Written by Ryan Johnson, Mark Del Rio, Erik Kubik, Josh Hurley, Colby Sorensen Monday, 13 February 2012 06:00
GoozerNation writer Ryan Johnson brought up a simple statement in order to stir up a good article: "Best. Console. Ever." He opened an online document and challenged the rest of the crew to answer that question, with a detailed "why?" Here you find the stories that emenated from that document. So read on, brave Surfer of the Internet! Do you agree with us? Care to rage on which one we missed in the comments? Want to put your opinion in on whether we should do "Worst. Console. Ever."? Join in on the conversation, and we'll see just how far this goes...
I originated this article, yet I'm still having a hard time writing it. Looking back at my gaming history, I realized it went a little something like this: it was born on the Atari, spent its childhood on the Nintendo, and grew up on the Sega. Every system has shining examples of what video games are supposed to be. In this modern age of gaming, I find myself stunned by the graphical prowess of modern systems, and the rich stories they tell.
There is one thing that puts my favorite console of choice smack dab in between those two ends of the spectrum, though: friendship. I wasn’t the loser kid with no friends at the beginning, nor am I the loser who spends his nights forever alone now, but the PlayStation 2 heyday was during my college years. I have to get specific, though: my Ultimate Console was a First-Gen PS2. Why so specific? The iLink cable.
The link cable on the PS1 was a lot of fun in high school, with games like Ridge Racer and Bushido Blade. If I had a job back then, I would have bought a second system merely to play link games with my friends. The PS2 fleshed it out for me. (It helped that the dorm room had gamer geeks everywhere, and by my senior year there were two televisions in my room with two machines hooked up for anytime play.) Time Crisis II and Gran Turismo 2 were excessively played via link.
Even without the link, the system had many merits. Multitaps allowed up to 8 of us to get together on one system, which we did regularly. Heck, we even made Kessen, an amazing game that took place in feudal Japan, and was a single player game that was basically created to showcase graphics with extended cutscenes for every single attack, into a massively multiplayer game, as I sat with the controls and my fellow college buddies embodied each general on the field, literally making every decision for their respective general.
PS2 was where story and graphics really started budding and shining. Add that to the amazing gameplay created through college, and the PS2 is an easy win for my Best. Console. Ever.
PS - Let it be known that there was a Nintendo 64 with four controllers and Goldeneye permanently plugged in as well that deserves Honorable Mention.
Mark Del Rio
Without hesitation, I would have to choose the SNES as my most treasured console ever. Back in the late 80’s/early 90’s arcades were on the decline and Nintendo was the king of videogames. Everyone had an NES. Sega, who struggled for a bit to dethrone the big “N,” released the Genesis to much sucess. 8-bit graphics were on the way out and everyone was looking towards Nintendo and how they would enter the next generation.
Two years after the launch of the Sega Genesis, Nintendo introduced the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) and “WOW” was it amazing! Completely toppling everything the Genesis had to offer, the SNES showed that Nintendo was still the king of gaming even in the 16-bit era. Graphically, nothing could compete with the SNES (with the exception of the Neo Geo which was only available in limited release). I’m sure I wasn’t the only one spending less and less quarters at the arcade every week once I got an SNES.
Games like Super Mario World, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, and Super Castlevania IV still hold a special place in my heart today. 2D games have been making a comeback every so often since the 90’s. When it comes to experiencing the glory days of pixel art, nothing takes me back like the SNES. Without question - Best. Console. EVAR!
This is a hard decision as there are a lot of great consoles. I have treasured memories from the 16-bit era of staying up late and playing the Genesis and the SNES. The PS1 has earned a special spot in my gaming heart as well. I cannot play enough Resident Evil 3 and Twisted Metal 2. I also truly love the PS2 and it has the biggest gaming library with the most options. But I think my two favorite consoles of all time are the Dreamcast and the original Xbox. Hate all you want on the original Xbox but it brought some good ideas to gaming. Gamers were introduced to Xbox Live and hard drives being built into consoles. I spent many hours in college fragging people in Halo 2 over a network. Probably the best part of the Xbox was how easy it is to mod the system. A little software exploit and FTP’ing and you could create the perfect Media Center. I still have one someplace today that still serves this purpose. We used these to stream movies from servers, play with N64 games, and the list goes on and on.
The Dreamcast was the first console I bought at full price. I was blown away by the graphics and the games. Power Stone 2, Shenmue 1 and 2, SoulCalibur, Resident Evil Code Veronica, Crazy Taxi, Marvel vs Capcom 2, and Sonic Adventure. The VMUs were a fun concept that tried to add useful features to some games. I remember using a boot disc to play import games. This was one of the first systems that really let gamers play import games easily. So many of the great games on DC looked better then their arcade counterparts. Most of the games were leaps ahead what the PSX and N64 were capable of. The Dreamcast still has a cult-like homebrew following today and best of all you can pick up one of these used for less than $30 if you know where to look. Goozex has so many Dreamcast games at reasonable prices, you cannot go wrong.
I thought about this, but I can’t determine which one I like more. So I have two, because they are both big parts of my gaming life: The Super Nintendo and the Playstation 2.
The Super Nintendo. When I was a kid, this was THE console. This was my first gaming system. I have fond memories of staying up late on the weekends and playing Final Fantasy III (VI now) until it was almost impossible to stay awake. Other fond memories include: going to my local video rental place and renting Chrono Trigger over and over; having friends over and trying to beat Contra III (we never did. I still haven’t beat it to this day. I need to work on that.); and playing Megaman X and trying to find everything. And as for accessories, the Super Nintendo had one of the greatest add-ons in video game histor: the Super Game Boy. Having previously had a Game Boy (it met its tragic demise when we were on a road trip to see my grandparents. Nintendium is no match for oncoming traffic), my brother and I were able to enjoy Game Boy games in a much larger spectacle than ever before. The Super Nintendo was a staple of my childhood, and I will always have fond memories of it.
As for the Playstation 2? I must have spent countless hours playing Final Fantasy X and XII (I’d actually prefer if they stay countless. If I had an actual amount in hours, I might have to re-evaluate some aspects of my life.) The first game I ever got for my PS2 was GTA: Vice City. From then, I was hooked. So many nights were spent playing games and watching movies with my then girlfriend, now wife. It was even involved in my son's life. He’s fascinated with helicopters and airplanes. So sometimes he’ll sit next to me and I’ll just fly a helicopter in Vice City for 15 minutes. He loves it. (Responsible parent note: I don’t let him see how I get the vehicle. Just when I have it, flying around.) Between that, and the SNES, I can’t choose. So no matter when you ask me, I’ll have to go with both.
Having only owned one console from each generation since the SNES, I can’t fairly decide on which console is the best of all time. I do know, however, which console is my favorite - the Xbox 360. While setting up double elimination brackets for Mario Kart on the SNES or Goldeneye, my friends and I would often imagine how awesome it would be if we could all play together even when we couldn’t get together in person. We dreamt of laying some sort of cable between our consoles so that the number of players in a game wouldn’t be limited by the number of controller ports on a single console. The original Xbox fulfilled these seemingly far-fetched dreams to some degree, but arguably the biggest improvement we’ve seen in this generation is the increased quality of connectivity through online services.
One argument a PS3 apologist might make is that PSN is free to all, but I feel the $60/year price tag (which can actually be much cheaper at places like Amazon) is one of the best values in gaming. Now that I have moved away from most of my friends and family, I am still able to game with them, instead of Goldeneye it’s Modern Warfare or Halo if we want to play competitively or Gears of War 3’s Horde mode when we want to work as a team. Rock Band 3 has been the game that I can play with my girlfriend and the endless stream of new tracks means that I can get unlimited mileage out of my plastic instruments. For only the cost of a single movie ticket, I have access to all the TV and video content I could ever want, granted I don’t care much for TV outside of live sports. I also feel that the new trend of high-quality season pass DLC, such as with Gears of War 3, Call of Duty Elite, and L.A. Noire. On top of all this, some of the best games I have played have been have been downloadable titles from the XBLA or XBLIG. For all the time I spend using Xbox Live, I’m only paying pennies per hour.
The one major downfall for the Xbox 360 was the early problems with the RRoD. There is no excuse for that and I sure hope Microsoft is on the ball when engineering the next-gen console. Hopefully, more connectivity and more choices for online content will mean the next gen will be even better than this one has been.