Shack Chat is back once again, our weekly feature each Friday where we’ll ask the Shacknews staff to give their opinion on a particular topic, then open the floor to our dedicated Chatty community to provide a diverse mixture of thoughts on the subject. It’s a great way for us to get to know one another better while inspiring healthy debates with all of you passionate gamers out there.
Question: What’s your favorite console of all time?
Super Nintendo – Asif Khan, Currently playing with Super Power
SNES is my favorite video game console of all-time, but Nintendo Switch is giving it a solid run for its money. The launch lineup of Super Mario World, Pilotwings, and F-Zero kept me busy for months and months. I remember the first time I held the Super Nintendo controller very fondly, as its rounded edges were a welcome improvement to the rectangular NES controllers. So many great, classic games were released on the system! It’s the best console.
PlayStation – Brittany Vincent, Senior Editor
I don’t really think the PlayStation is my “favorite of all time” because there are too many choices and too many variables. I’d say it’s one of them, but that’s always going to change. For now, I guess it’s PS1, but that could always change. Honestly, right now I’m really partial to the PC Engine. But the PlayStation brought me Final Fantasy VII, VIII, and IX as well as PaRappa the Rapper, Um Jammer Lammy, Silent Hill, Resident Evil, Dino Crisis, Parasite Eve…need I go on? It’s always going to have a soft spot in my heart and I’ll always be in love with the system.
Nintendo 64 – Josh Hawkins, Zelda aficionado
While the Nintendo 64 wasn’t the first console I ever owned, it’s by far been my favorite despite the evolution that the industry has had over the years. I can still remember spending hours playing through Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask, both several times over. As a huge fan of storytelling, being able to experience the classics back on the Nintendo 64 has to be one of my favorite gaming memories ever. My only regret is that my mom gave my N64 and all the games I’d collected for it to Goodwill one year without talking to me first.
PlayStation – Kevin S. Tucker, The Power of PlayStation
I made my first deep dive into video games on the Super NES, but if I’m honest, that system was really more of a starting point than a console I dumped considerable amounts of time into. By the time I got my hands on the Nintendo 64, I’d already had a taste of PC gaming, and it felt like Nintendo’s 64-bit console was missing something, some X factor, that I knew I craved.
I sold my N64 with all games and accessories, and used the money to buy a PlayStation as well as two games: Resident Evil and Final Fantasy 8. Both blew my teenage mind, and Sony’s console started me down a path to some of my favorite games of all time, like Metal Gear Solid, Final Fantasy Tactics, and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.
When I look back over my fondest console gaming memories, the bulk of them are on the Sony PlayStation. The SNES comes in a close second, but that system never had the graphical power to really leave me stunned. It also didn’t hurt that CD-ROM technology allowed developers to make much larger games, which was perfect for me as a dedicated RPG fan.
With that said, many of my favorite PlayStation games are in series that made the leap from SNES to PSX, like Castlevania or Final Fantasy or Mega Man. I love the 2D classics and the general vibe of the 16-bit era, and the PlayStation allowed for a lot of those types of experiences, albeit with far better music and generally better graphics. So while I’d give the edge the PlayStation over the SNES, my heart lies quite firmly between the two. Too bad the Nintendo PlayStation came to light, because that might have been the finest gaming console in human history.
Sega Dreamcast – Chris Jarrard, The soul still burns
I really love my SNES and Gamecube, but the Dreamcast will probably always be my favorite. It had a very short shelf life, launching in 1999 and dying before the launch of the PlayStation 2 in 2001, but for that short time, it burned hot like an exploding star.
The Dreamcast was not on my radar until I made a trip to a mall out of town one weekend and spent some time in an arcade that had received the new Crazy Taxi cabinet. That game really blew my mind at the time, so I went by the local video game store and asked when the game would be out on consoles. The staff explained that Sega was about to release the Katana, the original codename for the Dreamcast, and that Crazy Taxi would likely be ported to it. At this point, I was all in and got the pre-order.
I picked up my Dreamcast on the 9/9/99 launch day with Soul Calibur, NFL 2K, and PowerStone. This was the first console to offer arcade perfect ports, and in the case of stuff like Soul Calibur, the ports were better than arcade quality. The Dreamcast quickly became the best console for fighting games with the release of Soul Calibur, Dead or Alive 2, Marvel vs. Capcom 1 & 2, all the editions of Street Fighter III, SNK vs Capcom, Virtua Fighter 3tb and the PowerStone series. The same goes for racing games, with Tokyo Xtreme Racer, Sega Rally 2, Sega GT, Metropolis Street Racer, V-Rally 2, Vanishing Point, F355 Challenge, Daytona USA 2001, both Crazy Taxis, and Rush 2049. The console got more great fighting and racing game titles in eighteen months that most other consoles got over seven or eight years.
Other Dreamcast highlights include the unquestioned best versions of multiplatform titles like the Tony Hawk games, Soul Reaver, Rayman 2, MDK 2, Dino Crisis, and GTA 2. It offered the best arcade ports like Virtua Tennis, House of the Dead 2, Virtual On, Sega Bass Fishing and Marine Fishing, and all the Midway games of the time. If this weren’t enough, the Dreamcast had its own assortment of eclectic exclusives like Shenmue, Rez, Ikaruga, Phantasy Star Online, Grandia 2, Seaman, Sword of the Berserk, Jet Set Radio, Resident Evil: Code Veronica, Skies of Arcadia, Samba De Amigo, Space Channel 5, and more.
There is not enough space to list all the great games the console had to offer over its brief lifespan, or its sport game dominance and introduction of real online play via console with Unreal Tournament and Quake III. The Dreamcast was a trendsetter with an exquisite library that the public inexplicably left to die. I’ll never fully understand it, but I’m glad I got to experience it.
Xbox – Sam Chandler, Forgot To Fill This Part Out
It’s where the legend began. Though the Xbox wasn’t my first console, it was the one where gaming really started to coalesce into a main focus of mine. School afternoons were spent with friends playing Fusion Frenzy, an incredible party game that really deserves some kind of modern day remake or sequel.
But then I finally convinced my parents I should get Halo. Since that day, Halo has been a cornerstone in my gaming library. Even a bad Halo game still resonates with me. And then when I was in high school, Halo 2 came out, I got broadband internet, and I signed up for Xbox Live.
Halo 2 is the reason why online multiplayer games exist in their form. Lobbies, matchmaking, proximity chat, it can all be traced back to Halo 2 where Bungie decided to forgo the classic PC server list and opt for a truly revolutionary system.
There were so many iconic titles on the Xbox. It makes me sad to see that not many of these survive to this day. I think it’s high time Microsoft look back to the Xbox and see what sequel they can bring forward to the Xbox One and the Scarlett.
Even the notoriously awkward controller, The Duke, holds a soft spot in my heart. I even went so far as to purchase the Hyperkin Duke controller that works on my Xbox One and PC. There’s something magical about plugging it in, seeing its LED screen light up with the original boot animation, and then play my Xbox games on the back compat program.
Nostalgia is a hell of a drug.
Super Nintendo – David L. Craddock, Longreads Editor
Until very recently, the SNES immediately sprung to mind when anyone asked me this question. If the NES was the formative platform that gave numerous genres and developers their start, the SNES was the next evolutionary step in terms of hardware, development practices, and genre trappings. Super Mario 3 was great, but Super Mario World perfected it (don’t @ me). The Legend of Zelda was groundbreaking; Zelda: A Link to the Past perfected it. Metroid to Super Metroid, Mega Man to Mega Man X… the list goes on. “Shmups” and fighting games came into their own during the 16-bit era, as well, and the SNES arguably hosts the best of the best from the 1990s.
But between you and me–if you can keep a secret–the Switch is gaining ground on its Super-sized big brother. Consider this: Most consoles are defined by one game, two or three if they’re lucky. The Switch has so many fantastic games from so many eras, at just shy of 2.5 years into what promises to be a lengthy lifecycle, that it will be impossible to define Nintendo’s portable console by one game alone. It’s that robust. It’s that good.
Super Nintendo remains my answer for now. Ask me again at the end of the Switch’s lifecycle, and the answer could very well be different.
PlayStation – Greg Burke, Lives in the mines
Man this is a really hard question to answer. I mean on the one hand you have consoles that you remember fondly, the nostalgia factor weighs heavy on those, and in the other hand there have been amazing gaming consoles these last 30 years. If I had to choose, I’d say it’d have to be Sony’s Playstation. Only because I had money to actually buy games for myself, were as the NES, and Sega Genesis, I had no money, being a kid, so I couldn’t buy anything.
I relied on Birthday and Xmas gifts. The Sony Playstation was the very first console I bought by myself, I paid for it by washing cars, cleaning offices, and pulling weeds. Being able to play some of my arcade favorites like Marvel vs. Capcom was a huge deal. Crash Bandicoot, which was super hard to beat, and of course Final Fantasy VII. That game that helped me improve my reading comprehension. I eventually did get a N64 in 1997 or 1998, but the memories of the Playstation are stuck in my mind forever and cannot be unhinged.
PlayStation 4 – Bill Lavoy – Back into Destiny 2
PlayStation 4 is my favorite console of all time, but like a lot of my picks in Shack Chat, it’s nearly a choice by default. Until 2013 when I actually broke into games writing, I didn’t play a lot and I stuck with the PlayStation family of consoles. I owned an NES and enjoyed that, obviously, but it was PS1, PS2, PS3, PS4 for me, and mostly I played sports games and the odd FPS on them.
When the PS4 was coming out, I was just starting to get paid to cover games, so I spent money I didn’t have to get what I considered tools for my belt; the PS4 and Xbox One. What puts a PS4 ahead of Xbox One for me is the exclusives. I’d rather play everything on PC, but as long as I’m playing games like Uncharted 4, God of War, Horizon Zero Dawn, and Until Dawn on PS4, it has a clear lead in my heart. Can’t stress enough how happy I am to see a couple PS4 games make their way to the PC through the Epic Games Store, though.
Xbox 360 – Donovan Erskine, Intern
The Xbox 360 is an endless well of fond memories and good times. Halo 3 and reach were some of the best of the franchise and kept me busy for a long time. I went through a couple 360 consoles putting an ungodly amount of hours into Red Dead Redemption, GTA IV, Oblivion, Skyrim, and the Call of Duty Series. That alone just feels like just scratching the surface. I’m a big fan of what Microsoft has been doing with the Xbox brand over the last couple of years but the 360 will always hold a special place in my heart.
SNES – Blake Morse, Playing with Super Power
Pretty much everything Asif and David already stated goes double for me. I still consider the year I got my SNES the best Christmas ever (thanks, Mom!) While Nintendo may have taken many of its franchises well beyond what the lifecycle of the system, many of the “Super” versions from this era are still my faves. Super Metroid always comes to my mind as the first great example of a series that peaked for me in the 16-bit generation followed by The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, which is still my personal favorite in the series. This was also the console that started my life-long love/hate relationship with RPGs when it introduced me to the US versions of Final Fantasy 2 and 3 and titles like Secret of Mana, Illusion of Gaia and, of course, the legendary Earthbound.
I don’t think a console before or since has had as many solid game experiences in its entire lifetime (although the Switch really is giving the SNES a run for its money.) While I’ll always love the NES for being my first and consoles like the Turbografx-16 and Dreamcast for their underappreciated power and unique catalogs of games, I just can’t deny that special place that the SNES has in my heart.
NES – Ozzie Mejia, Senior Editor
I’m going back where it all started, with the original 8-bit generation console of my youth. I don’t get into video games without the NES and it speaks volumes that many of its games are still held in the highest esteem, even with the machine’s many limitations. It’s not even the first-party Nintendo stuff, either. It’s the incredible third-party efforts that put a lot of publishers and developers on the map. Stuff like Contra, DuckTales, Castlevania, RC Pro-Am, Marble Madness, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games, and so much more. I like to think it’s part of why Nintendo loves going back to this era, most recently with NES – Nintendo Switch Online. Now if only they’d actually offer some of those good third-party games.
Disagree with our picks? Think we’re a bunch of clowns? Let us know in the Chatty below.