Nintendo Handhelds
Image: Nintendo Life

In a recent chat with a friend, we somehow strayed onto the topic of our 'favourite consoles'. I expected some light-hearted bants and joshing as we proposed winners and defended our favourites but the conversation took an unexpectedly contentious turn when I mentioned the 3DS while umming and ahhing.

My pal responded and it went something like this:

"No, no, consoles — not handhelds."
"Er, handhelds are consoles. Handheld consoles, in fact."
"No, I mean proper consoles."
"Handheld consoles ARE 'proper' consoles."
"Nah, they're not."
"So you're saying the Game Boy isn't 'legit', then? It's like a Tamagotchi or something."
"It's a portable! Not like a SNES or a GameCube. It doesn't plug into your TV."
"It's still a console, though! Is Switch a console?"
"Switch is a hybrid."
"A hybrid... console:"
"Pfff, whatever..."

We politely agreed to disagree and took to muttering under our breath in confusion and silently re-evaluating our friendship.

To me, it seemed cut and dry: portable or otherwise, pretty much anything with interchangeable software and button inputs is a games console, whether it's portable or it sits under your telly or any mixture of the two. Size or the screen it outputs to make no difference; it's a console, end of.

Still, this noodle-y nomenclature got me wondering how many other people don't class portables as 'consoles', so it's NL poll time! Let us know in the polls below exactly where you stand on this most contentious of gaming issues:

Do you class handhelds as video game 'consoles'?
Is a Game & Watch a 'console'?
Is a Classic Mini system a 'console'?
Lovely Nintendo handheld CONSOLES
Lovely Nintendo handheld CONSOLES (Image: Nintendo Life)

Tell us your thoughts and what you call your video game systems below, and feel free to check out more ludo-linguistic nonsense in these articles: