The 10 Most Popular Retro Game Consoles & Where to Find Them
Retro gaming has become a popular hobby for all kinds of gamers. Some want to revisit classic video games from their youth to relive the nostalgic magic. Others want to play these video games they've never had the chance to play before.
Whichever way, it's now easier than ever to buy these games & retro gaming consoles online and enjoy some of the most amazing games from the past. From decades past and present from Atari to Nintendo, these consoles and games make for great buys for a gaming enthusiast, but they can also make for unique Christmas gifts for anyone in your life that loves gaming.
If you want to enjoy some retro goodness, here are 10 of the best retro game systems you can buy & enjoy right now.
Before We Start, Let's Define: Retro Gaming & What defines it
Retro gaming has been around for a long time, and some of the best games were released in the 80s and 90s. Really, retro gamers are the adults of today, that are buying these vintage video games from when they were kids.
It's the nostalgia of it all, I mean for many of us it's about re-creating the memories of our childhood today. I can remember all the times my Uncle would visit me for the holidays when I was a kid. My Uncle at the time would always bring his his original Nintendo NES and the game Contra. So every family event, for the most part, my uncle and I were rock'n out on Contra. So for me, playing contra today, always reminds me of playing with my uncle as a kid.
So why are these retro gaming console so popular?
One of the biggest reasons has to be all the retro collectors that have shifted into video game collecting. This is a huge reason for the popularity and the demand for retro games. With used game stores and the internet, buying and collecting video games has become much easier.
I guess just finding the right game in the right condition can be a challenge online. Many video game libraries have rare or limited released games, that collector's crave, or different versions of games. I always think of video game collecting to be very similar to collecting baseball cards.
What Are the Best Retro Gaming Consoles?
I'm biased, as I grew up with an NES in my basement, So the Nintendo Entertainment System will be 1 for me. The original NES was released in North America on October 18th, 1985. The system sold over 50 million units worldwide and is considered one of the most successful gaming systems ever made. It’s also a console that has been around for almost 35 years now, and it still holds up today as an amazing piece of technology. As such, there are many great games available to play on this platform.
Many classic video game series have evolved from the NES like: The original Legend of Zelda, The original Final Fantasy, The dragon warrior series, Donkey Kong, Kirby, just to name a few. These games are certainly some of the most popular retro video games of all time.
Some of the must have NES games to buy include Super Mario Bros 3, Super Tecmo Bowl, Super Off Road, RBI Baseball, Final Fantasy, Mega Man, Dragon Warrior and Mike Tyson's Punch-Out to name a few.
2. The Original Sony PlayStation 1
The original PlayStation might not have had the high-scale 4K graphics and DualSense controller offered by this generation's PlayStation 5. However, this is the console that innovated the world of gaming with 3D graphics, dual analog controllers, and one of the most impressive games libraries of any console in history.
In terms of the best-selling video games consoles of all time, the PlayStation has only been usurped by two of its successors - the PlayStation 2 and the PlayStation 4. With that said, you can find some of the most original and innovative games on the original Sony console.
Many original ps1 games originated from the playstation library, including Gran Turismo, Spyro the Dragon, and Metal Gear Solid. It also hosts some of the most popular games of all time, such as Final Fantasy VII, Tekken 2, Crash Bandicoot, Tomb Raider, Metal Slug, and Final Fantasy IX. Not to mention, you can also find cheap ps1 games classics like Chrono Cross and Crash Team Racing on the PS1.
3. The Nintendo 64
Nintendo 64 is another retro gaming console that lives deep in the hearts of '90s kids. Although it had tough competition from the PlayStation, Nintendo 64 offered some of the best games of its time, including games from franchises like Super Mario, Donkey Kong, The Legend of Zelda, and Pokémon - not to mention the original Super Smash Bros.
A lot of classic Nintendo 64 games still hold up incredibly well today. Some of the most popular examples include: Perfect Dark, Diddy Kong Racing, Zelda Ocarina of Time, Paper Mario Star Fox, and the Mario Party Series. Many of these games are also great multiplayer games that are perfect for playing with friends.
4. The Original Super Nintendo
The Super Nintendo, also known as the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), is another legendary nostalgic gaming console that every retro video game fan should experience. The console pushed its 16-bit graphics and limited sound capabilities to the limits, resulting in many cult classics that still look and sound amazing today.
Not only did the SNES offer some of the greatest games from Nintendo franchises like Super Mario World, Donkey Kong Country, F-Zero, and The Legend of Zelda, but it's also one of the best consoles for role-playing games (RPG). Here is a good list of the top SNES RPGS. The SNES console hosts some of the most popular RPGs of all time.
RPG fans will appreciate classics such as Chrono Trigger, Lufia, Breath of Fire, Soul Blazer and Final Fantasy III. Meanwhile, Nintendo lovers can feast on iconic games mentioned above.
5. The Sega Dreamcast
The Dreamcast is one more chapter in the sad book of doomed Sega consoles. Like its predecessors, the Sega Master System and Sega CD console, the Dreamcast was shunned in favor of its competitors.
After the failure of the Saturn system, gamers were wary to trust another Sega console. So, instead, they held out for the release of the PlayStation 2 and the Gamecube.
Ultimately, Sega simply couldn't make enough console sales, and they had to cut their losses. Within three years of its release, the system was discontinued.
Why the dreamcast was Ahead of Its Time
The really tragic part is that everyone who ever owned a Dreamcast absolutely loved it. Its processor was as powerful as the era's most state-of-the-art PCs.
Because of its superb hardware, Sega was able to port near-identical versions of its most popular arcade games directly to the Dreamcast system.
- Crazy Taxi
- Power Stone
- Marvel vs. Capcom
- House of the Dead 2
Additionally, there were numerous hits unique to the console, such as:
- Sonic Adventure
- Skies of Arcadia
- Jet Set Radio
- Phantasy Star Online
- Unreal Tournament
The Sega Dreamcast was also the first online-capable retro video game console.
6. PlayStation 2
It might seem strange to call PlayStation 2 a retro video game console, especially as many people who grew up during the early '00s will have played this platform for many years. However, the best-selling video game console of all time is now 21 years old, making it older than many gamers of today.
With over 3,800 games, the PlayStation 2 offered one of the most extensive video game libraries of all time. Not only that, but tons of high-quality titles and top-notch franchises could be found on the console. Some of the best games on the console include Def Jam Fight for NY, The Silent Hill Series, Dragon Ball Z Games, Kingdom Hearts amoung many others.
Compared to other retro game consoles, PS2 games are relatively cheap and easy to find. You can also find pretty much everything from classic racing games to sports games to RPGs. Many of these games will still look good on modern TVs, so a PlayStation 2 is an excellent purchase for any gaming fan.
7. The Original Game Boy Console
Today, almost everyone carries a smartphone in their pocket, complete with at least one game app. To those who were born into this modern age, the original Game Boy must seem like a hilarious relic.
The screen has no color or backlighting. Plus, the system weighs over half a pound (with batteries) and it doesn't even fit in your pocket.
But, at the time of its release, the Game Boy was cutting edge—revolutionary, even. Before the Game Boy, handheld electronic gaming mostly referred to single-game devices like Nintendo's Game and Watch units.
There is one handheld, cartridge-based game system called Microvision that predates the Game Boy. But due to numerous design flaws, the games and the Microvision system itself would break very easily.
How The Game Boy Changed the World
Conversely, the Game Boy is so well-made that many units still function today without any refurbishing. It also boasts an enormous library of classic gaming hits, such as:
- Dr. Mario
- Super Mario Land 1-3
- Kirby's Dream Land
- The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening
- Metroid II
- Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow
8. The GameBoy Advance
GameBoy Advance (GBA) is the successor to the GameBoy Color and offered many upgrades to its predecessors. With colorful 32-bit graphics and great sound quality for the time, the GBA became home to many ports of classic Nintendo and Super Nintendo Games, as well as offering a wide library of original games.
Much like with the GameBoy Color, you can buy a GBA along with many classic games and start playing it instantly. All you need is a few AA batteries to enjoy hours of gaming fun. Or if you buy a GBA Sp console, you don't need batters and the Sp console is backlighting.
You'll also have plenty of iconic GBA to choose from. Popular options include All the Pokemon Games on the System, Advance Wars Series, Metroid Fusion & Zero Mission, and the list goes on.
9. The SEGA Genesis
Before PlayStation and Xbox broke into the gaming world, Nintendo's only true competition came from SEGA. SEGA was another Japanese company known for creating some of the most innovative gaming platforms, and SEGA Genesis is a prime example of this.
Many incredible games can be found on the SEGA Genesis, including Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Contra Hard Corps, Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, and Batman the Video Game.
Although its 16-bit graphics are a far cry from the graphics of today, many of these games look great and play incredibly smoothly, and great video gaming experience. If you want to experience SEGA's glory years, then there's arguably no better console to play than the Genesis.
Two years before the Super NES debuted, Sega launched the first 16-bit gaming console, the Sega Genesis. For the only time in console gaming history, Sega was on top. And their time on top was well spent, releasing hits like: Sonic the Hedgehog, Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter II, Streets of Rage, Golden Axe, Columns, Ecco the Dolphin
There are also many notable RPGs on the system, like Phantasy Star and Shining Force. Plus, several cool add-ons were developed for the system, including the Sega CD and the 32X.
10. The Turbografx 16
The Turbografx was released in Japan in 1987, and was released in 1989 in North America. The system sold over 6 million units worldwide and is often regarded as one of the best shoot'em up retro consoles. The console was never a huge hit with the mainstream, but for those who have played and experience the turbografx love the console!
What the causal gamers would recognize game on the turbografx has to be the Bonk's Series, but where this console raigns supreme is all the fantastic shmups. Games like: Blazing Lazers, Soldier Blade, Air Zonk, Aero Blasters to name a few.
The console had many peripherals from the cd unit attachment you could buy, and they made a portable console known as the turbo express. The express sucked down batteries like there was no tomorrow.
If you're looking for that retro video game experience, these are 10 of the best retro game consoles you can play. Of course, you could also consider other retro consoles such as the Atari 7800, Nintendo GameCube, Sega Saturn, NeoGeo, original Xbox, and the Turbografx CD amoung others.
Many of these console have a mini classic version of the console. Which means most of the mini consoles are preloaded with many games, and can be hooked up with HDMI Cable on Modern Tvs. If you decide to buy a Nintendo Switch, with Wi Fi and a monthly subscription you can get some of the best retro titles. From Classic NES, SNES, N64 and Sega Genesis / Mega Drive games just to name a few.
So Where to Find These Redtro Gaming Consoles
You can certainly find Nintendo NES, PS1, and PS2 Games at any retro game store. Used game stores are a great resource for cheap used games and consoles. Many shop owners may have some overhead and price games to sell. Meaning, you may find some great titles at a good price. Many of the obscure classic game consoles, I'm sure you can find a great deal on. As these games for these consoles don't sell nearly as well as say Nintendo games. So if you are in the market for used Sega Master games, for example, you could probably haggle on the price for a better deal.
A Few Good Alternatives, Sites for Buying Games?
When you want to find some good deals on cheap games, there are many places where you can look online. One of the best places to start looking is Amazon.com. There, you can search through a wide variety of titles and read reviews on them before deciding whether you want to buy them.
Another place to check is eBay.com. Here, you can browse through thousands of items and see what people are asking for them. If you know exactly what kind of game you want, chances are you can find a fair game price on eBay.
About Us, Game Buying
Not only do we sell used games at The Old School Game Vault, we also are into game buying games. We have been doing this since 2007 and have built up a huge database of games. Our website has everything you need to know about buying and selling games. Check us out today