far one of the greatest consoles ever created and it’s crazy to think that it’s essentially sold double the number of units than the PlayStation 4 has year-to-date.

1. Super Nintendo Entertainment System

There is a reason why you cannot find a Super Nintendo Classic anywhere. The Super Nintendo Entertainment System was Nintendo’s foray into the 16-bit era. It has some of the greatest games of all time. Final Fantasy VI and Chrono Trigger were ranked as the greatest RPGs of all time by IGN. A Link to the Past is still regarded as one of the greatest Zelda games of all time. Super Mario World is still one of the best platformers ever. Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars put a unique twist on the Mario franchise and still holds up as one of the best games to come out on the system.

Final Fantasy VI (III in NA)

Even games like the Super Star Wars series from THQ were fantastic. And we cannot forget about Donkey Kong and its sequels. Final Fantasy II (IV in Japan) paved the way for story-driven RPGs and redefined the genre. Super Mario Kart is the most enjoyable racing genre in the industry and started on the SNES, and the franchise is still going strong.

The Best Video Game Consoles of All Time

One of the greatest games ever to grace a console.

The Super Nintendo had a plethora of games and is easily the greatest console of all time. It would take too much time to go through all of the classic games that came out on the console and how it redefined gaming. It paved the way for the current-generation. Many games are going back to 2D sprites with 3D backgrounds, like Octopath Traveler for the Nintendo Switch, and I am Setsuna, which was a multi-console release. We can still feel the presence of the Super Nintendo and there’s a reason why it’s impossible to find the SNES Classic anywhere; it is the greatest game console of all time.

About The Author


Morgan Lewis is a Video Game Journalist and is the Founder, Owner, and Editor-in-Chief of VGCultureHQ. He has been writing about games for over six years and has written over 2,000 articles during that timespan. He first fell in love with gaming when he received A Link to the Past for Christmas when he was six and is the guywazeldatatt. He also loves anime and anything that has to do with gaming culture and Tetsuya Takahashi games. He is also a huge anime and Star Wars fan.

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