games / Columns

The Top 8 Gaming Consoles (That I’ve Played)

April 12, 2022 | Posted by Marc Morrison
playstation 4 Image Credit: Sony

Welcome all to another edition of The 8 Ball. Two columns ago I did my “Top 8 Worst Consoles (That I’ve Played) list, so here is the opposite of that with the best consoles that I’ve played. This is a list of consoles I’ve either heavily played, owned at one time, or still own now. Actually, I think I do own all of these consoles now, in one form or another. Let’s begin:

#8: Sega Dreamcast

I had kind of a tough time whether or not to put either the Genesis or the Dreamcast here but I went with the Dreamcast since I think I had more games for it, in total. The Dreamcast, for lack of a better description was basically an arcade system in a box. A lot of the really well known Dreamcast games started off as arcade titles: Crazy Taxi, Hydro Thunder, Marvel vs. Capcom 2, Power Stone and lest I forget, Soulcalibur. If you’ve ever actually played the arcade version of Soulcalibur, you’ll know how the Dreamcast port clobbers it, handily. The Dreamcast original lineup was mostly good also, Jet Grind Radio, Shenmue, Code Veronica, and I suppose Sonic Adventure, or at least 1/6th of it. The Dreamcast is still fondly remembered which dovetails nicely into the next system.

#7: Microsoft Xbox

Generally seen as the successor to Dreamcast, the original Xbox carried a lot of the same features forward, like having more of an operating system for the console, online play being a must, and a lot of Sega’s games showing up there for good (Jet Grind Radio Future, Shenmue 2) and bad (Crazy Taxi 3, ToeJam & Earl 3). The Xbox, though, had its own popular games like Halo, Crimson Skies, Fable, KOTOR, and Project Gotham Racing, just to name a few. I still have at least three or so Xboxes in my place, which is two more than anyone should need, but I still love the big black (and one clear) console.

#6: PlayStation 2

Here’s the thing, I actually still love the PS2. It had a lot of great games on it, a few of which are some of my all-time favorite games. But the further down consoles I just love more. So it’s not really a slight against the PS2, more just that I enjoy at least five consoles more than it. A lot of franchises started out on the PS2: Ratchet & Clank, Sly Cooper, God of War, Yakuza, Kingdom Hearts and Katamari Damacy. But Sony wasn’t stagnant in releasing sequels for the PS1 hits as well, Gran Turismo 3, Twisted Metal Black or Hot Shots Golf 3. I think my only real reservation about the system is that it was a tad fragile, especially with the dreaded “Disc Read Error” that would crop up from time to time.

#5: PlayStation 4

It’s weird that I have this nostalgia for the PS4, even though I still have mine (still plugged in) and that I only stopped really using it a year and a few months ago, when I got my PS5. While I do dig my PS5, I just think the PS4 was an overall better experience. A good example is themes, I miss having custom themes that the PS4 did well on the PS5. Hell, you could unlock custom themes in Persona 5 Strikers of each character as you played the game, which I think was the first game that let you do that, and it was such a neat little reward. Of the last two console generation cycles, the PS4 was probably my favorite of the bunch. Besides the Atari VCS that is! (just kidding)

#4: Game Boy

A funny thing about the Game Boy is that I kind of got out of it right when Pokemon came out. If it had released a year or two before, I probably would have got it and jumped on but that didn’t happen. While the Game Boy wasn’t the first handheld console, or even the first successful one, it was the first one with mass market appeal. The Game Boy practically became synonymous with portable gaming. I have very fond memories of playing Kirby, Mario Land 2, Fortified Zone, Batman: The Animated Series, and the biggest game of all: Tetris. At present, I have an Analogue Pocket and a GBA SP, but the original gray brick Game Boy is still fond to me.

#3: Xbox 360

To me, this is the first “modern” console in video games. What I mean by that is that while past systems, OG Xbox, PS2, and Dreamcast, flirted with online play, the Xbox 360 had it baked in from the start, you just had to sign up for it and play. No weird discs, kits, or other peripherals. Plus, while the OG Xbox did have a hard drive, the 360 actually made use of it, letting you buy and download Xbox Arcade games, and then later full-on retail games to it. Plus, think about how many groundbreaking games there was for the 360 and the general gaming policies that it set up. The only knock against the 360 is that the original “Blades” dashboard remains the best they did, and they kept getting further and further away from it.

#2: Super Nintendo

Like with the Dreamcast/Genesis debate, this was a real tossup between my number 2 and my number 1 picks. While I love the SNES and did kind of grow up with one, it wasn’t until years later that I really appreciated it. When I was a kid I only had a handful of games, Mario World, Mario RPG and Super Star Wars, and maybe one or two more that I can’t really remember. Two of those games are classics to this day…and the other is Super Star Wars. It wasn’t until years later, when I got to really understand or even play games like Super Metroid, Kirby Super Star, Mega Man X (particularly X3) and Donkey Kong Country, to name just a few. Now, it’s one of my most played consoles that I own, at least my Super NT is, and I just got my third “18 Game Holder” for the SNES, so I have more room to collect games.

#1: PlayStation 1

The original PlayStation is still my number one console. I had a lot of good games for this thing, a good video rental store close so I could get more, and it was such a seminal console for a generation. Think about how many great games were on it: Metal Gear Solid, Suikoden 2, Final Fantasy 7, Gran Turismo 1, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, Vagrant Story, Castlevania: SOTN, the list goes on and on. Almost everyone had one, back in the day, because it was pretty much the console to own. Even now, the games are still pretty playable. They might be rough around the edges, from a visual perspective, but a lot of PS1 games hold up even now.

For comments, list which consoles you think are the best and why. Also, suggest the next topic.

Next Issue
Comments Choice