Video games have been around long before the first official commercial game console, called the Magnavox Odyssey. Of course, only a handful of people around the world anymore can name a single game on the Magnavox Odyssey, as the console was limited to lines and dots. Most of the games on the Magnavox Odyssey were basic sports games, such as Soccer, Basketball, Volleyball, and Football.
In total, the Magnavox Odyssey had twenty-eight games spread amongst eleven game cards. For being the first commercial video game console, that is an impressive lineup of games, but does it take the mantle of the retro console with the most games? Let us take a look at some of the most popular retro consoles to see which one has the most games.
When most people think “retro console,” the Atari 2600 is one of the first ones to come to mind. Many believe the Atari was the first commercial retro system because of how much more widespread the console was, as compared to the Magnavox Odyssey.
As of 2004, the Atari 2600 had sold thirty million units. That truly is an impressive number compared to the global sales of the Magnavox Odyssey, which only sold around 350,000. The famous arcade game, Space Invaders, was one of nine original cartridges released with the Atari 2600. Once it was all said and done, 136 titles were released for the Atari 2600 that included ever-popular titles, such as Missile Command, Ms. Pac-Man, and Frogger.
The NES started the third generation of retro consoles that pushed more than double the units that the Atari sold with 61,900,000. The NES is best known for introducing games and characters that we still know and love today, such as Super Mario Bros, The Legend of Zelda, and Metroid.
In the 1980s, Nintendo became the dominant player in the industry and set the standards for future console-makers. After Atari failed to keep the game industry alive, many thought gaming would be doomed to obscurity. Fortunately, the NES helped the video game industry become more mainstream and, in its entire lifetime, pushed out 716 licensed games.
The magic of the video game systems went mobile with the Game Boy and, while there were lesser known portable video game systems before then, the Game Boy revolutionized handheld video game consoles. The Game Boy sported an impressive (at the time) 8-bit technology that also allowed players to swap out cartridges including the massively popular Super Mario Bros. side-scroller series. Game Boy’s portability was the reason behind its massive success. Many of the amazing portable games, accessories, and systems trace back to the Game Boy’s superiority.
Much like today’s portable video game systems, the Game Boy was very affordable, which contributed to its massive success. At its time, it brought groundbreaking visuals to all 1048 of the games it brought to the industry and into our hands.
The Sega Genesis was part of the fourth generation of consoles, bringing 16-bit gameplay to our televisions in the last 1980s. The Sega Genesis needed a way to compete with Nintendo, so that is when they brought Sonic the Hedgehog into popular culture. Sonic The Hedgehog was the faster platformer that was the antithesis of Mario. While we know now that the two are paired together in certain games, such as Mario & Sonic at The Olympic Games. Sonic The Hedgehog helped bring sales to Sega, which helped it compete with Nintendo and sell millions of units during its prime.
With Nintendo having a near monopoly, it was a breath of fresh air for the Sega Genesis to learn its lesson from its 8-bit console, the Sega Master System. The Sega Genesis helped drive competition, which was only good for video game consumers. This competition had Sega and Nintendo going head-to-head, which ultimately ended up with Nintendo winning when the 16-bit came to its end.
The Sega Genesis had 713 games that included Phantasy Star IV, Castlevania: Bloodlines, Mortal Kombat II, and Sonic the Hedgehog II.
Speaking of the console wars between Nintendo and Sega, Nintendo brought the SNES 16-bit system to the field. With Sega threatening Nintendo’s almost-monopoly of the video game industry, Nintendo had to bring its A-game to stay on top. When the Sega Genesis dropped its price, Nintendo struggled to compete as they went back and forth for years. However, it was not until the release of Donkey Kong Country on the SNES that Nintendo took a lead over the Sega Genesis to win the 16-bit era.
With almost 50-million units sold, it’s any wonder there were 1757 games sold for the SNES, making it the mainstream retro system that has the most games.
Retro gaming brings back a feeling of nostalgia from days gone. It is escapism that gives us a chance to get away from the realities of the world. All these systems helped us through our childhoods. Even those born long after the prime of these consoles can enjoy these games through their parent’s systems or from emulators. With retro gaming, we do not care about graphics or anything we care about nowadays except for fun gameplay. Many think you can no longer find these retro systems or retro games anymore. Fortunately, if you look in the right places, you’ll find some of the games you’ve grown up with or some of the retro game consoles you’ve always wanted to play. You don’t have to sit there and wonder what could have been, check out Retro Gaming of Denver for your one-stop shop for all your retro gaming needs.
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