Old games. Everyone loves old games, but you can’t play old games without a classic games console to go with them. Shh. No. Don’t mention ports or remakes or downloads. Go with me here.
There’s something undeniably cool about having a retro gaming system on your shelf, and some of those old pixelated games are still very fun to play. Multiplayer ones are particularly great for social gatherings, if you’re into that sort of thing.
So if you’d like to bring some classic consoles back into your home (or maybe play one for the first time), read on to find out what Amazon has to offer…
The Atari VCS, later known as the Atari 2600, was a first games console for many back in the day. It originally hit the market in 1977. Its biggest games included PacMan and Asteroids, and it’s got a lovely wooden finish.
Mini NES / Original NES
The Nintendo Entertainment System, aka the NES, was a staple in many people’s childhood. It was also Nintendo’s first home console. The system, which came out in 1983, revolutionized the industry, introducing the concept of third-party developers creating the games. Thanks for that one, NES!
The Super Nintendo Entertainment System, AKA the SNES, followed in 1990. It went on to become the best-selling console of the 16-bit era. It’s hard to find an original SNES these days, but you can buy a great third-party version of the console for $49.99.
Game Boy / Game Boy Color
Ah, those good old days before backlit screens became the norm. If you were a kid growing up the late 80s and into the 90s, you remember Nintendo’s brick of a handheld and the many great games you could play on the go. There will probably never be a greater childhood memory than booting up Pokemon Red or Blue on your Game Boy for the first time. And when the Color version of the handheld hit, it was a completely different ball game. If you’ve never played with a Game Boy, you owe it to yourself to pick one up on the cheap.
Neo Geo X
This one’s a bit of a cheat. But since there doesn’t seem to be any classic Neo Geo consoles on Amazon, this modern retooling of the old system is as close as you’re going to get. With the Neo Geo X, You can play loads of arcade-style games from the original Neo Geo MVS console from 1990. 20 of them are pre-loaded on the device.
Sega Master System
This third-generation Sega console is a bit of a niche buy, since the Mega Drive (which we’ll get to shortly) arguably made a much bigger splash in the UK. But still, a classic gaming completist will want this gem from 1985 in their collection. You can buy buy a Master System now, second hand, for about $100. Or if you’re a collector willing to drop some major cash on this system, you can one new for $700. If you look in the related items, you’ll find numerous Sonic games.
In 1990, Sega released the Game Gear handheld console, which is essentially a Master System you can carry around in your pocket (if you have quite large pockets). This gorgeous grey handheld was a large part of this writer’s childhood, although the screen on our one was very dodgy. Presumably, that wasn’t the case for all of them. Today, Amazon is still stocking Game Gears, and you can pick up a pre-owned one for about $32.
Sing it with me now: Seeeeegaaaaaaa! The Sega Genesis is the console that brought great games like Sonic The Hedgehog, Altered Beast, and ToeJam And Earl into many a home. It wasn’t the first or last Sega console, but it’s definitely the most iconic.
Sega Saturn / Dreamcast
After the Genesis came the Saturn, which didn’t earn as much love around the globe (not least because one of its biggest games, Sonic X-Treme, got canceled). But the console still has some things going for it. The fact it runs on CD-Roms was a first for Sega at the time, for example. And it still sold 9.6 million units despite being deemed a flop.
It makes me feel very old, the thought of including the Nintendo 64 in an article about classic or retro consoles. Perhaps that’s because it’s still so playable, with Mario Kart 64, GoldenEye 007 and Pokemon Stadium games still serving as semi-regular features in my so-called social life. Admittedly, though, it has been over 20 years since the N64 came out, and Nintendo has reinvented the wheel a couple of times since then.
The PlayStation is even older than the N64, so now that I’ve included that I’ve written myself into a bit of a corner. But FIFA 2000, in which you could still dive and foul the goalkeeper, simply doesn’t feel old enough to be a retro game. It is though, of course.
Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to crawl back into my cave and lament how everything from my childhood is now retro nostalgia fuel rather than the cutting edge of cool. Who knew a quick trip down memory lane would make me feel so old?