What is the best retro games console?

The gaming industry has come a long way since the debut of the first-ever games console in 1972, with the likes of Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony now running the show. Although it’s definitely true that today’s consoles are bigger and better, sometimes you just can’t silence the yearning to cradle an N64 controller again. 

For those looking for a dose of gaming nostalgia, we’re diving deep into the best retro games consoles ever made. Will your favorite OG console be on top? Keep reading to find out which retro games console takes first place!

In this blog:

5. Atari 2600

In fifth place is the Atari 2600, a games console most kids today wouldn’t have heard of. Released in 1977, the Atari 2600 was a cartridge games console that connected to your TV set, bringing an array of real Atari arcade games into your home for the first time.

This console came with two joysticks (that’s right, this bad boy had arcade-style joysticks!), two paddles and a metal switch box that you connect the system to the back of your TV.

While the choice of games wasn’t as plentiful as today, you could choose from classics such as Air-Sea Battle, Basic Math, Blackjack, Combat, Indy 500, Star Ship, Street Racer, Surround and Video Olympics.

If you were lucky enough to own an Atari 2600 back in the day, you spent the majority of your time fighting aliens or mastering virtual ping pong – not cool by today’s standards but in the 70s that was pretty fly!

4. GameBoy

In fourth place is Nintendo’s Game Boy. We’ve already named this handheld console the third best Nintendo console in a previous post, so it was obvious that the Game Boy would make this list too. 

Released in 1989, the Game Boy was Nintendo’s first handheld console and started the ball rolling for future handheld consoles such as the Nintendo DS and Switch Lite. 

Back then, you’d need to pop some AA batteries in to start up your Game Boy and then you’d be set to play games such as Pokemon, The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario while on the go.

The original Game Boy had a small green-tinted screen and played colorless 2D games, and while that definitely wouldn’t go down well in today’s climate, we’d give anything to play as a little green-tinted Mario waddling through the Mushroom Kingdom one last time!

3. Sega Genesis

In third place, we have Sega’s most commercially successful home game console, the Sega Genesis. Released in 1989, the Sega Genesis was one of the top consoles (alongside the SNES, of course) that helped to boost the video game industry to what it is today. 

This console was Sega’s attempt to push out the competition from Nintendo by offering the public a 16-bit games console – an improvement on the previous 8-bit consoles we were all used to. 

The Sega Genesis also lacked the internal restrictions that the Nindendo consoles had at the time, meaning that if you wanted to see some blood and gore while playing Mortal Kombat, you’d need to play it on the Sega Genesis. 

A major element of the Sega Genesis’ popularity was the new collection of games, such as Sonic The Hedgehog, Gunstar Heros and Shinobi. While Nintendo ultimately won the 16-bit era battle, the Sega Genesis put up a good fight, and for that, it deserves its spot at no.3!

2. Super Nintendo Entertainment System

And in comes the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES, for short) in second place. In 1991, the SNES was the must-have console if you wanted to waste your days playing Donkey Kong Country and Final Fantasy. 

While the controller felt perfect in your hands and the joy of blowing dust from your game cartridges was unmatched, it was the vast game selection that made the SNES stand out from the crowd.

The SNES specialized in RPG games that were truly way ahead of their time and offered so much choice that the SNES was easily a family favorite in the gaming industry. 

Indeed, the graphics on the SNES aren’t a match compared to the consoles available today, but there’s just something special about its range of classic games.

1. PlayStation

The best retro games console is… the original PlayStation from Sony! The PlayStation is the newest on this list of retro consoles, but it’s still very much retro – after all, it was released back in 1995.

This games console used CDs instead of cartridges to play games and even had a memory card with up to 128kb of memory for you to store your game progress (that’s right, internal storage wasn’t a thing yet!)

The upgrade from cartridges to CDs came with extra perks for gamers, including better graphics and more realistic sound choices. And what better time to offer improved graphics? With the release of the PS1 came fan favorites such as Resident Evil, Crash Bandicoot and Tekken.

While you can still play some of these games reimagined for newer consoles or even find versions on PS1 simulators, nothing quite compares to popping a disc into your PlayStation and hearing that start-up chime we know and love from the 90s.

Have any old games consoles and games lying around you no longer use? Or fancy playing some retro games you no longer have? You can buy and sell games consoles right here at Decluttr!