Ranking EVERY Nintendo system from worst to best

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Nintendo has a long history in the console market. First a card game maker in 1889, the Kyoto-based company turned to video games in the 1970s with its Color-TV game console, containing only one game between its four versions. They later moved on to the blockbuster Game & Watch console and arcade versions such as Donkey Kong.

But it wasn’t until the Nintendo entertainment system that Nintendo established itself as one of the big companies in the home hardware industry. The system is widely credited with keeping the industry away from the crash that threatened to kill the company in 1983.

Since then, hardware has remained a high priority for Nintendo, boosted by a strong library of first-party games that have conquered the home and handheld console markets, with the recent Nintendo Switch seeking to cover both. However, navigation hasn’t always been smooth, with a variety of challengers competing over the decades for the top spot and an experimental history ranging from innovative failures to critical failures.

It was a key philosophy of Gunpei Yokoi, the game designer who helped bring Nintendo into game development, that production should focus on “Lateral Thinking with Withered Technology”. This involved prioritizing the use of existing technologies in new ways rather than looking for expensive cutting edge technology trends. This is an obvious approach with the majority of Nintendo hardware. But what did it best?

Chances are, if you’ve ever heard of the Virtual Boy, you know why it’s the worst Nintendo console ever. Marketed as the first 3D console, it was released in 1995 in Japan and North America, functioning as a portable tabletop system. Using stereoscopic 3D graphics via a head-mounted display and parallax effect to create an illusion of depth, this was the first “virtual reality” experience on consoles.

Commercially and critically, the Virtual Boy has been a complete failure and has only seen 22 games released in its lifetime. Even after Nintendo’s cost-cutting measures, such as using a red monochrome display rather than color, retail cost was a big factor (especially compared to the Game Boy), being seen as too much. high for a system critics saw as a filler between SNES and N64.

It was also rushed to the market, with internal resources increasingly favored by the N64 around this time. It has been widely criticized for its lack of portability, monochrome display, minimal immersion, and health issues, with many players reporting headaches and nausea after use. Nintendo blamed Gunpei Yokoi for the failure of Virtual Boy, who resigned shortly after, and the console was quickly scrapped less than a year later.

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