"It was like watching the death of the Hindenburg in slow motion"
How do you take half a decade’s worth of critical and commercial success and flush it down the toilet? Easy – you release a device like the Sega 32X. At the start of the 1990s Sega was arguably at the height of its powers; the dawn of the decade saw the western launch of the...
The future is now (even more expensive)
The SNES and Mega Drive / Genesis may have dominated the console landscape in the early '90s, but they were by no means the most powerful machines of their era. That distinction goes to SNK's Neo Geo AES, often described as the "Rolls-Royce" of game consoles. It's a good analogy to make, as the machine was...
Still super after all these years
Originally published way back in March 2013, we thought we'd re-share this feature on the Super Famicom as part of our celebrations for the Super NES turning 25 years old in North America. To many, it's the greatest video game console ever made. The Super Famicom — or Super Nintendo Entertainment System as it...
Nintendo's smallest console, in both size and stature
It's somewhat ironic that one of Nintendo's most obscure consoles is so strongly aligned with one of its most instantly recognisable brands, but understanding why the Pokémon Mini wasn't quite as successful as it probably should have been is relatively easy; it was marketed poorly, the games...
Will you still love me when I'm 64?
To mark the 20th birthday of Nintendo's 64-bit wonder we're republishing this feature on the console, which originally went live on the site in December 2014. The Nintendo 64 is a console which divides opinions, even today. For some, it was an unforgivable fall from grace after the dizzying heights of the SNES;...
A refreshed icon
It would be fair to say that the Game Boy's longevity surprised everyone, including Nintendo. Originally released in 1989, it was still going strong by the middle of the following decade and experienced a notable boost thanks to the timely introduction of the first Pokémon titles, Red & Blue. The momentum provided by these...
From Taiwan with love
Given that we've covered pretty much every retro console of note in our Hardware Classics series, it was almost inevitable that we'd be forced to investigate systems which could hardly be considered noteworthy from a commercial or critical standpoint. That's certainly the case with Bit Corp Gamate, a handheld console...
Getting into Gear
It's easy to see the thinking behind the Game Gear, the machine Sega positioned as a Game Boy-beater in the early '90s. The firm's Mega Drive / Genesis platform was doing a fine job of stealing away market share from the aging NES, and Sega no doubt assumed it could do the same in the portable arena with hardware that was more...
In your sights
Despite their ingenious nature and futuristic feel, light guns have been part of the video game landscape since the industry began - in fact, crude examples of the tech can be found as far back as the 1930s. In the 8-bit era both Nintendo and Sega produced their own pistol-like light guns in the form of the NES Zapper and Master...
The last throw of the dice for Nintendo's old rival
Sega's Dreamcast holds a special place in the history of home video game entertainment. It was an innovative beast, being the first home console to offer online connectivity out of the box and setting the modern trend for sourcing internal components from PC manufacturers. It also proved to be...
The rise and fall of Sega Enterprises is a classic tale of hard-won success being scuppered by a bewildering lack of focus and an incredible degree of overconfidence. The company scored an almost impossible victory by bloodying the nose of the all-powerful Nintendo in the early '90s and was arguably the first console maker to bring an...
The less-travelled roadie
During the early '90s Sega's hardware department effectively went crazy. Flushed with the success of the Genesis / Mega Drive in North America and Europe, the company produced a series of commercial duds in an attempt to buttress its 16-bit business in the face of stiff competition from rival Nintendo. The first endeavour...
Shedding some light on a handheld classic
Nintendo's Game Boy range was massively successful all over the world — heck, even Kurt Cobain had one — but not every variant of the system made it out of Japan. Just before the launch of the Game Boy Color, Nintendo produced a revised backlit version of the original monochrome system which was...
Everyone's favourite underdog
If you're reading this outside of Europe, then there's a very good chance that your perception of the Sega Master System is one of complete and utter failure. The 8-bit system wasn't even close to contesting the might of the NES in North America or the Famicom in Japan; although Sega at that point was a well-known...
Out of this world
Following their epic tussle for supremacy during the early part of the decade, the remainder of the '90s were difficult times for rivals Sega and Nintendo. The arrival of hardware newcomer Sony — and its phenomenally successful 32-bit PlayStation system — totally changed the landscape of the video games industry. Sega and...
I'm not boy
As the '90s drew to a close Nintendo's massively popular Game Boy handheld — which was almost a decade old and had already seen away more powerful rivals like the Atari Lynx and Sega Game Gear — was about to face a fresh wave of competition. The Bandai WonderSwan was perhaps the most interesting challenger — on paper, at least...
What the creator of the Game Boy did next
Although Nintendo's lofty standing in the games industry cannot be attributed solely to a single person, it's fair to say that without the talents of Gunpei Yokoi the Kyoto firm wouldn't be where it is today. Yokoi was employed by Nintendo in 1965 and his inventions — such as the Ultra Hand and Lover...
Nintendo's nadir, or misunderstood masterpiece?
According to the history books, the Virtual Boy is Nintendo's biggest failure — both commercially and critically — in the hardware arena. Launched in 1995 to almost complete consumer apathy, it bypassed Europe entirely and was discontinued the following year. It is also thought to be the reason...
It's a common misconception that the Nintendo Super Famicom and Sega Mega Drive were close rivals in their native Japan. In reality, Sega was in fact third in the pecking order, and it was NEC's PC Engine which fought so bitterly with Nintendo for domination of the sales charts. A collaboration between hardware manufacturer NEC an
The genesis of Sega's superstardom
It's fitting that the first non-Nintendo entry in our Hardware Classics series should be the Sega Mega Drive. This sleek 16-bit powerhouse remains Sega's most commercially successful console, having shifted around 40 million units globally. Famous for being the first console to challenge Nintendo's dominance in...
This is how you redesign a console
Let's be brutally honest here — the original DS design was ugly. Quite what Nintendo's designers were thinking when they came up with it we'll never know, but the dumpy, two-tone casing hardly got pulses racing, even back in 2004. It felt like a system that was rushed out of the door purely to meet a deadline,...
Give the dog a bone
The Nintendo Entertainment System — or NES, for short — is arguably the console on which Nintendo's current lofty status was built. Launched in Japan as the Famicom, the 8-bit platform is home to an almost endless list of solid-gold classics, including Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Metroid,
The Nintendo DS may be the biggest selling handheld console of all time, but you could argue that this is only the case because of the vital groundwork laid down by the Game Boy. The original monochrome brick was pushed onto the market in 1989 in the wake of Nintendo's popular Game & Watch range, and would go on to sell...
The Triforce is strong in this one
Nintendo's Game Boy Advance is one of the company's most beloved handhelds. It had a hard act to follow, coming after the blockbuster successes of the original monochrome Game Boy and the Game Boy Color, but it managed to shift almost 90 million units globally. However, in typical Nintendo fashion, it took a...
A multi-screen masterpiece
Before the Nintendo DS, Game Boy Advance and even the Game Boy, portable gaming was all about Nintendo's Game & Watch series. The brainchild of Nintendo engineer Gunpei Yokoi - who apparently came up with the idea after seeing a Japanese businessman playing around with his pocket calculator during his journey to work...
For more than a decade, the name "Game Boy" was as synonymous with handheld gaming as "iPod" is with portable music playback today. Following the launch of the original monochrome Game Boy console in the late '80s, Nintendo ruled the market with total dominance thanks to an incredibly popular line of million-selling systems. When the...
A gaming work of art
In the first of a new series of features, we'll be taking a look at some seriously beautiful and collectible gaming items - all of which are certain to get hardcore Nintendo fans seriously excited. First up is the Limited Edition Tezuka Osamu World Shop Game Boy Light, a super-rare Japanese exclusive which is emblazoned with...
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