Posted by: epicwes | March 1, 2008

Console Rundown~ Part II: The Retro Era

Alright, here’s Part II, all about the olden times of Video Game consoles. From the Atari 2600 to the PlayStation, we’ve got all of this exciting time covered. Also note that I will be using abbreviations for the console names, so at the bottom of the post is a simple guide. I will only be abbreviating the ones that are mentioned more than once, so not all consoles are on the list.

The very first home console (to my knowledge) was the Magnavox Odyssey, launched in 1972. Never heard of it? Most haven’t. It wasn’t very well-known, being released 1972. It was followed by the Pong (1975) and Coleco Telstar (1976).
There were many more unimportant ones, such as the Fairchild Channel F (1976), Atari 2600 (1977), Magnavox Odyssey² (1978), Mattel Intellivision (1980), Milton Bradley Vectrex (1982), Emerson Arcadia 2001 (1982), ColecoVision (1982), and the Sega SG-1000 (1983). They mostly didn’t sell well, and were quickly overshadowed by the A26, the first of the Retro consoles that took part in this war. The A26 was the only major console for a while. Atari attempted to improve it with the Atari 5200 in 1982, but the A52 had so many flaws, its predecessor was more popular and the A52 died out. Then, in 1983, there was a huge market crash where video games as a whole lost tons of profits. There was nothing around for a few years.

Nintendo, a company that had been producing the famous handheld Game And Watch Gallery games and arcade machines, had decided to release a console, the famous Nintendo Entertainment System. It was launched in 1985.

The NES was a huge success. But besides, Atari, it had no competators. SEGA decided to change that, and in 1986 it released the Sega Master System. There was also the Atari 7800 (1986), but it never caught on like the other 8-bits. The A26 stayed, because it had a sort of Nostalgic feel. So the NES and SNS two were the biggest rivals, but Nintendo easily won.

These two 8-bits duked it out for a while, with the A26 popping up every now and then.
In 1989, SEGA took the next step in technology and released the Sega Genesis, the first 16-bit console. There was also the TurboGrafx-16/PC-Engine (1989) Neo Geo (1991). Both of those flopped. Nintendo was quick to rival the SG, releasing the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1990. Again they fought, being the biggest of the big. Everyone who was anyone knew whether they were for Nintendo of for SEGA.

There was, again, a bunch of little-known consoles released from 1993 until 1996. The 3DO Interactive Multiplayer (1993), Amiga CD-32 (1993), Atari Jaguar (1993), Sega Saturn (1994), PlayStation (1994), Apple Pippin (1997), and Nintendo 64 (1996) were all in that time. Now, the N64 came out a lot later. Nintendo put a lot of time into it. In 1995, Nintendo released a 32-bit console, the Virtual Boy. The VB was Nintendo’s only flop. It lasted barely 6 months and only had 14 games total released for it.

SEGA also had the Sega Neptune planned for 1994, but by the time it was ready for release, the SS was well underway. Thus, the SN was scrapped. SEGA also tried to keep the SG alive longer. They made the Sega 32X, an add-on that you plugged into the game slot of a SG, turning it from 16-bit to 32-bit. Another add-on to the SG was the Sega CD, which was put on the side of the SG and let you play disc games, which were considered far mor advanced than cartridges. Both failed miserably, but the SS was already out by then.

With Sony now in the mix, there was not much room. Nintendo was keeping its ground, and that left SEGA as the one to leave. They launched the Sega Dreamcast in 1999. But the SD was not really a Retro console, moreso the first on the later systems. It didn’t sell well, as Sony was running the market with the ads for the PlayStation2. The SD withered and died out, leaving the PS and N64 in a heated battle as the Retro Era ended, at the end of the 20th century.

Atari 2600 = A26
Atari 5200 = A52
Atari Jaguar = AJ
Nintendo Entertainment System = NES
Nintendo 64 = N64
Playstation = PS
Sega Dreamcast = SD
Sega Genesis = SG
Sega Master System = SMS
Sega Neptune = SN
Sega Saturn = SS
Super Nintendo Entertainment Systen = SNES
Virtual Boy = VB

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