Video games have been around for a long time now, and every so many years new technology emerges to provide brand new gaming experiences to players everywhere.
While most of us have countless memories across most of these gaming generations, many of us have a particular fondness for a particular one. Maybe it is the generation that got us into gaming, or perhaps it’s the one that has provided us our favorite games.
It’s easy to argue that gaming was best during its early years, specifically when the Nintendo Entertainment System was king. Companies like Atari and Coleco had paved the way for gaming to become a popular pastime, and with the NES’s technology video games had largely moved beyond elementary shapes, and instead provided much more detailed and immersive experiences. Games like Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Mega Man, Castlevania, Tetris, and many more came to define video games, and in many ways continue to do so to this day.
The “console wars” years following the NES were some of the most heated in gaming’s history. Sega established itself as a competent rival with the Genesis/Master System, and gaming exploded into the mainstream. Sonic the Hedgehog, Streets of Rage, and Altered Beast all helped establish Sega as a gaming giant, while games like Super Mario World, Donkey Kong Country, Final Fantasy III (VI), and Star Fox propelled Nintendo above the competition. This generation also saw the release of such mega hits as Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter II, NBA Jam, and Disney’s Aladdin, which continue to be renown in the gaming scene.
The Nintendo 64 and Sony PlayStation saw a huge leap in hardware capabilities, although it was an experimental age in video gaming. Many of the best games ever made were produced during this time, but many have also aged horribly compared to modern video games. Resident Evil, Crash Bandicoot, Final Fantasy VII, Tomb Raider, Tekken, Metal Gear Solid, and more came to define the PlayStation brand. Nintendo also provided numerous hits, such as Super Mario 64, Mario Kart 64, Banjo-Kazooie, Goldeneye 007, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and plenty of others.
The PlayStation 2 remains the best selling home console of all time, and it’s a record that will take a beast of a gaming machine to dethrone. Although many bought the system for its DVD capabilities, it’s games were undoubtedly extraordinary. Grand Theft Auto III, Final Fantasy X, Metal Gear Solid 2, God of War, and countless others made the PS2 so memorable. Nintendo’s GameCube is also widely cherished for its gaming experiences, like Super Mario Sunshine, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Metroid Prime, and Luigi’s Mansion. Microsoft also entered the battle with the Xbox, which did admirably with games like Halo: Combat Evolved, Fable, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and Splinter Cell.
These are just a few generations of gaming. Perhaps your favorite lies before the NES, in the age of Atari or the Magnavox Odyssey; maybe modern gaming is more your thing, with the Xbox 360, or the PS4, or the Nintendo Switch delivering your favorite gaming experiences. What is your favorite gaming generation? I want to hear your thoughts!