The Evolution of Nintendo Gaming Consoles


“Nintendo-logo” by laboratoriolinux is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

By: Noah Siegel, Journalist

Nintendo was one of the first big at home gaming consoles. It has evolved through multiple generations and will definitely go down in the gaming console hall of fame.

Nintendo Entertainment System: 1983 – 1995

Everyone knows or has heard of the NES it ran 8-bit games like Super Mario Bros and The Legend of Zelda. It was designed to sit on top of the old 1980s-1990s TVs. It came with two controllers which was genius because that made more families buy the consoles because kids or parents could play together. The controllers were rectangular with a plus shape d-pad and two buttons labeled A and B. If this console didn’t come out, we probably wouldn’t be gaming all the time now. This is because the NES helped all of North America recover from the video game crash of 1983. The NES came in two packs, the first one is the normal pack that costed $99 and came with the console and a free game. The Deluxe pack costs $199 and comes with the console, multiple games, and multiple accessories. In today’s money that is $275 for the normal console and $550 for the deluxe pack.

Nintendo Game Boy: 1989 – 2003

The nintendo game boy’s design was genius. It was one of the first handheld gaming consoles ever. It also had the same sort of cartridge load in design as the NES. This combination made one of the best selling consoles in history. The estimated sales on the gameboy and gameboy color where about 120 million units. The gameboy had a lot of accessories like a printer and a magnifying glass with a light. At the time, the price was about $90 and came with a copy of tetris(which was and still is a massive game). In today’s money this is about $170.

Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES): 1990-1998

The SNES was Nintendo’s second massive at home gaming console. It was a big competitor to the sega mega drive but what made it win the 16 bit time period was the games. Around 50 million consoles were shipped all around the world. The console originally costed $199 which is about $400 today. The controllers had more of a round and modern design. They also added two more buttons meaning they have an A, B, X, Y layout like controllers do today.

Virtual Boy: 1995-1996

The virtual boy is a console nobody has really heard of. Only lasting one year, the virtual boy was the first glimpse of 3D games. To play, you would have to prop it up on a table, lean down and look into it. This might also be hard for beginners because they would be forced to memorize the controls of their prefered games. Gamers would get out of the virtual world feeling queasy and dizzy because of how inconvenient this is.

Nintendo 64 (N64):1996-2003

The N64 has its name because of the 64 bit CPU chip that it has inside of it. When it first came out, people were fighting to get their hands on one. This was the last at home console that used cartridges as games. This time, it didn’t sell as well because it had more competitors like the Sony Playstation and the Sega Saturn. The controllers for this console look pretty similar to modern ones. The only difference is it only had one joystick that was located in the middle of the controller. This time, it sold 33 million units which sounds like a lot but the SNES sold over 50 million units. The big part of the N64 was the games. It had games like Super Mario 64 and Legend of Zelda.

Nintendo Gamecube: 2001-2007

As you could probably guess, the design of this console is very cube like. It uses the standard disc format for its games similar to the Xbox, PS2, and Sega Dreamcast. The controller looks very similar to today’s gaming controllers. It has two joysticks, a D-pad, and four buttons. Similar to the N64, the popular games were things like mario and the Legend of Zelda. Only 22 million units were sold globally.

Game Boy Advance: 2001-2008

This console looks like a combination of a Nintendo switch and a gameboy. It has two controllers with the screen in the middle.  The graphics were slightly better than the gameboy. This console was about 100 dollars when it came. This is around 150 dollars today.

Nintendo DS and 3Ds:2004-2011

Although the gameboy advance was a very good idea, nintendo decided to switch it up. This console folds up like a mini laptop that fits in your hands. It has two screens, one on the top half, and one on the bottom half. The top screen was just a screen to watch the action as the bottom screen had touch compatibility to control the games along with the normal buttons. The 3Ds was pretty similar except it had better performance.

Nintendo Wii and Wii U:2006-2016

The Wii was an extremely good console. Instead of just trying to get the best performance Nintendo took a different route. They used sensores so you can point the controller at the screen and allowed kids to be somewhat active while playing. The Wii U was similar except you could play the game and then cast it to the TV.

Nintendo Switch:2017-

The nintendo switch is my favorite nintendo console. It is similar to the gameboy advance but it is slimmer and more modern. The controllers can detach and become two to play with you and someone else. You can also put the dock on the TV and play on that. They have released a less expensive nintendo switch lite which is $200 and a more expensive nintendo switch OLED costind $350. The basic switch costs $300. The games are also very good, my favorite being super smash bros.