We had our biggest voter turnout in Chi-Scroller history when we asked you to tell us your favorite – not best, but favorite – console generation. Here are the results.
43% – Fourth Generation (Super NES, Genesis, TurboGrafx-16, Neo Geo, etc)
The “16-bit generation” took an early lead and was never in danger of being caught. The average gamer is currently in his/her 30’s, which means that they came of age when the SNES and Genesis were duking it out for video game supremacy. It was also one of the more timeless eras for video games, meaning that younger gamers have also discovered games from that generation and are able to get plenty of enjoyment out of them as well.
19% – TIE – Fifth Generation (PlayStation, Saturn, N64, Jaguar, 3DO, etc); Sixth Generation (Dreamcast, PS2, Xbox, GCN)
I know, I know. I hate ties too. But the fifth and sixth generations literally finished with the exact same number of votes, so here we are. Those same gamers that grew up with 8- and 16-bit are the same gamers who were college aged when the PS1, Saturn, and N64 were out and transitioned into adult right along with the Dreamcast, PS2, Xbox, and GCN, so those systems might not have been quite as impactful as the 16-bit ones. Still, for everybody that didn’t “grow out of” gaming, the fifth and sixth gens were both ideal for teens and young adults and it’s easy to see why people remain fond of them both.
10% – Third Generation (NES, Sega Master System, Atari 7800, etc)
Nintendo was video games during the NES era, and while the video games that came before deserve their due, the NES is when the majority of us first truly fell in love with gaming. It is also where most of gaming’s most iconic characters and franchises got their start, and in some cases, are still where they were at their best. Gaming’s evolution into 16-bit made 8-bit games a little tougher to revisit, which would explain the huge gulf between the votes for the third and fourth generations, but the 8-bit era will always hold a special place for a lot of gamers. And it also remains home to some of the best games of all time, 8 measly bits be damned.
6% – Second Generation (Atari 2600, Atati 5200, Colecovision, Vectrex, Intellivision, etc)
Pre-NES consoles tend to be unfairly dismissed. Sure, most of the games are rough on the eyes and have very simplistic gameplay, but those were the years that laid the foundation for the next 30+ years of gaming. There is also a reason why games like Pac-Man and Donkey Kong have been re-released on countless retro compilations and continue to be mainstays at places that still have arcade games – they remain every bit as fun and polished as they were the day they were released. It may not have the glitz of 8-bit gaming and beyond, but the second generation of video game will always command its fair share of respect and reverence.
>2% – Seventh Generation (PS3, Xbox 360, Wii)
Not everybody votes with nostalgia in mind, and some people legitimately prefer more modern gaming systems to “retro” ones. This would account for the small but measurable amount of people who voted for this generation. There’s no denying that there were some fantastic games for these systems, especially if you count all of the HD remakes of past classics that came out during this era.
>1% – Eighth Generation (PS4, Xbox One, Wii U)
Some people are just happiest with whatever is happening “now,” and those people declared the current console generation to be their favorite. I feel it is a little soon to declare the current generation to truly be someone’s favorite, but I can certainly respect someone’s ability to be most excited for the present rather than dwelling on the past.
>1% – First Generation (Magnavox Odyssey, Telstar, Stand-alone Pong, etc)
We wouldn’t even have video game consoles as we know them today without the Odyssey. Its place in video game history should never be questioned. But the games of that first wave just don’t hold up especially well when compared to even its direct predecessor, so actually being someone’s legitimate “favorite” console takes some serious Pong love.